With the approach of allergy season, many reach for over the counter medication for relief from sinus aches, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Colds and allergies are distinctly different disorders, but can produce similar symptoms, including sneezing, sinus congestion, runny nose, scratchy throat and sinus headache. Allergies are the result of your immune system reacting abnormally to otherwise harmless substances. Herbal teas, made from a variety of herbs, may offer some relief for mild cold or allergy symptoms. There are certain herbs that provide natural antihistamine benefits in addition to other anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, herbal tea is an excellent way to stay hydrated and fill up on antioxidants.
Here are some herbal teas that can help you with allergy symptoms and prevent it:
LEMON BALM TEA
Lemon balm, named for its lemon scent, is a member of the mint family and is considered a “calming” herb. It has many medicinal qualities including being used to fight colds, settle sore stomachs, ease headaches, lower blood pressure and ease menstrual and respiratory problems.
Here’s how to make this tea: For 1 cup of tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 rounded tablespoon of the tea. Cover and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey, if desired.
ROSE HIP TEA
The bright red colour of rose hips tells us of their anti-inflammatory properties. They contain flavonoids which have an anti-inflammatory effect due to their ability to alter allergic responses by reducing histamine production. They are tangy in flavour and enhance the taste of the tea.
Here’s how to make this tea: Place washed rose hips into a small pot and cover with the water. Bring the water to a boil and let boil 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and use the back of a spoon to smash open each rose hip. Let them steep in the water for 20 minutes. Turn the heat back on to warm the tea. Pour through a coffee filter into two mugs. Enjoy!
Rooibos is a naturally caffeine free herbal tea from South Africa. It has smooth, full bodied, and slightly sweet flavour that makes it a popular beverage. Rooibos contains two bioflavonoids called rutin and quercetin. These compounds block the release of histamine, a chemical the body produces in response to allergens. These compounds work both inside and outside of the body. A tea infusion can be consumed to prevent and relieve allergies.
Here’s how to make this tea: Bring one quart (about 4 servings) of pure water to a boil in your pot. Remove from heat; add 1/4 cup Rooibos tea, 1/4 cup spices (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon etc. whatever you like) and stir. Cover with a lid and steep for 5 minutes. Strain and stir in the sweetener of your choice to taste.