Are you allergic to pollen or certain foods? Millions of people suffer from allergies. Allergic reactions from pollen, dust, smoke, pollution, pet fur, house mites, and other irritants can cause all kinds of symptoms ranging from a runny nose and itchy eyes to anaphylactic shock. The main symptoms of allergic reactions include sneezing, wheezing, hives, swelling, mucus buildup, burning eyes, red eyes, itching, and difficulty breathing. If experiencing breathing problems, seek emergency help immediately!
Mowing the grass can be impossible for people that are allergic to pollen. Autumn ragweed can be especially aggravating.
Allergies are hyper-sensitivity reactions caused by a response initiated by the immune system. Hay fever caused by pollen in the air is a common type of allergy and often occurs in people with excess mucous. If suffering from pollen related allergies, you might want to stay indoors on days with high pollen counts and cut back on dairy foods which cause more mucous. Pine pollen in early spring, might help with other allergies in the summer and fall. See the video about pine pollen by Yarrow Willard.
Also, websites like pollen.com give detailed information about pollen levels in the United States. When levels are high, do not exercise outdoors!
Many hay fever sufferers find relief with ginkgo biloba or ginger. Other herbs for the treatment of allergies include evening primrose, echinacea, nettle, aloe, cat's claw, echinacea, yellowroot, and eyebright. People with allergies should also take immune building herbs like astragalus on a regular basis especially in spring and summer. Everyone is different so it can take time to find what works best. Try one thing at a time for a week or so and take notes so you can compare later.
Relieve itching and watery eyes with a splash of eyebright tea. Ease asthma congestion by inhaling rosemary or eucalyptus essential oil aromas. Build resistance and support the immune system with garlic. Take locally-produced honey in the winter months to reduce intensity and duration of springtime allergies. Detoxify the blood with green tea. Support liver function with milk thistle seed and dandelion root . Fight inflammation with bilberry. Support the adrenal glands with astragalus, licorice, and liquid chlorophyll (green drinks).
To remove accumulated mucus from the body, take 1 teaspoon of grated fresh horseradish mixed with a tablespoon of freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Inhale fumes while grating and hold the mixture in your mouth as long as possible before swallowing! This remedy works great on stuffed-up noses caused by allergies -- or colds. Better get a box of tissue or stand over the sink because mucus is going to run out when you take horseradish. I use this method before bed to get a restful nights sleep.
A diet change is the best remedy for many allergies. Dairy foods should be avoided and water intake should be increased. Royal jelly, ginseng, and bee pollen should be taken daily for one or two weeks. Fresh organic vegetables, fruits, and juices are essential. Lots of live enzymes in the diet help lessen the severity of allergies -- and eye problems.
Some foods may cause allergic reactions in sensitive people. Eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, wheat, chocolate, strawberries, fish, and shellfish are the most common food allergens. Symptoms usually involve the skin or intestines and can begin within a few seconds after ingesting the offending food. Sneezing, wheezing, lung problems, swelling of the tongue and lips, skin rashes, hives, eczema, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are all signs of food intolerance.
Lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the chances of an allergic reaction by removing the underlying cause. Move to an area with green-space and cleaner air. Avoid canned foods and all produce that is sprayed with colorants, waxes, or ripening agents. Avoid genetically modified foods to be on the safe side.
Some allergies are brought on by air-borne irritants such as pollen and smoke. In these cases, acupressure can sometimes stop an attack. Try pressing hard on the tip of the nose or the hollow above the center of the upper lip. Another technique is pressing in an upward motion under and over the cheekbones.
Eczema and hives are often reactions to ordinary household products. Synthetic fabrics, some natural fabrics like wool, detergent, deodorant, chemical fragrances, or strong soap can be the offending culprit. Some people are even allergic to florescent lighting, aluminum cookware, microwave ovens, and non-filtered computer screens. When there is a sudden onset of allergic symptoms, any new product is suspect. If you experience lots of skin problems and rashes, keep a journal. Try changing laundry detergents, bath soaps, and anything that comes in contact with your body -- and keep notes of results. When trying new products, only try one thing at a time to make sure it is safe for your skin type and immune system.
Skin allergies can also be caused by health problems like fatty liver disease and urinary problems. If your allergy problems become severe, seek the help of a professional healthcare provider.
Herbal compresses are especially soothing to the eyes. An easy way to make an eye compress is with herbal tea bags. Gently place wet tea bags (such as green tea, chickweed, or eyebright) over closed eyes (use cold tea bags for tired, itchy eyes). Leave for 10 to 20 minutes. Eyes will feel strong and refreshed.
This woman uses tea bags to soothe tired eyes after a long day working at the computer.
The eyes can suffer from many problems including everything from allergies to serious disease. From redness to loss of vision, the range of conditions and diseases that affect the eye are varied and wide. For any trauma or problem that could cause sight loss, seek professional help.
There are herbs that are especially suited for treating eye problems. Eyebright, chickweed, elderflower, cat's claw, and chamomile are known to help heal many eye problems including conjunctivitis. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include red, itchy eyes with a yellow discharge and may be soothed with applications of a warm herbal compress. Other symptoms of conjunctivitis include a gritty feeling in the eyes, sensitivity to light, soreness, swelling, red eyes, and scaly eyelids.
Herbal eye-washes were used for centuries to treat conjunctivitis and other eye problems. If using a homemade eye-wash please use caution and a lot of common sense. A tiny piece of foreign matter from herbal plant material, a microscopic grain of sand, or water contaminates like algae can cause more harm than good. If you use a homemade eye-wash, straining through doubled coffee filters can help remove damaging particles.
The following video, Something Worth Seeing, shows us how to make an herbal eye wash out of eyebright:
If you can see the offending eyelash, gnat, or dust particle, gently dab it out with a damp tissue or clean fingertip. If a glass, metal, stone, or wood particle is embedded in the eye, seek emergency help immediately.
Cucumber slices and cold, wet tea bags are good for puffy and tired eyes. So are cool compresses made with rose water, calendula, cornflower, or strawberry leaves.
Mild eye infections and irritations can be soothed with agrimony tea compresses. Leave on eyes for fifteen minutes three or four times a day. Echinacea and yellowroot tea should be taken internally three times a day for a week to build immunity. Other herbs to try for eye health include bilberry, parsley root, aloe vera, ginkgo biloba, burdock root, hawthorn, yellow dock root, dandelion root, and barley grass. Use in compress as often as needed.
Calendula compresses are extremely useful in the treatment of sties. Apply often until the sore is healed.
Weak eyes and blurred vision can be a sign of liver malfunction. A good diet with lots of vitamin A can really help. A healthy drink recipe for the liver and eyes includes a cup of carrot juice, a cup of eyebright tea, a tablespoon of wheat germ, a teaspoon of powdered rosehips, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of sesame seeds, a teaspoon of brewer's yeast, and a teaspoon of ground kelp.
Stress causes many eye problems. Seeing sparks of light or color with your eyes closed is a sign that the body needs to relax. Try sipping rosemary tea and inhaling lavender essential oil while resting in a peaceful atmosphere.
There are many ways to improve vision. Blink regularly. Change your focus every five minutes when driving or using the computer. Massage the temples and skin between the brows frequently when doing any close-up work. Squeeze eyes shut and then open them wide, ten or fifteen times to increase blood flow to the eyes.
To improve eye health avoid all smoky environments. If it is smoky outside, stay indoors if possible. Also avoid air pollution, strong diuretics, aspirin, antihistamines, nicotine, hard liquor, cocaine, and methamphetamine when suffering from any eye problem. To slow the progression of macular degeneration wear amber or blue wrap-around sunglasses especially while driving -- and add extra antioxidants (like colorful berries and fruits) to the diet. Wear special glasses -- which have a yellow tint --to protect from blue light coming from computer and phone screens.
* Never use essential oils around the eyes. Asthma, eczema, hay fever, food allergies, and hives can be life-threatening conditions. Always consult with your health care professional before using any herbal remedy.
* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
** Most of the articles in this online herbal encyclopedia were first published by the North Georgia News in a weekly column titled Every Green Herb (by Janice Boling).
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