So if you receive my newsletter (shameless plug -you really should sign up -it’s awesome!), you know that I am blissfully happy about the return of Spring. I love feeling of warm sun on my skin, hearing the birds chirping, and seeing the beautiful flowers and new plants popping up everywhere. But the pollen that has invaded North Carolina? Not so nice. There is a fine green powder which has coated every outdoor surface for the past few days, and even though I don’t suffer from seasonal allergies, my throat is scratchy, and my breathing feels bothered when I am outside. I can only imagine how the true allergy sufferers are feeling.
Even though Spring gives us amazing weather and delicious vegetables, we also need to help our bodies protect itself from the not-so-nice parts of Springtime. Some strategies for allergy relief after the jump…
To ease your Springtime allergies: improve breathing by opening open up the bronchial tubes and your airways, sooth inflammation, and decrease the “damp” qualities that come along with Springtime.
- To drink: Nettle Tea! Nettles are a natural antihistamine, and it is easy to keep your immune system in check by making a wonderful tea (two teaspoons steeped in 8oz water 5 min to 8 hours; or blend with other herbs).*
- Move around! Even if running or biking outside is not an option because of your allergies, getting your heart rate up with some cardiovascular exercise inside the house is great for allergy relief because it helps to move around some congestion in your throat and chest. Jumping jacks, some interval training, or running on a treadmill are all great options.**
I love a vinyasa or other flow yoga class – all of the bends and twists really help to wring out winter blues and feel reenergized. Even if you can’t make it to a full yoga class, try this seated twist and Bridge Pose to open up your chest.
- Hold the milk: If your allergies have you super stuffed up and lethargic, going dairy-free for a few days might not be a bad thing. In the Indian system of medicine, early spring is ruled by the Kapha Dosha, which is characterized by dampness and stickiness (April showers, anyone?). Dairy is a potent aggravator of Kapha Dosha, and so limiting dairy could be helpful if you are feeling tired and congested. Traditional Chinese Medicine makes similar recommendations.
What else do you do to keep your allergies at bay? I have heard that eating local honey or drinking peppermint tea, can help during allergy season, but haven’t tried them myself. Here’s to a happy, healthy spring!
A few notes: you should NOT drink nettle tea if you are pregnant or taking warfarin or other anticoagulants. As always, be kind to your body and don’t overexert yourself, particularly if you’re having asthma or other lung issues! Lastly, a disclaimer- studies have shown that dairy products don’t actually cause higher mucus production. Indian and Traditional Chinese Medicine recommend less dairy because of the qualities of dairy foods and their actual digestion and processing by your body, not just mucus production.