Elderflower – Sambucus nigra flos
The latin term ‘flos‘ means flower. It’s used to differentiate between using the flower (flos) and berry (fructus). Elderflower is particularly helpful in treating hayfever as it is a natural decongestant and relaxant, and it may also reduce allergy. Research suggests that elderflower contains a protein called 33.2 kDa elderberry. This protein is thought to be an allergen capable of stimulating a type I hypersensitivity reaction. There’s a catch though, as some people susceptible to allergy did find this protein triggered an allergic reaction
Elderflower tea: If you’re having problems sleeping because of your hayfever, a cup of warm elderflower tea before bed will not only help to clear your airways, but also act as a gentle sedative, encouraging peaceful, relaxing sleep.
Elderflower honey: A traditional remedy for hayfever is to take a teaspoon of local honey infused with elderflower each day. Soaking the elderflower in the honey creates a cold syrup, as opposed to the hot syrups we make when we dissolve sugar in water.
Plantain/Ribwort – Plantago lanceolata
Plantain is traditionally used to treat an irritating cough or bronchial catarrh. Unfortunately, some people who suffer with seasonal respiratory allergies can be sensitive to plantain pollen, so it may not be suitable for everyone.
Plantain is helpful for hayfever sufferers as it helps to decrease mucous secretions and its mucilaginous properties protect the mucous membranes from irritation. It can be used as a tea to help ease hayfever symptoms.
Baikal Skullcap – Scutellaria baicalensis
Baikal Skullcap is one of the more fashionable anti-allergy herbs – but with good reason. It has powerful anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties and is useful in treating hayfever because it inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells. The root can be used to make a decoction.
Butterbur – Petasites hybridus
Butterbur tablets hit the news a few years ago when a Swiss study concluded that they offered an effective treatment for hayfever. Butterbur was found to be as effective as cetirizine, a commonly prescribed antihistamine, in treating hayfever.
Butterbur’s advantage over prescription anti-histamines is that it treats the symptoms of hayfever without causing the fatigue and drowsiness that people experience when taking over-the-counter hayfever medication. Butterbur should only be taken after consultation with a qualified herbal practitioner.
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