Now that summer is officially here, I’ve been spending a lot of time outside. In fact, I recently dragged Fernando to hike Black Diamond Mines in Antioch, CA. We had an awesome time, but let me tell you, the grass and tree pollen count was extremely high. We were barely in the park when both of our eyes started to water and we both started sneezing. Faster than you could say “gesundheit!” we were both in the middle of a dreaded hay fever attack.
Any Bay Area native knows that once the first sneeze comes, it’s time to stock up on benadryl and claritin because you’re going to need it. And while these over the counter drugs do work, they come at a price. Drowsiness, dried out nasal passages, etc., the adverse side effects are there. So instead of loading up on drugs, I went and checked my herb notes for things to take (or do) to help combat our hay fever symptoms.
What did I decide to use?
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Nettles grow wild here in California and is native to Europe and Asia as well. Another herb teacher I studied under told us how in her native France, when someone was sick, they would collect nettles and make a soup from it. The soup would nourish the sick individual and also help them move their cold out of their body. In my Medicine Woman class, we talked about nettles being served in the spring time as detoxification from all the heavy winter foods we normally eat. We also spoke about it being a good alternative to combating seasonal allergies.
So what did I do?
Drank nettles tincture of course!
Add 40 drops to a glass…
Add a little water and drink up!
I did try to grow nettles myself from seed, but managed to kill it. Don’t ask me how, I just did. Which is why we are talking about tinctures. Hmph.
Anyway, nettles did help both Fernando and I to cut the hay fever attack short. Normally I’d suffer at least a week, but with nettles I was back to 100% within a day. I continued to take the tincture twice a day for the whole week, and have been allergy free since. You should be able to get nettles tincture at any health food store or as always Whole Foods. I bought mine from Good Earth Grocery Store in Fairfax, CA. You could also probably order them from online. Herb Pharm is my favorite brand producing tinctures, but you can try different companies to see which one you like.
There are some things that I do need to pass on…
1. Nettles is actually called “stinging nettles.” They have tiny microfiber stingers on them and they hurt like a @#!@$. If you find them live or grow them, watch out for this. Wear gloves when handling or hold them against the fibers. I can still remember the pricks I got before I managed to kill the plant. *ahem*
2. Nettles can be used long term, but double check to make sure it will not interfere with any medications you may be taking currently.
3. Nettles is also a diuretic. I don’t know why I didn’t write this down in my notes during class. Fernando and I both found out the hard way when all of a sudden we were both running to the bathroom.
I think I just shared too much.
But I am allergy and hay fever free.
And since it’s getting insanely hot, here’s a little picture I just came across from my Alaska trip in 2009. I saw this little guy floating through the glaciers and fell in love with him. Just looking at this picture cools me down.
Random, yes, I know. But I feel myself cooling down. And I just like this picture because this little birdy is so dang cute.
Love and mighty mighty nettles,