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People always seem a little shocked when I am under the weather… so much so that I used to feel mildly embarrassed about taking a sick day!

I haven’t figured out how to never get sick but I have learned to cut the duration of my illnesses with herbs, rest, and TLC.

Sometimes I love the reprieve that being sick offers. Lying on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book isn’t so bad. Of course when your couch time comes with an intense sinus headache, it’s no longer so much fun.

We’re transitioning straight from an intense flu season into allergy season. NOW is the time to prepare your body to under-react to spring allergies!

Why?

Allergies are related to a hyper-alert immune system. It’s hard to calm your immune system down once it’s amped up. Yesterday a cat followed me home and Bandit stood by the door growling for fifteen minutes after I shooed the cat off the front porch.

Your immune system is the same way. After it scents the cat, it keeps growling.

What to do to calm the growling beast?

Start working now to keep your immune system calm. It’s like doing meditation or anger-management techniques: you do it both daily as a preventative and during a crisis to take the edge off.

My favorite herbs for this time of year:

Turmeric: the best way to get this powerful anti-inflammatory is through your food! Find a sugar bowl (which you’re not using because you know how very inflammatory sugar is, right?) and fill it with turmeric. Sprinkle it on your food at every meal.

Baikel Skullcap: this is a relative of the skullcap I love to use to calm down my mind and muscles. Think of Baikel Skullcap as calming for the immune system. Here in the U.S. this is hard to find as a dried herb for tea, so you will want to use this in tincture form (or grow it in your garden this spring!).

Sarsaparilla: this very yummy, anti-inflammatory root makes a delicious tea!

Reishi Mushroom: not so yummy, unfortunately. I ruined a soup once by adding reishi; it’s quite bitter. But it helps to balance immune function and it contains a natural anti-histamine, making it a good choice for allergies.

Licorice: go gently with licorice, it packs a punch! Too much will raise your blood pressure. The rule of thumb is to use licorice as no more than 8% of your tea or tincture blend. Why use it at all? This tasty herb supports the adrenals, soothes the immune system, and adds a little sugarless sweet to your tea.

Biggest herbal allergy mistake:

People often come into the shop wanting nettle to help them through allergy season. They have read that this common herb can help with hay fever and they are excited to try it out.

We absolutely encourage everyone to work with nettle! This under-utilized plant is full of vitamins and minerals and, when it is fresh, contains a natural anti-histamine. However, once you dry nettle, it looses its anti-histamine properties (those chemical constituents evaporate during drying).

Soon you will be seeing nettle popping up along the edges of fields and woods. Gather the fresh leaves for tea or vinegar. Need an herbal vinegar recipe? Find it here.

Looking for an easy way to handle your allergies? Try Herbalist & Alchemist Immune Balance Compound.

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