Updated: Jan 30
Ragweed is now in bloom, generously sharing its wind-blown pollen with anyone enjoying time outside. Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) can produce a million grains of pollen per plant daily, while Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) can create more than 1.25 million grains daily. I've had several desperate inquiries about herbal help for itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose and general misery with seasonal allergies. There are a couple herbal things you could try.
First of all, try a cup of goldenrod tea. Goldenrod is also coming into full bloom right now and is often blamed for allergies at this time of year. However, goldenrod is not a source of seasonal allergies as its pollen is too heavy to be airborne (thus, it must be pollinated by insects, making it a great pollinator also). Did you know that tea made from its flowering tops can be quite effective for helping with seasonal allergies? And it's even tasty - very similar taste to green tea. According to healthline, its antioxidant levels are higher than green tea or vitamin C! And it is growing wild all around us, available to everyone at no cost! Gotta love our plants!!
To make goldenrod tea, simply gather some fresh, recently opened flowering tops. Shake the bugs off :) Add about ¼ cup of torn tops to 2 cups of just boiled water, cover and let steep for 10+ minutes. Strain and drink, sweetening with honey if desired. For a more extensive overview of goldenrod, just search online or check out this post by Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine.
Another herbal ally for allergy season can be anise hyssop, as it is a tasty, drying plant during these humid, hot, pollen filled days. I often add several fresh leaves and/or flowers of anise hyssop while steeping my goldenrod tea as a natural and tasty sweetener. You could simply chew on some leaves or flower buds for some relief, too.
There are several tinctures that may provide some relief, too. Some that I have found effective for seasonal allergy sufferers include stinging nettle, cleavers, elderflower, and even low doses of ragweed tincture. I make my ragweed tincture from flowering/pollinating tops of ragweed.
You have likely heard that local honey or bee pollen can be very effective. Makes lots of sense. So why not make an herbal infused honey using local, raw honey with goldenrod flowering tops, anise hyssop, and a bit of bee pollen. I haven't tried this yet, but I think I will this week!
Vitamin C is one of the most effective allergy relievers I've come across. I wrote a post about this previously, so check that out here.
I hope something here provides some relief for those suffering with seasonal allergies. If you have other suggestions, I would appreciate hearing from you and will pass them along.