Many years ago (about 1997), I had a severe onset of respiratory allergies in the springtime here in Texas. I could not stop sneezing (very loudly, I might add) and my eyes were constantly watering. When I went to my doctor at the time he announced,
You could be the poster child for allergies.
He prescribed Claritin. It is now an over-the-counter drug but at that time it required a prescription. When I took the drug, I had no allergy symptoms but as soon as I went off the drug, all of my symptoms returned. I believe later there were more types of Claritin drugs produced that would not have the side effect that it had on me, but at the time that I took it, it kept me awake — all night! I could not sleep. I was taking a class at a local community college with other people who were, like me, working full-time. When it came time for students to share the work they were doing for the computer graphics class, I had so much work completed that one student asked, “Do you sleep at night or are you always working?”
They were right. I wasn’t sleeping at night. I was always working on my computer graphic projects.
I felt awful without the sleep. Sleep is a time when our bodies are able to regenerate and strengthen our immune systems. I remember one time when I ran out of Claritin, I went to Walgreens to pick up my re-fill and something in one of the aisles as I was walking up to the prescription window triggered an allergic response. I could hardly talk to the pharmacist because I was sneezing, sniffling and tearing so badly. I needed my Claritin!
Fortunately, my husband saw a program on the T.V. show “20/20.” They talked about an herb called “Nettles” (it’s complete name is “Stinging Nettles”). They discussed how this natural herb can help people with allergies. We went to a natural grocery store (the owner retired so they are no longer in business) and found one of my favorite brands of Nettles that I still recommend today, Eclectic Institute, Freeze-dried Nettles.
I always like to start with a precautionary note when needed. There is a “moderate interaction” with Nettles and these drugs – Lithium, medications for diabetes, medications for high blood pressure, sedative medications and Warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinning medication. Check out this link at WebMD for more further information.
It is VERY important that the Nettles be in a “freeze-dried” form to maximize its effects. The man who sold it to me discussed the dosage. He said to take four capsules for five days and then two capsules per day thereafter. It cleared up my respiratory allergies as well as Claritin! It took a little longer but not much longer. All of the symptoms went away.
Sometimes it’s a little difficult to tell if I have a cold or allergies but since I rarely get colds, it most often is allergies. I’ve found that I don’t have to take this all of the time. As a matter of fact, it seems to have helped with keeping allergies at bay even when I don’t take it so much anymore.
Another benefit is that it can help with food allergies which I’ve had to deal with, too. You can drink it as a tea but I most often take it by capsule.
The brand that I initially bought and that I still buy today is Eclectic Institute brand Freeze-dried Nettles. Wholefoods carries it now and it’s also available on Amazon.com.
Wholefoods also has started carrying their own brand label for Nettles that works well, too. Just make sure it always says, “freeze-dried.”
Make certain you are also taking your probiotics. We have an article on this blog about my favorite probiotic. This will also strengthen your immune system against allergies.