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It’s that time of year again. The sun is shining, the days are getting long, but many of us are once again struggling against the annual annoyance of Hay Fever.

If you’re anything like me, you might be getting sick of the only partially effective anti-histamine prescription drugs from the pharmacy. Ones that you have to change every year or two when they no longer work. Not to mention the unfortunate inevitable side effects when we try to fix symptoms without addressing the root causes.

I like to liken a lot of allopathic medicine (targeting the symptoms) as being like trying to paint over a leak in the ceiling. It can be very effective at removing a symptom, but without the root cause being addressed, it will simply express itself in a different way, leading to side effects, or necessitate the use of the symptom-busting pill for the rest of your life. While that is quite convenient the companies selling you these drugs, it’s far from the ideal solution for us.

A few years ago, my eyes were opened to the power of natural medicines. When used properly, plants and other forms of “alternative” medicine can often effectively resolve the root cause, curing the issue permanently, without those nasty side effects. After all, most pharmaceutical medicines are actually derived from the plants that already heal the diseases in question. Of course, they couldn’t simply use the plants, with their holistic medicine providing support for the entire system with minimal side effects… because you can’t patent a plant. And without a patent you can’t profit.

Let me get back on topic…

So there’s a beautiful plant that grows wild everywhere (meaning that we can get this medicine easily and for free from nature) that is very effective against Hay Fever.

These days, I get through the entire Hay Fever season with just a handful of sneezes. This is also after I moved from the city to be surrounded by trees and nature.

My secret weapon? The humble stinging nettle, urtica dioica.

While it is vilified due to its sting and considered a weed (incidentally, many weeds are highly valuable medicinal and nutritious plants), nettles are extremely useful.

Not only highly nutritious, nettles fibre makes excellent and very durable clothing! It was in fact used with great success by Germany in the second world war after they were cut off from their supply of cotton.1

A simple infused tea of the fresh or dried leaves can be taken multiple times a day until symptoms ease. This tea also has the convenient side effect of cleansing and detoxing your body from impurities and toxins built up in winter, when we often eat less fresh food and live more unhealthy lifestyles.

Nettles have the following therapeutic properties: astringent, fibrin solvent, anti-febrile, stimulant, anti-catarrhal, antiseptic, anti-asthmatic, tonic, diuretic. The organic iron phosphate in nettles is a powerful anti-inflammatory.2

According to astrology, which can be thought of as a symbolic language of energy in nature, nettles are ruled by the planet Mars. This is primarily indicated by the shape of their (sharp) leaves, their sting and also their hot and dry nature. According to the ancient Greek (Galenic) system of elemental medicine, this hot and dry plant which emerges at the end of winter (winter being of a cold and wet nature), has the power to expel and remove any excessive cold and wet humors in the body, in other words phlegm. An excess of phlegm is of course what we typically experience in Hay Fever with runny noses and sneezing.3

For best effects, and maximum reduction of allergies, the blood should be thoroughly cleaned of impurities. While this is also achieved by the use of Nettles, it is best to start this process a few months before the Hay Fever season begins to give the process time to work. A simple, pre-prepared product for this is Dr. Christopher’s Blood Stream Forumla.

Nettles are best picked in the spring or early summer (now), while they are fresh and before they become too tough. You can protect yourself from the stings by using rubber gloves. Within a few minutes of picking, the sting will no longer be effective.

After picking, you could make fresh nettle tea by infusing the herbs, or drying them for later use. Simply hang them in a dry place out of the sunlight or spread the leaves thinly on cloth or some paper until they dry. Store in glass containers when completely dry. They can be stored for a year, until next spring.

Alternatively, you can purchase prepared dried nettle leaves from herbal suppliers. In the UK, I recommend Starchild or Baldwin’s.

In an emergency where immediate results are necessary, cell salts taken under the tongue can quickly resolve symptoms. Note that this remedy will not work as well as the nettles in the long-term as the organic nutrients made available by plants are better absorbed and made use of by the body.

1 – The Book of Herbal Wisdom, Matthew Wood

2 – Advanced Course in Herbology, Dr Edward Shook

3 – Complete Herbal, Nicholas Culpeper

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