Tag Archives: Allergies

Honey to the Rescue!

I normally have mild spring and fall allergies, fall being just a little worse. A little sniffing, a little sneezing, a little itchy eyes for a week or so, and I’m back to normal. I don’t even consider them bad enough to take anything. Usually.

Not this year. Whatever was blooming, on top of the dust from dying leaves and drought-dry everything else, made me miserable for a month. The allergies then (I think) turned into a full-blown sinus infection. On top of that, my immune system was (and is) trying to battle the germs from husband’s fall cold (which the stubborn man refuses to treat, even just to ease or shorten the symptoms).

Nothing I tried worked. The inflammation and congestion in my sinuses stayed firmly put no matter what herbal allies went to battle for me. Desperate, I did some internet searching.

And came across mention of not just regular honey*, but Manuka honey. From New Zealand. Virtually everything I read was anecdotal evidence. A lot of it was taking the properties of regular honey and extrapolating possible results due to the higher nutritional content of Manuka honey. (There are few clinical trials on regular honey, much less this type.) But, as I said, I was desperate. So, I ordered some of this holy-shit-that’s-expensive honey (UMF 16 for medicinal purposes) and ate my first tablespoon of it the night it arrived. (It’s not quite as sweet as regular honey and is much thicker, in case you’re wondering.)

Public Domain image

Another tablespoon the next morning and evening, repeat. Within 48 hours, blowing my nose became a productive thing rather than a waste of tissue. Five days later (two tablespoons per day), my face no longer feels like a brick is laying on it (ignore the properties of gravity – you know what I mean). So, I’m going to say my investment was worth it, and continue to take this twice a day until the symptoms completely subside. Once I feel healthy again, I’ll reduce it to once per day as a prophylactic measure during cold and flu season.

YMMV but if all else fails, do some searching, read up on this stuff, and make an investment. You might thank me. (Or not.)


*I don’t mean that crap in the grocery store that comes in cute little plastic bears. That’s been so processed it’s only good for flavoring. I mean the stuff you get from the farmer’s market or even a local beekeeper that’s not processed.

Ack! Pollen Season…

…started two weeks early this year & caught me unaware. Itchy eyes, itchy skin, a little sneezing (which is bound to get worse if I don’t do something). Of course, it didn’t help that today, the US Forest Service did a controlled burn and smoke permeated the better part of two counties…

It’s time to take more frequent showers to get the pollen off my skin & out of my hair; grab the sterile saline solution* to rinse my eyes; and start drinking three cups per day of a Nettle infusion to combat respiratory reactions to all the pollen.

* Get the stuff made for rinsing contact lenses. It’s less expensive than anything else and works like a charm.


When I moved from Minneapolis to Atlanta, my allergist told me I was going from the frying pan into the fire.  Atlanta lies at the very bottom of the Appalachians and all the pollen from the mountains blows down and just sits over the city as if in a bowl. I had never even heard of  “pollen counts” until moving but when I was living in the city, did I pay attention!  The “pollen count” measures the number of pollen particles per cubic foot of air, most of which are invisible to the naked eye (and it’s the ones you can’t see that get you). A count of 120 is considered extremely high for people with allergies.  Yesterday’s count in Atlanta was 5,733.  One of the local television stations caught it on camera.  While this may look like clouds or air pollution, it’s actually pollen.

Thankfully, my allergies are mild compared to many of my friends’. I get some itchy eyes and go through a few more tissues than normal but it’s not bad. Since moving out of the city, they’ve become even less of a nuisance because I’m not contending with pollution in addition to pollen each day. But here in the mountains, our seasons are about two weeks behind Atlanta and because I make a weekly trip into the city, my exposure is a bit prolonged.

There are some things I do to keep myself as comfortable as possible for about six weeks until the trees and grasses are done with their annual contribution to their procreation both in Atlanta and up here. First, I double my Garlic intake starting about the first of March to boost my immune system.  I continue this until the middle of May when I’m positive the local allergy season has come to an end. I know several people that go on a regime of Echinacea during the same period for the same reason. (Echinacea should never be taken for long periods of time. The longer you take it, the more it actually decreases in effectiveness.)

As soon as it gets nice outside, I refuse to stay indoors more than I have to. During the height of pollen season, I take a shower as soon as I come in from outdoors – this includes washing my hair.  Getting all the pollen off lessens the period of direct exposure.  Washing hands frequently and avoiding touching the nose & eye area also helps a great deal. To treat my symptoms, I wash my eyes several times a day with sterile saline solution (the same stuff contact lens wearers use).  Rarely does my nose get so stuffed I want an antihistamine but when it does, I add more fresh horseradish or ginger to my diet.  Both do a good job of clearing out mucous in a hurry. Dr. James Duke, author of The Green Pharmacy, recommends nettle Urtica dioica as well.

As I said, my symptoms are mild compared to many allergy sufferers. If you’ve got bad allergies, stay indoors as much as possible with the house shut up until allergy season has passed. If you must go outside, do it in the very early hours before the sun encourages the release of pollen.  Try a cup of nettle tea three times a day, and increase your intake of garlic, onions and Vitamin C. There are times, though, that herbs just won’t do the trick for someone.  In this case, a synthetic antihistamine is probably your best bet.

As I write, it’s raining, washing much of the pollen out of the air. I’ll get probably one day of respite tomorrow and then the pollen counts will rise dramatically again.  Achoo!  Sniff.