Allergic Rhinitis (Sinusitis, Hay Fever, Chronic Sinus Congestion)

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Finding a good herbalist

Most of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here


Many patients have talked to me about their symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, or chronic sinusitis, over the years. Many of my patients had resigned themselves to a life time of putting steroidal sprays up their noses or taking antihistamines by mouth and, whilst these are by no means the worst drugs in the world, most felt unhappy about putting something so unnatural into their bodies on such a regular basis; hence the question 'did I have anything to help?'

As it happens I have found that a certain tea and some cleansing techniques that I have routinely recommended for allergic rhinitis, sinusitis etc. that have had a very good success rate with a great many people and I describe what I typically do that consistently seems to help in some detail below. The core of the treatment revolves around a simple & inexpensive formula called Allergy tea:


Allergy Tea

15gms Nettles                               
15gms Elder flower      
10gms Sage leaf            
10gms Eyebright           
2.5gms Peppermint  

Click on any of the above names to learn more about the herbs. These amounts will give you a small jar that will be enough for dozens of doses. You can make a larger amount by simply increasing all the herbs by the same proportions (e.g. two or three times the amount for each one)

Nettles forms a key ingredient of the Allergy tea and it strikes me as highly quirky that this most allergic of herbs when touched* in its fresh form can do so much to help allergic rhinitis etc. when it has been dried.
*Urticaria is the medical name given to the allergic welts on the skin called 'hives'. It is taken from the Latin name for Nettles (Urtica dioica) from the 'nettle-rash' that was observed after contact.

Urtica dioica (Nettle leaf)


Dosage Notes for the Allergy tea

Dosage is absolutely vital to get right in herbal medicine. To make it strong enough to make a real difference you need to place 3 full teaspoons into one large cup (or coffee plunger, or tea-pot) of freshly boiled water. You then cover the vessel and let it sit for 10 minutes before straining it off.

It is definitely ok to add honey. It doesn't matter whether you sip the tea whilst it is hot or you let it cool before you drink it - it will work fine either way. Nor does it matter whether you have it before or after food.

Many of my patients say that just one cup a day stops them getting anywhere near the amount of head symptoms that they used to (e.g. it is common to hear people say that they have been able to pretty much stop taking antihistamines after using this tea whereas before they were taking them every day for months each and every year!)

In many cases, and especially at first, to help shift the allergic pattern from where it was stuck, it will be beneficial to take two or even three cups a day in the beginning of the treatment. You then drop the frequency of taking the tea when you are clearly responding positively to it.


Cleaning out of the Passages

The allergy tea works to help a person be less reactive and sensitive to environmental allergens such as pollens, dust-mites, atmospheric pollutants etc. but to get the best possible results you may also have to simply reduce the amount of actual physical exposure in the upper respiratory passageways to those substances and, short of moving somewhere else, there are two methods that can be effectively used to help 'clean out the passages'

Steam Cleaning

The first method and the one that I almost always start with is using medicated steam inhalations. There is a simple method to do this that I have found particularly user-friendly. Ideally you will obtain some Olbas oil as pictured below, it takes no more than a minute to do and seems to be widely beneficial, more information here.

Olbas: a Swiss herbal formula that is widely available around the world

Nasal Douching

I usually recommend to try the above 'steam-cleaning' first but if they feel that it is not going far enough then I may give my own patients a neti-pot to go to the next level (you will easily be able to purchase one of these online). Nasal douching is a weird, ancient and rather effective treatment whereby you gently pouring some warm water, to which a tiny amount of salt and/or baking soda has been added, up into one nostril whereupon it goes into your sinus cavities, gives them a clean, and then washes through and out the other side to come out your other nostril! I know that the whole idea and concept of this sounds quite appalling to a person right up until the time that they actually do it whereupon they realise a) it doesn't hurt and b) it's really easy to do.


Eye bathing

When the allergic rhinitis or sinusitis symptoms are giving the person especially sore eyes then the regular practice of eye bathing with a certain combination of herbs called 'Eyebright formula' has been seen to give great relief. This is a process gets herbs into contact with the eyes in a safe and simple way and, as well as being beneficial to eye health in general, it helps on a practical level to regularly wash away the accumulating pollens, dust or other debris! A short article explaining what the eyebright formula is and how best to use it is here

Euphrasia officinalis (Eyebright)


Constitutional Health Note

It may be of much benefit to learn your constitution to help know what kinds of herbs, foods, exercises etc. will be especially good for you in general. Constitutional health is an old and fascinating way of understanding our differences and to demonstrate how it works if you are a hot and dry constitution (an Eagle) then it must be said that you are the person who can suffer from the worst allergic rhinitis of anyone! The second most affected are the damp constitutions (both Tigers & Bears) who are also prone to it but tend to more easily get their pollens, debris, dust etc. out with plenty of weeping and sneezing a lot whereas Eagles, being more dry, can get very uncomfortably irritated mucus membranes indeed. Drink lots of allergy tea and look after those eyes and nose! There is a brief introduction to this subject here and a more detailed section on working out which constitution you are here.

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd