Allergy Symptoms and Nettles

Sarah picking wild nettles with friend and midwife Rachel in 2013

Sarah picking wild nettles with friend and midwife Rachel in 2013

This week, we’ve been hearing a lot about allergies in the clinic. It makes sense- spring has sprung and all the buds and blooms are on their way. For people with seasonal allergies, this time of year can be really challenging, especially if they normally rely on over-the-counter allergy medications and want to avoid them in pregnancy. One of our favorite herbs for allergies is nettles (Urtica diocia). Nettles are wild-growing and wild-crafted, making them nutrient-dense. Their active component quercetin is an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine, which is why it is an effective seasonal allergy treatment.

Some herbs act right away like an OTC medication, but many herbs need time to become effective due to their gentle nature. Think of it more as a food- if you want to raise your calcium stores, you eat calcium-rich food over a period of weeks or months before you start to see a change. You don’t eat one calcium-rich meal and expect that it will have changed the calcium in your body. Herbs, including nettles, work the same way. If you begin treatment now, you can expect that the effects will show up in the next few weeks, right when allergies REALLY start to take off!

How to take nettles as a tea:

  • Drink one to two cups daily

  • Steep two handfuls of the dried herb in 1 qt cold water. Let steep overnight.

  • Strain tea in the morning and drink throughout the day.

  • Store leftove tea in the refrigerator after it’s been steeped.

Nettles are now available in tea bags, and quercetin is available as a supplement in a capsule. You can try whatever form will work for your life and your schedule.

Happy spring!

Sarah & Charli