If you’re looking for a natural alternative to allergy medicine, then you’re in the right place! I’ve been able to use nettle tea as a replacement for traditional allergy medicine to control my severe indoor allergies. Here’s how I do it.
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As you may or may not know, I’m trying to adopt a more natural, healthy lifestyle.
It’s been an interesting journey so far!
My original goal for the plant-based diet was to get Josh to a place where he could completely come off of his ulcerative colitis medicine. He made that leap about three weeks ago, and it inspired me to evaluate my own pill-popping habits.
My Stubborn Indoor Allergies
I’m very fortunate to be in good health. I don’t take any prescription medicines, although I do take an occasional painkiller for headaches.
The only medicine I really took on a daily basis was the generic form of Zyrtec for my allergies. Since I was heavily dependent on it, I really wanted to find a healthier alternative.
Also, I was in a bit of a predicament.
I’ve been taking Zyrtec (both brand-name and generic forms) since I was sixteen years old. The medicine worked fine until about two years ago. At that point, it just didn’t seem to work as well as it used to.
According to my doctor, that can happen. Our bodies can build up a sort of immunity toward medicines. Still, generic Zyrtec worked better for me than any other allergy medicine out there, so I was content to deal with sniffles most days.
Other ways I tried to manage my allergies
We did everything we could to minimize my allergy triggers.
We got rid of the last bit of carpet in our house, and I tried to dust our furniture a couple times each week. I also bought Filtrete air filters that are specifically made for allergies. All of these efforts combined seemed to help calm my allergies to a tolerable level.
But then we added three cats to the mix.
I guess I’m one of those crazy cat ladies who would rather suffer with allergies than get rid of her fur babies. I already knew I was allergic to cats before we brought the first kitten home, but I just can’t resist a furry face in need.
Keeping our house clean by dusting and vacuuming up cat hair multiple times per week made my allergies bearable, but I never thought I’d be able to completely stop taking allergy medicine.
Herbs for Allergies?
Back in May, my mom took a webinar to learn more about the healing power of herbs. At the end of the webinar, the host opened up a forum where viewers could submit questions for her to answer. My mom asked if there was a specific herb that would help with indoor allergies since she and I both suffer from them.
When the host finally got to her question, she recommended brewing nettle leaves into a tea, letting it infuse for a good 8-10 hours, and then drinking it throughout the day. I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but I stopped by my local health food store and picked up some loose nettle leaves just to try it out.
The first time I made nettle tea, I noticed an immediate difference. No sniffles! No sneezing!
I was able to take generic Zyrtec at night and drink nettle tea in the morning to keep my allergies at bay for a full 24 hours. Apparently, that little boost was just what I needed. I kept up that routine for the last four months or so and only had a handful of severe allergy days.
I hate when those severe allergy days happen. I’ll dust a forgotten spot in the house and that stirred-up dust knocks me on my tush for a full day. No amount of nettle tea, antihistamine, nasal decongestant, Zyrtec, or Nasicort can even touch my symptoms. All I can do is keep a box of tissues within reach and suffer on.
Well, on Monday of this week, I finally decided that I didn’t want to be dependent on allergy medicine anymore. I decided that I would drink nettle tea in the morning and at night just to see if I could tolerate my allergies.
You know what happened? I’ve been perfectly fine! I’ve been without allergy medicine for three days, and my body seems okay with it.
It’s a little early to tell whether this will work for me long-term, but I’m determined to kick allergy medicine to the curb. I want to use natural alternatives that won’t harm my body in the long run.
Update: While I still have occasional severe allergy days (those seem to happen the day after I eat too much sugar. oops! still a work in progress here), I haven’t taken any Zyrtec in three months! I keep some Nasicort on hand for those emergency allergy days, but those are becoming rarer as I refine my eating habits.
Now, nettle tea works just fine for my dust and pet allergies. However, I’m not sure how it works on outdoor allergies since I don’t have those.
Another Update: My close friend swears by nettle for her outdoor allergies!
How to Make Nettle Tea for Allergies
First, I buy these nettle leaves. I like these leaves because they’re organic. I bought the one-pound bag almost five months ago, and I still have plenty to spare. In fact, I recently gave my mom about a quarter of the bag (it’s been working for her too!), and I still have enough to last me another month.
Next, I fill my kettle with water. I’m not sure if it makes a big difference for this recipe, but we use distilled water in our house.
I learned about the benefits of distilled water from Hallelujah Diet’s free 60 Days to Reclaim your Health guide, so that’s what we’ve been drinking ever since. You could always try nettle tea with tap or filtered water first. If you don’t see good results, you might try distilled water to see if it makes a difference.
While I’m waiting for my kettle to whistle, I put five tablespoons of nettle leaves in a quart Mason jar. I learned the hard way that boiling water will break certain glass jars (so long, pretty carafe 🙁 ), so be sure to use a glass Mason jar.
When my kettle whistles, I fill the Mason jar with boiling water almost to the top of the rim. Since I can’t stand normal Mason jar lids, I bought these plastic ones to make my life a little easier. I like to put a lid partway on the jar so there’s still room for steam to escape.
(Note: these lids are not leak-proof! However, I still use them when making this tea and for storing dry ingredients in Mason jars.)
For the steeping process, I just leave the jar on the kitchen counter all day. I try to let it steep for 10 hours so I get the nettle’s full potency.
Once the tea is done steeping, I pour it into a 2-quart pitcher through a fine mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter.
Sweetener and other tea tips
Here in the South, we like our tea cold and sweet. This nettle tea is no exception. 🙂 When I’m ready to drink some tea, I put two drops of this liquid stevia (my favorite!!) in a cup and fill it with tea.
I like to drink around six to eight ounces at a time, but you can obviously drink as much as you want, as often as you want. You can also use more or less stevia to suit your preferences.
I typically have six to eight ounces of tea as soon as I get up and another six to eight ounces at about 7pm. That seems to work well with my particular allergies.
When you make this tea, be sure to drink it within three days. I can usually finish a quart well within that time frame. However, if you don’t think you’ll drink that much, you can always make a smaller batch.
A special note about that stevia: Stevia is a natural sweetener that’s waaaaaaay better for you than sugar. I know, I know. We usually like our tea sweetened with sugar in the South.
But in an effort to put good things into my body, I’m trying to find healthy alternatives that still taste great. It’s easier said than done, especially when I have a killer sweet tooth. But this nettle tea is one recipe that’s well-suited for a healthier sweetener.
Do you have any natural remedies for allergies? Also, if you make this tea, let me know how it works for you!
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