we moderns ARE all allergic to pollen, but as I often ask in my classes: has plant diversity gone down? Yet allergies are on the rise? That is a broken math equation. This means that what is actually changing in the environment is our ability to develop immunity. Think of all our indoor filtration and synthetic chemicals. In the name of a quick fix for allergies (which is nothing but taking away symptoms), what is not being talked about enough is the fundamental theory that is behind vaccinations: consume the offending plant in greater and greater dosage until your immune system adapts.
We are in fact constantly training immune function by exposure, or more likely these days, lack of exposure. By starting off the season at least two weeks in advance eating raw local honey (not cooked honey bear, which is mostly high fructose corn syrup) and consuming the plant parts which produce pollen in gradually increasing doses, you reduce your immune system’s need for an overreaction and build the capacity to desensitize to pollen. You will have inoculated yourself against pollen allergies – by eating honey, and a little pollen.
If eating pollen sounds strange, it’s nothing new. Native peoples used pine pollen as a flour supplement. Evergreen pollens are incredibly nutritive, and contain phyto-androgen: plant testosterone that helps males build muscle, strengthen immune function, and maintain hormonal health.
Remember, though, to take care in dosing yourself with the pollen that makes us sneeze. This must be done systematically; if you have severe allergies to pollen and go eating lots of it, you can exacerbate the allergies, and in rare cases go anaphylactic. By eating the culprit in careful doses, the immune system learns to analyze the pollen and feed it to the lymphatic system, which lets us fine-tune our allergies.
There are other way to calm allergies holistically, too. Drinking stinging nettle tea with raw honey and lemon, eschewing processed foods, and avoiding hiding out in air conditioning all help the body become reacquainted with the natural cycles. I drink three cups a day of nettle tea during allergy season.
Here’s my recipe: Simmer four cups water. Add half to one cup dried nettles. Cover with lid and simmer for ten minutes, then turn off heat and let sit five to ten minutes. Strain and add half a lemon, raw honey, and a pinch of cayenne. DAN DE LION
While you’re sipping your tea, let’s take a moment to consider how mowing a lawn chops and blows all of the pollen-containing plants into microparticles that then get blown up into the air. Then mowing and landscaping companies blow them around some more with their leaf blowers.
The chemicals sprayed on lawns – Roundup and synthetic fertilizers – are also catching a ride on that human created windstorm. That’s a great recipe for lowered immune function and at the very least, allergies; consider young people breathing this. Only you can prevent OCMD (obsessive compulsive mowing disorder).