Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Seasonal Cure For Seasonal Ails

Everywhere I go I hear people complaining of "their allergies".   'Tis the season for thick yellow pollen.  And it's been very thick this year- due to our abnormally dry spring.  People are red-eyed and sneezing, cursing the spring weather instead of welcoming it.  Of course, this happens every spring and doesn't really have much to do with the dryness.  It might be worse this year but it's always THAT-BAD.  I have always had the belief that the more exposed people are to seasonal pollen, the less likely they are to be affected by it.  "Allergy" has become a misused term in our language, and although I will not explain in depth now why I believe that, I still do believe it.

There are real allergies.  Some people are allergic to peanuts, or shellfish, or eggs.  Although I think it may be possible that there has been some kind of long-term genetic build-up to these allergies through generations of eating habits I never doubt that they are very,very real.  But when I hear people say they are suffering from "seasonal allergies" I just can't help but say:

 (o yeah, and play outside more) 

The last two springs I have worked inside the semi-sterile kitchen of Greenlife.  I spent much of my spring time under florescent bulbs.  I would go out in my yard after work and plant flowers, pull weeds, and inspect the pollen build up on my car.  But I wasn't working constantly out in the air all day, and I must admit that I got scratchy eyes and sneezes and tight sinus-y feelings.

This year is different.  I am trying harder to be outside more often.  But I am also drinking this Magic Elixir called Wild Nettle Tea.  We drink it every day and I seriously have sneezed, oh, maybe six times this spring.  Nettles are supposed to be amazing for millions of different things.  They are in tons of natural hair and skin products.  They are traditionally eaten in season in many countries, like Ireland, England, and those other cool-ish places.  You can steam them and eat them as any other green, distill them into a hair tonic, or drink them as an "allergy fighting tea".

The thing is, the tea kind of tastes like pot likker, and wild nettles sting.  So you have to be very very careful (use tongs) when transferring them to your tea jar.  And I like to add things that make the tea taste better.  I have lemon balm and mint growing in my yard, and I use a local (namely Sale Creek Honey) honey as a sweetener.  This adds a little Allergy Attack bonus, since local honey is supposed to cure all allergy ale's too.

I have heard from SO many people (health nuts, believers, and non-believers alike) that this is the best, best, best way to combat those "seasonal allergies". Synthetic medicines and pills just don't cut it if you want your body to build up a true, strong immunity.  The thing that we sometimes don't think about is the fact that maybe this pollen isn't out to get us, we have just lost the lifestyle and diets needed to work with it.  We need to be co-existing with the world we live in, not combating it.

Wild Nettle Tea

  • 1 handful lemon balm-preferably from your yard or your neighbor's- dirt attached is ok and highly sought after, as we might need more dirt in our diets anyway
  • 1/2 handful mint, also from local yard (if you plant mint it will be everywhere forever)
  • 2 tong-fuls wild nettle- available in local woods or at the Main Street Farmer's Market from Alexzanna Farms 
  • Large drizzle of local honey, also available at the Main Street Farmer's Market from Sale Creek Honey
Stuff everything in a large jar (I use a half-gallon).  Pour almost-boiling water to fill and let steep about 12 hours.  The longer the better.  The nettles will create a slightly slimy consistency.  I pour half of the cooled tea in a glass and fill the rest with water.