When we’ve had a very long Winter (and as I type this I’m keeping everything crossed that we’ve finally seen the back of the cold weather until Autumn!), we look forward to Spring. The days are getting longer, the flowers and trees start blossoming and we are busy anticipating the early summer days and the sun shining. Yay! Most of us relish getting out of hibernation mode and going for walks in the fresh air and admiring the green, nature-filled views. However for many of us, it can also be a time of an attack of sneezing and red puffy eyes every time you set foot outside. Yes, it’s also the hayfever season!
Hayfever (also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis) is an allergy mainly caused by grass and tree pollen. It is due to a reaction to pollen from those trees and grasses that makes your immune system believe that pollen is an unwelcome invader and needs to be removed. Your body then releases histamine which causes inflammation, swelling of the nasal passages along with all those other symptoms that some of us are unfortunately so familiar with: itchy, runny eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, an itchy throat and a runny nose. Feeling especially tired and suffering from headaches can be a factor for some of us too.
Allergy UK estimates that nearly 18 million people have hayfever in the UK and it can develop at any age so you are definitely not alone in what can be a seasonal hell.
Over the counter anti-histamine products can provide temporary relief as they inhibit the action of histamine on nasal and eye tissues but they can sometimes cause drowsiness when you first take them. So why not give some natural anti-histamines a try too?
Easy Dietary Tips to Help Combat Hayfever
You could sweeten the onset of the hayfever season by including honey in your daily diet. This is an easy-to-use home remedy as the bee pollen in it desensitises your body to other pollens. Local honey that originates within 10 miles of your home is best, although you need to start taking it two months before your symptoms usually start so you will already be desensitised by the time hayfever season comes round.
Did you know that Vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory? And we already know about its ability to promote a strong immune system, which is also helpful in the fight against hayfever. What better reason for starting your day with a kiwi fruit or orange!
And avoiding dairy is always helpful too as it is known to increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract and can make hayfever congestion even worse! Cheese is definitely not a friend to hayfever sufferers!
A few additions to your diet that may help alleviate some of those symptoms:
- Increase foods that contain the flavonoid Quercetin. This can be found in apples, onions and parsley to name a few. And you may want to consider taking it as a supplement too to really boost the effects.
- Luffa complex herbal tincture has been shown to provide relief from hayfever-related symptoms. It is available in drops, tablets or as a nasal spray.
- Drink 2-3 cups of nettle tea per day (a mixed herbal tea including nettle is fine too if you find plain nettle too much of an acquired taste!)
- Avoid histamine containing foods such as red wine, beer, cheese, shellfish, chocolate and fermented foods (vinegar, soy sauce, yoghurt).
Flavonoids are important antioxidants that are both anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic and can be found in almost all fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains and green and black tea.
Green tea blocks the production of histamine and the antioxidants found in this type of tea can also help to build the immune system.
Allergies such as hayfever may also be related to hormonal, digestive and immune system imbalances which a Nutritional Therapist can assist you with.
Using Essential Oils
Using appropriate essential oils to alleviate some of your symptoms can also be beneficial. If you’re plagued with nasal congestion, using essential oils in steam inhalation may be an effective and easy-to-use home remedy to keep your sinuses clear. Popping one or two drops into a bowl of hot water and inhaling for 10-15 minutes may help ease that blocked nose/”I can’t breathe” feeling! Or if you’re out and about then putting a few drops on a tissue from which to inhale will work well too.
- Eucalyptus helps to open the respiratory system and reduce inflammation
- Lavender is a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory as well as calming and reducing irritation
- Camomile is soothing and calming, especially for irritated sinuses and in addition is also anti-allergenic. It’s even better when blended with eucalyptus and lavender too!
But please consult a qualified aromatherapist before using any oil as no essential oil is either suitable or safe for everyone.
May you be able to enjoy the (hopefully) warmer weather with relieved sinuses and clear eyes! Let us know how you get on, and don’t forget we are here if you need any further help or advice. Just give us a call on 01242 227752 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.