Natural hayfever relief
Sneezing, irritated eyes and a runny nose? Thankfully, natural medicine provides effective help for hayfever.
Hayfever, or allergic rhinitis, is a sign that the immune system is overreacting to a normally harmless substance, such as pollen, along with dust, mould and pet dander (tiny flakes of dried saliva, skin and hair). A series of responses are triggered in the body, including the release of histamine which causes swelling and inflammation of the respiratory passages and excessive mucus production. Typical hayfever symptoms include runny nose, itchy throat, sneezing and itchy eyes.
Check out Go Vita’s hot tips to minimise the symptoms of hayfever:
1. Protect yourself
When you are outside, wear wraparound sunglasses to keep pollen away from your eyes. Wear a face mask when you know you might be exposed to pollen – for example, if you are gardening. Close the windows when travelling by car and choose the ‘recirculate’ option on the air-conditioning, to avoid introducing pollinated air to the car.
2. Go Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids help to counter inflammatory responses in the body, including those triggered by hayfever. Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, are rich sources of these fats. Don’t like fish? Take a supplement that provides 1000 mg combined EPA/DHA (eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids) a day.
3. Invest in a neti pot
A mild saline solution helps to clear excess mucus and keep your nasal passages moist. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in 250 ml of warm water and fill the neti pot. Lean over the sink and gently pour the solution in one nostril and out the other.
4. Add nutritional insurance
The chemical histamine triggers the allergic response. Vitamin C has a natural antihistamine effect in the body and there is some evidence that it can help control hayfever symptoms. Quercetin, the pigment (a bioflavonoid) that puts the green in green tea, is another useful natural agent for the treatment of hayfever, because it has the ability to reduce the release of histamine from mast cells. If you have hayfever, try taking this supplement - follow the label advice on dosage.
Researchers say that taking probiotics daily for a month before and month after the hayfever season can help boost good bacteria in your intestinal tract and in turn boost your immune health. In clinical trials, hayfever sufferers taking a combination if Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifiobacterium lactis had a reduced inflammatory response and symptoms of blocked and runny nose were reduced. Take a probiotic supplement daily and increase your intake of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickled vegetables and miso.
5. Pick a herb
Baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for respiratory infections, hayfever, and itchy skin conditions like hives. It is thought to have a cooling energetic nature, helping to reduce itching and inflammation. Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a useful treatment for reducing the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections and allergic reactions; it also improves the body’s capacity to cope with stress. Bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense) is another TCM staple, and has been used since ancient times to treat respiratory problems and strengthen liver function.
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) have been used in Western herbalism to improve detoxification, by stimulating liver function and waste elimination.
6. Use a nasal spray
Some over-the-counter nasal sprays can have unwanted side effects, instead reach for natural xylitol based sprays for soothing relief to combat nasal congestion. Used daily, xylitol nasal spray not only hydrates and moisturises the sinuses, but washes away contaminants and pollutants.
7. Inhale tea tree or eucalyptus oil
Cover your head with a towel and lean over a large bowl of freshly boiled water which has a few drops of tea tree or eucalyptus oil added. Inhale vapours for 5-10 minutes – this simple steam inhalation naturally treats congestions and clears excess mucus.
Information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace advice or treatment from qualified healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to treat or diagnose. Always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any allergies or diagnosed conditions, or are taking prescription medications, always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements.