While spring is an exciting time with the daffodils blooming and lambs frolicking, for some people it brings anxiety knowing that hay fever season is upon us.
Hay fever and seasonal allergies mean that your body is reacting to the pollens in the air and treating them the same way that it would treat bacteria and viruses – by producing antibodies to fight the pathogens. At its core, it is your immune system and gut that need help to prevent seasonal allergies, however there are many natural home remedies that can help to relieve symptoms in the meantime.
Chamomile tea bags
Steep tea bags in hot water and enjoy the brew as a relaxing bed time cuppa that will relax you as well as help with the symptoms of hay fever. Chill the leftover tea bags in the fridge or freezer and use these as soothing eye compresses for swollen, red, itchy eyes. If you have any allergies to the daisy family, avoid using chamomile as this may make the symptoms worse.
Local honey Many people have found success with eating high quality raw local honey on a daily basis to reduce hay fever symptoms. Because the honey contains small amounts of the local pollens, the theory is that it helps to desensitise your immune system by creating antibodies to the pollens in the air. A teaspoon two to three times a day should be enough to lessen symptoms.
Garlic Garlic has a range of health benefits, with just one being immune system support. It acts as a decongestant and can relieve sore throats and headaches. Garlic contains quercetin which is a natural antihistamine, also found in onions.
Nettle Nettle (sometimes known as stinging nettle) is an herb that has blood purifying and anti-allergic properties, helping to mitigate hay fever symptoms such as sneezing and itching. Once the herb is dried, the ‘stinging’ part of the nettle no longer stings and can be brewed with hot water to make a tea. It can also be brewed fresh, but be careful and wear gloves for protection. Have 3-4 cups a day for a good dose.
Avoid dairy products
Consumption of dairy products increases the production of mucous in the body, so eating dairy when you have hay fever can exacerbate this and make a runny nose much worse.
Even a small amount of dairy can make a difference, so do you best to avoid it completely over the worst of the pollen season.
Horseradish Horseradish is a root that looks like a cross between ginger root and a parsnip. It has a pungent ‘kick’ to it that helps to desensitise mucous membranes and clear the sinuses. It is also a decongestant and when consumed daily it can have a great impact on hay fever symptoms.
Apple cider vinegar Raw, organic apple cider vinegar contains minerals and enzymes and helps to balance the pH in the body while acting as a natural antihistamine.
You could even make your own antihistamine vinegar by combining horseradish, ginger and garlic with apple cider vinegar in a glass jar. Leave sealed in a dark place for 2-4 weeks stirring occasionally.
Strain and consume a tablespoon in warm water twice a day before meals. You can add some local honey to sweeten if necessary.