Question: Ever since I can remember I have always suffered from hay fever. Are there any natural remedies you would suggest?
16 September, 2008 – 17:30
Answer: You’re not alone! For nearly 15% of the population, spring and summer are not just about warmer weather, but also the more unpleasant symptoms of hay fever.
Despite its name, hay fever is neither caused by hay nor associated with fever. It is usually an allergy to pollen released by grasses, flowers and trees in spring and summer.
Pollen causes cells to release histamine and other chemicals, resulting in a runny, itchy nose, blocked sinuses, sneezing, redness and watering of the eyes, and/or a sore, itchy throat.
Fortunately, some preventative measures can help to keep hay fever at bay:
Don’t be an early bird! Pollen counts tend to peak between 5am and 10am, so limiting outdoor activity during the morning hours can help keep your allergies to a minimum.
Also, check prevailing winds and pollen counts and remember that wind dried clothes can become pollen catchers. Hanging clothes inside will keep them pollen free.
People with inhalant allergies are also likely to have food allergies, so a change in diet might be helpful. Cut down on dairy products and refined carbohydrates such as sugar, as they encourage excess mucus.
Vitamin C supplements and Quercetin (found in onions, apples and black tea) can also help as they both have antihistamine activity. Likewise, vitamin B can help relieve blocked sinuses.
Finally, herbal remedies can also be effective:
Scutellariae or Chinese Scullcap is a natural anti-inflammatory used to treat inflamed skin conditions and allergies and Nettle leaf and Eyebright can help with sore and itchy eyes.