Yes, it’s this time of the year again… the hay fever season is upon us. While most of us look forward to spring and summertime, for hay fever sufferers it marks the return of debilitating sneezing, runny noses, watery eyes and the irritating side-effects of antihistamines. Severe cases of hay fever can include symtoms such like blocked sinuses, tightness of the chest and wheezing. When this occurs conventional medicine not only offers antihistamines but also corticosteroids nasal sprays and puffers, which have nasty side-effects and are detrimental to our health.
What causes Hay Fever?
Hayfever is an allergic response to pollen. Symptoms can arrive with tree pollens from March to May, depending on the climate, and continue through the summer months with grass pollens. Exposure to these airborn allergens is made worse by the fact that when the weather is warmer windows are left open and we spend more time outside. Pro-inflammatory histamine is responsible for the symptoms of hayfever. When the pollens come into contact with nostrils, eyes, or throat, the immune system responds by releasing histamine from mast cells. This is an inflammatory trigger to the body and initiates increased mucus production, contracts smooth muscle and encourages the dilation of blood vessels contributing to our typical hayfever symptoms. Itching is caused by the effect of histamine on nerve endings.
Nutritional advice for Hay Fever
Increase the intake of the following foods in your daily diet:
- Beta carotene rich foods such as the red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are also rich in Bioflavonoids and vitamin C. Hayfever sufferers require greater amounts of these nutrients. Try to find good quality food, organic if possible as the vitamin levels will be higher and it will be free of synthetic pesticide residues. Supplement your diet with food state beta-carotene and vitamin C as well as eating these foods.
- Dark green foods are also helpful as they help eliminate excess toxins in the body. They also contain large amounts of beta carotene. Choose dark green leafy salads like watercress, rocket and chard; vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, freshly picked nettles, green beans and kale. Seaweeds are also beneficial due to their high mineral content. Supplement your diet with spirulina, blue green algae, wheatgrass or chlorella as well as including these foods in your diet.
- Sprouted seeds and bean sprouts are also very beneficial. Add to salads and soups.
- Garlic helps to reduce excess catarrh. Eat two raw cloves a day (on toast or stir into food at the end of cooking) or take a garlic supplement.
- Aloe Vera has mild anti-histamine properties. Take the juice internally diluted in water. It is also good for the digestion and skin problems. Used externally as a gel it alleviates allergic rashes.
- Oats are calming to the nervous system and contain significant quantities of B vitamins and minerals.
Cut down or, best even cut out on the following foods:
- Dairy products as these are mucous forming foods and thus congesting the nasal passage ways.
- Refined foods, such like white bread, white rice, white pasta, and white sugar.
- Processed foods – avoid pre-packaged foods that contain additives you would not use in your own cooking, (E numbers for example).
- Alcohol, tea and coffee as they deplete the absorption of minerals.
Herbal Remedies for Hay Fever
Euphrasia tincture is helpful for irritated and watery eyes. Goldenseal or Oregon Grape Root is useful for excess mucous. Plantago is beneficial for excess mucous and wheezing, and Propolis for irritated throat. Echinacea is a wonderful herb to boost theimmune system and Nettle is brilliant for itchiness and to support detoxification.
*Note: Herbs are powerful medicines. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have a longstanding health problem you are advised to seek professional advice by a herbalist as to whether or not it os safe for you to take herbal remedies.
Homeopathy for Hay Fever
- Allium cepa: Nose and eyes stream, and sneezing is severe and frequent. For the person whose symptoms are worse in the morning, when indoors, when in contact with flowers.
- Arsenicum album: Violent tickling of the nose and sneezing is also violent and painful with a watery, “burning” discharge causing sore lips and nose. The person may feel chilly and restless. May be pale, angry, anxious, depressed and irritable.
- Euphrasia: Particularly where the eyes burn, itch and water. Often with heavy sneezing, sore throat and a hard and dry cough. Nasal symptoms may be worse at night.
- Gelsemium: Violent sneezing and the nose tingles and streams, particularly in the morning. Face feels hot, eyes heavy, throat burns and swallowing causes pain in the ears. The body aches and limbs feel heavy. Fearful, sluggish, depressed but cannot cry.
- Natrum muriaticum: Where there is copious catarrh and sneezing, accompanied by cold sores or mouth ulcers. For the person whose symptoms are worse in the open air. Absent minded, angry, confused, depressed, introverted, irritable, sensitive. Tendency to repress emotions.
- Nux vomica: Excessive irritation of the nose, eyes, face and throat with prolonged and distressing bouts of sneezing. The nose may feel stuffed up at night, and the person feels chilly and irritable. May be angry, stubborn and impatient.
- Pulsatilla: Particularly where there is copious thick catarrh and sneezing. For the person whose symptoms are relieved in the open air. Changeable moods, clingy, depressed, irritable, shy, gentle, tearful and whiny.
- Sabadilla: Spasmodic sneezing with running nose. Copious watery nasal discharge, worse from odour of flowers. One or the other nostril is stuffed up.
- Silica: Sinusitis with blocked stuffy nose. Symptoms often worse on waking. Restless, irritable, jumpy, sluggish, sensitive to noise and pain.
Biochemic Tissue Salts
The twelve biochemic tissue salts correspond to the principle inorganic materials found in the body. They are prepared homeopathically and are used in a similar way to homeopathic medicines. Like the above homeopathic remedies, they may be used safely by pregnant or nursing women and children. The following tissue salts are effective for hay fever sufferes:
- Ferrum phos: Congestion, headaches, inflamed, burning sensations.
- Kali mur: Thick catarrh and swollen glands.
- Kali phos: Helps with wheezing and spasmodic cough. Also useful for treating the fatigue induced by the allergy and nourishes the nervous system.
- Natrum mur: For copious watery discharge, sneezing and watery eyes.
If symptoms persist it is best that you see your professional homeopath as you will need a tailored prescription.
Ulrike Holzer LSECH MSCH MARH