Natural remedies to help with hay fever
Spring is a wonderfully hopeful time of year. We’ve made it through a long and cold winter and summer is on its way. The once bare landscape makes way for tender buds and glossy greens – an awakening for all of nature, including ourselves. For those of us who suffer with hay fever, spring can symbolise a time of apprehension as we prepare for the increase in pollen.
Why (oh why) does hay fever occur?
Hay fever is often seen as a reflection of the change in seasons that occurs during the transition from winter through to spring. As the warmth of spring increases, it also warms the body influencing a ‘melting’ of congestion and toxic accumulation that has occurred over the winter period. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen released primarily by grasses, but can also be triggered by pollen released from trees.
Pollen particles contain a protein that causes inflammation, irritation and swelling of the nasal passages, but can also affect the eyes and the throat. The pollen (the allergen) causes the release of a substance known as an inflammatory mediator called histamine. It is the histamine that influences the symptoms of ‘hay fever’ in the body.
The symptoms of hay fever can often be split into two categories:
- Sinus congestion, watery eyes, copious mucus, itchy nose
- Red eyes, itchy eyes, inflamed nose and mucus membranes, headache
These are a reflection of our current state of health. Those of us who are more prone to mucus accumulations will tend to suffer more from runny eyes and nose. Those who perhaps have a greater tendency towards hot, irritated and itching skin conditions will suffer more from itching and red eyes, ears and throat.
Luckily, help is at hand with some of nature’s finest remedies:
- Turmeric & Ginger: Naturally hot, spicy and stimulating, these herbs either in combination or separately will stimulate the system, warm the digestion and improve nutrient assimilation. The combination of these two herbs is a specific remedy for allergic rhinitis, hay fever and colds.
- Triphala: A traditional Ayurvedic formulation that is particularly effective at detoxifying and cleansing a congested digestive tract. It will often work best when taken at night.
- Peppermint: An excellent herb for releasing stuck congestion and mucus around the nose and a ‘heavy head’.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a natural cooling anti-inflammatory, soothing hot and irritated mucus membranes throughout the body. It’s a natural way of cleansing your liver and helping to reduce allergic response from the immune system. Organic Aloe Vera does not contain sodium benzoate, that is so often a causative factor in allergies.
- Rose/Rosewater: Rose is a drying, cooling anti-inflammatory with an affinity for the skin and eyes. It can be taken internally as a tincture, but a spray or drop of rosewater on the face and also in the eyes can be particularly effective at relieving itching and inflammation.
Here are some other simple tips to help:
- For 3-5 days drink plenty of hot water with grated fresh ginger or honey, this will help to digest toxins and regulate digestion.
- Favour foods that are warm and nourishing but easy to digest such as soups, grains and leafy green vegetables.
- Avoid substances which are mucus producing such as dairy products and sugar.
- Avoid cold foods such as salads and iced water. These reduce digestive capacity and can create stagnation.