We are in the thick of spring in Melbourne, and while many of us are excited about finally getting warm weather, it also means hay fever! Runny itchy noses, watery eyes, sneezing and congestion can all be symptoms of hay fever. And unfortunately for some of us, hay fever doesn’t stop on December 1st when summer begins.
Over the last few months we’ve been getting lots of questions about using local honey for hay fever. Whether you find that conventional antihistamines don’t work, cause side effects (dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting) or you’d prefer a more natural alternative, you may have heard that locally produced honey can help with spring allergies.
How does it work?
The idea behind using honey for hay fever is that it contains tiny amounts of pollen, and eating it provides enough exposure to your immune systems to become used to it, so when those high pollen days hit, your symptoms are reduced or don’t happen at all. It offers a desensitising effect. The benefit of using local honey is that the bees have foraged on the same pollen you will be exposed to.
What you need to know about using honey for hay fever:
- Using honey for hay fever will only work if you have an allergy to pollen.
- If you get hay fever due to grasses (rye is the most common) honey may not benefit you.
- Bees begin to make honey again from October (after a winter break) so it’s best to be prepared and get local honey from the previous season.
- Please do not use if you have a bee or bee pollen allergy or fructose intolerance.
Looking for some local honey? You will be sure to find your closest honey source from these links!
What else can I do for my hay fever?
Recently Sam wrote a piece on how massage can help with the congestion and stuffiness that comes along with hay fever and our team met to discuss how our complementary health approach can help with those irritating hay fever symptoms. This is what we jotted down.
In particular, our treatments aim to reduce inflammation within the sinuses (that causes you to feel like your head will explode), reduce and breakdown histamine (which is responsible for all the congestion and pressure), breakdown and clear the thick mucous (that makes your head feel heavy) and help regulate the immune systems as it’s in overdrive.
Our naturopath, Chantelle has put a list together of herbs and nutrients that can help:
- Two herbs possess anti-allergic properties that can be quite useful in the treatment of hay fever: Albizia has been found to stabilise mast cells, while Baical skullcap helps reduce the inflammation in rhinitis.
- Vitamin C – helps with the breakdown of histamine and will therefore help by reducing symptoms.
- Quercetin – help reduce the symptoms by inhibiting the release and transport of inflammatory substances from the immune system.
- Bromelain – an enzyme (most commonly found in pineapple) helps with the breakdown of mucous congestion.
- N-acetylcysteine – helps with the breakdown of thick mucous within the nasal passages and down-regulates the immune system’s inflammatory response.
- Probiotics – in particular Lactobacillus acidophilusNCFM and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG These two strains of probiotics have been used in clinical studies for hay fever and were found to reduce the incidences of runny and blocked noses.
If you have had enough of those annoying hay fever symptoms and ready for a clear head, book your appointment today!