It can really lift your spirits when the sun’s out and the beautiful spring flowers are blooming but spring can also be a very uncomfortable time of year for some. Hay fever can occur in spring, autumn, or even all year round, depending on what you are allergic to. Below we discuss five natural remedies for hay fever to help ease the dis-comfort.
To make things worse, people often find conventional anti-histamines become less effective, and may cause unpleasant side effects such as a dry mouth and throat; dizziness; sedation; impaired motor function; blurred vision; urinary retention and constipation – especially if you are already prone to them. We do, fortunately, have natural remedies for hay fever to help relieve the symptoms:
Hay fever can sometimes be mistaken for a cold, but just as they have different causes, they have different symptoms. Here’s how to tell if you have hay fever or a cold; one of the definitive symptoms is the itchiness that can be felt within the mouth, eyes and nose.
Natural Remedies for Hay Fever
Certain probiotics can help to reduce the immune system’s inappropriate response to pollen, which is the cause of hay fever. For example, Lactobacillus casei Shirota has been found to decrease the amount of inflammatory substances made by the immune system, and rebalance excessive levels of antibodies to pollen which reduced the frequency of symptoms. Another study found a fermented milk drink containing Lactobacillus GG and L. gasseri significantly relieved hay fever after nine weeks, and reduced production of inflammatory substances by immune cells.
Albizia (Albizia lebbeck) and Baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) are two of the herbal remedies that our naturopaths use to balance the immune system. Studies have found that Albizia has antiallergic benefits by dampening the processes involved in over-sensitisation; stabilising the mast cells, which play a key role in the allergy response; and reducing allergy-promoting antibodies. Baical skullcap is a natural antihistamine, and has been used in Chinese research for patients with allergies featuring nasal inflammation.
Bromelain is an extract from the fruit and stem of pineapples, which contains protein-digesting enzymes. A review of research described three trials using bromelain in the treatment of allergies, with one showing significant improvements in breathing difficulty and discomfort. The other two found substantial benefits in relieving nasal inflammation; one of these found some improvement in breathing and discharge (runny nose). Bromelain is anti-inflammatory and helps break down mucus, possibly by breaking down proteins involved in inflammation and mucus production.
Quercetin is a phytochemical (a chemical naturally produced by plants) found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, with some of the largest concentrations found in onions, shallots and apples. It is also a natural antihistamine, and can reduce the production of inflammatory substances and allergy-related antibodies by immune cells. A clinical trial found quercetin could significantly relieve symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, compared to the placebo.
The way local honey helps with 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.
Find out more about using local honey as a natural remedy for hay fever HERE.
Of course, we are all individuals, so different remedies are better for different people.
Book an appointment today to find what treatment is right for you.