Hayfever – be gone!!
by Naturopath Sara Canney
Spring has finally sprung! Yay!! So have the number of our clients complaining of hayfever & allergy response…. Not so yay…
As the weather warms up, the days are longer & we want to be out & about enjoying ourselves after the winter of hibernation… however watery, itchy eyes, a streaming nose & sneezing kind of detracts from the enjoyment of the day – yes?
Yes indeed! What to do about it??
Well, there is much that your naturopath can do to assist you during this time – we have access to wonderful herbal remedies & nutritional supplements that will easily reduce & control the allergic response quickly & naturally…
However you can implement some changes or additions to your daily routine to help reduce the hold of hayfever
Chamomile tea – is a wonderful anti-inflammatory & contains flavonoids which can exert an anti-histamine effect (please note if you are allergic to ragweed pollens – then chamomile is not the herbs for you!) – drink it as a tea of steep & the soak a compress in the tea & place it over your eyes to reduce irritation.
Fenugreek tea – while traditionally used as a detoxifier, wonderful for digestive disturbances – gas, bloating, colic, dyspepsia (& with a mild laxative effect) & as a support for breastfeeding – among its many other uses fenugreek is a mucolytic – this means that it helps to break down mucous & its anti-inflammatory which makes it helpful for hayfever relief… 1tsp of seeds steeped in boiling water for 5-10mins drink 2-4cups/day… it’s a pungent herb & the flavour may take a little getting used to, a little honey may sweeten & ease your introduction to it
Honey – studies have shown that exposure to the bee pollen content in honey may help reduce sensitivity to pollens… ideally the introduction of a small amount of honey daily should start pre-hayfever season & use local honey as then you’re eating honey made from local pollens (again caution for those with bee pollen allergies) – 1tsp in your fenugreek tea perhaps?
Quercetin – a powerful natural antihistamine is found in many foods & by including those in your diet daily you can reduce the allergic response to pollens, grasses etc –
Foods rich in quercetin include – garlic, onions, capers, dark berries – blueberries, cranberries, blackberries etc, plums, citrus fruits, parsley, sage & red wine… that medicinal glass of red wine at the end of a long day 😉
Bromelain – a natural enzyme found in pineapples its anti-inflammatory in action & will reduce mucous membrane inflammation (think nasal passages) & congestion, its also anti-allergic & a great digestive enzyme
Vit C – a fantastic anti-oxidant & immune system support Vit C also exerts an antihistamine effect & is best consumed/taken in combination with bioflavonoids (these include quercetin, citrus bioflavonoids, PCO’s, green tea polyphenols) so while eating citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, papaya, berries, broccoli, green leafy veg & drinking rosehip tea will be helpful a good Vit C supplement with bioflavonoids can be an easy way to top up
Vit A – again a great immune supporting nutrient & anti-oxidant Vit A is a mucous membrane restorer & mucolytic – this simply means it’ll heal mucous membranes & cut through the mucous… found in blueberries, red chillies (which also contain capsaicin – great for reducing congestion, opening sinus passages & reducing hayfever symptoms…so if you like it spicy – get into the chilli this hayfever season), corn, yellow fruits & veggies & dark green veg
Carotenoids – the naturally occurring pigments found in plants, algae & photosynthetic bacteria – think yellow, red & orange fruits & veggies… some of your carotenoids are pre-cursors to Vit A… see above – so eat all those brightly coloured beauties that are in season – eat a rainbow & feel better inside & out (plus virtuous & beach ready! ;-)…)
Reduce dairy – dairy is mucous forming – so reducing dietary intake will help reduce mucous formation which when you’re feeling mucousy with the allergic response this can only be a good thing – yes?
Probiotics & fermented foods – supporting digestion probiotics are essential for a healthy gut & assist with the actual breakdown & digestion of your food & they also have an important role is supporting the immune system, so taking a probiotic daily will not only assist with digestion but help modulate your immune system response. Fermented foods are a great source of probiotics & a delicious addition to your diet – think miso, kefir, plain yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, kim chi…
Ginger – a wonderful anti-inflammatory & delicious digestive adding fresh ginger to your meals, salads or fresh ginger tea is an easy addition to your day
Acupuncture – a wonderful modality that has been used for hundreds of years its extremely helpful in managing & reducing/negating hayfever symptoms – we have an excellent acupuncturist at Brunswick Health & a couple of treatments with Chris would be a welcome addition to your hayfever management plan
So while hayfever can be annoying & problematic its not something that can’t be managed relatively easily either by implementing some of the above or seeing your naturopath for a consultation & personalised program…
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