Hay fever strikes a lot of people at this time of year, especially those affected by airborne allergens, including pollens. Symptoms commonly affect the respiratory tract, including eyes, mouth, nasal cavity, lungs, etc. Symptoms include nasal obstruction, sneezing, increased secretions, itchiness, headaches, blocked sinus and even dark circles under the eyes. Hay fever can act as a trigger for asthma, which can lead to further breathing issues and discomfort. Hay fever usually shows seasonal variation, but not necessarily for all people.
Allergic responses, such as those triggering hay fever, result in the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals within the body. The good news is that there exists a vast array of natural therapies, herbs, nutrients and other supplements that can help relieve symptoms and re-train the body, allowing better management of the condition.
Hay fever is an immune reaction, which at the end of the day, creates inflammation. With so many complaints (including hay fever) stemming from inflammation, it can really pay huge health dividends to treat inflammation in your body… and diet is key here!
An anti-inflammatory diet includes plenty of fresh fruit and veg (organic wherever possible), herbs and spices, nuts and seeds and sustainably sourced fish. Some good foods to include are all fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut), olives, avocados, all nuts and seeds (raw, unsalted, unflavoured, organic). Herbs and spices to include are turmeric (make this one your best friend!), ginger and chilli. Use oils including flaxseed and omega 3 fish oils from sustainably sourced brands. Green tea and fish including salmon, cod, mackerel, anchovies and sardines are great too. Be very choosey about where your fish comes from. Opt for wild, pole/line caught, sustainably sourced ones from clean waters. Also, with the bigger fish (e.g. salmon), aim for a maximum of 2 – 3 times for these in a week.
Your foes – the foods that only serve to create more inflammation – include things like red meat, dairy, refined foods such as white pasta, rice etc. Processed foods and fried food are no good either. Alcohol, coffee, citrus fruits and even the nightshade family of veggies, can be problematic for some. Sugar, which is gaining more and more negative press these days, is also a problem.
Drink plenty of filtered water and freshly squeezed juices (carrot, parsley, coriander and pineapple), bone broths and herbal teas to reduce inflammation and thin the mucus. Depending on your symptom severity, you may want to look at allergy testing and work with an experienced practitioner on a this. We can order such tests at Saltuary and guide you throughout the process of changing your diet.
Salt therapy can be very beneficial in relieving symptoms. In a nutshell, this helps to ‘calm and clear’ your respiratory system, clearing out mucous, helping to decrease inflammation, congestion etc. As a nice side effect, it’s a delightfully relaxing experience too! There are no negative side effects with this one. I’ve seen it helps loads of sufferers. Salt inhalers are another thing I would suggest. You can use these whilst in the car, at home etc, to ensure you get access to the therapy daily/often. We stock these, come in and see us if you’d like to know more.
Herbal medicine can definitely help. Herbs such as echinacea, eyebright, ginger, turmeric, albizia and elderberry are just a few to consider. We make herbal medicines specific to you and your symptoms at Saltuary– come in and see us if you are interested. Herbs pack a very powerful and potent punch in our bodies! There are a few good nasal sprays on the market too, with saline and essential oils to help heal the membranes.
With our natural medicines, we aim to treat the root cause/imbalance for why you’re getting these symptoms in the first place, rather than just aiming fire at your symptoms. We do aim fire at your symptoms as well to give you relief, but where the beauty of things like herbs comes into play, is that we’re aiming to affect long term change by using them.
Acupuncture can be a wonderful therapy here too. When my kids have colds with similar symptoms to hay fever, acupuncture is my ‘go-to guy’! It helps rid the body of mucous, and rebalances the entire system back to a state of harmony. Personally, I tend to plough my kids full of herbs and nutrients such as vitamin C and cod liver oil (a rich natural source of vitamins A and D for immune health and mucous membrane health), and then use acupuncture to put the final nail in the coffin of the cold/flu etc.
Your environment plays a huge part in hay fever. Maintaining an allergen free environment is critical. This includes everything from the cleaning products you use at home to ensuring mould is not something you are exposed to. Use allergy covers for your bedding, and minimise dust collecting materials such as carpets and blinds. Air filters/purifiers can be of significant help too– and I have to say, some of the most beautiful air purifiers have to be Himalayan salt lamps, right?! Scatter them everywhere 🙂
Following is a recipe for ‘anti-inflammatory milk’– a potent anti-inflammation drink, as well as an amazing mid-afternoon pick me up!
Ingredients: Coconut milk, a dash of turmeric, a dash of ginger, a pinch of pepper and some honey/pure maple syrup all to taste.
Throw this all into a blender– heat, mix, drink! Voila! If you don’t have a blender, cut everything up and simply boil on the stove.
Hope that’s been beneficial for anyone suffering from hay fever..
With luv.. tiina xx