What is Hayfever?
Hayfever is a seasonal form of allergic rhinitis. Symptoms include itchy, red sore eyes, frequent sneezing, sinusitis and excess catarrh. The symptoms can lead the sufferer to become tired, irritated and depressed.
Methods of Reducing the Symptoms:
Try to avoid the pollen; the worst times are in the morning and evening when the most pollen is released. Try not to go into high pollen areas at these times. Have frequent showers - splashing your face with cold water and bathing your eyes will help to wash away the irritants. Applying a barrier ointment such as un-petroleum jelly into the base of the nostrils helps to trap the pollen and prevents it from irritating the lining of the nose.
Treatments for Hayfever:
If you have had hayfever for several years running and/or if the symptoms are really severe, it is advisable to visit a practitioner. Ideally treatment should commence before the hayfever season starts. Treatments that would be suitable are: acupuncture; Chinese herbs; homeopathy; medical herbalism. Body work therapies such as massage, aromatherapy and shiatsu offer excellent supporting treatments where the hayfever is linked to stress.
Homeopathy treats the individual person as opposed to looking at just the physical symptoms. To be sure a remedy is the right one for you, it might be necessary to visit a homeopath. Treatment is best started before the hayfever season commences to strengthen your constitution. During the hayfever season you can use the homeopathic drop in clinic for advice on remedies to deal with the symptoms. If you wish to treat yourself, try to match the emotional as well as physical symptoms given for each remedy. You may find that symptoms get slightly worse before they improve - this is a good sign. If in doubt, consult a homeopath. Whilst taking homeopathic remedies, do not drink strong coffee or eat anything with a strong peppermint flavour. Take the remedies away from food. The following remedies are widely used for hayfever. Take in the 30th potency, as directed on the label.
Allium cepa - An onion a day keeps hayfever away - with this form of onion anyway. If you feel like you've been slicing onions instead of enjoying the flowers of Spring, this single remedy relieves burning nasal discharge, watery eyes, hoarseness, hacking cough and raw sore throat to help you breath easily. Where the nose and eyes stream, and sneezing is severe and frequent. For the person whose symptoms are worse in the morning, when indoors, when in contact with flowers.
Arsen Alb - Where the nose tickles violently and sneezing is also violent and painful with a watery, "burning" discharge causing sore lips and nose. The person may feel chilly and restless. May be pale, angry, anxious, depressed and irritable.
Euphrasia - This plant earned the name eyebright by the burning eye irritation it can cause, and therefore cure. If the eyes are burning and the nose is running check this one, especially if the only thing worse than the garden is a smoke filled room. May clear your allergy induced cough or headache, too. Often with heavy sneezing, sore throat and a hard and dry cough. Nasal symptoms may be worse at night.
Gelsemium - Where there is violent sneezing and the nose tingles and streams, particularly in the morning. Face feels hot, eyes heavy, throat burns and swallowing causes pain in the ears. The body aches and limbs feel heavy. Fearful, sluggish, depressed but cannot cry.
Hepar sulph - If the slightest draft makes you sneeze, this might help you clear out that burning tender sinus and cold trouble.
Hydrastis - As all autumn hayfever sufferers know, golden seal's bright yellow flower causes (and thus cures homeopathically) thick, yellow, ropy mucus, everywhere and anywhere - even in the spring.
Kali bich - Are you tired of being blocked up? hacking with postnasal slime? chocking on thick ropy stubborn coughs? suffering with migraine-like sinus headaches? This remedy has opened many airways never thought openable.
Nat Mur - Where there is copious catarrh and sneezing, accompanied by cold sores or mouth ulcers. For the person whose symptoms are worse in the open air. Absent minded, angry, confused, depressed, introverted, irritable, sensitive. Tendency to repress emotions. While the drying agent (sodium chloride) from which it is derived tends to leave passages dry and then wet as the body responds to the dryness, this remedy helps the body address dryness and cold watery but thickening mucus symptoms regardless of the cause.
Nux Vom - Excessive irritation of the nose, eyes, face and throat with prolonged and distressing bouts of sneezing. The nose may feel stuffed up at night, and the person feels chilly and irritable. May be angry, stubborn and impatient.
Pulsatilla - Particularly where there is copious thick catarrh and sneezing. For the person whose symptoms are relieved in the open air. Changeable moods, clingy, depressed, irritable, shy, gentle, tearful and whiny. Relieves dull heavy sinus pain, and a nose that runs when you lie down, stops up when you stand and cannot smell the roses or the fresh air you so crave.
Silica - Sinusitis with blocked stuffy nose. Symptoms often worse on waking. Restless, irritable, jumpy, sluggish, sensitive to noise and pain. This cell salt drawing agent can open sinuses that cannot decide whether to be totally blocked or run profusely with thick yellow mucus, but always prefer a warm room to a cold one.
Mixed Pollen - A specific for hayfever where the condition is known to be an allergic reaction to pollen.
Biochemic Tissue Salts
The twelve biochemic tissue salts correspond to the principle inorganic materials found in the body. They are prepared homeopathically and are used in a similar way to homeopathic medicines. Like the above homeopathic remedies, they may be used safely by pregnant or nursing women and children.
Ferrum Phos Congestion, headaches, inflamed, burning sensations
Kali Mur For thick catarrh and swollen glands
Kali Phos Helps with wheezing and spasmodic cough. Also useful for treating the fatigue induced by the allergy and nourishes the nervous system
Natrum Mur For copious watery discharge, sneezing and watery eyes
Combination H A general biochemic remedy for hayfever
Diet and Nutrition:
Many symptoms may be brought under control through dietary change and/or nutritional support. For more advice on this, it may be appropriate to see a Nutritional Therapist, at the very least it is advisable to have a food sensitivity test to see if anything in your diet is aggrevating your symptoms. It is always best to get your nutrients from food but for extra nutritional support choose food state vitamins, they are more readily absorbed and utilised by the body than ordinary vitamins. A period of detox or a short fast is highly recommended to cleanse the system in early spring in preparation for the hayfever season.
Beneficial Foods and Nutritional Supplements
Hayfever sufferers should try to include more of the following foods in their everyday diet:
Beta carotene rich foods, such as the red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, are also rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C. Hayfever sufferers require greater amounts of these nutrients. Try to find good quality food, organic if possible - the vitamin levels will be higher and it will be free of synthetic pesticide residues.
Supplement your diet with food state beta-carotene and vitamin C as well as eating foods rich in these nutrients.
Dark green foods are also helpful as they help to eliminate excess toxins in the body. They also contain large amounts of beta carotene. Choose dark green leafy salads like watercress, rocket and chard; vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, freshly picked nettles, green beans and kale. Seaweeds are also beneficial due to their high mineral content.
Supplement your diet with spirulina, blue green algae, wheatgrass, or chlorella as well as including these foods in your diet.
Sprouted seeds and bean sprouts are also very beneficial. Add to salads and soups.
Garlic helps to reduce excess catarrh, eat two raw cloves a day (have on toast or stir into food at the end of cooking) or take a garlic supplement.
Yoghurt is cooling and has a mild anti-histamine effect, eat plain unflavoured, organic acidophilus yoghurt in moderate amounts.
Pollen (half a teaspoon a day) is said to help the condition. Check for an allergic reaction to pollen in this form by taking one pellet before you try a larger dose. In the unlikely event that you feel any itching or tingling in your mouth, do not use.
Aloe Vera has mild anti-histamine properties. Take the juice internally diluted in water. It is also good for the digestion and skin problems. Used externally (as a gel) it cools and soothes allergic rashes.
Oats feed and nourish the nervous system and contain significant quantities of B vitamins and minerals. See Porridge Recipe. If you are suffering from stress, it is advisable to take Vitamin B Complex.
Try to have one meal a day that consists of mainly raw salad ingredients. Combine this with small amounts of protein, such as nuts, seeds, fish or tofu. Dress salads with a garlic, olive oil and cider vinegar dressing; flavoured with local honey and herbs. If you have a weak digestive system then have lightly steamed vegetables instead of raw salad.
Cut down on mucus forming foods
Many people notice a marked reduction in symptoms, simply by reducing their intake of the following foods. For a more individual approach, why not take a food sensitivity test. Held on a regular basis in store at our Dawlish branch of Poppadums.
Dairy: all dairy produce is mucus forming. In an ideal situation one would cut it all out, excepting yoghurt, but for many this is very difficult. Goats, sheep, rice, oat and soya milk products are preferable to cow's milk products, which should be avoided totally. The dairy products you do eat should be organic. Eat dairy in small quantities.
Wheat: some people find that avoiding wheat and wheat products during the hayfever season helps to alleviate symptoms. Check how you react when eating wheat products. Wheat allergy symptoms include asthma and itchiness (itchy throat, scalp and skin irritation).
Refined foods: cut out white bread, white rice, white pasta, white sugar and brown sugar (still a highly refined product). Substitute wholemeal versions of these foods - for sweetener use agave syrup; maple syrup or brown rice syrup.
Processed foods: avoid pre-packaged foods that contain additives you would not use in your own cooking, (E numbers for example).
Alcohol: if you can't avoid it dilute it with carbonated water (ideal for white wine and whisky), or alternate each drink with a large glass of water.
Tea and coffee: regular consumption of caffeine drinks make it more difficult for the body to cope with stress. They also deplete the absorption of minerals. Substitute them with rooibosch tea, green tea or herbal teas. There are many herbal alternatives to coffee - dandelion coffee is the nicest tasting and most beneficial to the health.
Herbal Remedies for Hayfever
Herbs may be taken as teas, tinctures, juices or capsules. Choose those which you feel most comfortable with.
Important Note: If you:
* are pregnant, breast feeding or plan to become pregnant
* have a long standing illness
* have undiagnosed health problems
* are on medication
it is always best to seek advice from a professional health practitioner. If taken as directed, herbal and homeopathic remedies are very safe, but they are powerful medicines. Do not use them lightly; do not exceed the recommended dose. When self-prescribing, be aware that you are responsible for your own actions, watch carefully how you react to the remedies. If you notice any adverse reaction, stop taking the remedy and seek professional advice.
Tinctures: Euphrasia (irritated eyes); Goldenseal or Oregon Grape Root (excess mucous); Plantago (excess mucous and wheezing); Propolis (irritated throat) Echinacea (immune system boost); Nettle (itchiness and to support detoxification).
Over the counter remedies, select only one of the following:
Herbetom Pulm is a good choice where there is wheezing, It is gentle and effective, it may be used from age 3 onwards.
Bioforce's Luffa complex is a homeopathic tincture for hayfever, can be used for children over 2 years.
Bioforce Petasites herbal extract of butterbur which has been shown in a trial to be as effective as anti-histamine medication. Not recommended for children under 12, unless under the care of a health practitioner.
Eye soothers: Eyebright tea may be used in an eyebath, see How to make an eyebath. It is particularly useful where there is a lot of discharge from the eyes. Aloe Vera gel may be patted gently around irritated eyelids.
Essential oils that are suitable for Hayfever sufferers include: Lavender, Chamomile Roman or German (all calming and anti-inflammatory); Pine (strengthening and clearing); Juniper (detoxifying); Eucalyptus - choose the gentler Radiata (clearing); Cedarwood (good for chesty conditions); Niaouli (particularly good for sinus congestion); Rosemary (uplifting and clearing).
Let your nose be the guide as to which one would be most beneficial for you. The oils may be used in burners baths and massage oils or a few drops may be inhaled from a tissue. Try adding one drop of Niaouli to 5ml of base oil and massaging into the sinus areas on either side of the nose, the forehead and where the back of the head meets the neck.
Bach Flower Remedies
Flower essences help to treat the emotional symptoms associated with hayfever. The choice will be different for each individual. Below are some flower remedies that are common choices for hayfever sufferers.
Beech This is the most important flower remedy for hayfever it is for intolerance both physical and emotional. It is important to note that the emotional intolerance may be repressed and not readily apparent. Beech is often combined with Holly for extreme allergic reaction.
Crab Apple Use to aid the detox process, helps to cleanse the blood.
Holly For fits of sneezing and feeling irritated, angry and resentful. Particularly effective when taken in conjunction with Beech
Impatiens For people who are always in a rush, impatient, nervous, fidgety and itchy.
Olive For tiredness due to overwork, physical and emotional exhaustion.
Vervain To treat stress, nervousness and tension. For people who are pushy and excessively enthusiastic.
Walnut For those who are oversensitive to outside influences; lack inner stability; find it hard to give up bad habits.
Local honey that is un-pasteurised or un-filtered can also be helpful. Containing small amounts of pollen from the area it is harvested will promote a defence mechanism from the body and can build a resistance for the forth coming season. Take early in the year before symptoms arise, and continue through the year.