Tackling Hayfever Naturally
This week we're joined by our friends at Inside Out for the lowdown on treating your Hayfever naturally, and effectively.
Many of us know the frustration of Hayfever, just as the sun starts to shine and we can be outside more, BAM, here come the sneezes, runny eyes, dry throats and more. We love that it can be tackled with natural products and with a few little lifestyle changes. Over to Lucia and Inside Out!
This Spring, Allergy Awareness Week has a focus on hay fever – a condition which affects millions in the UK, making spring and summer an uncomfortable time for many, and can cause serious health conditions for some.
Hay fever, amongst other allergies can make for dismal days; itchy and watery eyes along with breathing irritation or nasal discomfort are the most common problems we are asked about in store. Thankfully there are plenty of natural options to choose from to help support your health and wellbeing through hay fever season.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen.
The body’s immune system reacts by releasing huge amounts of histamine, causing inflammation. Natural products and ingredients with anti-inflammatory and or anti-histamine properties are key, and there are a number of supplements that will help support your overall immune system.
What natural options are there?
Hay fever can occur in all seasons, and our team are on hand to offer advice in store and online. In this article, registered Nutritional Therapist Alison Crowther talks us through the most popular products that our customers use to keep their hay fever symptoms in check.
Quercetin - has anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties. Available as a supplement, often in combination with bromelain, vitamin C and nettle.
Bromelain - has anti-inflammatory properties and is often found in supplements that contain quercetin, as it helps the absorption of quercetin.
Vitamin C – a natural anti-histamine
Nettle - has anti-histamine properties. Try it as a tea or supplement.
Luffa herbal tincture - specifically formulated for allergies and hay fever
Luffa Nasal Spray – herbal spray for the nostrils
Euphrasia – herbal eye drops, for itchy eyes.
Probiotics – these are beneficial bacteria for the gut, which support the immune system
Local honey – many people have reported a reduction in hay fever symptoms when taking local honey. We stock this. However ideally this needs to be taken a couple of months prior to your symptoms starting.
Supporting the Immune System
Immune support is good for all areas of health, and you can ensure you look after yours with these top tips from Alison.
Take a good quality probiotic, and ensure your Vitamin D levels are at ‘optimum level’. Vitamin C, echinacea, elderberry and zinc also support the immune system and are all available as supplements.
What else can we do?
Here are some practical tips to minimise exposure to pollen:
- Use a barrier balm under your nostrils to prevent pollen going in (remember to reapply it when you blow your nose!).
- Avoid being out in the peak pollen times (check the MET office website for pollen count forecast).
- Have a shower or change your clothes when you come in, to remove pollen.
- Use sunglasses to completely cover your eyes (wrap around ones are a good option)
- Don’t dry your washing outside
- Don’t keep fresh flowers in the house
- Keep windows and doors closed (draw curtains if need to keep the house cool)
- Improve air quality in the home by using a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner on flooring and furniture, using a dehumidifier and a HEPA air purifier
- Minimise synthetic clothes on your skin as they create an electrical charge which can make the pollen stick to your skin
- Wash clothes at a hot temperature
What can I eat (or avoid) to help?
Include natural anti-histamine food: Vitamin C foods (oranges, red peppers, broccoli, kiwi, strawberries, and kale), quercetin containing foods (eg apples, peppers, onions, berries) and the bromelain containing food: pineapple.
Reduce your intake of histamine rich foods. These include: alcohol (especially wine and beer), pickled or canned foods, mature cheese, smoked meat products, fish (tinned, smoked and shellfish).
Try local honey well before the hay fever season starts, to build up your immunity to the local pollen.
Avoid dairy foods as they can be mucous forming for many people and too much can be pro-inflammatory
Try eating hot spicy foods to help decongest the nose or thin any mucous, eg ginger, cayenne peppers, hot chilli peppers, horseradish or hot mustard.
Avoid high levels of sugar and white, refined carbohydrates as these can be pro-inflammatory
Eat oily fish (eg anchovies, mackerel, sardines and wild/organic salmon) at least twice a week, to get Omega 3 essential fatty acids, or take a supplement. Omega 3 has anti-inflammatory properties.