An article by Yvonne Davies, Natural Therapist
Spring is now upon us and for some people this can mean the start of the sneezing season. Hayfever is a form of allergy affecting the lining of the nose, and often the eyes and throat. Literally hayfever can be a pain in the nose!
Hayfever is one of the most common allergies and is triggered by pollen from trees, grasses, weeds and flowers. Allergies are abnormal reactions to everyday substances causing an over-reaction of the immune system to histamine. Histamine is a chemical released by the body to fight the allergens and an excess of histamine can manifest as catarrh and nasal congestion.
Typical hayfever symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, congested nose, itchy eyes, tickly throat, difficulty breathing, cough, heavy head, itchy skin, fatigue and weakness.
Standard medical treatment involves decongestants and antihistamines. Decongestants open up clogged nasal passages and have a drying effect. Antihistamines suppress the body's natural release of histamine. However, standard decongestants can cause insomnia and raised blood pressure. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Both can interfere with the immune system and may lose effectiveness after a while.
As a natural therapist I prefer to use herbal remedies and more natural approaches to help with hayfever and allergies. Hayfever responds well to herbal treatment. There is no specific remedy for hayfever, everyone is different and what works for one person won't work for the next. Treating the whole person is the way to successfully dealing with this common problem. As well as treating the symptoms of the hayfever, I focus on general health, stress, elimination of toxins, diet and digestion when prescribing herbal remedies for my clients.
Some of the natural therapies I've used as a practitioner include:
Nettles - use as a tea or as soup. Freshly picked nettles are the best but if not then use nettle teabags. Nettle tea has been used for centuries to relieve nasal congestion, runny noses, tickly coughs and asthma.
Peppermint tea - made from the leaf, peppermint tea cools and soothes the throat, eyes, cough and headaches. It also has a mild anti-inflammatory action.
Garlic and onions - both have high concentrations of quercetin which can reduce the inflammatory reaction in the body. Include both these foods in your diet.
Chamomile - this herb contains compounds that have significant anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. Drink chamomile tea to relieve nasal congestion; cooled tea can be used as an eyewash for itchy sore eyes; the essential oil is used in many skin preparations for itchy skin and hives. Caution:chamomile is a member of the ragweed family and in some people chamomile may cause an allergic reaction so doesn't use if this happens.
Horseradish - a teaspoon of prepared horseradish or a bite of fresh horseradish will clear the sinuses like nothing else! Beware though as this is hot so don't use if you don't like hot food.
Vitamin C - various studies have shown that people who took vitamin C regularly have fewer allergy problems. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-histamine with no known side-effects, apart from diarrhoea if you take too much.
Locally-made honey - eating honey that is made from pollen in your local area can help to build up your immunity. Honey has anti-inflammatory actions as well as anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.
The combination of flavonoids quercetin and bromelain is useful as both have anti-inflammatory properties.
Avoid mucus-forming foods such as dairy, wheat and refined sugar to avoid congestion.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol during hayfever season.
Favour foods that are warm and nourishing such as soups, leafy green vegetables and wholegrains.
Drink plenty of hot water with grated fresh ginger or honey;this will help to digest toxins and regulate digestion. A good strategy for treating allergies is to strengthen digestion.
Article by Yvonne Davies, Natural Therapist. This is for information only. For a professional opinion of your natural health needs please seek a consultation with Yvonne by contacting the Kensal Health Works or call direct on 07747417856.
For more details about Yvonne visit her website: www.yjdnaturaltherapies.com
MAMH DiPNaturop, DipHerb, DipIrid
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