Nip Hayfever in the bud naturally.
The unpleasant symptoms of hayfever can strike from as early as the beginning of March. They usually include a runny nose, itchy, watery, bloodshot eyes and repeated sneezing attacks. As in any allergy, hayfever is the result of the body treating a usually harmless substance, in this case pollen, as a threat and reacting accordingly. Depending on where you live you can be exposed to pollen from as early as March when tree pollens proliferate. Tree pollen can be a problem from March to May. From May to July grass and flower pollens are in the air and some late flowering plants as well as mould spores can effect people well into the autumn months, although this is less common.
My belief is that as we continue to eat a more denatured diet and have more compromised immune systems that hayfever, food allergies and other immune related disorders will get more common and, indeed, we’re seeing this year on year in the shop.
Anti histamine medications are commonly prescribed for hayfever and for many people they do work although for some the effect can be of relatively short duration (a season or two before symptoms recur despite continuing to take them!) and if you’ve found this to be the case or, if you just want to try a natural remedy first, there are a number to choose from. However we would counsel taking any of the following from early in the season, don’t wait for the symptoms to assert themselves. Why not try some of the following?
Quercetin is a nutrient often found with vitamin C in nature (in fruit rind for example) and its effect is anti-inflammatory and anti histamine. 200mg daily is the recommended dosage.
Often taken with Quercetin to improve its effect, vitamin C itself has been shown to ‘detox’ the body of histamines and ease bronchial constriction. Take between 1 and 3 grams daily.
Vitamin B5 is the body’s main adrenal supportive nutrient (hence its common use to help the body deal with stress) . In the case of allergic response B5 encourages the production of cortisone (which is anti inflammatory) by the adrenal glands. B5 can be found in combination with Quercitin or with other B vitamins. A typical dosage might be 200mg daily.
Pycnogenol is a natural extract of pine bark and it offers relief from a wide range of inflammatory and respiratory conditions such as hayfever. Other beneficial side effects include protecting the fine capillary network, improving skin appearance, reducing age-spots, aiding cognitive function, protecting the cardiovascular system and even preventing long haul flight DVT.
Should your main symptom be irritation and watering of the eyes there are two herbs that can help and should definitely be part of your regime. Fortunately they can be bought in one supplement. They are Bilberry and Eyebright.
Bilberry is rich in compounds that help increase blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to the eyes while, at the same time, preventing the release of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine.
Eyebright has broad protective properties for the eyes, helping with inflammation, styes, eye fatigue, weeping, stinging and sensitivity to light.
Essential fatty acids from hemp or flax oils also have anti inflammatory effects when taken over time. One to three teaspoons daily would be generally recommended.
Taking a few teaspoonful of honey from your own locality and taking bee pollen granules daily are both reputed to help and while the honey will give you a short term energy lift many people find that taking pollen helps energy levels generally!
If for any reason such as pregnancy, in the case of very young children or when taking other potentially interactive medications you want to avoid stronger supplements, a gentler but often equally effective approach would be to try homoeopathic remedies. Individual remedies like Euphrasia for eye irritation can be taken but also very popular are the combination Homoeopathics such as Nelsons Polenna in tablet form and New Vistas Hay Fever remedy in the form of drops. A Vogel Pollenosan which comes in the forms of tablets and drops is a combination of 7 herbals homeopathically prepared which many people find effective. The range also includes a nasal spray which is a gentle, natural decongestant.
Also in this catagory are the barrier balms, a well known brand is Haymax. These are simply applied to the area around the nostrils before going to any place likely to have a lot of pollen in the air. They trap it before it gets into the system to cause irritation and are found by many to be a life saver.
So if you think you may be at risk during the pollen season consider some of the above natural hayfever preventatives. This could be the year you too can enjoy sitting in the garden eating strawberries on a balmy summer evening without the tears.
For more advice tune into South East Radio on Friday 27th at 11.30am where Nichola will be discussing Hayfever with Alan Corcoran. And in keeping with the hayfever theme one of our Loyalty Card Offers for April is Solgar Quercetin Complex capsules which are on offer for €17.99.