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Hayfever - an Alternative Approach

Hayfever and related asthma-type chest problems are becoming more commonplace year by year. It is thought that the increasing pollution of the air we breathe is triggering sensitivities and allergies to a wide variety of substances, including the pollens which cause so much summer hayfever misery. It isn’t just the sneezing and itchy eyes – many people now have persistent sore throats, headaches and chest wheezing. This is bad enough if you work in an office, but can be a major career obstacle if you sing, dance or speak for your living. Antihistamine drugs have improved immeasurably in the past few years, but they still have unpleasant side effects – dry mouth and eyes for example – which cause almost as much trouble as the hayfever if you are a singer. And ‘non-drowsy’ really translates to ‘less drowsy’.

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What causes hayfever?

Hayfever and other allergies are due to overstimulation of the immune system – so exposure to certain pollens can give you all the symptoms of a runny cold. The body’s defence system reacts to the pollen as if it were a virus, and you can feel just as bad as you would if you had a mild ‘flu. So, to reduce your body’s overreaction, you need to calm down your overworking immune system. Here are some ways that may ease your symptoms, in the short run, and reduce your sensitivity season by season.

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What can you do to help yourself?

1. Find a source of honey produced close to your home, and stock up during your worst time of the year.The honey will contain very small doses of pollen. Take a teaspoon daily throughout the year. For many people this reduces their hayfever significantly year by year. Hot honey and lemon drinks will often help ease the flu-like symptoms of hayfever immediately.

2. Use an air filter or ioniser which helps to keep the air free of pollen. This is particularly helpful beside the bed at night.

3. If antihistamines don’t agree with you, you could try a homeopathic remedy, or a herbal mixture that contains herbs such as Euphrasia to reduce all the many hayfever symptoms. This should also provide Echinacea to balance the immune system.

4. Regular salt water irrigation of the sinuses can be very helpful, as it both shrinks the nasal lining membranes and makes them less sensitive. Sniff the water from your cupped hand, or use a netti pot (from Indian shops). The water should taste just as salty as sea water.

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5. Reduce the overall load on your immune system. Use unperfumed personal care and household products; reduce stress; exercise regularly; investigate any food intolerances - your nutritional therapist can help you with this aspect.

6. Some food supplements can reduce allergy symptoms. Vitamin C (1-2 grams in time-release form) and Quercitin (1-3 tablets daily) have been shown to be of use.

7. Remember when Winter comes, that all the strategies that help with hayfever can be utilised for sinusitis and colds.

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So, sit back in your deckchair, sip a glass of antioxidant-rich red wine (or cranberry juice), and breathe in the fragrant, low-allergy air of Summer!

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Products Featured in this guide include:

Some of the products mentioned in the "Hayfever - an Alternative Approach" guide can be found on these links:

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