Alternative hay fever remedies to try this summer
The arrival of summer means many wonderful things – days at the beach, long afternoon walks with family, barbeques and evening jogging included. However, the sunny months can also bring with them a significant increase in pollen, causing the allergy-prone individual’s worst nightmare: hay fever. If each summer you are plagued by itchy, watering eyes, constant sneezing, inflammation, sore throats or decongested sinuses, don’t worry – there are plenty of natural remedies for hay fever that will relieve your symptoms – without side effects!
Or, if you’re not sure about which of these ingredients to try out, why not visit a spa in Yorkshire to consult an expert and try some of your allergy-curing treatments such as reflexology?
One of the most famous ingredients you can consume to alleviate hay fever is honey. What’s so amazing about the sweet nectar is that it not only reduces symptoms of seasonal allergies but can also prevent them. As Good to Know explains, “Honey is said to cure hay fever because the bee pollen in honey can desensitise your body to other pollens. Increasing honey in your daily dietary intake should reduce hay fever symptoms significantly.” Using local honey to your area also boosts the effectiveness of this treatment, because it is made from bees pollinating the very plants that are causing your problems!
Oranges are well known for being packed full of vitamin c, a property highly regarded as a natural antihistamine. The perfect alternative to over-the-counter antihistamine medication, citrus fruits like oranges also contain bioflavonoids, which are powerful allergy remedies as they prevent the release of histamines. Eating citrus fruits such as oranges not only provides these benefits but is very refreshing for when you’re feeling blocked up and overheated. But, for the fullest benefits, take a supplement – a maximum of 1000mg per day is recommended for allergic conditions.
Garlic is something of a superfood ingredient for countless minor ailments. It acts to prevent allergic reactions by boosting the body’s natural immune system and is also a great decongestant and anti-inflammatory to reduce mild hay fever symptoms. A fantastic source of quercetin and a natural antihistamine, garlic is perfect to incorporate into your diet as a way to naturally prevent hay fever.
If you’ve ever eaten a really spicy curry, you’ll know that chilli is very effective at clearing the sinuses! Chillies remove congestion due to the presence of capsaicin, which works to dilate the nasal passages and aid the breathing. If a day of sneezing and sniffing has got you ‘bunged up’, adding some chilli into your dinner is sure to make you breathe easier.
Peppermint is another ingredient famous for refreshing us and helping us breathe more easily. Acupuncturist Christina Morris says that peppermint is “considered to have antibacterial and antiviral properties, and also [to] act as a cooling agent when applied topically.” Peppermint is therefore great as an inhalation – whether you apply a little of the essential oil to a tissue or do steam inhalation. Christine also adds, “When applied to the feet, the nerve endings are stimulated, creating a circulatory response as well as an immune response of the lymphatic system. So, if you want to boost your whole immune system and shift the hay fever, peppermint is a great choice.
Eucalyptus oil is another decongesting ingredient that is fantastic for soothing blocked noses and sinuses in hay fever sufferers. It is able to open the respiratory system whilst reducing inflammation, to effectively allow for better breathing. One of the best ways to use it is to add a few drops into a bowl of boiled water and hold your face above the bowl with a towel over your head. Breathe in and this vapour treatment will help to clear your airways straight away.
Don’t rule out root veg during summer – many of them are incredibly beneficial for treating hay fever. Carrots, in particular, can help sufferers through prevention as well as cure. It is the carotenoids, the naturally-occurring pigments creating the orange colour of these root vegetables – that make carrots so powerful against hay fever. These substances are antioxidants that reduce inflammation in the airways, easing the breathing, whilst boosting the immune system.
Ginger is renowned for its many medicinal properties – antioxidant, antibacterial, bioactive, anti-nausea and many more. One of its best uses for hay fever, though, is its anti-inflammatory nature. Sinusitis is one of the most common symptoms caused by hay fever, which involves the inflammation of the cavities around the nasal passages. Ginger is brilliant for reducing this inflammation. Many studies suggest that ginger can also reduce the levels of Immunoglobin E antibodies released during an allergic reaction – the antibodies which trigger the release of histamine, causing symptoms.
Cutting up a few slices of cucumber is not just great for tired eyes, but for sore ones, too. Full of vitamins and minerals, cucumber is 90 per cent water, meaning it is highly hydrating for dry, irritated skin. It is also particularly cooling, which is great for swollen or puffy eyes. Take the cucumber fresh out of the fridge and apply a slice over each closed eye and let the moisture soak in for as long as possible.
A fantastic alternative to cucumber and for arguably stronger results is chamomile tea. This relaxing brew is great for calming the body from the inside, with anti-inflammatory agents, but the tea bags can also be applied topically. Applying the tea bags to the eyes as a compress can cool swollen, red eyes and reduce irritability. This natural antioxidant and antihistamine is definitely one to keep in your kitchen cupboard!
Honey and lemon
This classic combination is a fail-safe for hay fever-induced sore throats. The honey is soothing, and high in antioxidants, whilst lemon is antibacterial. The ascorbic acid found in lemons also promotes healing of the irritated tissues causing soreness. Of course, honey and lemon also contain high levels of vitamin C, and the warm temperature is soothing in itself. Use local honey to increase the hot drink’s all-round effectiveness against hay fever.