When you have hay fever symptoms, it is easy to simply head for the pharmacy. But, if you want to avoid taking man-made drugs and side affects, there are some natural remedies for hay fever that may also work. The question is, what works best? Do natural hay fever remedies work at all?
Hay fever symptoms are a nuisance for some, but can be extremely debilitating for others. Here is a guide to natural remedies for hay fever, and whether they are effective at reducing those irritating symptoms.
The use of stinging nettle as a natural remedy for hay fever is growing in popularity. From claims that purposely stinging the skin with nettles once per week can eliminate symptoms, to drinking a daily cup of nettle tea, there are some that find using nettles helpful.
Studies are ongoing as to how nettle may be beneficial in relieving hay fever. Nettles are plants that are rich in iron and are an anti-inflammatory that may be helpful in reducing symptoms.
See if nettles work for you by gathering some to make tea or soup (don’t worry, the fine stinging hairs disappear in hot water). If you get stung in the process, you can see if that works too!
Don’t fancy the idea if picking nettles? They are available in most health food stores as a capsule or as a nettle extract.
It has long been said that eating local honey may help relieve hay fever symptoms. The idea is that honey contains pollen, and when you consume pollen from your local area it may help you to become desensitised to it.
While there is some logic to the idea, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that it works. Still, any excuse to drizzle a little honey on your breakfast can’t be that bad!
Vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine and also helps support the immune system. It is also an anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce the severity of an allergic reaction to pollen and helping the body to recover quicker.
Foods rich in vitamin C are citrus fruits, broccoli and onions. You can also get high doses of vitamin C in high strength capsules and supplements.
CBD oil comes from hemp plants, not marijuana. It is 100% legal, won’t get you ‘high’ and has a host of health benefits. Research is ongoing into the effects of CDB on allergies, with mixed results. One study has shown that CBD may help regulate ‘mast cells’ that are responsible for histamine production. However, the evidence for CBD as a natural remedy for hay fever is largely anecdotal.
CDB is seen as a ‘cure all’ for many health and wellness areas, and people respond differently to it. What works for some may not work for others, but even if it doesn’t work for hay fever, it will still give you some positive benefits for health.
Quercetin is a flavanoid that’s naturally found in some foods. It has anti-histamine effects, as it helps to prevent the release of histamine in the body, lessening the allergic reaction. It is also an anti-inflammatory, helping to sooth the tissues around the eyes and nasal passages. Foods that contain good amounts of quercetin are parsley, peppers, onions and berries.
Garlic is known for its anti-bacterial qualities, but it also can help block histamine production in the body. Eat plenty with meals, and it will also keep the vampires away! If you don’t fancy having daily garlic breath, opt for a garlic supplement in a capsule.
Acupuncture is an ancient treatment where very fine needles are gently inserted into the skin at mapped points. The World Health Organisation published a report showing that acupuncture helps regulate the immune system and that clinical trials showed it to be more effective than antihistamine medication!
Acupuncture is not something that you can do yourself, but an internet search will bring up some practitioners in your area.
If you are a hot curry lover, or enjoy eating hot peppers, then this tip is for you! Eating spicy food may help to widen the airways in the nasal passages, helping to ease the congestion that comes from an allergy to pollen.
Turmeric is often found in spicy dishes, and this spice is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities that may naturally relieve hay fever symptoms.
Applying a thin layer of balm, like Vaseline or Hay Max, is a natural defence against hay fever.
By applying it to the nostril area, stray pollen grains stick to the balm rather than being breathed in. For this to be effective, balms need to be frequently applied.
Preventing Hay Fever
As well as treating the symptoms of hay fever, preventing or minimising exposure to pollen is also a way to lessen how much you are affected by it. While it is not always possible to stay home with the window and doors shut, (and who would want to do that anyway?) you can create pollen-free zones in your house. Choose one or two rooms, especially a bedroom, where you can keep as pollen free as possible.
To do this, frequently wash bed linen and dry indoors. Use an air purifier to remove allergens. Use essential oils like mint and eucalyptus to help ease congestion in the nose.
If you have been outside during the day, washing hair at night before going to bed will remove pollen grains and prevent you having hay fever symptoms during the night.
There is no cure for hay fever, so many people rely on medicines to control their symptoms and allow them to go outside and enjoy the warmer months. While medicines undoubtedly work in managing hay fever, not everyone feels comfortable relying on pharmaceuticals. Not to mention, there may be side effects such as drowsiness and fatigue.
Natural hay fever remedies may work for some, but for others hay fever does require a stronger approach. However, before you head to the chemist or your doctor, it is worth trying a combination of natural remedies for hay fever, as you may find that using two or three together lessens your hay fever symptoms enough for you to be free of medications.
Do you use natural remedies for hay fever? Please tell us what works for you in the comments!