Are there any natural remedies for hay fever?

Response from Irene McCabe Naturopathic Nutritionist:

Each year Hayfever appears to be becoming ever more common as I see many clients with this condition in my Allergy Clinic.

After carrying out Allergy Testing it can be established as to which particular pollen is aggravating the client. There are many symptoms associated with this irritating condition such as sneezing, coughing, runny itchy eyes, blocked nose, headache, snoring, blocked ears, sore throat, cough etc and many people are not initially aware that they are having an allergic reaction. Many sufferers just think they have a summer cold and don’t connect the fact that their symptoms appear with the onset of the pollen season

Once the particular allergen has been established after testing to see whether tree pollen, grass pollen, plant pollen etc is the culprit, I can then send away to our lab in Wales to make up a homeopathic remedy for that particular client

Hayfever affects around 2% of the population and often begins in childhood though it can develop at any point during life. Many sufferers grow out of it after a few years. People with asthma and eczema are more likely to develop hayfever and the three conditions are classed as atopic conditions or atopy. Conventional treatment focuses on antihistamine drugs to block the release of histamine from the mast cells lining the nose and throat thereby reducing the symptoms.

Other supplements that help with symptomatic relief of allergies or to support the immune system or reduce inflammation include Nettle Tincture or Tea, Probiotics, Vitamin D3 , Zinc, Vitamin C, Aloe Vera Juice, Multi Vitamins, Chlorella and Spirulina

Response from Nikki Biddiss, Medical Herbalist:

Allergic rhinitis, inflammation of the nose, occurs when the body produces antibodies (IgE) in response to an allergen such as pollen or moulds. This triggers the familiar symptoms of a runny or blocked nose, itchy eyes, sneezing and coughing as the body tries to flush out the offending allergen.

Grass pollen is the most common irritant and occurs May-July but some are also affected by tree pollen (February-June) and weed pollen (June-September) which lengthens the duration of symptoms. Mould is present all year round but increases with harvesting in the autumn or in mild, damp conditions (the Scottish summer!) One-third of adults are affected by an allergy at some point in their life so rhinitis is relatively common.

The key to managing symptoms is identifying likely cause (by monitoring when symptoms peak) and taking steps to avoid the allergen. Stay indoors when pollen counts are high and keep windows closed. Change your clothes after being outdoors and shower and wash your hair. Wear a filtration mask if cutting the grass or raking leaves worsens symptoms. Wear sunglasses to protect eyes and apply a barrier balm to the nostrils to prevent irritants entering the nasal passageways.

Drinking nettle tea throughout the live season can help dampen symptoms as it has an anti-histamine action. A number of herbs are traditionally used to manage hay-fever and these include eyebright, plantain, elderflower and ground ivy. I would recommend visiting a herbalist so they can blend the most appropriate herbs for your symptoms.

Consult your health practitioner before following any advice if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have underlying health issues or are on any other medication.

Nikki Biddiss is a Medical Herbalist, Aromatherapy Massage Therapist and Stress and Wellbeing Coach. To book a consultation For Nikki call Napier’s, 61 Cresswell Street, Glasgow on 0141 339 5859.

Irene McCabe is a Naturopathic Nutritionist and has been an Independent Nutritional Researcher for over 30 years. Irene also practices Allergy and Intolerance Testing and Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapy and is the former owner of Napier’s in Glasgow’s West End. To book a consultation For Irene call The Harvest Clinic, 201 West George Street, Glasgow on 0141 333 0878