I noticed a Judas Tree budding out last week. The March winds had started to blow, and there were other telltale signs of the arrival of spring such as the sprouting of little sprigs of green coming out of the soggy ground. Yes, spring was definitely arriving.
My next thoughts were “do I have what I need to take care of the reaction I get when the pollen fills the air?”
Do you have itchy, watery eyes or a runny or stuffy nose with sneezing and maybe headaches during certain times of the year? Like me, you might have hay fever.
We all know what allergies are, right? Did you know that hay fever was an allergy? Well, it is. It is what is called a seasonal allergy because it only affects people during certain seasons. Doctors call it allergic rhinitis.
Most people are affected with hay fever either in the fall of the year or the spring time; sometimes both. Occasionally hay fever might occur year round if you are exposed to substances you are allergic to all the time such as pet dander or perfumes.
There are some natural hay fever remedies and other things you can do to get relief from hay fever.
If you’ve been here before, or for any time at all, you should know that diet is the first thing I’m going to mention!
Believe it or not, your diet can play a huge role in hay fever relief. Many natural hay fever remedies come from foods that would naturally be part of your diet such as herbs and certain vegetables.
I suffered terribly with seasonal allergies for many years. In fact, at one time I was getting injections from an allergist. I had stopped the injections and started using natural hay fever remedies but still was not completely symptom free.
Several years ago a nutritionist came and spoke to a group I was a part of and she suggested a whole foods diet for many reasons to improve health.
My husband and I went on the whole foods diet and, I have to tell you, that helped with my allergies so much.
I do still have symptoms but they are occasional and very mild compared to what they used to be!
Generally, you should concentrate on whole foods. Nothing packaged. Nothing with preservatives or food coloring, etc. in it should be eaten. Eat fresh or frozen foods only. Do not eat any foods that come in a box or in a can if you can avoid them.
In the case of seasonal allergies, cheese can cause your symptoms to be worse, so back off of the cheese at least for a while. Actually, all dairy should be avoided altogether for now.
Eat plenty of colorful foods like green leafy vegetables and fruits. The more colorful it is the better.
Try to eat whole grains only. No white bread or flour, rice, etc.
Other foods you might want to avoid include caffeine and sugar. Sugar is your immune system’s number one enemy.
Try to eat more foods with healthy fats like salmon and avocado. Avoid unhealthy fats like red meats and sauces and creams.
OK, so you’ve made some changes to your diet, but that’s not enough to help when you already have hay fever, right? What else can you do?
The most important supplement for people suffering with hay fever is none other than vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to increase your white blood cell count. Your white blood cells fight infection and inflammation.
It is also one of very few vitamins that you can take a lot of without worrying about toxicity. The allergist I worked for told all of his patients they should take 3,000mg of vitamin C daily.
Yes, that’s correct, 3,000mg. I know that seems like a lot. I take that much, especially when it’s hay fever season.
If you take too much vitamin C here’s what happens:
1) You get an upset tummy.
2) Your skin may take on a slight orange color
When I am actively sick I will take as much vitamin C as I can tolerate without getting an upset stomach until I am better.
I like to use vitamin C with rose hips.
Another good supplement is Zinc. We used to get zinc from beef when cows were all grass fed. Now that they are mostly grain fed, the zinc is missing from the beef so we need to supplement it. 30 mg per day is a good amount.
Bioflavonoids are also good as they are natural antihistamines. You can get bioflavonoids in some foods, but during allergy season you will want to supplement with 2-3 grams per day up to 6 if your symptoms persist.
Bromelain and vitamin C enhance the potency of bioflavonoids. You can get bromelain supplements, but pineapple is chock full of bromelain.
If your hay fever is really severe, you might want to add prebiotics and probiotics. I discuss these in my post about Crohn’s disease.
Diet and supplements are very helpful. There are also herbs that will help bring relief of symptoms.
Often times the very herbs you need to take care of your ailments will grow in your very own yard. For me, herbs are just magical that way. But, I’ve heard other herbalists make that same statement. It just somehow seems to happen.
However, if you are not an herbal expert, you might prefer to purchase your herbs already in capsule form and ready for use. That’s OK too!
Here are a few herbs that have been found to offer the most relief for those who suffer with hay fever:
Also known as purple coneflower, Echinacea is one of my go to herbs for colds and flu, allergies and anything of a viral nature. It is an antiviral and works where antibiotics do not. You can drink copious quantities of Echinacea tea or use the capsules. I have seen Echinacea advertised as a preventative. Alas, it is not a preventative herb. It only works once you have been exposed to a virus or, in this case, an allergen. Do not start taking it months in advance as it will not help!
Eyebright is an anti-inflammatory and it is an astringent. As the name implies, it is useful for many conditions related to the eyes.
This link is for Dr. Christopher’s eyebright. If you read the reviews you will see it is good for many issues with the eyes.
As I have mentioned in other posts, garlic is a natural antibiotic. The rumor is that it’s the garlic and onions in chicken soup that are healing elements. So the old wives tale about homemade chicken soup being so good for you when you’re sick really is true!
This is one I have only just recently begun to use. There have not been a lot of studies done regarding fenugreek, but it seems to be useful for a variety of conditions.
It’s been used for everything from digestive problems to heart conditions and beriberi, bronchitis, diabetes, gout, lymphadenitis and eczema.
I was recently told by a friend how helpful it is with hay fever and seasonal allergies so I decided to give it a try. I can tell you it works beautifully! Spring is now in full swing here in South Carolina and I am not having any of the usual issues with my sinuses!
Click here if you would like to try Fenugreek.
I have used mullein flower oil in the past for earaches related to seasonal allergies and found it very effective. The warm oil feels soothing as it enters the ear canal. Although some people are allergic to mullein flower, it is still found useful by most people.
Red clover is considered a cleanser for the blood.
It is better known as stinging nettle because of the spiny hairs on the leaves that irritate the skin upon contact. Nettles have been used for hundreds of years in the treatment of conditions like eczema, arthritis, gout, joint pain and other painful conditions of joints and muscles, as well as hay fever. Nettles reduces the histamine reaction to allergens in the body. Caution is advised for diabetics and those taking blood thinners.
Yarrow is well known as a styptic. It is the herb mentioned in Greek Mythology related to Achilles. Supposedly, he used yarrow to make himself impervious to arrows and painted it everywhere on his body except his heel. Take 1 to 2 capsules three times a day (you can actually take it up to 5). Be cautious if you cannot take aspirin as yarrow does have some salicylic acid in it just like aspirin. It can also affect blood pressure, so use caution if you are on BP meds. Click this link to order yarrow