3 natural ways to relieve hay fever
The constant sneezing, runny or congested nose and headaches or migraines from hay fever are no laughing matter. Ngaio Richards from the House of Fertility & Healing in Newtown offers holistic methods to tackle the dreaded spring/summer problem.
Did you know that nearly 15% of the Australian population suffers from hay fever? To put it into perspective, that’s 3.1 million people, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. And with spring on our doorstep this seasonal allergy is bound to be causing more than a few sniffles in many homes around the neighbourhood.
What causes hay fever?
Our immune system is built to protect us from dangers that lurk outside our finely balanced ecosystem, but sometimes it can overreact when confronted with allergens such as dust, grass, pollen and fungal spores. When this overreaction occurs our body naturally releases substances such as histamine, which then create the irritating symptoms of hay fever.
There are a number of options when it comes to finding relief from hay fever. The obvious one is through the use of antihistamine or corticosteroid medications. But they may not be the best option, especially for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children under 12. In addition, they have a wide range of side effects, and don’t work for everyone, and are known to suppress the immune system causing an increase in the likelihood of other illnesses and infections to occur. There are other, more natural ways, that you can treat hay fever. Try these three easy ideas…
1. Change your diet
Fortunately Mother Nature has given us an abundance of delicious foods packed full of nutrients that are extremely beneficial for alleviating hay fever. The first thing to do is cut down on foods that increase mucous production and nasal congestion, such as dairy products, sugar and excessive starch. Increase your intake of foods that have natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties, and immune-boosting powers, such as:
- Kiwi fruit
- Licorice, nettle and chamomile teas
- Orange and green fruit and vegetables
- Horseradish and garlic
- Hot peppers and chillies
Eating locally produced honey, which is made from the same pollens that are floating around in the air and giving you hay fever, has been reported as an effective way to lessen hay fever. Check out Urban Beehive for local Sydney honey supplies.
As an added boost, take a daily dose of probiotics as well. They can help our intestinal tract, and can assist hayfever sufferers in restoring a more balanced immune response to pollens.
2. Avoid pollen
It seems like a no-brainer, but avoiding pollen is the best way to reduce your hay fever symptoms. Here are some things you can do to achieve this:
- Pay attention to pollen counts in your area
- Stay indoors on high Pollen Days
- Avoid contact with pets that have been outdoors – they can carry pollen inside
- If you go outdoors, shower afterwards as this helps remove pollen from your skin and hair
- Closing doors and windows during hay fever season will significantly reduce the pollen count inside your house
3. Get some acupuncture
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are effective, natural hayfever treatments that have been used for thousands of years. At its core, Chinese medicine aims to treat not only the symptoms of hay fever, but goes right to the root of the problem and attempts to prevent its onset altogether.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine view, hay fever is caused by energetic imbalances which may be due to a variety of factors such as poor diet, emotional stress, lack of exercise and other lifestyle choices. During a consultation, these underlying imbalances are uncovered by feeling your pulse, examining your tongue, and getting a clear understanding of how your lifestyle is affecting your health.
Chinese medicine uses a variety of techniques to deal with hay fever, including acupuncture needles, herbal medicine, cupping and dietary advice. When used in conjunction with herbal formulas that are specially prepared for each person, many patients achieve long lasting results.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are safe, effective and natural. For acupuncture appointments, visit House of Fertility & Healing.
Ngaio Richards is founder of House of Fertility & Healing in Newtown, Sydney. She is a registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner with AHPRA, and a member of Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA). Ngaio has been a practicing acupuncturist for more than 22 years, a Chinese herbalist for 13 of those years, and has 30 years overall experience working in the health field.