Winter’s chilly winds seem to be passing, the mornings are crisp and fresh, the blossoms are out on the trees … and then your eyes get itchy and you start sneezing. Yep, it’s hay fever season again.
Before you reach for the snooze-inducing drugs, try some of these natural remedies that can really help, even when pollen counts are at their highest.
It sounds counterintuitive, but the bee pollen in honey can help desensitize you to other pollens. Start taking a spoon a day before hay season starts to reduce your hay fever symptoms significantly. The only catch is that you must use local unprocessed, raw honey that contains pollens local to your area, so make a late winter trip to your farmer’s market and grab a jar or two.
Acupuncture has been shown to reduce hay fever symptoms dramatically. A trained acupuncturist will pinpoints specific areas of the body to help relieve any symptoms caused by current ailments. You’ll need to have four to six acupuncture sessions before hay fever season starts to see results.
3. PawPaw Ointment
Spreading a thin layer of PawPaw ointment inside your nostrils can help combat hay fever and reduce symptoms significantly. The sticky ointment traps pollen entering the nostrils, effectively blocking it from entering the nasal passages and stopping hay fever symptoms from worsening. The added bonus is that it will help a nose that’s sore from blowing.
4. Chamomile tea
An antioxidant and antihistamine, chamomile tea also contains flavonoids and acts effectively as an anti-inflammatory agent. While best taken as a cuppa during the day, chamomile tea can also be used as an eye compress. The compress provides a cooling effect to swollen, red eyes caused by hay fever and reduces irritability considerably.
Drink a cup of chamomile tea, then use the cooled teabag as any eye compress. Pop the teabag in the fridge for 10 minutes first so it’s even more cooling and soothing.
5. Natural Decongestants
Chillis contain an active component called capsaicin. Add chillis and capsicums to your food to help open up your nasal passages and reduce congestion.
You can also try using aromatherapy oils like menthol, lavender and eucalyptus in a vaporizer or steam therapy. Even a breathe easy aromatherapy balm like our favourite Badger one will help when you’re on the go.
6. Natural antihistamines
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, and bioflavinoids have an anti allergy effect. You’ll find all of these in citrus fruit. Other foods high in vitamin C include capsicums and chillis, kiwi fruit, kale, broccoli, pawpaw, strawberries and cauliflower.
7. Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. They’re great for boosting the immune system, and they also acts as a decongestant, and contains quercetin, which is a natural antihistamine. Boosting your allium intake before spring should help reduce your symptoms.
You can also try parsley, berries, apples, kale and red grapes – all of which are high in quercetin.
Do what your mother told you and eat your vegetables! Fresh veggies in particular are high in flavinoids, and the carotenoids in yellow and orange vegetables and fruits are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. These will help reduce the inflammation in your airways as well as helping to improve your immune system.
Turmeric is also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Try mixing it in a drink with honey and lemon – it’s delicious hot or cold.
Somewhat like the common cold, boosting your immune system, eating well and staying healthy, and getting a moderate amount of exercise will help to reduce your hay fever symptoms.
Now get out there and enjoy the spring!
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