Natural Remedies for Hay Fever
Most people can’t wait for the start of summer, but if you are one of the 25% of the population that suffers with hay fever, then this time of year can be miserable due to the high pollen count. The hay fever season usually starts in March, but some people are affected earlier in the year. People who have symptoms from March are usually affected by tree pollens. Grass pollens are released from April- May onwards and affect most people. The symptoms of hay fever are very similar to a common cold.
The common hay fever symptoms are red, itchy and streaming eyes, sneezing, itchy throat and tiredness. All of these symptoms are due to the release of histamine from the mast cells in our body.
Hay fever is affecting more people every year. The reason for this is as yet not known, but may be related to the fact that more people than ever have allergies. This may be due to the multiple vaccines that are administered to children and young adults. These vaccines do not allow our own natural immune systems to fully develop. Another possible reason could be the stringent methods of cleanliness that we now have in modern life. It is interesting to note that allergies are not very common in developing countries, where people spend most of the time outdoors and do not take much conventional medication.
Conventional medicines for hay fever are anti-histamines, steroid nasal sprays and eye drops containing sodium cromoglycate. I have noticed, in my work as a pharmacist, that these medications are not as effective as they were a few years ago. Doctors are prescribing anti-histamines such as cetirizine, chlorpheniramine and loratidine in very high doses just to control the symptoms. Most hay fever sufferers take a combination of these products on a daily basis just to get through the day. These medicines do also have a number of side effects, and some people do not find them very effective. The main side effects are drowsiness and dry eyes. There are a number of natural remedies that you can take, which are free of side effects.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that works by stopping the manufacture and release of histamine from our mast cells. Quercetin is found naturally in most herbs and plant foods, but is especially high in black tea, red apples, red wine, onions and broccoli. Quercetin works by blocking the release of histamine from the mast cells, rather than on the nerves (like conventional anti-histamines). As a result, quercetin does not have the common side effects such as drowsiness, which most conventional hay fever medicines have.
Butterbur, also known as petasites hybridus, is a herbal remedy that also has a natural anti-histamine action, without the side effects such as drowsiness. Pine bark (pycnegenol) is a rich source of antioxidant flavonoids that have strong natural anti-histamine activity.
A good supplement to take in addition to the natural anti-histamines is a good quality Vitamin B Complex. This will help to maintain and boost your immune system.
There are many homeopathic remedies that can help to treat the symptoms of hay fever. The combination of Mixed Grasses and Pollens is usually a good starting point. The remedy is made from a combination of tree, grass and plant pollens. It works on the principal of Isopathy (taking a remedy made from the specific allergen). Another combination remedy that is commonly used is Allium Cepa, Euphrasia and Sabadilla (AES). This combination homeopathic remedy can help to reduce the sneezing, runny eyes and dry throat, which are associated with hay fever. These homeopathic remedies should be taken in the 30c potency, up to three times a day. For more information please read the article Homeopathy for Hay Fever.
I would strongly recommend you to get constitutional homeopathic treatment to prevent hay fever attacks from occurring. Many people have been cured of hay fever by homeopathy, but you need to start treatment in the preceding autumn or winter.