Guest blog by Sam Hadadi
While we’re the first to jump for joy at those early signs of summer sun, the warmer months can be unbearable for hay fever sufferers. Those dreaded stuffy noses, streaming and itchy eyes, and sniffs and sneezes can start as early as the spring – and, for some poor souls, they last for months.
Hay fever is one of the most common allergies in the UK – as a country, we suffer from it worse than any other in Europe – and affects a massive one in four of us. Yet so many of us simply reach for drugs to treat our symptoms, without ever considering that there might be another way.
However, if you suffer from hay fever and don't want to dose up on those over-the-counter, drowsy drugs, then there are plenty of natural remedies you can turn to. Whether your lawn has been recently mowed, or however high the pollen counts soar, there’s a simple remedy to help treat your symptoms so that you can get on with your day.
Here are our favourite ways of treating hay fever, the natural way:
As the most delicious way of treating hay fever, this may well be our favourite! Amazingly, simply adding a spoonful of honey to your daily diet could desensitise the body to pollen. Honey is also well known for its soothing, antibacterial properties and is a wonderful remedy for scratchy, sore throats.
Interested? To really enjoy the benefits of honey, it’s best to buy, raw, local jars wherever you can and start taking a spoonful a few months before the hay fever season kicks in.
Get Your Vitamin C
When it comes to the summer, there aren’t many things more refreshing than oranges or lemons. However, your favourite citrus fruits can also be a powerful weapon against hay fever as they’re rich in vitamin C, a natural antihistamine. The fruits are also rich in bioflavonoids, which have powerful anti-allergy and decongestant effects.
Add Some Spice
Spicy curries are a well-known remedy for colds and bunged-up noses, and chillies are just as effective at treating symptoms of hay fever. These spicy little peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which opens and clears nasal passages to reduce congestion, helping you to breathe easy.
Wear Wrap-Around Sunglasses
While it may not be the most glamorous option – sorry to all you fashionistas out there - wearing wrap-around sunglasses can work wonders for hay fever sufferers. You see, it means that no part of the eye will be exposed to the air, so you’ll be protected from all that nasty pollen lingering in the garden.
Drink Herbal Teas
We love herbal teas in the Lucy Bee office and, happily, they can treat those pesky hay fever symptoms too. Ginger tea with a spoonful of raw honey can overcome chest congestion, as well as strengthening the immune system and acting as a natural antihistamine, while peppermint tea can soothe nasal congestion.
One of our favourite 'miracle' workers, green tea, can also block the production of histamine and boost the immune system. Drink up!
Eat Your Omega-3s
Omega-3s, found in oily fish such as salmon or good-quality eggs, aren’t just good for the heart. These super-powered fatty acids can reduce the levels of inflammatory chemicals the body creates after it’s exposed to allergens such as pollen. Try adding a sprinkling of walnuts, chia seeds or flaxseed to your breakfast bowls for an extra omega-3 boost.
Anyone with a phobia of needles should set that aside because, incredibly, the ancient Chinese medicine of acupuncture – which is believed to balance the body’s energies - can reduce hay fever symptoms. You see, acupuncture pinpoints specific areas of the body and can help to treat the symptoms you feel. In fact, studies1 have shown that acupuncture is effective in reducing hay fever symptoms, with users needing to medicate far less than those who didn’t use the needles.
Say goodbye to runny noses and scratchy eyes by trying self-hypnosis. Sounds strange and a little far-out, doesn’t it? Yet recent studies2 have shown that sufferers who used self-hypnosis and special relaxation techniques saw their hay fever symptoms plummet. Why? It’s thought that hypnosis can change the flow of blood, as well as easing congestion.
When it comes to hay fever, eating your favourite Italian foods could give you a real boost. You see, red onions are a good source of quercetin (it contains three times as much as kale), which is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. While it may not make you nice to kiss, garlic is also known to boost the immune system, as well as acting as an effective decongestant.
Pass us the Bolognese…
If In Doubt, Reach for the Lucy Bee!
If those treatments don’t work, then fret not! Lucy Bee can also double up as a natural hay fever treatment by working as a barrier cream. Simply spread a thin layer of our coconut oil inside the nostrils to wave goodbye to a whole host of hay fever symptoms. Our coconut oil works by stopping the pollen from entering the nose, stopping hay fever and those dreaded symptoms in its tracks.
About Lucy Bee Limited
Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and eating close to nature with additive free products for health.
The views and opinions expressed in videos and articles on the Lucy Bee website/s or social networking sites are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect those of Lucy Bee Limited.
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Sam Hadadi is an ex-BBC journalist and now a freelance writer specialising in fitness and food.