We want to be outside as much as possible at the moment, whether it’s stretching in the garden during those soothing summer mornings, or dozing in the balmy evening sun. But try as we might to avoid it disaster can strike, your throat turns itchy, you can’t stop sneezing, and your eyes are red and runny. It’s the dreaded hay fever.
Hay fever feels exactly like a cold, but it isn’t caused by a virus, it is down to allergic reactions to pollen, dust mites, or from animals like cats and dogs. Most commonly in the UK it is down to the pollen in trees in early spring, and grass pollen during late spring and summer.
Nearly a quarter of the population of the UK suffers from hay fever, and let’s not forget one of the biggest problems associated with it. According to Allergy UK, over half the adults and up to 88% of the children who live with hay fever suffer from issues with sleeping. That can lead to daytime fatigue, somnolence (the medical term for extreme drowsiness) and decreased cognitive functioning.
There are plenty of natural remedies for this awful ailment and Fushi are here to help and advise you to help reduce the symptoms of hay fever. Before we tell you about our favourite natural remedies, here are some small lifestyle changes you can make in order to reduce the chance of getting the most severe symptoms:
- Keep up to date with your local pollen forecast. This is so important. If you know when the pollen count is going to be high, you can be super prepared at home.
- When the pollen count is high, change your clothes when you get home so that you don’t spread pollen throughout your living space.
- Whether you’re in or out of the house, keep your windows shut during the day. This reduces the chance of pollen getting into places where you want to feel relaxed and balanced.
- Even if you do take those precautions, make sure you are dusting and hoovering regularly during pollen season in order to reduce the risk of it collecting all over your furniture.
- Since we spend over a third of our lives in bed, we recommend you change your bedding regularly during the pollen season. Just before you go to bed, as an extra precaution wash your hair as pollen collects easily there, and the last thing you want is to spread it all over your pillows overnight.
These easy to remember solutions can help you when it comes to your home, but when your lifestyle takes you out of the house the chances of getting hay fever symptoms are greatly increased. These natural remedies are the key to a more comfortable, itch and sneeze-free life.
Drink More Water
We know you’ll want to spend more time outside during the hotter days, so this tip will keep you hydrated as well as being an antidote to hay fever symptoms. The more dehydrated you become, the more your body produces the histamines that cause allergies (hence the term for anti-allergy medicines being called antihistamines). By drinking water you’ll thin the mucus in your nasal passages, and also slow the production line of histamines, and the subsequent symptoms of hay fever.
This edible fungus is a true superfood that promotes longevity and health. It has been cultivated in China for thousands of years thanks to its incredible benefits. Not only can Reishi Mushrooms help enhance the immune system, reduce stress, improve sleep, and lessen fatigue, but they are known as the number one natural supplement for controlling hay fever. Doctors have even prescribed it to patients as a quick and simple way to combat the symptoms.
Turmeric is a spice that is commonly found in most curries and is widely-known in India for its medicinal purposes. It contains many different compounds that have amazing benefits on the body, the most important being curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine. It can lower the chances of heart and brain diseases and has been proven to boost the body’s levels of dopamine and serotonin. There are many ways to ingest turmeric into the body, but our favourite is this vegan golden milk, it contains ginger which is also a natural hay fever remedy. And while dairy milk builds mucus in the body which increases the chances of hay fever symptoms, the oat milk used here has the opposite effect.
Not only do they look gorgeous, but they’re here to solve your hay fever miseries. Many house plants have detoxifying properties, leading to a cleaner indoor space, but some of them can collect pollen and other toxins from the air. However much room you have at home, try and find space for peace lilies, aloe vera, and spider plants, all of these low-maintenance indoor beauties have been proven to help improve the air quality and also are adept at tackling pollutants.
Even though we know coconut oil has a number of wonderful properties linked to cooking, the deep nourishment of skin, and as a natural hair conditioner, it also can be used as a barrier to the pollen particles linked to hay fever. If you wipe a small amount of fresh coconut oil under your nostrils, it will trap the pollen before you breathe it in, as once the particles are in the nose they are much more difficult to get rid of.
Clare Morrison is a GP and medical advisor, and she recommends this trick as it has a double bonus, “…it also moisturises the areas of the nose that usually get sore from rubbing with a tissue, so it's a win-win trick. Coconut oil also has a pretty low melting point which means you can carry it around with you all day and not worry about it melting.”
Not only do they taste great, but fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruits are high in vitamin C, which is a natural antihistamine. They are excellent decongestants, and also contain things called bioflavonoids, which have extremely powerful anti-allergy effects. A delicious way to get lemon into your system is to make it as a yogic tea, with the added benefits of ginger and the sweetness of the agave syrup, it’s a perfect morning drink.
Ginger is a powerful spice that has been an integral component of the diet in south-east Asia, India, and China for centuries. It has amazing medicinal powers. It’s perfect as a tea when you have a cold as it promotes perspiration, and has even been proven to help improve the mobility and reduce the pain of people who suffer with arthritis. It can be difficult to make ginger tea on the go, so we recommend that you chew on small pieces of ginger root sprinkled with salt throughout the day as it will help prevent a runny nose, cough, and even headaches.
Protect Your Contact Lenses
Because contact lenses are naturally moist, this means pollen loves to stick to them, irritating your eyes throughout the day. If you’re a contact lens wearer who has hay fever, we recommend you wear wraparound sunglasses when you go outside to reduce the chance of pollen getting into your eyes. If that’s not an option, opticians recommend you wear daily contact lenses so you can dispose them at the end of every day. If you’re a monthly wearer, then try and clean or rinse your lenses regularly throughout the day to try and get the pollen off them.
Visit The Seaside
This pleasant remedy to the effects of hay fever may not be possible for everyone at the moment, but if you are looking for a way to take the whole family on a trip, try and avoid the countryside and cities and make your way to the coast. Strong sea breezes tend to blow pollen inland, and the moisture in the air prevents pollen from travelling too much through the air. This means a day on the beach can be ideal to reduce the chances of getting those nasty symptoms of hay fever.
Other benefits of a seaside visit are that taking a dip will mean the sea water around the nose will act as a natural barrier and prevent pollen getting in. If you’re not a swimmer, make sure you’ve got your tub of coconut oil handy to replicate the effects! Make sure you take as many precautions as possible though, as the beach isn’t always pollen free. And don’t forget to check the pollen count throughout the day online.
Garlic has several benefits alongside its antihistamine abilities, it is extremely helpful in reducing blood pressure, producing good cholesterol, and the allicin components in it can help with sinus infections. Allicin is produced in garlic when it’s crushed and is an incredible natural decongestant due to its strong aroma. The main benefit of garlic in the fight against hay fever is the way it attacks allergens and removes them from the bloodstream completely, making it one of the best superfoods around.
It sounds unnatural, but quercetin can be found in a lot of foods including onions, apples, capers, grapes and leafy greens. It has anti-arthritis properties, lowers blood pressure, and greatly reduces the risk of heart disease. Quercetin has been proven to be an effective antihistamine, and not only that but research points to it being a potential treatment for bronchitis and asthma. If you intend on taking quercetin purely as a supplement, we recommend you take Vitamin C alongside it so your body can ingest it.
A cup of peppermint tea will offer a load of relief if your nose is blocked or your sinuses are congested, while the oil when diffused can be used to reduce inflammation. If you combine peppermint oil with lavender and lemon oils you can create a super effective soothing allergy relief, but be very wary that the more oil combinations you use, the higher the risk of you having an allergic reaction.
A small study has shown that Vitamin D can reduce many of the daytime symptoms of hay fever such as sneezing, nasal congestion and a runny nose. Vitamin D is commonly found in a lot of animal produce foods such as fish, liver, eggs and red meat. So we recommend you get your dose of it with our supplements, or from exposing the skin to safe amounts of direct sunlight, which causes your body to produce it naturally.
Nettle has been used for centuries for healing purposes, but we don’t want you to get stung, so we would recommend buying pre-prepared nettle products! The Arthritis Foundation suggest that nettle tea reduces inflammation linked to osteoarthritis, and a 2013 study showed that nettle lowered the blood sugars of people living with type 2 diabetes. When it comes to hay fever, nettle is a natural reducer of histamine, so drinking nettle tea or using a Nettle tincture reduces many symptoms without the need to rub stingy leaves on you.
Steaming is an effective home remedy for many of the symptoms we associate with hay fever, especially sneezing and the removal of excess mucus in the nose. Simply fill a bowl up with hot water and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil in. Cover your head with a towel, hold your head over the bowl and inhale the steam for ten minutes before blowing your nose. If you can follow this technique three or four times a day during high pollen season you’ll be on the road to recovery much quicker.
Although we generally associate chamomile with helping us sleep and as a de-stressing agent, it also has many antioxidant and antihistamine properties. It comes bagged or with loose leaves as a delicious tea which helps to reduce hay fever symptoms. Once the tea bags are cooled you can use them as an eye compress to relieve itchy, swollen eyes. If you can get hold of them, you can also follow the above steaming technique once a day using chamomile flowers
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