What is it?
Symptoms of hay fever can vary from sore, puffy, itchy or watery eyes, continual sneezing, runny or congested nose. Sufferers can also have a sensitivity to certain foods like wheat and dairy.
What causes it?
Hay fever is an allergy to components of pollen from trees, grasses, some plants and mould that affect the mucous lining of the nose eyes and airway. Animal hair, dust feathers spores moulds and environmental agents can also trigger allergy symptoms similar to hayfever.
What can I do?
Foods to avoid:
Anything with preservatives and additives. Wash your food thoroughly to get rid of pesticides and herbicides or, if possible, eat organic foods.
Dairy foods are mucus-forming and so will enhance the problems of hay fever. Avoid milk and anything high in saturated fats when symptoms are acute.
Avoid foods high in sugar as too much sugar will lower immune system.
Reduce salt, caffeine and alcohol.
If you have an intolerance to certain foods then avoid when you are suffering from hayfever.
Foods that can help:
Reishi mushroom powder has been shown to help the symptoms of hay fever and is available in capsule format.
Any dairy free alternatives.
Nettle tea can help to ease symptoms.
Garlic and onions are high in the flavonoid quercetin, which can help reduce the severity of allergic reactions.
Bioflavonoids protect the mucous membranes so eat plenty of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwi fruit plus fresh vegetables, brown rice and whole grains.
Hay Fever affects people in different ways so there are a number of essential oils that might help ease the symptoms.
Add Eucalyptus to an oil burner.
Add 1 drop of Roman Chamomile, Lemon and Lavender to a tissue and inhale.
Add 2 drops of Roman Chamomile and Lemon, and 1 drop of Lavender to a bath.
Add Eucalyptus to a carrier oil for a chest rub.
Acupuncture may help to relieve pain and congestion in people with hay fever by:
regulating levels of IgE and cytokines, mediators of the allergic reaction to extrinsic allergens (Ng 2004; Rao 2006; Roberts 2008)
stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz, 1987; Han 2004; Zhao 2008; Cheng 2009);
reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Zijlstra 2003; Kavoussi 2007);
enhancing natural killer cell activities and modulating the number and ratio of immune cell types (Kawakita 2008);
increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling.
For further details on how acupuncture may help alleviate the symptoms of hay fever please see the full research data sheet produced by the British Acupuncture Council www.acupuncture.org.uk.