It's estimated that there are more than 15 million people that suffer from hay fever in the UK. You can get hay fever at any age, although it usually begins in childhood or during the teenage years.
Do you suffer from hay fever every summer? If so, you're not alone. Millions of people deal with the sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose that comes with this seasonal allergy. While most people turn to over-the-counter medications to help them get through the season, there are also a number of natural remedies that can be effective in reducing your symptoms. In this article, we will discuss seven different natural remedies for hay fever and why they may help alleviate your symptoms.
What is Hay Fever?
Hay fever is an allergy to pollen and other airborne particles that is most common in the spring and summer months. Hay fever can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose. Your symptoms may differ depending on the time of year, where you live and most importantly what you're allergic too. Knowing what you are allergic to can help you prepare ahead of the season. The main seasonal allergies are:
- Tree pollen is more common in early Spring.
- Grass pollen is more common in late spring and summer.
- Ragweed pollen is more common in Autumn.
- Pollen allergies can be worse on hot, dry days when the wind carries the pollen.
However, if you suffer from hay fever all year long this may be due to indoor allergens such as:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Mould and fungal spores
If you suffer from hay fever, you may be looking for ways to reduce your symptoms which you would normally turn to:
- Eye drops
- Saline nasal rinses
- Non-drowsy antihistamines
- Allergy shots
But we are here to give you some more natural remedies!
Natural Remedies To Tackle Hay Fever
Ginger is a natural remedy for many health issues but most people don't realise it can help hay fever sufferers. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties which can help to reduce congestion, soothe an itchy throat and can help to reduce swelling in the nasal passages.
Studies has shown that Ginger can suppress the production of pro inflammatory proteins which can reduce allergy symptoms. Most importantly there is no real difference between having the root dried or fresh which is perfect as there is a variety of ways you could take ginger whilst still having the same effects. You can either take ginger as tablets, teas, or simply by adding it to your food.
Another natural remedy that may help with hay fever symptoms is Vitamin C. Hay fever can cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract which is caused by pollen from blooming plants. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body including the upper respiratory tract. It is also thought to boost the immune system, which can be helpful in combating allergies, meaning that Vitamin C can help decrease allergic rhinitis. So during the season where you are effected the most, stock up on citrusy fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, sweet peppers, berries, kale, and broccoli. An easy way of intaking a lot of Vitamin C is making a refreshing smoothies. Check out this smoothie, specifically jam packed with Vitamin C.
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Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse! The spices' active ingredient is curcumin which is what powers its anti-inflammatory properties that may help with those irritating hay fever symptoms. In addition to helping reduce inflammation, turmeric may also help to boost the immune system. This spice has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of issues, including hay fever as it can help minimis swelling and irritation caused by allergic rhinitis.
You can take turmeric as a supplement, add it to your food, or make a tea with it. If you choose to add it to your food, try using it in curries, soups, and stews.
Black pepper (piperine) can help absorb curcumin in the body better giving you more benefit of the active compounds anti-inflammatory properties. So sprinkle some black pepper in your food to get some flavour and those benefits.
Try Nutrition Geeks' Turmeric supplements which is designed to have 33x more curcumin than any other commercial brands. With added Ginger and Black Pepper, it will help you absorb the curcumin better and prevent irritation due to its anti-inflammatory properties! The perfect supplement to fight against any hay fever symptoms.
Surprisingly tomatoes are another food that may help hay fever symptoms. Tomatoes is citrus fruit that can help reduce hay fever symptoms due to their high Vitamin C content. As we talked about before, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the upper respiratory tract. Tomatoes are also a good source of quercetin, which is a natural antihistamine. This means that it can help to reduce hay fever symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose. You can eat tomatoes raw in salads or sandwiches, cook them in sauces or soups, or drink tomato juice. Not only is it a good source of quercetin, it also contains lycopene which is an antioxidant that helps quell systemic inflammation (constant state of the immune system defending the body). Lycopene has also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.
Lycopene is absorbed easily by the body especially when its cooked, so grab some canned or cook some tomatoes and put in you lunches and dinners for the extra boost of hay fever protection.
"Globally, 65% of hayfever remedies used are antihistamines, 29% are intranasal corticosteroids and 4% are types of immunotherapy. Just 1% of people use other treatments..”
Salmon And Other Fatty Fish
In addition to the above foods, salmon and other fatty fishes are also good for hay fever sufferers. Salmon contains omega-three fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties which can help bolster your allergy resistance and improve asthma. These fatty acids can help to reduce hay fever symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Don't believe us? Then I'm sure these two studies will help to convince you to eat more fatty fishes. A German cross-sectional study among adults showed the more fatty acids in the bloodstream (omega-three) the less risk of an allergic sensitivity or hay fever symptoms!
A more recent study had showed that, fatty acids can help decrease the narrowing of airways that occur in asthma and some cases of seasonal allergies. Showing that omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties.
If you want to decrease your symptoms then strive to eat 8 ounces of fatty fishes per week for an adult or more that is low in mercury like salmon, and other good sources of omega-three fatty acids include tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring. You can eat these fish cooked or raw, depending on your preference.
Onions are my favourite hay fever symptoms reliever. Onions contain quercetin, which is a type of flavonoid. Flavonoids are plant-based compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research shows that Quercetin acts as a natural antihistamine which can reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies including sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Onions also contain other anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds which can also help with allergy symptoms.
Research shows that red onions contain the highest concentration of quercetin, followed by white then scallion (spring/green onion). It's also known that, when cooking onions, it can reduce the concentration of quercetin so to get the full affects of quercetin, eat the onion raw (best in a juicy salad) to get closer to an allergy free day!
Finally, an interesting one, bee pollen is another natural remedy for hay fever. Bee pollen is a powder made from the pollen of flowers that bees collect. Don't worry its safe to eat (unless you're allergic to bees). Research shows that it can have an anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antimicrobial properties to the body. Bee pollen is thought to help reduce hay fever symptoms by helping to build up immunity to pollen. It is advised to consume bee pollen that is produced locally to help build body resilience to pollen that you're allergic to. To do this it is important that the honey that is produced locally so that the same local pollen your body is allergic to is contained in the bee pollen.
Try look for bee pollen at local farmers markets. But you can also find bee pollen as a supplement, however, it wont be local to wear you live. You can put bee pollen it to your food, If you choose to add it to your food, try mixing it into smoothies or yogurt. Bee pollen is described as a bittersweet or nutty taste which is also a great source of protein so why not give this a try.
All of the above natural remedies may help hay fever sufferers to find relief from their symptoms. Try incorporating some of these foods into your diet or taking supplements to see if they help you. Remember, everybody is different and what works for one person may not work for another. However, these natural remedies are definitely worth a try!
Do you have any natural hay fever remedies that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below!