Many people know the miseries of hay fever – the sneezing, itchy eyes that can make hot days a nightmare rather than a joy. But you may be suffering from hay fever without knowing it. Do you think summer colds last longer than winter ones? Most people will agree- summer colds just go on and on, but are they really colds? You may think you have a cold, when in fact you have an allergy to something in the air at that time. A normal cold lasts about a week, but these so-called summer colds will go on for several weeks – in fact, as long as the particular pollen is prevalent in the air. So, that runny nose, sneezing and feeling generally under the weather may be down to a pollen allergy rather than a virus.
Many conventional drugs for hay fever either don’t work very well or make you feel very drowsy. So what are the alternatives? What natural hay fever relief is available?
There has been a lot of interest recently in quercetin. Quercetin inhibits the production and release of histamine, which is involved in allergic reactions. As well as being an effective hay fever remedy it also has lots of other benefits – it is also an effective support for cardiovascular health and acts as a non-drug anti-inflammatory. It can help prevent thickening of the arteries. Foods sources of quercetin include capers, onions, apples, red grapes, citrus fruits and broccoli. A study found that organically grown tomatoes had 79% more quercetin than conventionally grown ones. (A. E. Mitchell et al, J. Agric. Food Chem. 55 (15): 6154–6159, 2007) Increasing your intake of foods rich in quercetin could well help reduce hay fever symptoms, but if you’re in the middle of the season taking a quercetin supplement would probably be highly beneficial too.
Probiotics have also been found to be helpful for hay fever. Probiotics are more commonly associated with digestive problems, but research has shown that probiotics help to strengthen the immune system and so can be very beneficial for hay fever sufferers. Probiotic drinks are sold with a lot of hype but these often contain a lot of sugar and are an expensive way to get the good acidophilus and other bacteria you need. I recommend you take a high quality probiotic formula instead.
Homeopathic remedies have also been found to work well for hay fever. You can obtain mixed pollens from many homeopathic pharmacies and these work very well for some people. A more comprehensive homeopathic hay fever remedy is to use the homeopathic remedies from Ffynnonwen Remedies. These are easy to take. Although they are ideally started before the hay fever season they will usually still give some real relief in the first season. This was the system I used many years ago – I’ve gone from someone who used to sit in a darkened room for large parts of the summer to someone who can even cut the grass. One of the great advantages of homeopathy is that it can be easily used to treat children as well as adults.
All of the alternatives to drugs that I am suggesting here have other benefits – they enhance your health in other ways too. Why take drugs when you can take stuff like this?
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