Some things in life are certain, like death, taxes and the very British way of digging out shorts and tees as soon as there’s a mere glimpse of sunshine.
The glorious weather can certainly lift our spirits, making us feel happier and more positive, but spare a thought for the 25% of Brits who dread the start of the sunshine due to the misery of seasonal allergic rhinitis, or as most of us know it, bloomin’ hay fever season again!
Why does hay fever occur? In some individuals, the body displays an exaggerated immune response to proteins in pollen, releasing a substance called histamine which floods the body, irritating the lining of the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses. This results in the symptoms we all know and hate... streaming red eyes, itching, sneezing, sore throat, runny/blocked nose and sinuses - definitely not a good look!
Although there is no cure, many sufferers turn to anti-histamine and steroid medication for relief from these symptoms that can become debilitating. Unfortunately these medications can sometimes bring worse side effects than the initial symptoms!
So what else can you try? Here’s a lowdown on how a few simple changes to your diet and the use of aromatherapy oils can beat the blasted fever of the hay...
What to eat
Solutions from nature
Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis & Matricaria recutita) - Queen of the anti-allergy oils due to anti-inflammatory & anti-histamine properties, the former is milder, therefore more suitable for babies & children. Sniff a drop or two on a tissue or soothe irritated eyes by applying used chamomile tea bags that have been chilled in the fridge.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) - a powerful decongestant that reduces nasal congestion, sniff from a tissue or add a couple of drops to a bowl of hot water, pop a towel over your head and inhale the steam to clear the nose and sinuses.
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) - the number 1 choice if you also have asthma, this oil relaxes the breathing muscles to allow more oxygen in to the lungs. Blend 2 drops of Frankincense with 2 drops Lavender & 1 drop Lemon in a teaspoon of solid coconut massage cream for a ‘breath easy’ chest rub.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) - decongests and soothes, use in conjunction with Chamomile in the bath to promote restful sleep (add 5 drops of each to a capful of full fat milk), or add a drop to a finger nail scoop of solid coconut massage cream & use to line the inside & outside of your nostrils to create a protective barrier against pollen.
Lemon (Citrus limonum) - boosts immunity by stimulating white blood cells which may help dampen down the over-active response to pollen, wonderful combined with Peppermint in an oil diffuser to lift mood (being a snotty mess is miserable) & clear congestion.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) - opens stuffy nasal passages and promotes better breathing. Ease a headache by rubbing a drop onto temples in a circular motion.
If you have hay fever, how does it affect you? What do you use - have you got any tips that work? Try the above remedies and let us know if they work for you!
Complementary therapist and natural health expert. On a mission to sprinkle health and wellness wherever I go...