Blog - Help for Hay Fever

By The Haven Team: 10 Jun 2015

Those of you that suffer hayfever (around 10 million in the U.K) will know that this apparently simple and very common allergy can be really unpleasant, exhausting and even debilitating. It can keep you home when you would rather be out enjoying the sun, waylay any plans of camping and make driving or operating machinery hazardous.

Grass pollen which is just about to flower, is the biggest trigger affecting 95% of sufferers, so we are now moving into the height of the hay fever season.

In Chinese Medicine the Triple Warmer and/or Lung meridians are indicated and treated for hay fever. Both of these key meridians are related to our boundaries both physical and emotional so it makes sense to say that hay fever is born of and further creates a heightened sensitivity.

Be gentle with yourself. Realise that you are more sensitive at this year-time. Here are some ways to take care of yourself; there is a lot you can do that’s easy and even fun that will alleviate stress and reduce symptoms helping you to feel much better.

Choose the things that feel good to you and remember there is always therapeutic help to support your system whilst it’s under pressure. Complementary medicine has a long history of benefit for Hay fever sufferers.

General Self help

Generally the pollen counts peak at between 9 a.m. and 12 midday. Then they lower until about 5 p.m. when they rise until about 7 p.m.

  1. Keep windows closed at peak times and take your walks in the afternoons.
  2. Wear sunglasses. This can keep pollen out of the eyes and soothe them when they are sore and tired.
  3. Rinse your eyes in cool water when you get home and shower regularly to wash off pollens… especially after walks and when coming home for the evening.
  4. Hay fever can make you very tired whether you take medications or not. So make sure you get plenty of sleep.
  5. Like most things, hay fever is worse when we are stressed. Meditation, deep breathing and yoga will all help with symptoms.

Simply lying on your bed in a dark room listening to your breathing can be a great replenisher.

To Clear Sinuses

Fill a bowl with hot water, put a towel over your head, then hold your face over the steam and breathe. Add Eucalyptus oil for maximum cleansing.

Stretches and Exercises

In Chinese Medicine twists regulate the triple warmer meridian, relieving symptoms and strengthening your resilience. Try these two easy twists (if you have a yoga practice you can try out all the ones that you know).

  1. Standing with your feet under your hips, bring the tips of your middle fingers together, palms flat to the ground. Elbows at shoulder height. Keeping this position with the arms, twist the upper body to the left as far as you go and turn your head to look over your left shoulder. Breathe deeply. Return to centre. Repeat to the right side.
    Repeat the whole exercise 6 – 8 times with deep breathing.
  2. Lie flat on your back and bring your knees to your chest and flex your feet (push your heels away). Take your arms out at a 90 degree angle making a T shape. Now press your arms into the floor as you take your knees to the left. Let your knees rest on the floor. Breathe deeply into your chest. Your right arm may rise a little. Aim to bring the arm back towards / into the ground. Repeat to the right.

A useful Stress buster and Replenisher

Lie on your back in a dark room, eyes closed. Take a deep breath into the chest, hold the breath in for a second or two then open the mouth and let go. Let your breath find its own way out. Listen to the out breath and when there is no breath left inside wait, the breath will return of its own accord. Let the breath fill up the lungs beginning the cycle again.

Help from foods and supplements

Honey and Proppolis

Taking local honey or proppolis in the months leading up to the hay fever season will help to immunise you.

Before and during the season

  1. Reduce histamine levels by eating plenty of magnesium and methionine-rich foods. Good sources are sunflower seeds, nuts, oats and leafy greens.
  2. Eat cabbage, onions and apples regularly. These foods are good sources of quercetin, a natural antihistamine.
  3. Eat plenty of purple berries, such as blueberries, blackberries and elderberries, for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Try making a refreshing fruit smoothie with frozen blueberries, or add a spoonful of elderberry jam onto your morning cereal.
  4. Drink peppermint tea. Peppermint contains a substance called rosmarinic acid, a powerful antioxidant that blocks production of allergy-producing leukotrienes.
  5. Ensure you’re getting plenty of immune-boosting nutrients. Vitamin B6 and zinc play an important role in balancing histamine levels and supporting the immune system.
  6. Increased sunlight in the summer results in higher levels of pollution in urban areas, causing the immune system to react. A good all-round antioxidant supplement can increase your resistance. Try one that includes vitamins A, C and E, selenium and zinc.
  7. Food intolerances can sometimes make symptoms worse. Try limiting common culprits such as wheat and dairy products for a couple of weeks to see if symptoms begin to improve.
  8. Omega-3 oils are one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory nutrients. Include oily fish in your diet at least twice weekly, and supplement with a good quality fish oil or flaxseed oil.
  9. Remember to avoid foods  that contains histamine, the obvious being red wine.