Hayfever season is definitely underway and while most of us don’t look our best in front of our team mates on video calls, there have to be better ways to show up than with a perpetually runny nose, streaming itchy eyes and a constant sneeze right?
Right. Luckily there are a lot of things you can do to help, even if anti-histamines are not quite managing things for you at the moment.
Take nettle for instance. It contains a compound that acts a lot like an anti-histamine meaning that this wayside weed is very good at reducing the symptoms of hay fever and can simply be taken as a tea either on its own, or with chamomile. Chamomile has a marked ability to reduce redness and itchiness and give general relief to hay fever symptoms. Taking the cooled tea bags and sitting with them on your eyes can really help to relieve discomfort so try and do this at the end of a long day online.
Echinacea is another tried and tested herb that few people know can help to balance your immune response rather than just being the go-to remedy for coughs and colds. In fact, my own secret sauce is to take individual tea bags of nettle, chamomile and echinacea and brew them in a pot together and drink that hot or cold every day throughout hay fever season.
The elder is also in full bloom at the moment which is very good news because it is the herbalist’s key remedy for hay fever. The pale creamy blossoms are a very common site in hedgerows all over the country and in the cities. It helps to reduce the sinus inflammation that makes you feel so stuffed up and dries up secretions so you don’t need to blow your nose so often.
Alongside these herbal allies people often find that taking common allergens out of their daily routine can help reduce the severity of symptoms. If you know that you don’t get on very well with cow dairy or wheat, this is the perfect time to cut them out to stop your system becoming overloaded. Some of my patients also swear by Pycnogenol, a maritime pine extract that can help reduce symptoms and make summertime bearable again.
Other simple steps like putting (colourless!) lip balm around your nose to trap the pollen particles can be helpful and will also reduce redness if you need to keep blowing your nose. Keeping windows and doors shut may feel counterintuitive on a hot day but if it is an option that, and not drying your washing outside, can all help to reduce the amount of pollen that you actually breath in. The less pollen your body has to deal with, the less fuss it will make. It’s really as simple as that.
About the author
Pamela Spence is a medical herbalist, writer and educator and runs a successful clinical practice from her home on Scotland’s beautiful west coast. She is the Twinings herbal expert and teaches internationally both informally and on professional herbal training courses.
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