Allergies, in general, are the body’s exaggerated response to a foreign substance, or ‘trigger’, leading to uncomfortable and often debilitating symptoms.
Hay fever (or seasonal allergic rhinitis) is a very common allergy which typically occurs around this time of year.
These triggers such as pollen, animal dander and dust mites, cause the release of histamine from ‘mast cells’.
But what is Histamine?
It is a chemical which your immune system makes when required to fight off a potential harmful substance (allergen). It is stored in specialised mast cells until it is required to be released.
Histamines start the process that hustle those allergens out of your body – much like a bouncer at a night club! They cause the symptoms such as sneezing, tearing up, runny/stuffy nose, or itching -whatever it takes to get the job done. They are an integral part of your body’s defense system.
Treatment can focus on either:
- Strengthening the mast cell wall to reduce or prevent the release of histamine.
- Reducing the severity of the response/symptoms by targeting the histamine receptor, essentially switching it off.
Managing Hay Fever Naturally
The natural approach is generally considered safer to use than the more common pharmaceutical alternatives and with less potential side effects (drowsiness, etc.) but can also be used in conjunction with these same medications for a more enhanced effect and positive outcome. They can also work a lot faster than people think!
Common products and ideas to help the hay fever sufferer feel better than ever this coming spring (and hopefully forever more!):
- Vitamin C – an under-rated vitamin, which has anti-histamine and immune enhancing properties
- Quercetin – an effective lymphatic system aid (helps drainage) and mast cell stabilizer
- Bromelain – a very effective and safe anti-inflammatory
- Histidine – an amino acid with mast cell stabilizing benefits
- Probiotics – specific strains such as L. Paracasei and L. Rhamnosus can balance the ‘microbiome’ as a first-line defence for hay fever
- Herbs such as Garlic, Horseradish, Albizzia, Baical Skullcap, Stinging Nettle and Eyebright can be very effective for both treatment and/or prevention of hay fever
- Homoeopathic ingredients such as Nat Mur, Kali Mur, Arsenicum and Synapsis – safe and effective for relief of symptoms
- Natural, drug-free nasal sprays – can help to protect the nasal lining as well as help to clear the nasal passages
- Locally gathered honey – the more local to you the better. Best used prior to hay fever season, as it can help to desensitise the receptors to other seasonal pollens
- Topical treatments such as cool chamomile tea bags placed on itchy, puffy eyes
- Foods/teas (preferably organic) high in quercetin and bromelain, Vit A and Vit C such as red peppers, pineapple, kiwi fruit, apples, carrots, grapefruit, onions, broccoli, and green tea
There are many and varied natural therapy options, which can get a bit overwhelming and confusing!
Speaking to a Naturopath can alleviate any confusion you might have and target a treatment strategy specifically for you.
Come in and chat to one of our in-store Naturopaths at Glo Health at no cost to you and find out for yourself.
NOTE: Our Naturopaths are available in-store between 10am – 5pm Mon-Sat and 10am – 4pm on Sundays.