The clocks have gone forward, the weather is getting warmer and we begin to celebrate those longer days. For many however, this is the start of the hay fever season which means feeling miserable with runny nose, itchy throat and eyes and the production of abundant mucous. Of course, the easiest thing to do is run to the chemist and buy antihistamines but these often have annoying side effects and you are putting drugs into your body, which means an extra drain on your liver to process them.
Hay Fever, also known as Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, affects millions every year so here are some tips for natural ways to alleviate those pesky symptoms, and hopefully you can rejoice the summer rather than dread it:
Avoid dairy products - they are well-known for causing mucous which will give you that feeling of heaviness, make your nose run and increase your phlegm production. If you really need that traditional tea or coffee in the morning with milk, you can substitute cow's milk for Almond or Rice Milk.
Take Vitamin C on a daily basis - 200 mg, which contains a natural anti-histamine. Studies have shown that you can see some improvements within a week.
Get to an acupuncturist as soon as possible and they can treat you throughout the season. We have had extremely positive results in the treatment of allergic rhinitis (which in Chinese Medicine corresponds to a deficiency of the Lung and Kidney's Defensive Qi systems, with a retention of Wind in the body). For best results it should also be treated out of season, with some practitioners preferring to treat one month before the season begins. However, I do both and find there are great improvements in treating just after the season as well as before. Please have a look on the British Acupuncture Council website for a registered practitioner close to you www.acupuncture.org.uk.
Many foods contain natural antihistamines which will avoid any unnecessary side effects:
Angelica Root (Dan Gui), Lily Bulb (Bai He), Field Mint (Bo He) Chinese Black Dates (Da Zao) are all excellent sources and can be boiled up to make a tea or ground up, to be drunk with hot water. Field Mint can also be used in hot water and inhaled. These can be prescribed by acupuncturists qualified in Herbal Food Therapy and Registered herbalists.
Essential oils such as Cajeput, German chamomile, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Myrtle, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Thyme, Tea tree are also helpful and can be used in massage by an approved aromatherapist or by inhalation 1 drop in 1 cup of boiling water and inhaled.
Wishing you a happy and healthy Spring and Summer.