How to Combat Hayfever: Your Natural Toolkit

May 29, 2023 | Healing & Herbs, Nutrition

 

I love summer. Wearing sandals, actually needing ice in beverages, my skin becoming less sallow and more radiant (reality check – I actually live in Glasgow and am still wearing my furry boots, but allow me room to dream…)

The downfall of this wondrous, light-filled season is the horrendous hay fever I get stricken with for 4 months.

From May – September, without intervention, I can look completely stoned, tired and generally a bit gross. I get hayfever everywhere, nose, eyes and throat and my normal approach has been to go the doctor and get a goody bag of drugs to combat each of these areas and take them every day for 4 months (or stay inside, but this is never an option for me – I love being outside!)

Then I learned about my gut health, I learned about supporting my immune system and all the natural approaches that really can work.

So now I use way less medication then I ever used to and only have a few flares-ups in the summer.

How? Here is my natural hayfever toolkit:

 

Combating Hayfever Naturally (and other allergies too).

 

1. Drink Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.

Sounds weird and a bit gross, but it is actually totally fine to drink. I have some warm water when I wake up with about 1-2 tsp of RACV (raw apple cider vinegar), then I mix it in with water and teas during the day. I notice the difference straight away.

Why?
RACV is a brilliant addition to your diet and daily health routine. It has endless benefits but here I will mention a few:
It is highly nutritious – it contains a whole host of vitamins and minerals (calcium, potassium, iron) and when you buy the raw stuff it also has probiotic properties!
It is a decongestant – (so also great for colds and flu) as it helps break up mucus in chest and sinuses.
It helps create a hostile environment for bad bacteria – (like those which cause body odour and candida/yeast infections) as it is a highly alkaline solution.
It has antihistamine properties – prevents the histamine reaction in the body when its come into contact with pollen (or other allergins).

 

 

2. Consuming NETTLE TEA.

Again, another bizarre suggestion but, again, this really works. I began by just buying nettle tea and drinking it throughout the day. Then I got sick of drinking so much tea and bought nettle root capsules which do the trick wonderfully. I take about 2-3 a day (morning, afternoon and sometimes evening depending on how I am doing) and this means I no longer have to carry tea bags everywhere I go!

Why?
Nettles contain prostaglandins which have properties that support resistance to inflammation and they have a high antioxidant activity which means they fight microorganisms well and there have been recent studies to show it helps fight neuro-biological disorders well.

How?

Ideally steep nettle teabags or 2-3 tbsp of loose nettle tea leaves in hot water overnight or even 1-2 days in fridge, until very dark green and drink throughout the day.
I also make this into an iced tea, buy adding ice, lemon, you can also add mint leaves and anything else you fancy!

Source

 

3. Use a Barrier.

I saw in the health shop a lovely balm to put on your nose and eyes to prevent pollen entering your body, the idea being that it will catch all allergens in its balmy goodness. It was pretty expensive (but smelled lovely) so my budget solution was to use vaseline instead.

When I am about to cycle I dab it around my nose and a little bit on the inside of my eyes (discreetly people). Again I have found this helps, but is more of a preventative – it won’t help if you start getting symptoms.

 

4. Eat Turmeric.

Turmeric, or the curcumin in it is a very potent anti-inflammatory. Hayfever is an inflammatory response – hence turmeric!

Supplemented is the best as its the most concentrated but I also put some slices of raw turmeric in smoothies to.

(I’ve been using this supplement with curcumin and other immune support and its pretty good and also reasonably priced)

Why? Turmeric is a powerful healer that has been used for centuries due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties. It can be used to treat wounds on the skin and helps to fight fungal infections too. Studies have been done to show it also can help with Alzheimers, asthma, and arthritis to name a few. Not just good in a curry! Source

 

 

5. SORT OUT YOUR GUT!

Poor gut health is likely making your hayfever worse – especially if you get it really bad and for months and months on end.

Why? If we are going to talk about it simply: your immune system is ‘hosted’ predominately in your gut and hayfever is when you immune system gets overly activated and cant handle the pollen exposure. And for so many of my clients (and me included) it was because my gut was a mess.

Also some (unwanted) bacteria in the gut can also produce histamine, so you can just end up with way too much histamine going on.

I know that my hayfever symptoms reduced by about 50-60% when I changed my gut health – I don’t get it nearly as bad now and I know that because I had lots of histamine-producing bacteria in my gut.

(This is what I work on with my private clients – find out more about working with me here)

 

6. Take High Levels of Vitamin C & Other Immune supoort

Hayfever is your immune system flaring up and fighting the release of histamines in your body, so it needs all the support you can give it. I take about 1-2 grams (1000-2000mg) of Vitamin Ester C (more biologically available and easier for your body to absorb) a day during this season (and in general as I am focusing on healing my body and digestive system). This also gives you a tiny energy boost and help ward off colds and other nasties.

Please note this is far above the recommended daily allowance but after researching the subject I have been convinced that mega dosing on some vitamins can be highly beneficial. The recommended daily allowances (RDAs) were decided a long time ago and new research and evidence are not taken into consideration. Also, our bodies are very clever and will start to tell you if you are taking too much (again, weird bowel movements will occur).

I also make sure I am getting enough zinc, vitamin D and fish oil to reduce inflammation.

Why?
I will let you research this yourself as there is a whole host of research on the subject 🙂

 

7. Quercetin

This can be found in food but I take it via a supplement.

The research is varied but I take about 500-750mg on the lead-up to hayfever season and throughout the summer.

Why? You can read some research here

If all else fails and you end up all itchy-eyed and groggy. Grab yourself some cucumber slices from the fridge, plonk them on your eyes, sip some RACV (diluted), grab some nettle tea and relax.

 

8. Diet

Some foods can make it worse as some foods are naturally high in histamine already.

Alcohol, fermented foods, chocolate, ripe bananas, dairy…everyone will react differently so it trail and error. But a beer when you struggling with awful hayfever is NOT a great plan.

 

9. Nasal irrigation.

I LOVE this and it is basically where you rinse your nose out with salted water to remove any stuck pollen. So simply, low cost and very effective.

You can buy kits like this or use a Neti pot like this for a more hippy vibe (I prefer this)

Does this 1-3 times a day can really help clear things out.

 

10. Air filter

This REALLY helps!! Especially for when you are sleeping and I have a few in our house now.

But I keep them on all day and at night I have one near the bed so that even with the windows open I am not breathing in tons of pollen as I sleep.

I use this one

 

11. Wash/rinse your hair before bed.

This one is so simple but I didn’t do it for a year and really makes a difference. I love being outside and have long hair so if I go to bed without even just rinsing my hair I will wake up puffy-eyed and hayfevery.

 

 

So if you only do 2 things I would drink nettle tea and get an air filter – really effective and 100% natural!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. It’s funny actually – I’ve been chucking turmeric in everything lately, completely unaware it had anything to do with hayfever – isn’t the body clever at telling you what it needs!

    Reply
  2. Partly due to reading the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book, I began cutting out sugar and refined starch over a year ago in an attempt to heal my gut. Though I am suffering a little with hayfever this summer it is far more manageable than usual (I have taken into account the late season, what i’m feeling now i would usually be feeling in May – so i should be bad but am not too bad). Thanks for the Turmeric tip – i’m off to give it a go! x

    Reply
    • Yes I have heard lots of people say after doing GAPS or SCD that their hayfever (and PMS, asthma, cold/flu, autism etc) symptoms disappear completely – which makes sense as I think it is a these symptoms can just be a sign of a toxic and stressed immune system. I think my body is still healing itself bit and bit so hopefully next year swallowing turmeric will be a thing of the past! The fact that your feel better is definitely an encouragement and maybe I should just eat turmeric infused curry three times a day! Hope you are getting on ok with GAPS and your not too sick of broth yet:)

      Reply

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