This week, I am actually going to explore the possibility of preventing hay fever!
Now obviously for this to be a consideration, spring is going to have to arrive, but optimism has to play a role here!
I am not claiming here that natural remedies could cure hay fever, but we have worked with a lot of people over the years, and have found that it may be possible to significantly reduce the severity of someone’s hay fever, by taking a few preventative steps.
Firstly, look to diet. There are a number of foods and drinks which are naturally high in histamine, which means that consuming them, can actually make hay fever worse and cutting them out of the diet, could significantly reduce your symptoms.
The foods to look at are tea, coffee, red wine, beer, cheese and chocolate.
I know for many people, that this is a list of all their favourite foods, but we are not saying you can never eat them again.
We are simply saying, that over the summer months, changing to white wine, cutting down tea and coffee and avoiding cheese, could help to reduce some of your hay fever symptoms.
I know one man, who followed these steps and is no longer really bothered by his hay fever.
Secondly, think about your gut flora! It may sound strange that probiotics could have an effect on hay fever, but there is actually quite a lot of research linking low levels of good bacteria with increased allergic reactions.
If you suffer with wind, bloating, thrush, fungal infections or have a coating on your tongue, these could be indications that your gut flora are not what they should be.
Taking something like citricidal or echinacea and goldenseal to kill off unfriendly “bad” bacteria, alongside a good probiotic, should certainly help to reduce wind, bloating and thrush and could also as a side effect reduce the impact of hayf ever.
We had one girl who came to us, she suffered very badly with irritable bowel and thrush.
She also has quite a lot of allergies, which were getting progressively worse, including hay fever.
We decided to try and help her IBS, before looking at anything else and suggested some echinacea and goldenseal taken for two weeks, alongside a probiotic called Multidophillus – a broad spectrum good bacteria supplement.
The good news is that, after two weeks, the symptoms of her irritable bowel had significantly subsided.
She continued to use the Multidophillus to maintain the benefits.
Additionally, she noticed that her allergies did not seem to be affecting her as much as they had done.
She reported to us later that year, that her hay fever had been much better than usual, and she had not really had to take anything else to keep her symptoms manageable.
The final area to consider when looking at prevention of these hay fever-type symptoms is your liver.
Your liver has a massive role to play in your body, including breaking down hormones and chemicals produced by the body.
Sluggish liver function is in natural medicine sometimes linked to high histamine in the system.
We took this approach with my husband a few years ago, as his hay fever used to be awful.
As a keen cyclist, he was finding his hay fever was significantly affecting his enjoyment and ability to ride his bike due to his runny eyes and violent sneezing fits.
We gave him some milk thistle for a month along with increasing his water drinking and reducing his coffee intake.
Milk thistle is a herb often used in natural medicine as it is said to help cleanse and regenerate the liver, boosting liver function.
That spring, (which was a good one) his hay fever symptoms were significantly better than usual, his eyes were barely sore and the sneezing was significantly reduced, enabling him to continue his cycling as normal.
The good news is that this has continued to be the case – when he takes milk thistle for a month before the hay fever kicks in his symptoms are significantly better than they would normally be.
If it’s already too late for you to look at prevention – have no fear, next week I will look at natural remedies that can help with symptoms of hay fever.
• Jenny is a Nutritionist, Behavioural Therapist and hypnotherapist who has worked in natural medicine for over 20 years. She also gives talks on natural remedies for supplement manufacturers and is involved in research and new product development. Contact her at: Jenny.firstname.lastname@example.org