If itchy, red, watery eyes, sneezing and a runny nose are getting you down this Spring you may be one of many suffering from Hay fever. Our immune system plays a wonderful role in protecting us from harmful substances, pollens, dust mites and diseases however if the immune system is compromised due to stress, poor lifestyle choice, or a low nutrient diet we can become more susceptible to annoying seasonal allergies.
Keep hay fever at bay this season with these top 5 natural remedy suggestions:
1. Sesame Oil
Apply a smear of sesame oil to the inside mucous membranes of the nose. This helps to trap the pollen and protect the nasal membranes from irritation. Sesame oil is rich in nutrients such as vitamin E which aids the healing and repair of dry, irritated skin. For ease of application, sesame oil can be purchased as a nasal spray which can be purchased from pharmacies and health stores.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a natural anti histamine which helps to calm allergy type symptoms such as redness, itching and allergic rhinitis. Vitamin C increases diamine oxidase, the enzyme that helps to breakdown histamine in the body. If histamine levels get too high, we are more susceptible to histamine reactions such as allergies, skin rashes and hay fever. Taking vitamin C daily during allergy season, such as a natural derivative from acerola cherries or rosehip extract, can be beneficial. Avoid high histamine promoting foods such as avocados, alcohol, bananas, tinned fish, tomatoes, fermented foods and citrus which can aggravate symptoms.
3. Cayenne Pepper
This spicy red pepper contains a compound called Capsaicin, a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from harm. Capsaicin contains vitamin C and bioflavonoids which may help to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. Cayenne pepper contains the important immune strengthening nutrient beta carotene which helps to keep the mucous membranes healthy and protected against harmful pathogens.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an important role in keeping our immune system strong and healthy and helps to stimulate the production of potent anti-microbial peptides keeping pathogens at bay. Some foods such as butter, cheese and mushrooms contain small amounts of vitamin D but we really need daily exposure to sunlight to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Spending at least ten minutes a day in the sunshine is the best way to top up vitamin D levels.
Onions may alleviate symptoms of sinus congestion and assist with strengthening the immune system. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds Quercetin and Allicin found in raw onions help fight off bacteria and viruses. Onions are at their most potent and powerful when consumed raw so try adding raw sliced onion to salads or finely sliced as a garnish.
Hay Fever Remedy
This is a fabulous natural toddy helps to alleviate the symptoms of sinus congestion and hay fever symptoms.
1 cup of boiled filtered water
1 camomile teabag
1 thumbnail piece of peeled ginger, grated
A couple of fresh mint leaves
1 clove of raw garlic, crushed
½ small white onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of Manuka honey
Pinch cayenne pepper
Place all the ingredients in a large heat proof cup and add the boiled water. Leave to steep for 10 mins.
Strain the liquid then add the honey prior to drinking.
For a more intense remedy for severe hay fever or allergic rhinitis, blend all the ingredients together in a blender (remove teabag prior to blending) and drink 1 – 3 times per day or until symptoms subside.
Important: If you have any medical conditions or are taking any prescription medications check with your GP prior to consuming. Do not take with anti-viral or blood thinning medications, if you have a stomach ulcer, extreme stomach discomfort or prior to any form of surgery.