Harvest Health

Harvest Health

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


This Spring in Melbourne has seen many people suffering with hay fever.  Even people who have never had hay fever before are experiencing symptoms.  So, what exactly is hay fever?

 It's correct name is seasonal allergic rhinitis, and it is the result of the body mounting an allergic response to pollens and grasses that are present at certain times of the year - particularly late winter and spring.  Symptoms may include sneezing, runny nose, irritated eyes and itchy ears or mouth.  The exhaustion that many people experience is a result of the immune response that the body mounts in response to the pollen.  The body views the pollen as an invader, and releases cascades of inflammatory chemicals.

There are many things you can do apart from taking anti-histamine medication, to reduce your symptoms.  They include:

Take a good quality vitamin C tablet or powder regularly during the day.  Up to  3g of Vitamin C over a day should be fine.  Vitamin C in conjunction with the bioflavonoid quercetin works best, as quercetin is a natural anti-histamine.

Elderflower tea can be very effective, especially for nasal symptoms.  Choose an organic, loose leaf tea, and drink several cups throughout the day.  Nettle tea is also very useful.  You can make it with either fresh nettle leaves (use gloves!), or buy it as a dried organic tea.      

Liquid herbs
One of my favourite things as a naturopath is being able to create individualised herbal tonics for people.  Herbal tonics can be formulated to be anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and immune modulating so are great for helping the body reduce its immune response to pollens.

If hay fever symptoms are still getting you down, it may be a good time to review your diet.  To decrease the load on your immune system, reduce any foods that could be potential allergens.  This could involve avoiding or reducing wheat products such as bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits, pastries, etc.  Dairy products may also be increasing the allergenic load on your body so need to be reduced.  Food additives such as the sulphur that is in non-organic dried fruit, and wine can worsen or trigger hay fever symptoms, so are best avoided.

The best results are achieved by preparing your body for hay fever season a good 6 weeks before you expect symptoms to start.  However, if it is already upon you, taking good quality herbal and nutritional supplements will still greatly decrease your symptoms.