Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is an allergic condition triggered by the immune system’s response to inhaled substances (frequently pollens). At can also be caused by allergy to animal fur, dust and feathers.
Researchers have yet to clearly understand why some people’s immune systems over-react to exposure to pollens or other irritants, while other people do not suffer from this problem. Symptoms of hay fever are partly a result of inflammation that, in turn, is activated by the immune system.
Inhaled allergens trigger sneezing and inflammation of the nose and mucous membranes (conjunctiva) of the eyes. The nose, roof of the mouth, eyes, and throat begin to itch gradually or abruptly after the onset of the pollen season. Tearing, sneezing, and clear, watery nasal discharge soon follow the itching. Headaches and irritability may also occur.
Nutritional Supplements that could help. (Refer to the individual supplement for cautions in use.)
|Supplement/Herb||What it does||Dosage|
|Vitamin C||Taken for it’s anti-histamine activity, it also helps inflamed mucous membranes to heal.||1000mg 3 times daily.|
|Vitamin E||A powerful antioxidant it helps the immune system, healing and calming inflammatory responses.||800iu daily.|
|Quercetin||Quercetin is useful as an anti-inflammatory and a powerful anti-oxidant.||400mg to 500mg up to 3 times a day|
|Nettle||Nettle reduces inflammatory prostaglandins which can influence allergic processes. Nettle is also a rich source of the flavonoid quercetin, which is known to inhibit the release of histamine.||500mg 3 times daily|
|Elderflower||Elderflower has similar compounds to Quercetin and can help reduce inflammation.||500mg 3 times daily|
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
People with inhalant allergies are likely to also have food allergies. Discovering and eliminating offending food allergens, is also likely to improve overall health. The most reliable food intolerance tests involve taking a pin prick blood sample which is tested for the presence of IgG antibodies. If you think you may have a food intolerance you can buy a DIY test kit to test yourself at home. Visit Food Detective for details.
Reduce sugar intake as it impairs immune function.
Avoid mucous forming foods such as dairy products, chocolate, eggs, refined carbohydrates.
Locally produced honey can relieve the symptoms of pollen allergy.
Include oily fish in your diet, 3 to 4 times a week, for their anti-inflammatory effects.
Eat plenty of onions and apples as they contain quercetin, which acts as an anti-histamine.
Drink 2 litres of fluid daily, especially green tea as it contains quercetin and bioflavanoids which are anti-inflammatory.
Homoeopathic Remedies which may help. (Refer to the individual remedy for guidance on the one that is most appropriate for you.)
Suggested further reading:
- Hayfever explained
- Hayfever advice