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General characteristics

General characteristics

Hayfever or seasonal allergic rhinitis is the term used to describe the condition of an allergic response to pollen and other such airborne particles.
Current conventional thinking assumes that the presence of pollen (or other such particle) triggers an exaggerated and unnecessary immune response from the body that treats the particle as a foreign enemy (or 'allergen') rather than a harmless one, and so reacts with vigour to defend the body by producing antibodies against it. The antibodies attack the allergen and this results in the usual allergic type responses such as runny and/or stuffy nose, watery and red eyes, blotchy skin, itchiness in the mucous membranes, headaches, tight chest and sneezing as the body attempts to eliminate the allergen and prevent further invasion.
The chemicals released into the body in response to the allergens include histamine, a complicated and vital substance responsible for the transmission of nervous signals and the direction of white blood cells, which causes smooth muscle to constrict and blood vessels to dilate. These activities are what causes the narrowness of the airways and the congestion in the mucous membranes.
The causes of hayfever are unclear but many people believe that poor diet, genetics, exposure to strong chemicals in the home (paint, dyes, cleaning fluids etc.), multiple vaccines, antibiotics, modern living (tightly sealed houses with build up of potential allergens), air pollution, urban living, cigarette smoke and even stress and anxiety (read this short article on how negative thinking can predispose you to allergies) can all contribute.
Conventional treatment is with antihistamines or anti-inflammatories which effectively block the bodies natural immune response.
Healing objectives should be to soften and calm the immune response and help it to react more appropriately to harmless visitors, build vitality in the nervous system and body and ease any unpleasant symptoms.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Many people have gained positive results by making changes to their diet.

Eliminate foods that encourage excess mucous production and inflammation and congestion. These include starches, dairy foods, refined carbohydrates (especially white wheat flour), sugary foods, foods loaded with additives, processed foods, red meats, alcohol and ready meals.

Eat plenty of foods that have a natural anti-inflammatory effect in the body and provide maximum nutrition such as organic raw salads and lightly cooked vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, wild oily fish. The key is to eat fresh foods with as few additives as possible.

Include plenty of onions and garlic as these help to keep bodily fluids more liquid and help ease congestion.

Foods containing vitamin C and Quercetin reduce the amount of histamine produced so lessen the unwanted effects. Quercetin acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and steadies the immune response. It is found in basically any plant, therefore in all raw fruit and vegetables but especially those with a dark colour such as the dark berries. Other rich sources include apples, green tea, dark green leaves and capers. Cooking drastically reduces amounts of these nutrients so daily salads and/or fresh juices are invaluable.

Take the juice of a fresh lemon in water each morning on an empty stomach.

Include plenty of foods rich in essential fatty acids such as oily fish, wheat germ and seeds like hemp, flax and evening primrose.

Avoid cigarette smoking and tea and coffee as these deplete the system generally.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Many herbs contain compounds that act as anti-histamines. These include stinging nettle, plantain, elderflowers, goldenrod, marigold, eyebright, butterbur, peppermint, juniper berries and echinacea. Make a tea mix from equal parts of perhaps 5 or 6 of any of the above dried herbs, except juniper, and add a heaped teaspoon of the mix per cup of boiling water. Add 2 crushed juniper berries to the tea and stand for 10 minutes before drinking. Take 3 cups daily during the hayfever season.

Mullein leaf can help to relieve many symptoms such as cattarh, coughs and difficult or wheezy breathing.

Warming and circulatory stimulating herbs such as horseradish, mustard, ginger, black pepper and chilli will balance out blood distribution and lessen congestion so add these in tiny doses (a pinch to a herb tea or meal) to ease congestion.

Elecampagne root can help to dry up excessive mucous and catarrh.

Take a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a little water 3 times daily for allergy relief in days.

Take siberian ginseng tincture, a teaspoon in water 3 times daily to help the body cope with the effects of stress.

Taking capsules of reishi powder may eliminate hayfever over several months. Take 2 capsules a day to begin with and gradually build up to 6 capsules daily over several weeks.

Use other herbal formulas appropriate to symptoms such as chamomile, ginkgo and eyebright tea as a wash for sore and itchy eyes or olbas oil as a decongestant.

Drink a cup of burdock root and marshmallow root tea daily. Use a heaped teaspoon of each root and simmer for 15 minutes in half a pint of water.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Many people find good results by taking a little local honey or bee pollen daily. It seems that the more local to your home, the better, as they appear to gradually desensitise your immune response to the presence of airborne pollen. Start very gradually with a dab of honey daily and build up to a teaspoon daily. Take 1-4 grains of pollen daily, starting with 1 only. Both are very rich in nutrients too.
Take a teaspoon of cider vinegar in a little water 3 times daily (with meals) for effective relief from symptoms. If continued it may well rid you of hayfever completely, some people swear by its effectiveness. It increases the ratio of good to bad bacteria in the gut and seems to heal the over or underactive immune response over several months.
Gargling or snorting water with sea salt added can have a beneficial effect on some of the symptoms.
Remedies containing 'pycnogenol' (from pine tree bark) have been shown to reduce symptoms and incidences of hayfever if taken 2 months before the season begins but may take a year or two to eliminate them entirely.

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