hay fever much? try these ayurvedic tricks

I’m happy to say I don’t suffer from the dreaded rhinitis myself, but I know so many people around me who do. It’s all mucous-filled noses, puffy eyes, phlegmy throats and tissues stuffed into every available receptacle. That ain’t livin'.

This probably isn't such a bad idea, for some. Via mandatory.

But since so many people live this way for 3 months of the year, I thought it timely, given it’s The Season, to offer a little respite through these natural hay fever fighting tricks. They’re of the Ayurvedic and old-school, 1970s herbal medicine nature. They’re also great tips for anyone wanting an immune boost, or anyone with a bit of a sniffle.

What exactly is hay fever?
Our immune system normally acts like our knight in shining armour, attacking troublesome pathogens before they cause us harm. But in some people, the knight gets way too excited and starts prodding all manner of harmless substances, namely pollen and plant spores in the air, with his offending sword. The result of this combative debacle is the release of the neurotransmitter histamine which causes the itchy watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, fatigue, coughing, etc hay fever sufferer’s would be familiar with.

What to do about it?
The best way to calm hay fever is to sit the little dude with the overeager sword down and tell him to chill the f*$#$ out. In other words, you want to take substances that will help to balance and calm your immune system so it doesn’t overreact in the presence of harmless plant floaties. Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional Hindu system of medicine that stresses natural, plant-based remedies, dictates the best way to do this is through your diet:

Foods to eat
Green tea: green tea blocks the production of histamine so is one of the best natural remedies for hay fever. Drink it freshly brewed throughout the day.

Turmeric: turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Drink it as a tea mixed with a little raw local honey, which helps to get your body used to the pollens in your hood.

Ginger, nuts, seeds, horseradish and garlic: some of the best immune boosting foods around. Load up!

Eat cooling, easy-to-digest foods: lots of green vegetables, lettuces, asparagus (yep smelly pee) and cooling herbs such as mint, basil and parsley, as well as cooling spices such as cumin, coriander and fenugreek.

Foods to avoid
Avoid dairy products like milk, cream, cheese and icecream: these stimulate mucous production. You can still have a little yoghurt or probiotic drink, which are great for gut health.

Same goes for sugar and refined flour: Refined sugars, like white table sugar, interfere with the proper functioning of your immune system and can also cause inflammation in the body, two things you don’t want to mess with. Remember sugar can be hidden in lots of savoury foods too.

Avoid warming and heavy foods: minimise heavy grains such as barley, wheat, rice and quinoa.

Some other useful tricks:
Soothe itchy eyes: Place a teaspoonful of whole coriander seeds in a cup and pour in half a cup of boiled water. Cover and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain and let the coriander water become lukewarm. Soak two cotton balls in the tepid coriander water, squeeze out the excess liquid and place over your eyes for a few minutes.

Protect irritated nasal passages: Coconut and almond oils are terrific for soothing irritated passages as well as creating a barrier to keep allergens off. Fermented paw paw ointment is also terrific. It’s the only time sticking your finger up your nose will be permissible.

Get yourself a neti pot: Naturopath Mim Beim says it resembles the love child of a teapot and Aladdin's magic lamp. A neti pot is an Ayurvedic-style nasal irrigation unit, which is never going to sound sexy. But, apparently, it works wonders. The neti pot flushes warm, salty water through the nasal passages, allowing mucus to drain out, along with unwanted bacteria, viruses, dust and pollen. You can read how to use one here – a fun read! A saline solution spray works in a similar way, so if you can’t get your hands on a neti pot, hit your pharmacy for the spray.

Deep breathing exercises: Murccha pranayama, an ancient yogic breathing technique for settling anxiety, nervous tension and generally making yourself feel better can be used to help treat hay fever symptoms too. Here’s a video demo.

Some 1970’s herbal medicine advice: German chamomile, elderflower, nettle and eyebright are all effective anti-inflammatories and calmatives that help quell hay fever symptoms. Take them as teas or homeopathic extracts.

And this useful tip: Don’t hang your laundry outside during Spring as pollen and plant spores can stick to it.

Live with hay fever? How do you deal with the symptoms?  Feel free to share any neat tricks below.


8 comments:

  1. The neti pot has been by saviour. i love gardening and working in the hay shed here on the farm ...both not conducive for avoiding hay fever. Since I have had my neti pot, I still get it but it is manageable and I don't get infections anymore. Such a simple solutiong!

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  2. These are great tips, I love my neti pot, it helps a lot with clearing out the irritations within my nasal passage.

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  3. Great tips Maria! I'll have to try them out.
    Also, I am in love with your blog. Keep up the great work!

    c.

    http://offeathersandleaves.blogspot.com.au/

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  4. The neti pot is something I often use. I also wear a mask over my face when shopping to protect my sinuses. Pollen only affects me if I've had exposure to artificial fragrances. I love the information on this blog. You could do a post on fragrances and allergies too. As this is something within our control. I think that a lot of pollen allergies are bought on by the immune system being weakened by other factors: modern day life!

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  5. Local Bee Pollen (in honey) or just raw honey (local!) can help desensibilizing ... I cannot tell for myself because I don't suffer from allergies - but I love honey and have often got this inforation along with it ... ;-)

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