Hay fever is an allergic response to the pollen of certain grasses, trees and plants and the spores of some fungi. The symptoms are usually nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes and nose and affect the lining of the nose and often the eyes and throat.
Hay fever does tend to respond well to herbal treatment but as each person is different with a different set of symptoms and allergies to different types of pollen, it may take a number of approaches until the right herbs are found.
A herbal remedy for hay fever will most likely consist of herbs targeting the allergic response in the body as well as supporting the immune system and lowering stress levels.
To get the most effective results from the herbs, it is recommended that the treatment starts up to 2 months before hay fever season is due to commence. For most people this will be in February/March. After a consultation with your herbalist, a prescription for a herbal tincture is put together which will start with a low dose and build up to the maximum dose over 6-8 weeks which will then be continued throughout the hay fever season.
In addition to this, there are a few things you can do yourself to prepare for hay fever season:
- Make sure your immune system is strong by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, possibly supplementing with a multivitamin complex for this period. Regular exercise also helps to strengthen your immune system and to lower stress levels. Keep alcohol/smoking/caffeine to an achievable minimum in order to minimise toxic stress on the body.
- Ingesting local honey has been shown to be helpful for improving the severity of hay fever symptoms. Many areas even in London produce local honey, often available in local health food shops or delis. Take one teaspoon per day of local honey for 6-8 weeks before hay fever season begins.
- Nettle is a gentle herb with anti-allergic properties which can be useful when drunk as a tea before and during hay fever season. Make sure you get a good quality nettle tea (ideally loose rather than tea bags) and drink up to 3 cups per day – you can sweeten it with local honey!
Throughout February and March I am offering special shorter herbal consultations which will last 30 minutes and focus on your hay fever and general health. This is suitable for anyone who has no other severe medical conditions. If you do then a full consultation of 1 hour is recommended to take into account any other conditions you may have and the medication you are on.
The price for a 30 minute hay fever consultation is £30, for a full 1 hour initial consultation £50. This is with Marion Colledge MNIMH, BSc (Hons), our medical herbalist and massage therapist.