With nearly 18 million of us suffering from it in the UK alone, hay fever seems never ending for those itching and snuffling throughout summer. But what are the options for treatment? We talk to three holistic health experts to get their advice on some natural remedies...
The team at Helios Tunbridge Wells...
What is Homeopathy and how does it work?
Homeopathy is a system of medicine that uses minute doses of substances, usually from plant or mineral origin, prepared to traditional methods. The word Homeopathy comes from the Greek words and means similar suffering. This refers to the central philosophy that a substance which can produce symptoms in a healthy person can, in homeopathic dose, cure those symptoms in a sick person. For example a person suffering from typical hay fever symptoms of streaming and irritated eyes and nose might be given a remedy prepared from an onion.
Can homeopathy help with the symptoms of hay fever?
We receive many telephone calls and enquiries in the pharmacy asking for help with hay fever. There are many remedies that might help with hay fever symptoms but in order for homeopathy to be effective it is important to match the person’s symptoms as closely as possible to the remedy picture or for very severe, long standing problems have an in-depth consultation with a homeopath.
Are there particular homeopathic remedies you would recommend for the condition?
Two of the most commonly prescribed remedies for typical symptoms of irritated eyes and nose, sneezing etc are Mixed Pollens and Grasses, which contain pollens from grasses, trees, shrubs and flowers and a combination of three remedies Euphrasia, Allium Cepa and Sabadilla.
To find out more about Helios Homeopathy visit their shop and clinic at 97 Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells, call 01892 537254 or see www.helios.co.uk.
Health coach and personal trainer, Sophie Pattihis
Are there foods hay fever sufferers should avoid when pollen counts are high?
Allergic reactions, like hay fever, are not just inconvenient symptoms to be suppressed, but a valuable signal from the body that it is struggling with stress, acidity and inflammation caused by diet, lifestyle and gene expression. based on each client’s bio-individuality – the vital key to being able to ‘eat yourself out of ’ any inflammatory state. There are certain foods that commonly trigger inflammation such as processed wheat and dairy, refined sugar, animal protein and alcohol.
Are there any foods that will help alleviate symptoms?
Yes! Salads, smoothies, juices and stir fries are the way to re-balance naturally. Raw, organic veg, fruits, nuts and seeds are rich in the anti-oxidant vitamin C and flavonoids, a group of plant pigments with natural anti-histamine properties. Examples of great options are dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and kale and orange and red foods such as tomatoes, beetroot and berries. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are also beneficial.
Do you recommend any specific supplements – vitamins and minerals – that will help?
Rather than ‘supplements’, I have my top three bio-available foods that the body can easily recognise and use immediately. Wheatgrass powder fortifies the blood, is antiinflammatory and is the best source of living chlorophyll. Raw honey and bee pollen contain quercertin, another anti inflammatory compound that’s great for the immune system and Omega 3 fish oil is an effective antioxidant.
See Sophie’s website for health coaching appointments, inspiration and recipes galore: www.thefeelingway.com
When using herbs medicinally, would you recommend taking them in tincture, tea or tablet form?
I would recommend a tincture or a tea over tablets because I like to use herbs as fresh as possible. Making a tea with fresh herbs is so easy: pour hot water over a small handful of leaves and leave it covered to steep for 15 minutes before drinking. A tincture is made from the essence extracted in alcohol, also easy to take as drops in water.
Are there any herbs which are of particular benefit to hay fever sufferers?
Nettle tea, made as above, will clear the liver and it’s delicious if made from fresh leaves. Rosemary tea clears and dries nasal passages, and sage tea will do the same for throat and chest. My personal favourite for itchy eyes are eye-drops made from distilled loosestrife root, Lythrum salicaria, a 17th century recipe that is fantastic for any eye problem. A witch hazel eye bath is also good. Eyebright is commonly recommended also.
Can I grow any of these herbs in my garden?
Plants have such a varied and wonderful interaction with us that many plants will treat the same ailment, but personally I think the best ones to use are the ones you can obtain closest to home. Many of the most effective herbs, like loosestrife, grow wild in the countryside around you. Anyone can grow sage, rosemary and thyme in a pot and these will serve you all through the year, for coughs and chest infections in the winter and hay fever in the summer.
Anna is the author of ‘Nature’s Alchemist: John Parkinson, herbalist to Charles I’, and
'Change your Mind, Heal your Body’. For more about Anna see www.annaparkinson.com. For appointments call 0781 806 1605