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Beat hayfever before it beats you

hayfeverSpring has finally arrived. The beautifully colourful blossoms not only signal the arrival of spring, but can also signal the arrival of red, itchy eyes and the never ending drip of clear, watery mucus from your nose. 

Hayfever does not affect everybody but it occurs when the immune system mounts an allergic response to something foreign to the body such as pollen.

How to reduce hayfever symptoms


  • Eat raw honey or honeycomb to help desensitise you to pollen. Try to get local untreated honey as it will be more likely to contain the pollen that you are reacting to. Eat one teaspoon per day – a remedy that is really quite easy to take in tea, on toast or with your breakfast.
  • Avoid alcohol as it swells the lining of your mucous membrane and you may be sensitive to the histamines in red wine.
  • Reduce sugar and dairy products as it promotes mucus production.
  • Use plenty of garlic and onion in your cooking to boost your immunity.
  • Top up on foods that contain Vitamin C, the anti-histamine vitamin, which can relieve allergy symptoms. Great food sources are citrus, papaya or pawpaw, kiwifruit, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and capsicum.

Top 8 herbs & nutrients for allergy and hayfever relief

  1. Horseradish is a decongestant herb that contains sulphur compounds which help to relieve respiratory mucus and nasal congestion, and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract (catarrh).
  2. Garlic helps to support and maintain a healthy immune system and provides both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Garlic is traditionally used as an expectorant to relieve catarrhal conditions and to help clear mucus congestion.
  3. Eyebright is traditionally used to relieve hayfever and sinusitis, nasal catarrh and excess mucus discharges. Eyebright is a mucous membrane tonic with anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. 
  4. Baical scullcap and Albizia provide anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity that helps relieve allergies.
  5. Vitamin C provides natural antihistamine activity so plays an important role in balancing and maintaining healthy histamine levels and is an antioxidant and free-radical scavenger that supports the immune system.
  6. Quercetin provides natural antihistamine activity that provides symptomatic relief of hayfever and seasonal upper respiratory tract allergies including a runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.
  7. Medicinal mushrooms have traditionally been used in Chinese medicine for the relief of symptoms of upper respiratory tract allergies and to help maintain a healthy immune system and to strengthen the body’s defences. 
  8. Vitamin D3 plays a role in immune regulation, hence a deficiency may contribute to allergic and inflammatory conditions.

 And another thing to be aware of

  • Start taking your supplements early and don’t wait for your hayfever symptoms to arrive. Get your immune system fighting fit and take supplements four weeks before everything around you is in full bloom.
  • Try to minimise exposure to pollen by keeping windows closed when the pollen counts are high. Although sunlight is fantastic for drying your washing, pollen can attach itself onto your washing and further aggravate your hayfever.
  • Hayfever sufferers often have food allergies as well. Identifying and avoiding the foods you are allergic to may reduce your hayfever symptoms at the same time.
  • Use a neti pot to gently irrigate the nasal passages with warm saline douches by placing the pot’s spout in one nostril and letting the saline run out the other. This method removes allergens such as pollen, dander and dust and thereby reduces triggers for allergic reactions.

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