Beating Hayfever Naturally
Fortunately, there are lots of herbs available to provide relief from
those unpleasant symptoms. It's never too early to prepare yourself for the
hayfever season, and elderflowers (Sambucus
nigra) are a particularly useful prophylactic or preventative remedy. You
should drink an elderflower infusion daily, starting in February or March and
continuing throughout the hayfever season. The fresh flowers are best and, as
one of our most common hedgerow plants, are readily available in spring. Take
care not to harvest blooms from roadsides or where agricultural chemicals may
have been used. If you cannot obtain fresh elderflowers, or if it is too late in
the season, you can use dried flowers, tincture or a good-quality and preferably
organic elderflower cordial instead. The addition of plantain (Plantago
spp.) to your infusion will tone the mucous membranes of the nasal passages,
helping to desensitise them to allergens. A course of Echinacea will strengthen
the immune system, again reducing your sensitivity to allergens. Garlic is
another immune booster, so include it in your diet as much as possible.
As soon as any symptoms appear, reach for your herbal first aid kit. elderflowers and
officinalis) both contain substances called tannins whose astringent action
will help both to dry up catarrh and runny eyes and to reduce any inflammation
or irritation of the mucous membranes. Another excellent astringent herb is
goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis);
sadly this particular herb is now an endangered species due to its popularity
and subsequent over-collection in the wild, so you should use it only
if you do so sparingly, having first made sure that it has been sustainably
harvested. Nettle (Urtica dioica) is a
natural anti-histamine, reducing the body's production of inflammatory
prostaglandins. Taken regularly, it will make you less sensitive to the effects
of pollen. Red, streaming eyes can be bathed regularly with a cooled and
strained infusion of chamomile (Chamomilla
recutita) or distilled witch hazel, and sunglasses may help to reduce eye
irritation when the sun is particularly bright. Taken internally, chamomile
reduces the nervous excitability often associated with allergic conditions,
particularly in children. An infusion of sage (Salvia
officinalis) makes an excellent gargle for a tickly throat and palate.
Homeopathic remedies can also be of great benefit to hayfever sufferers. The most useful are Allium cepa, Arsenicum, Euphrasia and Sabadilla. It is important to select the remedy that is most applicable to your own particular symptoms, so you should first discuss your needs with a qualified homeopath. .
Diet can help too. Try to keep mucus-forming dairy products to a minimum
and increase your intake of fresh, organic fruit and vegetables. Reduce your
alcohol and caffeine consumption as these are both known to aggravate symptoms.
Limit your exposure to pollen by drying your bedding indoors and keeping
your windows closed in the morning and evening when atmospheric pollen
concentrations are at their highest.
If your symptoms persist in spite of these measures, don't despair. A consultation with an experienced herbalist or homeopath will identify those remedies most suited to you as an individual. Qualified practitioners also have access to more potent remedies not generally available over-the-counter.
You'll need 25 heads of elderflowers (rinse them well first), 2kg sugar, 2 litres water and 2 large sliced lemons. Put the sugar, water and lemon in a pan and heat gently, stirring continuously, until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool then pour over the elderflowers. Leave to stand in a covered container for 2 days then strain and bottle (seal loosely in case of fermentation - bottles with corks are safest!). Store in a cool, dark place. To drink, dilute with three parts chilled mineral water to one part cordial. Use sparkling water if you prefer for elderflower 'champagne'.
Contact: [email protected] Please complete the 'Subject' heading or your email will be assumed to be spam and automatically deleted. Before you contact me, I'd be grateful if you would please check to see if this website has the answer to your question (search box at the top of the homepage) - I have time to answer only a few of the many emails that arrive in my inbox every day. See also the statement below:
For your safety I am prohibited from giving specific medical advice to individuals over the internet or telephone so please do not waste your time or mine by emailing or calling me with detailed information about your health problems - I can only undertake face-to-face consultations for what should be obvious reasons. Diagnoses cannot be made remotely, and I am unable to offer any advice or treatment until I am completely satisfied that I know what I'm dealing with! The herb profiles and treatment suggestions on this website will help enable you to choose which herbs might be appropriate for minor ailments. For more serious or chronic conditions you should seek professional advice. This is particularly important if you are taking medication from your doctor or pharmacist, as some herbs can interact adversely with other drugs. If you would like to have a consultation with a medical herbalist then you should click here then scroll to 'Professional Organisations' at the bottom of the page to find a qualified practitioner in your area.
Christine Haughton, MA MNIMH MCPP FRSPH
Wold Farm, West Heslerton, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 8RY, UK
Last updated 27th November 2014 ęPurple Sage Botanicals