Does hay fever ruin your Spring?
Ben Makeham, Naturopathy student
As the sun begins to poke its head out towards the end of winter, we start to look hopefully towards spring and the warmer days to come… Unless of course, you suffer from hay fever.
Warmth isn’t all that comes with spring, it also brings a lot of pollen.
To hay fever sufferers, spring is synonymous with the start of allergy season and I’m sure it is met with dread by some more severely affected.
The months of September to March are basically an itchy, sneezy, runny mess for many hay fever sufferers, and depending on your particular pollen triggers, it could be one or all of these months!
Conventional treatments include oral and nasal antihistamines which can be effective at providing some relief.
So, is there a natural approach that may help provide some extra relief? Absolutely.
The good news is that there are some key nutrients and herbal medicines that may help to reduce your immune system’s allergic response to allergens.
Eating foods that are rich in quercetin (nature’s antihistamine) every single day is a great place to start!
Quercetin has been shown to have anti-allergic actions by stabilising mast cells and preventing them from releasing histamine which triggers the symptoms associated with hay fever in attempt to rid the body of the allergen.
It may also reduce the production of inflammatory molecules by certain types of immune cells called Th2 cells which are often elevated in allergic conditions and further stimulate histamine release.
My top three quercetin rich foods are apples, onions and berries because they are so readily available and super easy to incorporate into many people’s diets. Fresh is best as quercetin has been shown to reduce dramatically after 1 week of storage.
There are select herbal medicines which have a beautiful regulatory action on the immune system similar to quercetin and may provide relief from some of your hay fever symptoms. These are available via prescription from your qualified herbalist or naturopath.
Working to prevent the explosion of hay fever symptoms before allergy season really kicks in is always easier than trying to stop the cascade of sneezing and itching once it’s started.
So start thinking about it now!
As always, nothing beats personalised advice to tailor nutrient and herbal prescriptions that are right for you and your specific symptoms.
That’s what we do at Endeavour Wellness Clinic.
If you’re based in Melbourne and you want to work to reduce your hay fever symptoms naturally, book a consultation with Ben on Monday afternoons 3-6pm, Wednesdays until 2.30pm and select times on Thursdays.
Jung, Hyuk-Sang, Mi Hye Kim, Nam-Gil Gwak, Yong-Seok Im, Ka-Yeon Lee, Youngjoo Sohn, Hyeon Choi, and Woong Mo Yang. 2012. “Antiallergic Effects of Scutellaria Baicalensis on Inflammation in Vivo and in Vitro.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 141(1):345–49.
Mlcek, Jiri, Tunde Jurikova, Sona Skrovankova, and Jiri Sochor. 2016. “Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response.” Molecules 21(5):623.
Venkatesh, Pichairajan, Pulok K. Mukherjee, Nanjappan Satheesh Kumar, Arun Bandyopadhyay, Hiroyuki Fukui, Hiroyuki Mizuguchi, and Nurul Islam. 2010. “Anti-Allergic Activity of Standardized Extract of Albizia Lebbeck with Reference to Catechin as a Phytomarker.” Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 32(2):272–76.