According to James A. Duke, PhD in The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods (2008) Rodale:USA, Hay Fever is one of the most common allergies. About one of five Americans experience its symptoms. These include runny nose, sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes and ears, sinus pressure, problems sleeping and fatigue. These symptoms can occur in spring, summer, or fall.
Most Hay Fever is a reaction to pollen which is so light it can be carried indoors by the wind. Grass, weeds, and mold also trigger Hay Fever symptoms. Some persons are allergic to indoor irritants such as dust mites, cockroaches, or pet dander. Also some products such as cigarette smoke, perfume, and room deordorizer can cause added irritation.
While colds are caused by a virus and clear up in 5-7 days, Hay Fever is a response of the immune system which releases histamine in response to contact with the invading stimulant. It is the histamine in your system which is responsible for your symptoms.
Hay Fever is shown to increase the risks of asthma, eczema, and sinusitus as well.
The inappropriate response of the immune system is not altered by antihistamines, decongestants, or nasal sprays although they may temporarily relieve symptoms. Many times allrgy shots are known not to work until after years of treatment with them.
Nutritionist Leigh Broadhurst, PhD recommends a nutritional approach to mild allergies to reduce symptoms. She states that the minimal use of alcohol, artificial flavors and colors, food preservatives, caffeine, dairy, egg yolks, MSG, meat, refined sugar, soda drinks, and trans fats can give relief.
The addtion of broccoli, citrus fruits, and collard greens or kale increase Vitamin C which acts as an antihistamine and blocks inflammation which cause allergy symptoms. Crucifer vegetables are known to open the sinuses and provide carotenoids which are associated with reduced allergic symptoms.
Chronic congestion is often relieved by spicey food. Hot peppers dilate blood vessels serving to clear congestion. The nose and throat will also respond by producing a watery secretion that helps remove mucus when clearing your throat or nose.
Accupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are showing results in relief of allergy symptions.
Butterbur leaf extract has been shown to function as an antihistamine. Ragweed allergy can be exacerbated by butterbur however. When using butterbur select a product that is free of pyrrolizidine alcaloid (PA). This is a chemical that is sometimes used in the processing of herbs. It can cause liver and kidney damage.
Licorice can be used as a sweetner in tea but should not be used for longer than 6 weeks at a time. Extended use can cause loss of potassium and high blood pressure.
Itchy throat and watery eyes has been reduced by stinging nettle. Andrew Weil, MD, professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson has said that one can take nettle and quercetin instead of prednisone and other steroids. He suggests 400mg of quercetin twice a day between meals beginning 2 weeks prior to pollen season and 1-2 capsules of freeze-dried nettle leaf extract every 2-4 hours as needed to quell symptoms.
A good local source for herbal supplements online is professionalsupplementcenter.com. They offer free delivery and optional automatic renewal or orders.