The ‘discovery’ of Hay Fever!
Interestingly ‘Hay Fever’ was first discovered on record in the 1800’s, as symptoms were attributed to the ‘Hay cutting’ season, and there was an association with ‘Farmer’s Lung’ – caused by inhaled hay dust or mould spores.
(🎧 Psst if you prefer to listen not read there is an audio reading of this blog post scroll to the bottom) 😃
What is Hay Fever today?
Hay fever is an over reaction within the body, usually to wind pollinated plants (it can be worse on breezy days). ‘Hay fever’ is medically referred to as ‘allergic rhinitis’ its an irritation of mucous membrane in the nose, eyes and throat.
So what actually happens in our bodies when the pollen is breathed in?
When pollen enters our body via (nose, mouth & eye membrane) its perceived as a threat and is met with an antigen presenting cell (like a bouncer). This cell then makes the pollen visible to our T-cells. Our T-cells then tell lots of other cells and in particular our B-cells. B-cells then make antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and they stimulate histamine production by Mast Cells.
Mast cells then release chemicals that trigger dilation in your nasal cavity causing – runny nose, sneezing, congestion and sometimes swelling and inflammation causing itchy eyes, tickly throat and cough, wheezing, even tiredness and lethargy.
I used to spend summer weekends of my childhood trapped at home waving goodbye to my family from the window as they went out for the day, leaving me safely pollen free indoors.
If I dared to go outside I would puff up, my eyes nearly shutting, itchy ears and throat, sneezing so LOUD I seriously challenged my dads volume of sneeze!
Autumn & Winter were the safe times for me to go outside! :))
Over the last 5 years I am very happy that my hay fever symptoms have been really reducing. I think what has helped is that I have made diet changes, I take extra magnesium and vit C on bad days.
Starting the day with a ginger tea has benefits on high pollen count days and I recently have taken homeopathic remedies that have worked incredibly well (even though I was sceptical).
Below I have gathered together for you tips and tricks that have helped to reduce my hay fever, you can try and see if they help you too…
Why do we get allergies anyway
Allergies are considered to originate in the gut, due to weakness that causes permeability of the gut wall – leaky gut – this is when some particles get through the damaged gut barrier and your immune system reacts to it, then you start making antibodies to this particular group of things.
Autophagy – this is the process where your body is eliminating proteins that you don’t need any more as they are damaged, its a survival mechanism that the body uses to protect you against various things. There are direct links in Autophagy impairments with Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons & many more problems like increased risk of cancer.
Autophagy – is an anti-aging process – cleans up old damaged proteins that need to been removed, reduce infections, improve pathogens, decrease histamine levels by improving Autophagy by trying fasting – start simply by not eating for 12 hours of the day eg. Start at 8am and stop at 8pm
To help with Hay Fever symptoms:
Firstly to help reduce inflammation cut down on wheat (especially if you get triggered by wheat pollen), refined sugar and dairy as its mucus forming. And here are some foods to add to your meals, focus on eating enough foods rich in fibre:
Dark leafy greens
Radishes – help reduce mucus
Local to you honey
Try starting the day with warm water with lemon or/and ginger. Reduce coffee as it can be hard on the gut bacteria, if you do drink it have it after drinking water or soon after eating.
Aloe Vera Juice
Tea with Valerian to help you sleep better – Sleep is natures best medicine
Try making this tea by The Happy Pear:
• Tbs Organic Apple cider vinegar,
• Local honey,
• Slices of Ginger
• Fresh Nettles
Here are some nutrients & vitamins that might help your body to lower symptoms of hay fever (always check with your health care practitioner first)
• B vitamins such as vitamin B6 & B12 (Methyl) are helpful for managing histamine production
• Vit C – make sure it has bioflavonoids to help with absorption
• CBD – can help reduce inflammation so will ease reaction and symptoms
• Vit D3 – suppresses immune reactions without suppressing immune system min 10,000 ID a day when allergies occurring
• Glutamine – restore healthy mucous membranes (gut lining) and reduce allergic potential
• Magnesium – helps with all cell functions and helps break down histamine in the gut
• Probiotics – take regularly, take before bed. Start on a low dose build up slowly
• Quercetin – inhibits mast cells that make histamine, inhibits mast cell response, 400-600 mg – you can take every 2 hrs when reacting, take with a little bit of fatty food, eg. coconut butter
• Selenium – fights inflammation and improves the immune response
• Zinc – a zinc deficiency can lead to more allergies
Try taking homeopathic remedies, talk to a local Homeopath, Naturopath or Functional Medicine Practitioner to gain more insight on what will work best for you personally.
Before you go outside put a little natural balm gently around your nostrils, the idea is it can help catch pollen grains before they enter your nose. (Avoid Vaseline – more about that in a minute).
I use my Lemon Yum Yum Balm made with Olive Wax & Fairtrade Cocoa Butter – you could try mango butter or cocoa butter.
Please avoid using Vaseline in your nostrils!
It’s not suitable for several reasons…
Vaseline is not designed to be used internally (so it’s not really a good idea as lip balm either) and if you put it inside your nostrils (it’s unlikely but) a tiny amount could enter your lungs and cause damage.
It has no health benefits to the skin because its a 100% ‘dead’ product, it has nothing in it that our skin can benefit from. Some components that are removed during the refining process of petroleum jelly are known to be carcinogenic.
Environmentally it’s not eco as its a by-product of the oil industry. “Originally found coating the bottom of oil rigs in the mid-1800s, (petroleum jelly) it’s a byproduct of the oil industry and therefore an unsustainable resource (read: not eco-friendly)” Huffington Post.
‘Petroleum Jelly’ ‘sits’ on your skin as a petrochemical synthetic layer. Because your skin can not absorb it and it is not removed by water it may stay on your skin for days, until it wears off – imagine its a light layer of cling film, think of it as suffocating to your skin. This can cause the skin underneath to cease to function properly, your skin might alter its natural functions to adapt to this ‘unnatural’ situation.
Petroleum Jelly is especially problematic for dry skin as your skin cells with perceive the petroleum jelly as its own skin barrier and will start to see this as a signal to produce less natural oil, therefor perpetuating dryness of the skin underneath.
This can lead to a ‘product dependency’ and an addiction to the ‘feeling’ of it on your skin as it creates a synthetically smooth layer. This is why its hard to stop using it as a lip balm, if you do decide to stop, then take it slowly over a week and introduce a natural balm that will work in harmony with your skin.
Ok, rant over back on topic!… 🙂
Try this if you go outside on a high pollen day when you come back inside use a salt water nose spray after or try a Neti pot. Wash face to clean off pollen grains, especially eyes and nose, after being outside and change clothes, tie back hair as pollen grains love to stick to hair.
Rub your face!
Speaking from personal experience,
when outside avoid touching your face, especially rubbing nose or eyes, it pushes the pollen into your system and one you rub you just can’t stop!
Don’t drink to much wine!
Avoid drinking wine when you have hay fever, grapes may have had pesticides used during the process and wine can be high in sulphites that can be a whole other allergen! So switch to a clear spirit at this time.
I highly recommend …
Wonderful way to help you feel better, It washes off all pollen grains and can clear out all your nasal passages.
Or try a trip to a steam room, put some Frankincense or Eucalyptus essential oils in the steam.
Essential oils to ease Hay Fever & Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms
Here are the essential oils blends that I find most effective and enjoyable, you can try using them in a diffuser to help clear clear nose and to calm my hay fever symptoms down –
Bay Laurel 4 (drops), Basil 2, Orange 5
Helps clear head, uplifting and reduces reaction
Eucalyptus 4 (drops), Basil 2, Peppermint 3
To clear airways , cooling, uplifting, can reduce allergic reaction
Frankincense 4 (drops), Grapefruit 5, Mint 3
Calm racing thoughts, aid focus, calm sneezes
Lavender 4 (drops), Frankincense 4, Roman Chamomile 2 – Good for bedtime to reduce histamine reaction and to calm nervous system
Facial Steam – Frankincense & Geranium 3 drops of each. I love this blend for itchy & irritated eyes & nose.
“Frankincense & Geranium – I love to use this in a gentle facial steam when I have itchy eyes & nose” Aromatherapist, Suzie of Soothe-me
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Listen to an audio of this post
DISCLAIMER – all the information here is not intended as medical advice and it is important that you do not take it as such. It is simply things that I have heard about or that have worked for me personally. Please contact your medical practitioner before you embark on taking any supplement, making diet or lifestyle changes.