Friday, 9 May 2008

Hay fever misery

This morning I woke up with itchy eyes, a runny nose and a sore throat and knew that for the next couple of months I will have hay fever.

A few days of warm weather and the flowers, trees and grasses are producing pollen like crazy. Great for them, bad for me. I have suffered with hay fever through summer for most of my life and I tried countless remedies, but never found a complete cure.

Like most hay fever sufferers, I have bought over-the-counter antihistamine pills from the chemist and tried medications prescribed by my doctor but the only ones that have any effect for me also make me feel extremely drowsy.

Being a witch, and generally in favour of natural treatments where feasible, I have also tried a number of complementary cures.

The one I had highest hopes for involved eating honey. The idea is that by eating a spoonful of honey every day, which contains a small amount of pollen, you gradually build up an immunity. You need to make sure it is locally produced honey so that it contains the type of pollen you will come into contact with. I love honey and this sounded a great excuse for indulgence.

The honey cure was first suggested to me when I was in my teens by the father of my boyfriend at the time. He happened to be a beekeeper, which was convenient because it meant I had a ready supply of honey I knew was produced locally. Sadly, I didn't find this remedy worked for me at all, although it was certainly the best honey I ever tasted. Nevertheless, I have heard other hay fever sufferers - and beekeepers - swear by it, so if you like honey I would recommend giving it a go.

I have also tried homeopathic pills made from mixed pollens. The theory behind homeopathy is that a condition can be treated by taking a very small amount of something that can produce the symptoms of the ailment. There is little scientific evidence that this works, but many people believe it does. My own experience was that the mixed pollens seemed to help a little when the pollen count was low to medium but did nothing at all when the pollen count was high. At least it didn't make me sleepy.

Nettle tea, drunk a few times each day, is also supposed to be a wonderful hay fever remedy and also good for detoxing and treating skin rashes. Nettles contain vitamins C and K as well as natural anti-allergens. You can make tea from fresh nettles or buy packets of dried nettle tea in health food shops. The drawback is that nettle tea doesn't taste particularly nice. I bought a packet a few years ago with good intentions but found it hard to face after the first couple of days. But, with the pollen count expected to be high this season, I might just give it another go.

If you have tried these or any other natural hay fever remedies, I would be very interested to hear about your experiences. Leave a comment below or send me an email.

For more information:
http://www.whatreallyworks.co.uk/start/kidszone.asp?article_ID=162
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3021052.stm
http://www.woodlands.co.uk/blog/practical-guides/a-cup-of-nettle-tea/
http://www.gaias-garden.co.uk/Herbs/HerbalTeas.html

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi,Ive suffered from hayfever for 20 years,but so far this year i have had no bad reactions.Ive driven past yellow fields breathing in the perfume with the windows down and no sunglasses.This has never been possible for me before.The only thing that i have done differently is drink nettle tea,yes it is an aquired taste but you can buy nettle and blackberry flavour or mix a nettle tea bag wiv a fruit tea bag for a custom blend that is much more palletable.Im out of teabags at mo so im gonna scrump sum of neigbours baby nettles to put on the boil.Its still early in the hayfever season so i do hope this lasts and i have found my wonder cure.I will let you know if things change.Ali

Badwitch said...

Thanks for the encouragement - I will stick with the nettle tea and see how it goes. In fact, I am drinking some as I type this.

Anonymous said...

I found some nettle tea bags at the back of my cupboard so didnt have to pick and boil any.I put teabag in cup, poured a little blackcurrent squash in then boiling water and it was delicious,i could hardly taste the nettle.Ali

Badwitch said...

I agree that adding fruit squash makes nettle tea taste better!

Anonymous said...

we got a free sample of this gooey stuff that you're supposed to rub under your nostrils to catch the pollen before it goes up your nose. It hasn't worked yet, but it slightly bothers me that I might end up with a yellow moustache. Yuck.

Badwitch said...

I've heard that putting a little vaseline under your nostrils has a similar effect. I've never tried it though. At least I suspect it stops your nose getting sore from all the sneezing!

Ananta P das said...

WE use nettles (freshly picked) very year, and do find they help, as for the taste, I find them wonderful, I am surprised to hear people say they are too unpalatable, they have a sweetness even of their own.

Anonymous said...

I have if you brew nettle tea bags and put them into a bottle and into the fridge to cool it is pretty good mixed with fruit squash. Tastes like iced tea which is very refreshing if the weather is hot. As for whether it works on hayfever yet imnot sure still waiting to see.

kkudi said...

I have been having Benadryl but sometimes I find that it hasn't got any effects, sometimes I find that it does.

On the grounds of Nettle Tea, I love any sort of tea, whether it tastes nice or not, since any tea you drink is nice and healthy way to lead your life....

Nettle hasn't done much for me though.....

The only thing that remains is to try unprocessed honey to see how my body reacts.

Anonymous said...

I suffer from hayfever, but this year has been the worst! I have a sore and itchy throat, bad headaches, watery and itchy eyes, and it makes me tired! Would green tea work?
I also read to eat honey, so I may try that aswell.
Many Thanks! =)

Anonymous said...

I've suffered with allergic rhinitis (year round) for as long as I can remember and I still prefer to avoid antihistamines at all but the worst times. I've been much more disciplined about using nettle tea so far this year and I don't seem to be suffering as much. Today, for the first time, I tried fresh nettles just steeped for 5 minutes in boiling water (with nettles removed before drinking of course!) - was a bit wary and thought they might make me feel much worse before feeling better or even that they might hurt me but this blog has reassured me. They taste nicer than the teabags!