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.
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