According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, (ASCIA), one in five Australians suffers from hay fever. Symptoms can be quite debilitating and include sinus infections, loss of sleep, asthma and time off work/school.
'Every spring we see a spike in calls to our customer care centre from hayfever sufferers looking for something to help soothe their symptoms," says Mr Michael Wu, general manager of Nature's Care Australia.
Mr Wu said while many sufferers opt for antihistamines and cortisone injections, there are many natural remedies that can ease symptoms so that sufferers can get on with their normal lives. He recommends:
Vitamin C: to support immune function and provide a natural antihistamine effect when taken at levels of around two grams daily.
Horseradish: contains pungent compounds called mustard oils which have a potent decongestant effect, giving immediate relief from a blocked nose.
Evening primrose oil: which has been shown in clinical trials to ease allergic skin reactions and symptoms of atopic eczema, such as dry skin, itching and inflammation.
Natural Health Practitioner, Kirsten Tremlett, says that herbs can be very useful in easing an allergic response.
'Herbs have been used for centuries in natural medicine and can be very effective." Kirsten recommends:
Butterbur: a member of the daisy family. Its active ingredient, petasin, counters the leukotrienes and histamines that create an allergic reaction. Do not take butterbur and conventional antihistamines together without professional advice.
Eyebright: an astringent, tonic herb that dries up excessive watery secretions, strengthens mucous membranes, and relieves inflammation.
Echinacea: helps restore normal immune function, while Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) and Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) aid detoxification by stimulating liver and digestive function. Nettle (Urtica dioica) and German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) reduce the underlying allergic tendency via anti-inflammatory and antihistamine actions.
Kirsten said that acupuncture and acupressure can also be an effective way to reduce symptoms.
'Acupuncture has been used for centuries for both chronic sinusitis and hayfever. While clinical trials have not been conclusive, there is strong anecdotal evidence to suggest this therapy is of real value," she says.
-Press for Relief' – Kirsten Tremlett's Acupuncture method, step-by-step:
For sinus congestion: press in the creases on either side of your nose where your nose and face meet, either side of each nostril.
For watery eyes: press directly above the inner corner of each eye on the inside end of your eyebrow – you should feel a little notch in the bone, which will be quite sore.
For headaches, runny nose, and sneezing: press in the middle of the web between your thumb and forefinger, which you can find by sliding a finger from the first joint of your index finger towards your wrist, stopping in the depression where the thumb and index finger bones meet and pressing where it is most tender. Caution: Do not use this acu-point if you are pregnant.
And finally – pick up a pineapple!
A study presented to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians suggests that bromelain – an enzyme from pineapple – reduces lung inflammation associated with asthma and hayfever. In the study, animals given bromelain had a fifty per cent reduction in cell markers for inflammation; the more they were given, the better the results.
'Whatever type of natural therapy you choose this hayfever season, pick something that works for you and that can help you get on with your day-to-day life," said Kirsten.
Nature's Care is an Australian company that specialises in producing a range of nutritional supplements and skincare. Nature's Care products contain the finest natural ingredients and are endorsed by the -Australian Made and Owned' green triangle. For further information, visit: www.naturescare.com.au.
Kirsten Tremlett is a qualified natural health practitioner who runs her own practise in Byron Bay. Kirsten is passionate about helping others live healthy, happy lives. For further information, visit: www.naturopathicherbalist.com.au.