Why would you want to seek help from a Naturopath or Herbalist for hay fever when you can easily take an over the counter anti-histamine from the pharmacy that knocks out symptoms fast? Because a Natural therapist can help treat symptoms of hay fever such as itchy watery eyes, runny nose or sinus pain and tickly coughs, but also works with you to determine the underlying reasons why the reaction is there, and they will also help strengthen the mucous membranes (lining of the nose and eyes and lungs that overreact to environmental triggers) to reduce the reaction so that next year the allergy season is no longer a problem.
Herbs such as Albizzia are antihistamine but don’t cause drowsiness and over the long-term help strengthen the body’s own defences against allergies. A very popular herb among herbalists is liquorice, which is soothing to irritated membranes and helps with coughs that people may experience during allergy season. Golden seal is used to strengthen digestion and treat any infections that may accompany hay fever and cause deep sinus pain.
Strengthening digestion may seem way off the mark when treating symptoms in the nose and lungs, but poor digestion causes general inflammation and immune dysfunction and leads to allergies in those susceptible. Every person is unique so even when the symptoms are similar the underlying reason may vary between person to person and it is important to do some detective work to find these underlying causes to effectively treat allergies and not just treat the symptoms.
FINDING PROBLEM FOODS
Most people love their food, and it’s hard to imagine that the body can react to foods in a negative way – but it can. In some people, food can give unpleasant symptoms, ranging from food sensitivity (coffee can make you flushed), through to violent reactions (melon can make your lips swell up, or peanuts can make your wind-pipe close). True food allergy is likely to occur with foods such as eggs, peanuts, soya, shellfish, and melon, to name but a few.
Food intolerance is something different and is commonly seen with wheat and dairy foods, milk sugar (lactose), and even with specific plant groups such as the onion family. It takes a skilled practitioner to work out your degree of tolerance. For example, rather than cutting out wheat altogether, you might be okay on half a slice of bread a day, but three slices might give you diarrhoea.
It’s helpful to start a diary of what you’re eating and any symptoms that you notice. This will help a practitioner decide what type of diet you need to follow. And don’t worry; there are hundreds of special products and all manner of treats these days to help keep your diet as “normal” as possible.