Spring has arrived! Patchworks of flowers brighten up the boarders, the lush green grass is ever growing and the sun is hinting that summer will soon be here.
Many of us look forward to this time of year, but for the 1 in 5 of us who suffer with hayfever, this may mean not leaving the house without a packet of anti-histamines, a pair of sunglasses and vaselined nostrils to combat the pollen; the ‘joys’ of spring suffered through clouded eyes, streaming noses and bursts of sneezing. I know. I have been there.
At the age of about 12 I was marched to a Herbalist, given an earthy-tasting brown medicine to take and advised to modify my diet. This was my first personal experience of herbal medicine and actually one of my last until I trained. Why? Because after that season, I was never blighted with troublesome hayfever again! I had a fantastic response to my treatment, which settled my system so much; it has never been as reactive since. I’m not necessarily saying that if you take a few doses of Herbal Medicine you will be cured forever, but I am highlighting the power of herbs and their ability to work at the root cause of the problem. By aiming to correct the imbalance (that is, whatever is causing your body to function sub-optimally) you are more likely to get a longer-term resolution.
Hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen. The body overreacts when pollen gets into the mouth, nose, eyes and throat, acting as if it were a virus. If you can change the way the immune system responds to pollen and reduce the release of a major chemical trigger, histamine, you will reduce the need to counter this with anti-histamines.
For those who prefer an alternative to anti-histamines or who find that these alone do not control their hayfever, I believe that Herbal Medicine presents an extremely good option.
A good way to illustrate this is with a case history of a hay fever patient:
I saw a lady in her 60’s suffering with hay fever. Her symptoms included sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, profuse clear mucus, a tight chest and blocked sinuses at night. Investigations had ruled out asthma and other potential chest complications. The patient got the symptoms every year from May to October and the year that she came to see me, the anti-histamines had ceased to offer any relief.
Following a detailed consultation during which we discussed her full health history, medications, diet and lifestyle, I prescribed a tailor made herbal medicine for her individual needs.
This contained herbs to help modulate the immune system in order to calm the hypersensitivity reaction and reduce the release of histamine. I also included herbs to help dry up excess mucus secretion and relax the chest. I recommended some appropriate dietary changes and asked the patient to come back 4 weeks later. When I next saw the patient she reported that within 2-3 weeks all of her symptoms had gone. She continued to take her medicine at the full dose for a further 2 months, before beginning to gradually reduce the dose. As she reduced and then stopped her medicine, she remained symptom free.
If you would like further information on Herbal Medicine for hayfever, please do not hesitate to contact me through the ‘Contact’ page or on my mobile 07736829755.