Steam is probably the simplest and most accessible option when it comes to hayfever treatments and so hence it is first on my list of home remedies.
Steam can provide relief from congestion as it contains heat and moisture which together loosen mucus to allow it to flow more easily from the nose.
To give your blocked nose the benefit of steam you could try inhaling it directly. This is really simple – just fill up a basin or bowl with warm, steaming water then place your head over it and breathe in deeply for a few minutes. Just be sure you don’t get too close to the water that you end up burning yourself!
Alternatively, lots of warm baths, showers and hot (caffeine-free) drinks are in order!
So, which caffeine-free drinks am I talking about here? Well, herbal teas are the best option when your hayfever flares up as these are low in histamine, plus some varieties have properties that could help to reduce the severity of hayfever symptoms. Nettle tea for example, is anti-inflammatory meaning it could help issues like congestion.
If you do not fancy nettle tea however, you could try a natural nettle supplement instead such as our Stinging Nettle Urtica Drops.
Honey and lemon
This is another hot drink that is ideal for hayfever flare ups. Honey and lemon has long been used to address sore throats and coughing caused by a cold or flu however, it can ease these symptoms when they are caused by pollen too.
The warmth of the liquid coupled with the honey and lemon soothes an irritated throat plus, unlike most cough remedies, this is a pleasant-tasting, natural treatment.
If you don’t believe us though, ask the NHS! Their patient information pages regularly recommend it for cold and flu symptoms that also occur in hayfever sufferers too.
Water is another essential drink when you’re suffering from hayfever as it helps to rinse the throat of allergens that may be lurking there. However, it also stops your throat from getting dry which, in turn, helps with coughing and soothes a sore throat - two key hayfever symptoms.
It is recommended that you drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day but if that gets a little boring, you could add fruit like cucumber and lemons to it, as well as herbs like mint!
When it comes to controlling and treating your hayfever, it’s also worth having a close look at what you eat as certain foods can exacerbate symptoms of hayfever, whilst others have the potential to ease them.
Caffeine, alcohol, dairy products and foods with artificial colourings such as sweets and even some cheeses are all high in histamine. This is the chemical released by the immune system when it comes into contact with pollen and it is this that causes most hayfever symptoms including itchy skin and congestion.
So, as an alternative to these histamine-rich foods, I’d recommend you stick to fresh produce where possible including fresh fruit, vegetables, chicken and fish.
For more information on hayfever and diet just have a look at my blog.
Milk-based products including yogurt, cheese and butter can make mucus thicker which will therefore worsen congestion. So, if this issue is a problem for you, it’s best not to consume large quantities of these things during a bout of hayfever.
In contrast, foods containing a chemical compound called Bromelain may thin mucus to help ease congestion.1 Bromelain is found in high quantities in pineapples so if you want to try this theory out for yourself, you could make our tasty pineapple smoothie!
Mackerel, salmon, herring, walnuts and chia seeds are rich in omega 3 which could also be of benefit to hayfever sufferers. That’s because omega 3 is rich in anti-inflammatory properties meaning it could help to counteract the inflammatory nature of histamine.
Again, you can explore our online recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks that are high in omega 3. A few of my favourite fish recipes include:
Alongside increasing your intake of fresh foods and herbal teas, as a hayfever sufferer you should try to up your vitamin C intake too. This is a natural anti-histamine meaning it could also help to ease hayfever symptoms that are caused by the immune system’s release of this chemical upon contact with pollen. Oranges are the obvious choice here but remember things like broccoli, potatoes and red and green peppers also contain vitamin C too.
Vitamin C also helps to support the immune system so in this way it could also help to fight hayfever symptoms. If you’d like to try a vitamin C supplement to increase your intake of this valuable vitamin, it’s best to use a natural supplement such as our Nature-C tablets.
Garlic is one of a group of foods that contain Quercetin, a chemical compound that can help to control the levels of histamine being produced by the body. It’s also thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect and so this means it’s another food that can help hayfever sufferers.
Garlic isn’t the only food to contain high levels of Quercetin though as onions, peppers, broccoli, apples and berries are also known for their high quantities. This means our raspberry and blueberry smoothie is the perfect hayfever-busting drink!
You’ve probably had experience of watery eyes and a runny nose after a particularly hot curry and that’s because of capsaicin – a compound found in chilli peppers. This compound can be helpful when hayfever brings on a blocked nose as it breaks down mucus, causing it to flow from the nose. So, in this sense spice can actually be helpful to hayfever sufferers.
Below I’ve included a few of my favourite spicy recipes from our website. With each dish you can add more or less spice than the recipe recommends, depending on how hot you like your food!
The University of Florida recently found that probiotics had a positive effect on hayfever symptoms but how exactly does this work?2 Well, research has shown that the good bacteria found in probiotics may reduce the body’s immune response to allergens like pollen.3
So, if you’d like to improve your hayfever symptoms through probiotics, here are some foods to include in your diet:
- Dairy free yogurt
- Fermented foods
As I mentioned in my blog ‘Can honey help hayfever?’, there’s a bit of controversy regarding whether or not honey can help hayfever. Some say that local honey contains traces of pollen from that area and so by eating lots of it, this would enable you to build up some immunity to that pollen. However, others are a little more sceptical about the issue, arguing that the scientific evidence is not robust enough to make this conclusion. I think you’ll only know if it works for you however, if you give it a try yourself!
As well as all the things I’ve mentioned above, there are a few simple steps you can take to improve your hayfever:
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses when pollen counts are high to prevent it from getting in your eyes
- Keep up to date with your local pollen forecast
- When pollen count is high, change your clothes when you get home so that you don’t spread pollen indoors
- Change your bedding regularly during the pollen season
- Keep your windows shut during the day
- Hoover your furniture and carpets often
- Wash your hair before bed as pollen collects easily there are you do not want to spread it onto your pillow!
If you wish to try other options to treat your hayfever besides home remedies and conventional medicines, you could turn to herbal remedies. In this instance our Pollinosan Hayfever tablets are ideal as these are non-drowsy and can be used alongside other hayfever medications, should you already be on one of them. These tablets address things like itchy eyes, sneezing, a tickly nose or throat and congestion which, as a hayfever sufferer, you’ll likely have experience of.