I am not a trained practitioner of any kind, but I am a fed up Hay Fever sufferer sharing some tips on taking a natural approach to dealing with it.
If you suffer from Hay Fever then you probably feel as miserable as I do at the moment. All this beautiful weather and we can't enjoy it! I have suffered from hay fever for a number of years and I always thought it was pretty bad, as bad as it could possibly get. Boy was I wrong. I recently moved house and I now I have it worse than ever.
Let me know it these ring a bell. Inside of mouth itching like crazy. Nose trying to compete with Niagara Falls and again itching like crazy. Sneezing fits that make the skin on your back prickle and feels like it is exploding little bits of your lungs each bout. Vision constantly blurred because of watering eyes, and if you wipe too much they start itching, puff up and go a lovely shade of red all over. Very attractive. Is this you? If it is join the club, and can I just borrow your hanky for a sec' – vigorous blowing which only results in sore nose and start of headache – thanks for that. It's not only the symptoms that are bad, it's how they effect your every day life. You feel dreadful and hideous, everything you eat tastes of mucous, you can't sleep, you get lots of headaches, a fever, cold shivers and you can't even think clearly.
In spite of all this we often feel we have to keep on going, but pamper yourself a bit, it is OK to admit that you feel poorly. I always feel pathetic when people say what's wrong and I tell them I have hay fever. It seems really feeble, but it isn't. About 12 Million people suffer from it in the UK, that's around 1 in 5. So take it easy and remember to have a loo roll or plenty of tissue on hand.
In previous years I have gone the route of conventional medicine, eye drops, nasal spray, and antihistamine tablets. This year I decided to try a more gentle approach and try a few complimentary remedies. I thought my body probably needed a rest from prescription drugs.
I am trying a number of approaches which really do bring relief.
I always carry a hanky round with me to which I have applied 5 or 6 drops of lavender oil. This is for what is called dry inhalation. It does clear the nasal passages somewhat and lavender, as you probably already know, has a wonderfully calming effect. Whatever you do, don't blow your nose on that hanky! I have also bought an Olbas inhaler stick, that gives temporary relief and it smells nice. A good alternative to Lavender is Eucalyptus oil.
I have been massaging the sides of my nose, my forehead and the nape of my neck (back of the neck, where the hair starts) with lavender oil in a carrier oil. This is very relaxing especially if you can encourage or bribe a family member to do it for you. The massaging of the side of the nose helps to clear the sinuses a bit.
Aromatherapy Oil Burner
It also helps to have an oil burner going with a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus oil. Both are very good but I find lavender oil better at bedtime because it's calming effect also helps me go to sleep. Do take the usual precautions and don't go to sleep with it still alight.
Another good nostril clearer is ginger beer. It tastes good and it clears the sinuses. You just drink it and the strength of the ginger works its magic. This is only a temporary measure (as are all these remedies) but even temporary relief is better than none. I go for full sugar ginger beer as artificial sweeteners are worse for you than sugar. And try to avoid those with sulphur preservative in it because that can upset your stomach.
Hot Ginger Tea
If you don't like ginger beer you can make your own hot ginger tea. You will need one dessert spoon of honey, the juice of one lemon and a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger root. Mix the honey and lemon juice in hot water then place the grated ginger into an infuser ball and leave in the hot mixture for at least five minutes, stir frequently. Allow to cool a little then drink. This is also a good one when you have a cold or the flu as ginger warms you up from the inside.
Eye Ice Packs
If your eyes are being particularly troublesome, a home made eye ice pack is really soothing. Place a couple of ice cubes in opposite corners of a small plastic bag (sandwich bag or small freezer bag size), cover that in a hanky and apply a cube to each eye socket through the hanky. Apply the pack to various parts of the eye socket and lower forehead and it calms the eyes down brilliantly. I keep a couple of plastic bags in my handbag now so that when my eyes start playing up I nip into the nearest restaurant (anywhere with ice), beg a couple of bits of ice and assemble my makeshift ice pack.
Fresh Barley Water
I heard somewhere that if you soak whole wheat and barley for 24 hours, then drink the water it has been soaked in, this can help your body become immune to colds and flu. I am doing this in the hope that it also helps with hay fever. It tastes fine with some honey mixed in.
I have just started taking a homeopathic hay fever remedy as well, it is made by New Era and it is for hay fever and chronic rhinitis. They are pleasant to the taste, dissolve instantly on the tongue and get to work straight away. I am also taking echinacia tablets because I read somewhere that boosting the immune system could help with hay fever and at this stage I am willing to try just about anything.
As a qualified reflexologist I have found that massaging the fingers (palm side) can help clear the mucus from the sinuses. In fact why not go the whole hog and have a full foot or hand reflexology session, it will make you feel a lot better.
One major thing to remember is drink plenty of water. At least two litres a day normally but if you are oozing mucus you will need more in order to replace the lost liquid.
So that's about it so far, as and when I hear about or try any other self help remedies I will let you all know. In the meantime lets all just pray for rain!
By Daisy Walker
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