Hello Spring, Goodbye Allergies
For many of us, thinking that winter is finally coming to an end invokes a sense of relief, as it signals an end to the cold and flu season. However, while some may be dreaming of blossoms and warm sunshine, those who have been helping patients prevent or recover from the particularly aggressive flu strain this season will be aware that hay fever will be a grey cloud over the spring season for plenty.
As you’re aware, sneezing, headaches, post-nasal drips, congestion, irritated eyes and itchy throats are all symptoms of hayfever, which is an unfortunate by-product of the explosion of life and colour that is spring. With mass amounts of pollen in the air, the immune system’s reaction to this and the subsequent release of histamine, it’s time to start thinking about how you can offer some reprieve from these irritating symptoms to those who need it.
Medical antihistamines fly off the shelves once the weather starts to warm up but side effects like drowsiness make them an unsuitable choice for some. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with natural supplements so that your patients can deal with their spring allergies without the side effects! It’s been a long flu season so in case you need a reminder of what we can send your way, here’s a list of some of our favourite natural solutions for fighting those pesky histamines:
When we talk effective natural supplements that don’t make the user drowsy, Butterbur is a possible option. A British Medical Journal study examined 125 people with hay fever and found that it worked as well as Zytrec, without the drowsiness that antihistamines often induce.
Garlic potentially acts as an anti-inflammatory and immune booster and, best of all in this season, it contains quercetin which has the potential to counteract histamine. Does this mean we can all just live on garlic bread for the season? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, it does mean that garlic may be a key supplement to keep in mind this spring.
Stinging Nettle Leaf
In Ancient Greek times, Stinging Nettle Leaf was used medicinally. In modern times, it may offer anti-inflammatory properties that could assist with hayfever symptoms.
The Journal of Restorative Medicine found that Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. Rosemary may be able to help fight hay fever symptoms and provide relief to those suffering from asthma but has the potential to cause mild nausea if not taken with food (which could be even more reason for the garlic bread).
While this list may be beginning to feel like a recipe list, turmeric is another natural supplement that may offer relief from hay fever symptoms, as it contains curcumin. A American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology studied 214 people with allergic rhinitis and found that those who took curcumin for two months saw a decrease in their congestion and sneezing.
Delicious and nutritious! Either in the form of capsules or a homemade tea, we love oregano because of the possible benefit it has in treating colds, flus and hay fever through its antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties.
Self-heal (or All Heal)
You may know this one as prunella vulgaris and it has the potential to clear congestion and reduce any swelling in the lymph glands. It also boasts possible antibiotic properties, which could help fight the effects of a variety of viruses and bacteria.
Cinnamon has reported antifungal and analgesic properties, possibly dilating blood vessels which helps the body fight bugs faster.
With oils such as thymol and tannins, thyme has possible antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral powers that could be helpful in soothing coughs, sweating out colds, fighting off general illness and in maintaining healthy digestion.
Boasting possible antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, ginger is a refreshingly punchy option that could decrease congestion and nausea.
Echinacea has possible health benefits if taken as soon as symptoms are noticed. It comes in a range of products, including teas and capsules, but may mix with other medication so that’s something that users should be made aware of before taking it.
While we have seen the worst of the cold and flu season and are looking towards a bright (if not possibly sneezy for some) Spring, you’ll be aware that some patients are still fighting off their Winter sniffles. In that case, consider the above list when deciding how best to alleviate their symptoms. Healthy life habits are the best preventative measure and, coming into a new season, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a moment to reflect on the benefits of a good sleep, keeping hydrated, aiming to do moderate physical activity several times a week and spending time out in nature. Combined, these four basic ideas have the potential to increase the strength of the body’s immune system.