While we’re enjoying the lighter evenings and occasional sunshine at Pai HQ, there’s one definite (and audible) downside to spring – hay fever!
Those Instagrammable blossoms and rows of daffodils have also heralded the onset of seasonal allergies. Depending which pollens you’re sensitive to, the season of sneezing can run from March all the way to September!
If you’re dealing with mild to moderate symptoms, you might want to ditch the daily antihistamines and explore some natural alternatives.
Naturally found in apples and peppers, quercetin is a plant pigment that gives some fruit and veg their colour.
In test tube studies, it’s been shown to prevent immune cells releasing histamines (the chemicals that cause allergic reactions) and researchers think it may help ease irritating symptoms including watery eyes and runny noses.
Although it can be found in our diets, a supplement at the recommended dose of 500mg twice a day is thought to be most effective.
A mixture of enzymes found in pineapple, Bromelain may help to relieve swelling and inflammation caused by hay fever.
Unfortunately a serving of pineapple doesn’t deliver a large enough dose, so try supplementing 50mg twice a day to banish puffiness.
Studies suggest that a lack of vitamin C can leave our histamine levels higher than normal, making us more prone to itchy skin and sneezing.
Keep topped up on foods rich in vitamin C, like citrus fruits, berries and leafy greens, over the summer months to help support the immune system.
Quercetin supplements targeted at seasonal allergies often contain a mixture of Quercetin, Bromelain and Vitamin C.
Forget the itchy and painful memories of nettles as a child! This roadside plant is thought to reduce the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen.
In early studies 48% of people rated nettle as more effective than other allergy medications they’ve tried.
Include nettle teabags in your stash of herbal teas with hidden health benefits.
If you want to avoid pills and potions altogether, the answer might lie in some (pain-free) needling!
Small studies have shown promising results, with participants who received acupuncture taking fewer antihistamines over the study period.
However, like most popular hay fever treatments, the results wore off when the treatment stopped.