Hay fever is a form of allergy affecting the lining of the nose, and often the eyes and throat too. Strictly speaking, as the name implies, it is an allergic response to the pollen of certain grasses, but is used to describe similar reactions to a wide range of pollens and the spores of some fungi.

The symptoms are probably too well known to need description; runny nose, sneezing, and streaming eyes during the summer, when the particular group of pollens to which the person reacts are floating in the air.

Various essential oils seem to help with the symptoms, some people finding one more helpful, and some others, just as different sufferers react to various types of pollen in the first place. Any of the oils which relieve the symptoms of the common cold, especially Lavender and Eucalyptus in inhalations, may help to reduce the sneezing and runny nose, but your first line of attack should usually be the oils which are helpful in treating allergies in general. Camomile and Melissa. Of the two Camomile seems to be effective more often than Melissa, but this is unfortunately a situation in which trial and error seems to be the only way to find out what is most helpful for the person concerned. Also, it sometimes seems that one oil will lose its effectiveness quite soon, and as treatment may be needed throughout the pollen season, you will need to alternate two or more oils to provide some effective relief.

Some people find the heat of a steam inhalation makes them feel even worse, so simply give them some oil to put on a hankie or tissue, to sniff whenever they need it during the day. Massage with any of these oils can also be very helpful, as the oil absorbs into the bloodstream, and often decreases the severity of the allergic response.

High levels of Vitamin C supplementation seem to help a lot of hayfever sufferers (at least 3 grams a day), and attention to the diet in general can also be useful. Dairy produce and refined starches, which tend to encourage the production of mucus, should be kept to a minimum, if not cut out altogether, and this does seem to lessen the allergic reaction in quite a lot of people.

For sore, red eyes, cool compresses of rosewater or camomile infusions (NOT the essential oil) are very soothing.

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