There are many time tested herbal treatments that may bring you some relief. Allergies are the result of a hypersensitive immune system. With every breath we take, we breathe in millions of microscopic particles such as dust, pollen, plant spores, viruses, bacteria and even pollutants in the form of chemicals in the air. Hay Fever, (Allergic rhinitis) is a common illness often caused by pollens from trees, grass or weeds.

It is hard to pinpoint the exact cause of respiratory allergies, however, heredity does seem to play a role, as do environmental factors. Some evidence suggests that those who were breastfed as babies are less likely than those who were bottle fed to develop allergies.

The phytochemical compounds and natural antihistamines in cinnamon, ginkgo, reshi mushrooms and stinging nettle ease allergies and reduce inflammation. Ginkgo leaves contain ginkoglides, which inhibit platelet-activating factor, a chemical involved in asthma and allergies. The herb contains a dozen different anti-inflammatory chemicals and seven natural antihistamines. Reishi inhibits some of the chemical mediators of inflammation, including histamine.

To relieve watery and inflamed eyes, an herbal eyewash can be made from eyebright. To help with congestion and open breathing passages try drinking a hot cup of peppermint tea.

CHAMOMMILE - Tea is used to reduce duration of hay fever attacks.

EPHEDRA - Relieves congestion & bronchial spasms.

EUCALYPTUS - Used in steam inhalation to ease congestion.

EYEBRIGHT - Tincture or capsules reduce hay fever symptoms.

GINGER - Reduces inflammation, antimicrobial.

LICORICE ROOT - Reduces inflammation, antiviral, antibacterial.

NETTLE - Extract acts as an expectorant, reduces sinus inflammation.

ROOIBOS - Has antihistamine properties. A tea is sometimes helpful in relieving symptoms.

ST. JOHN'S WORT - Capsules are used to relieve sinus headache.

There are also some homeopathic remedies that are very helpful on relieving symptoms of hay fever.

Hayfever Tea:

The Haelan Centre mixes a Hayfever Tea (which is also very good for chesty conditions). Made up of herbs that help to reduce catarrh and are mildly anti-histamine. The tea contains the following herbs: Ephedra; Elder Flowers; Eyebright; Euphorbia; Yarrow; Vervain; Comfrey leaf; Nettle Leaf. Adults only should start drinking this tea as early as possible, preferably before the hayfever season starts. If you are unused to taking herbal tea see: How to Make a Herbal Infusion. Take the tea two or three times a day, every day. For contra-indications see box above. Hayfever tea should not be taken by people who suffer from high blood pressure or glaucoma.

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