As much as I love a good British summer it is often plagued by a hazy pollen filled cloud for me. Since the age of around eight the summer months have meant puffy eyes, an unbearably itchy throat and a streaming nose. Not the best look for romantic picnics in the park and Sunday barbecues. So after years of suffering and having exhausted pretty much all that the pharmacy has to offer I thought I'd share some of my more natural remedies that have helped me to get it under control.
1. Hay Max
By far the biggest game changer in the fight against pollen for me. After years of having to face sleepless nights in an over heated bedroom, Hay Max has meant that I can now sleep peacefully with the windows fully open. This award-winning pollen barrier is designed to trap allergens using all natural ingredients. It's proven to trap over 1/3 of pollen grains and dust & pet allergens which would otherwise travel up the nasal tract, where it then causes the reactions. The balm works under the principle that if enough is trapped, this will keep you below your sensitivity so the reactions for that allergy will not be triggered. It's available from Holland & Barrett for £7.29.
2. Local Honey
The bee pollen in honey is said to be a natural remedy for hay fever as it can help to desensitise your body to other pollens. Switching to your local honey will give the best results and it is also a great way to support your local businesses.
3. Frozen Cucumber Slices
It might sound pretty old school but nothing beats a frozen or chilled cucumber slice on itchy puffy eyes. The ascorbic acid and caffeic acid in cucumbers brings down the water retention in the eyes. This will reduce the swelling and puffiness around the eyes and leave them feeling a lot cooler and less irritated.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a known natural antihistamine and can be found in a lot of fruits including oranges, lemons and grapefruit. Also present are bioflavonoids, which have powerful anti-allergy effects. The combination of vitamin C and bioflavonoids provides a natural decongestant and antihistamine for sufferers and helps alleviate symptoms effectively. I tried to include more of these in my smoothies during the summer months but you could also take them in a supplement form
5. Chilli Peppers
I also use chillies a lot when I feel bunged up in the winter as they contain an active component called capsaicin. When eaten, this component opens nasal passages and helps reduce congestion brought on by hay fever, alleviating symptoms significantly - making them a great natural hay fever remedy when chopped up in to summer salads.
6. Gin & Tonic
This is a new discovery for me but I have to say regardless of whether it works or not, it's one that I'm enjoying very much! More than 64 per cent of asthma sufferers claim that alcohol can make their allergies worse and this is all down to two triggering chemicals: histamine and sulphites. Commonly found in darker, fermented beverages like red wine and beer, a boozy lunch is often off the cards for hayfever sufferers but not all hope is lost. According to Asthma UK, you can find refuge in clear spirits such as gin and vodka, which have a relatively low histamine content. So while sipping on a G&T won't cure your symptoms altogether, it is your best option and that's more then enough of an excuse for me.