Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is caused by the body’s response to certain allergens and other substances. About 15 to 20 percent of the United States population suffers from hay fever every year. It affects both men and women, and also is common among infants and small children.
Common allergens that cause hay fever are pollen, dust, animal dander (old skin), cat saliva and mold. Others factors also can trigger this condition, including cigarette smoke, exposure to chemicals, cold temperatures, humidity, high pollution, and wood smoke and fumes.
When the body comes into contact with these allergens and other triggers, it releases histamine into your system. This chemical affects the mucous membranes of the sinuses, nose, throat, eyes and palate, causing cold-like signs and symptoms.
Symptoms may include sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, itchy nose, coughing, sore throat, watery eyes, hives, frequent headaches, excessive fatigue and itchy skin. It may also worsen asthma symptoms.
Hay fever is not considered a serious ailment, but it can interfere with your everyday quality of life. There are over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays to reduce hay fever symptoms. You can also use natural home remedies that are inexpensive and can provide quick relief.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for hay fever.
1. Local Honey
Honey can effectively treat hay fever due to the presence of bee pollen. It can also desensitize your body’s immune system to other pollens. Plus, it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that give relief from various symptoms of hay fever. For best results, use locally harvested honey for protection against pollens in your area.
- Consume one or more teaspoons of raw, unprocessed local honey three or four times a day to help relieve symptoms. In fact, eating raw local honey daily before hay fever season can even prevent the condition.
- You can also mix one tablespoon of honey and three or four drops of fresh lemon juice in a glass of warm water and drink it immediately. Do this twice daily to help strengthen your immune system and fight off symptoms quickly.
Ginger is another effective home remedy for hay fever. It can strengthen the immune system and also act as a natural antihistamine. Its powerful natural anti-inflammatory property helps reduce nasal swelling and other symptoms.
- Chew small pieces of fresh ginger root sprinkled with salt several times a day to get relief from a runny nose, cough and even headache.
- You can also drink two to three cups of ginger tea daily for faster recovery. To make the tea, add one tablespoon of grated ginger to one cup of water and boil it for five minutes. Strain and add a little honey and lemon juice. Drink the tea warm.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic that can effectively ward off several symptoms of hay fever. Plus, garlic is a good source of quercetin, a natural antihistamine. Its antibacterial and antiseptic properties also will promote speedy recovery.
- Chew two to three raw garlic cloves daily for one or two weeks to combat the various symptoms of hay fever.
- You can also try garlic soup. To make the soup, boil three or four cloves of chopped garlic in one cup of water for 10 minutes. Strain and add some honey. Drink it twice daily for at least one week.
- If you cannot bear garlic’s strong smell or taste, you can try garlic supplements after consulting a doctor.
The herb nettle is also considered highly effective for treating hay fever. Being a natural antihistamine, nettle can reduce inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and ease nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing and itching.
- Mix one tablespoon of dried nettle leaf in a cup of hot water. Steep for five minutes, strain and then add a little honey. Drink this tea two or three times daily until your hay fever symptoms go away.
- If nettle leaf is not available, you can take nettle capsules after consulting with your doctor.
- If nettle is taken regularly one month before the allergy season, it can even prevent hay fever.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps restore important nutrients in the body, which in turn regulates the body’s immune response system. Plus, it helps restore an alkaline pH in the body to relieve several hay fever symptoms.
- Mix one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar in a glass of water.
- Add one tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and one-half tablespoon of raw honey to it.
- Drink it three times daily until your condition improves.
Chamomile is also believed to relieve hay fever symptoms. It works as a natural antioxidant and antihistamine.
- Mix two teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers in a cup of hot water and steep for five minutes. Strain and add some lemon juice and honey. Drink this tea three or four times a day for two to three days.
- Also, you can boil a handful of chamomile flowers in water. Cover and let the water simmer on low heat for five minutes. Remove from heat and inhale the fumes for 10 minutes. Follow this remedy once daily until you recover completely.
7. Salt Water
Salt water is a good remedy for alleviating hay fever symptoms. It will help thin the mucus and clear the nasal passages. It will also give you relief from a sore throat.
- Mix one-half teaspoon of table salt in two cups of warm water. Tilt your head back and put a few drops of this solution into each nostril using a dropper. Inhale slowly and then blow your nose to remove excess mucus and solution. Repeat twice daily until your condition improves.
- Alternatively, you can mix one teaspoon of table salt in a glass of warm water and use it to gargle. Follow this remedy a few times daily until you feel relief.
Steam is also an effective home remedy to get relief from hay fever symptoms like runny nose, sore throat and sneezing. It will help clear out excess mucus that causes a runny nose and sneezing.
- Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil or menthol crystals to a bowl of hot water.
- Cover your head with a towel and hold your face over the bowl.
- Carefully inhale the steam for about 10 minutes, and then blow your nose.
- Follow this remedy three or four times daily until you recover completely.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a phytochemical with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that can help relieve several hay fever symptoms. It also helps eradicate allergens from the body, thus aiding faster recovery.
- Mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk. Drink it twice daily for one or two weeks. This will help loosen the mucus in the body and also boost your immune system.
- You can also prepare a mixture of six tablespoons each of turmeric powder and raw honey. Eat one teaspoon of this mixture twice daily during the allergy season.
Onion is a good source of quercetin, a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory that can effectively reduce symptoms like cough, runny nose and sore throat in hay fever sufferers.
- Chew freshly cut onion slices and swallow them slowly. Do this throughout the day until you notice improvement.
- Alternatively, add three to four tablespoons of onion juice to a glass of hot water. Use this solution for gargling several times daily until you feel better.
- You can also mix together one-half teaspoon of onion juice and one teaspoon of pure honey. Have this solution at least twice daily for a few days to alleviate cough and sore throat.
These remedies will surely give you relief from various symptoms of hay fever, some can also prevent it. Also try to stay away from the allergens that cause your symptoms.