This week’s article is written by our herbalist Nicola Parker on self help and herbs for hayfever.
Hay fever season seems to hit us at different part of the season each year and it’s difficult to predict when to expect it. At the shop we tend to see the occasional sufferer throughout the season but there is usually a point where we are hit with a sudden influx of people with runny noses, sneezing and itchy swollen eyes as they ask for some herbal help.
Pollen levels often rise after a patch of rainy weather is followed by some early, warm summer days, ruining the glorious sunshine for all those who are sensitive to the pollen. It is not fully understood why some people react to pollen in this way and why others don’t, but the reaction is caused by an over active immune response. Histamine levels rise as your immune system reacts to the pollen causing inflammation around the sinuses.
It is this inflammation that makes everything itch, causing sneezing, tickly noses and itchy, puffy eyes. To sooth this irritation the nose starts running and the eyes start watering.
Not everyone wants to use antihistamines for their hayfever symptoms, either because they find them to be ineffective, make them drowsy or are concerned about using them long term. Many of these people look towards herbal remedies for the relief of symptoms. We have two key favourites that we have used for many years with great success.
One is Pollinosan tablets and the other is Pollinosan nasal spray, both made by A Vogel. In our experience, Pollinosan is a first choice for three key reasons. The first is that it keeps hay fever symptoms at bay, so that if you can anticipate the weather or keep your eye on the pollen count, taking it early enough means your symptoms are less likely to start up. The second is how quickly it works. A couple of years ago we had a young man in the shop with swollen, angry looking puffy eyes.
You could literally see his discomfort. He opened the bottle while his partner paid and started asking about an unrelated topic. As she turned to leave her mouth dropped open (as did ours!) at how rapidly the Pollinosan had started to work, his eye swellings now visibly reduced.
Perhaps one of the most impressive features of Pollinosan that people have described is that after taking it throughout the pollen season one year, symptoms the year after are either absent or dramatically reduced even without taking the remedy.