Category: Allergies

Hayfever and Allergies

With spring here, so is pollen season, which is not good news for hay fever sufferers. Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions in this country, affecting three million Australians.

Hayfever is caused by an antigen-antibody reaction in the nasal mucosa, the antigens responsible are the pollen particles in the air. There is also an over-activity of the immune system to certain allergens, this is weakened with retention of chronic wind in the nose cavity.

The most common symptoms of hayfever are nasal congestion, sneezing, profuse runny nose with white watery discharge a pale complexion and a mild headache. In some cases it also affects the eyes and conjunctiva may become red and itchy. These are classified as wind cold symptoms according to Chinese Medicine. We aim to alleviate these wind cold symptoms and restore the energy of the Lung. The Lung organs weakness is either hereditary or due to problems during pregnancy or childbirth (Maciocia, 2000).

Woman with hay fever

Some other tips to reduce hay fever and allergy symptoms naturally without medications include:

  1. Eat kiwifruit is extremely high in Vitamin C, which is an effective natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Kiwifruit also supports healthy immune function and protects from secondary respiratory conditions. Other foods containing Vitamin C and bioflavanoids include citrus fruits, strawberries, red capsicums, broccoli, papaya, guava and mango.
  2. Green fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene, which gets converted to Vitamin A. This vitamin is important for healthy mucous membranes throughout the respiratory tract. It also helps promote healthy immune function, prevent secondary respiratory infections and reduce inflammation.
  3. Take garlic to helps clear nasal congestion. Its strong antibiotic properties also help prevent secondary respiratory infections in chronic suffers. It is also a good source of quercetin, a natural anti-histamine. 
  4. Reduce or eliminate cow’s milk and other dairy products as they can increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract and exacerbate hay fever symptoms. Try alternatives such as rice, almond, quinoa and coconut milks.
  5. Reduce stress levels and calm down. There have been links of stress to the severity of hay fever symptoms.
  6. Exercise more. Regular exercise can reduce your hay fever. It is suggested that people with hay fever who exercise most have the mildest symptoms. Exercise will help reduce your stress levels, too.
  7. Eat well. People with hay fever who eat a healthy diet are less likely to get severe symptoms. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  8. Reduce alcohol intake. Beer, wine and other spirits contain histamine, which can make symptoms worse.
  9. Have a good night sleep. Try to avoid too many late nights during the hay fever season. People with hay fever who sleep well tend to have milder symptoms.
  10.  Reduce excessive sugar intake. This causes inflammation around the sinus.
  11. Do not have cold drinks or foods for dinner especially before bed e.g: ice creams, cold fruits

    In the old Chinese medical texts is it said that spring is the beginning of things, when the energy of the body should be kept open. In spring on a physical level, we need to exercise more frequently and wear loose fitting clothing. Stretch to loosen up tendons and muscles from the cold winter. Spring is the season of the liver, and excess anger, frustration, depression, sadness or excess emotions can injure the liver. Violating the natural order of spring will cause cold illness during summer.
    We should all treat disease by preventing illness before it begins, rather than treat an illness after it has begun. An ancient proverb says: “If someone digs a well when thirsty or forges weapons after becoming engaged in battle, one cannot help ask, ‘Aren’t these actions too late?’”

Health Tips for Spring

Spring is the season of a new birth and new growth. It corresponds to the “Wood” element and is related to the liver and gallbladder organs. In Chinese Medicine the liver organ is responsible for the smooth flowing of Qi (energy) in our bodies. This qi circulates throughout the whole body system, when the liver functions smoothly, all physical and emotional actions throughout the body also runs smoothly. So, for optimum health this spring, move your Liver Qi (Energy)!

We are more susceptible to season health problems such as allergies, flu and pneumonia during the spring.  If the liver is not healthy, it could affect the spleen and the lung organs.  These symptoms can include: sneezing, hay fever allergies, running nose, itching eyes, chest congestions and other allergy related problems.  It is very important, especially during spring, to cleanse the liver and lungs and bring balance to these organs.

Tips for a healthy Spring Season:

  1. Pay attention to weather changes – It is an extreme change to our body from winter to spring. With spring, there is usually some extremely windy conditions. Health conditions tend to occur during or immediately following a change of season.
  1. Do some stretches! The liver controls the tendons. The liver stores the blood during periods of rest and winter, now is the time to invigorate and body and increase exercises such as yoga, tai chi, swimming etc.
  1. Change the diet – We should change our diet according to the season. Spring means eating green foods that cleanses and strengthens the liver. These foods include young plants that are fresh green leafy vegetables, onions, leeks, mushrooms, celery, carrots, dandelion, variety of fruits such as citrus fruits, pears, apples, bananas, pears.
  1. Sour foods and drinks – sour tasting foods stimulate the liver’s energy. Add lemon slices to your water, have orange and citrus juices, use vinegar and olive oil for salad dressings and add fermented vegetables to our diet.
  1. Watch the eyes – the liver organ’s energy is connected and opens into the eye. Take frequent breaks from the computer screen and do some eye exercises and look at some greenery.
  1. Sour Tasting Foods – Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver’s qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle.
  1. Outdoor activities fresh air helps move liver qi. Try taking a hike, brisk walks by the beach or park are good for the body.
  1. Avoid the wind – Spring time can be extremely windy so ensure you stay inside on windy days or wear a scarf to protect the wind from the neck and head. In Chinese Medicine we say “The wind is the cause of 100 diseases”.