DIET AND LIFESTYLE SUGGESTIONS FOR REDUCING YOUR HAY FEVER SYMPTOMS
What if there were natural chinese medicine hay fever remedies that not only worked to treat the symptoms but prevented the condition appearing? Natural hay fever remedies based on traditional Chinese medicine principles may be an effective way to gain control of your health.
WHAT IS HAY FEVER
Hay fever is a common respiratory condition which can be effectively treated in a Chinese medicine clinic. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to allergens in our environment, affecting the nose, eyes, lungs and sinus cavities causing very uncomfortable and frustrating symptoms. Typical hay fever symptoms include:
- itchy eyes & throat
- runny nose
- sinus congestion
- loss of appetite
From a Chinese medicine perspective hay fever is seen as an inability to produce enough energy from the digestive system for a healthy immune response to wind and allergens. Below are diet, exercise and relaxation suggestions often given in conjunction with acupuncture and herbal medicine to reduce hay fever symptoms.
For best results, book a consult with our director Dr Julia Bartrop, who is a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner, for a Chinese medicine diagnosis. When a Chinese medicine practitioner such as Dr Julia Bartrop observes your tongue and feels your pulse, the root cause of your condition may be uncovered and therefore more specific foods, herbs and acupuncture given for faster results.
HAY FEVER FROM A CHINESE MEDICINE PERSPECTIVE
In Chinese medicine the digestive system is responsible for converting energy from food to produce defensive energy. When the digestive energy is depleted through poor diet, worry, stress, lack of sleep and lack of exercise, it cannot produce enough wei qi which is important to defend against outside wind and pollen. Without healthy wei- qi, wind penetrates the body to produce hay fever systems of sneezing, itchy eyes, coughing, running nose etc.
To strengthen wei qi, the main idea in Chinese diet therapy is to eat foods that will take very little energy to digest, therefore providing more energy to the defensive wei-qi (our immune system). By eating easily digestible foods you can produce defensive energy with minimal effort. By eating food that is harder to digest such as raw foods, cold foods, heavy and stodgy food, or large meals, it makes it harder for the digestive organs – our stomach and spleen – to break down our food and extract the energy. Instead, the spleen will consume more energy and instead of producing healthy energy it will produce phlegm and dampness, often resulting in fatigue, bloating and reduced immune function.
In Chinese medicine philosophy a diet that avoids cold raw foods and increases warm nourishing foods is recommended to prevent hay fever.
FOODS TO AVOID TO REDUCE HAY FEVER SYMPTOMS
Some foods are difficult to digest and actually weaken the digestive system. These foods are considered cold and damp in nature. Cold damp foods weaken the spleen energy and instead of creating energy and blood they produce phlegm in the body, predisposing you to hay fever. Simply avoiding the following foods that damage digestion and weaken your defensive energy can be the best hay fever remedy.
- Alcohol: beer, wine, spirits
- Dairy: milk, cheeses, butter, ice-cream, milk chocolate, yoghurt
- Nuts: excessive nuts are damp in nature
- Raw food: salads, fruit
- Sweet foods: excessive fruit, dried fruits, lollies, cakes, fruit juice, soft drinks
- Wheat: bread, pasta, baked goods
- Gluten – avoiding gluten also reduces inflammation in the body.
FOODS TO EAT TO REDUCE HAY FEVER SYMPTOMS
Warming foods are natural hay fever remedies. By eating warm and easy to digest foods, you reduce the amount of energy your body is required to digest the food, which will build your own body’s energy. In Chinese culture you’ll often find a combination of hot dishes at any meal from soup, starters, rice, vegetables and meat. Aim to eat warm foods at each meal such as:
- vegetable soups
- stir fries
WARM WATER FOR HAY FEVER
Following the idea of adding warming substances into your body, water can also be taken warm to hot. Drinking warm water or a cup of herbal tea such as green tea after a meal is an excellent digestive aid, therefore helping to produce more defensive energy. Another option is to drink warm water with a few slices of fresh lemon steeped in it prior to eating a meal. This should be consumed about 20-30 minutes before eating your meal because it increases the level of HCL or digestive juices in your stomach and also assists you to break down your food. It enhances the action of the Spleen and the Stomach to digest and extract the energy from your food.
QUALITY FOODS AND DRINKS
The quality of food and water you put into your body should be from the healthiest sources possible. Choose water from natural springs or from high quality water filters that add minerals back into the water. Water makes up 70% of our bodies and has a large influence on our physical and mental health.
Choose organic and bio-dynamic food where possible. Did you know bio-dynamically grown plants defend against bugs through defensive energy, whereas conventionally grown plants rely on chemicals to kill bugs. If you want to strengthen your body, consume food that is strong and natural.
RECIPES TO REDUCE HAY FEVER
1. Acute hay fever remedy recipe: chrysanthemum flower tea
To reduce the hay fever symptoms of itchy eyes, irritability and sneezing a simple hay fever remedy is to take chrysanthemum flower tea when the symptoms are present.
- Dried chrysanthemum flowers
- 2 cups of hot water
How to prepare: tear off a small amount of dried chrysanthemum flowers and add to boiling water. Allow 10-15 minutes for the tea to infuse and drink warm.
Sip on tea whenever you have the symptoms of hay fever.
2. Preventative hay fever remedy recipe: brown rice walnut congee
- 1 cup of brown rice (organic bio-dynamic if available)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 8 cups of water
- sea salt
How to prepare:
- To speed up cooking time, add brown rice to a food processor or blender first while dry to break into small parts.
- In a large pot add brown rice, water and chicken stock and bring to boil.
- Add in walnuts and a pinch of salt.
- When water’s boiling, turn to a simmer and add lid on a slight angle to allow steam out.
- Continue to simmer on low to medium heat for 2-5 hours until the rice has broken down to a smooth consistency.
Eat congee for breakfast and as a starter before meals. Congee will re-balance your digestion, allowing you to absorb more energy from meals and build protective energy to prevent hay fever.
EXERCISE AS A NATURAL HAY FEVER REMEDY
From a Chinese medicine perspective when you suffer from hay fever, your energy isn’t flowing smoothly. Your body’s designed to move and can easily stagnate due to our modern society of sitting and suppressing emotions.
By moving your body daily with vigorous exercise you will release pent up emotions which can damage digestion and smooth the flow of energy in your body.
Make sure you get up and move your body everyday. Start with walking for 20 minutes daily and build up to a strong workout of 30-45 minutes per day. Tai chi is an excellent exercise to move your energy and calm the mind.
SELF MASSAGE AS A NATURAL HAY FEVER REMEDY
Acupuncture and acupressure can give immediate relief of hay fever symptoms from my clinical experience. Below are easy acupressure techniques you can use at home to relieve hay fever naturally.
1. Find the point in the webbing between your thumb and index finger. Press 100 times.
2. Press just to the side of each nostril 100 times.
3. Massage along your hairline at the back of your neck.
4. Grasp one shoulder with the opposite hand 3-5 times, and then lightly pound with a loose fist 30-50 times. Repeat other side. These acupressure points are known to release wind from the body and therefore hay fever symptoms.
MEDITATION AS A NATURAL HAY FEVER REMEDY
Our modern lifestyle can cause us to be in a constant state of stress. When your body’s stressed, your energy becomes blocked, affecting your digestion and immune system and leaving you susceptible to hay fever symptoms. Practice relaxing your body on a daily basis. If you’re unfamiliar with meditation, practice another activity that you feel relaxed afterwards such as walking the dog, tai chi, having a bath etc.
- Steaming: over a basin of hot water, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil and breathe in the steam. This will help to loosen congestion through the sinuses and lungs.
- Probiotics: it’s been shown there’s a link between low healthy bacteria in the gut and susceptibility to allergies. Take a good quality probiotic and you’ll also be helping your ability to digest food.
- Vitamin D: low vitamin D levels cause digestive issues and it’s been shown in studies to be linked with allergies. A simple blood test can give your vitamin D levels. Take a good quality vitamin D supplement.
- Vitamin C: studies have shown vitamin C to be a good anti inflammatory.
- Sunlight: in ancient China, it was known that sunlight strengthened the body. Make sure you get out in the sun and exercise in the morning or afternoon to avoid burning.
- Multivitamin: if you eat food from the supermarket that is low in nutrition, it’s a good idea to supplement with a multivitamin so you’re getting the key vitamins and minerals.
- Get to bed early: in order to regenerate your body and maintain healthy energy you need to sleep early.
Acupuncture Hay Fever Articles
Research Article written in the Courier Mail: Acupuncture Hay fever Research Article
The treatment of Hay Fever with Chinese medicine: Acupuncture Natural Hay Fever Treatment Melbourne
For effective hay fever remedies always consult your medical doctor and local acupuncturist and herbalist for specialised treatment.
If you would like to book a consultation with Dr Julia Bartrop, where she can treat you for your Hayfever and help you implement a proper management plan, you can book here.
Flaws, B. (1997), The Book of Jook. Boulder, USA, Blue Poppy Press
Flaws, B. (1997), Curing Hay Fever Naturally. Boulder, USA, Blue Poppy Press
Maciocia, G (2008) The Practice of Chinese Medicine: The Treatment of Diseases with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs, 2nd edn. Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone
Pitchford, P (2002) Healing with Wholefoods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, 3rd edn. Atlanta, US, North Atlantic Books