Itchy eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat and boxes of tissues seem to be the overiding themes of the hayfever season. For some, this can start as early as February and last until October, and for others, this may only last for a few days in the middle of the summer before everything is back to normal.
Hayfever/Allergic Rhinitis can be treated in a number of ways and quite successfully for most people. However, for some, whatever they take, whether it's Antihistamines, Corticosteroids, Decongestants or any other type of medication, they still suffer from some of the symptoms. This is where Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine may play a part in helping.
Both Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine have helped a lot of people that I have seen over the last twenty years I've been treating in clinic. Everyone of course responds differently, so I can't say that these are a cure-all, however, they can be very successful for some people and significantly improve their quality of life.
With Acupuncture, some people require a few treatments during their hayfever season to alleviate symptoms and others need just the one visit annually to keep themselves symptom free. Acupuncture as a standalone treatment can provide a lot of relief and reduce discomfort, and can also be used in conjunction with standard medication, or other treatments to form an integral part of someone's overall health plan, especially during symptomatic months.
Herbal medicine can also be a great standalone treatment, or a useful complement to standard allopathic treatments. Herbal formulae are formulated to suit the individual, so they are tailored to your specific needs at the time, which may be different to someone else's requirements during the same time period. So it's always important to visit a qualified herbalist who can assess your health and make a bespoke plan of action for you, putting together the right herbs at the right time.
Some of the more common symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis are, an itchy throat and sore bloodshot eyes. Both can be categorised as "Heat" type symptoms in Oriental Medicine, signs that the local area is possibly warmer in temperature, hot and/or causing irritation. The natural thing to do in this case is to "Cool" the Heat to reduce the irritation. So herbs which fall into the "Cooling" category will tend to be used in a bespoke formula, as well as other herbs which suit the person's constitution and their individual requirements.
When it is very hot here in the UK and we want to eat or drink something which will help cool us down, we tend to reach for icy drinks, ice cream and maybe cold fruit, all of which do a great job in reducing our core temperature and alleviating over heating. In Asia, they do all of this too, although they may prefer different flavours (Durian or Pandan flavoured ice cream, Dragon fruit and Longan fruit to mention a few), but they also reach for different flavoured teas, ones which have the effect of cooling you down.
One of the more common teas is Chrysanthemum tea. It has a light pleasant taste, is cheap to buy, in plentiful supply and can help people feel better in very hot weather. Luckily it is available in the UK and an increasing number of people are discovering how good it tastes, as well as benefiting from the effects it can provide. If you'd like, you can try some and see if it helps to calm down any of the Heat symptoms you may be experincing during the Hayfever season.
Chrysanthemum tea is just the flower heads of the plant which have been dried and pressed. You can use it like any other loose leaf tea and make it yourself at home, just as you might with any other readily available tea; Peppermint, Chamomile or Green tea.
It's very simple to brew and economical too, because the flowers can be reused three times in a day, to make a refreshing cup of tea each time. Drink only 1 - 3 cups a day.
How to brew Chrysanthemum Tea
Have 3 - 6 flower heads ready to steep in a small teapot or tea strainer inside a teacup
Add hot water to the teacup or teapot containing the Chrysanthemum flowers. 80 - 90 degrees is perfect. (Boil the water and leave to stand for 1 - 2 minutes to reduce to this heat)
Let steep for 30 seconds to 1 minute
Pour tea from pot, or remove steeped flowers/tea strainer from tea cup
Drink and enjoy!
* If you have itchy eyes, try adding 3 Goji Berries to your tea. They sometimes float in the tea, or sink to the bottom. They can be eaten too. In traditional use, they are said to benefit the eyes and help reduce the soreness and irritation in the eyes.
I've added a video here for you to see how to make the tea yourself. I hope it helps and hope you have a great Hayfever free summer. :-)