Alternative Treatments for Hay Fever

Try these alternative treatments for hay fever, includes Q and A with leading natural health experts.

| September/October 2005

These alternative treatments for hay fever include herbal and dietary suggestions to help with excess phlegm and congestion problems.

Read about alternative treatments that can be used to treat macular degeneration: Alternative Treatments for Macular Degeneration.

Alternative Treatments for Hay Fever

I have hay fever and a problem with a lot of phlegm in my throat. The phlegm is a year-round thing, but is worst in the winter. I sometimes have trouble breathing and have to use an inhaler. I have had X-rays and they say I don’t have asthma, but pills for asthma seem to give me some relief. Can you help?
Pine River, Minnesota

Keville responds: Pills for asthma are designed to help open the airways and clear away congestion, so it makes sense that they would help you, as will the inhaler. Although you may not have asthma, chances are that you are reacting to something airborne in your environment. You likely have either an allergy, which sets off an immune reaction, or a sensitivity, which causes local irritation in your sinuses or throat. The fact that it gets worse in winter when your house is probably more closed is a clue that it is something indoors.

I suggest you not only work on eliminating the phlegm with herbs, but also look around for possible causes. Start with common allergy-causing substances, such as pet dander, dust mites, mold, synthetically perfumed products and cleaning solutions, including fabric detergents. Consider having your house heating ducts cleaned. Keep in mind that it may be more than one thing. Experiment with eliminating what you can to see if it makes a difference. If that doesn’t help, you also can try eliminating for a couple of weeks, one at a time, the foods you commonly eat to see if that makes any difference.

No matter what we call your condition, the herbs we choose will be a similar formula. Phlegm in the throat usually is a result of postnasal drip. If that’s your case, then use one of my favorite combinations to treat the sinuses—yarrow (Achillea millefolium), elderflower (Sambucus nigra) and peppermint (Mentha x piperita). Herbs that help alleviate sensitivities and allergies include chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and echinacea (Echinacea spp.). If your throat is irritated, use marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) to soothe it. These herbs are tasty enough to make into a tea. Buy them dried in bulk and blend them in equal parts. Using 1 teaspoon of herb per cup of water, bring the water to a boil, add the herbs, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. You’ll also find similar formulas available as tinctures or pills.

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