green meadow with blue sky in the background

Hay fever – are
there any natural
remedies for it?

For most of us spring and summer bring pure joy with warm temperatures and longer days. However, for people suffering from hay fever (also known as allergic or seasonal rhinitis) summer can bring unpleasant cold-like symptoms. Although hay fever is not curable, there are well established treatment options such as antihistamines, decongestants, or nasal corticosteroids. However, some people are looking for additional, effective natural remedies with as few side effects as possible.

Symptoms of hay fever and how to differentiate it from a cold

According to the NHS website on hay fever the most common symptoms include: sneezing and coughing, a runny or blocked nose, itchy, red or watery eyes, itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears, loss of smell, pain around your temples and forehead, headache, aching ears and feeling tired. If one has asthma they might also experience a tight feeling in the chest, shortness of breath, as well as wheeze and cough.

As you can see, the symptoms can be pretty similar to a common cold. One of the main differences between hay fever and a cold is that there is no fever involved with hay fever. However, some people don´t experience a fever when they have a cold. According to the Mayo Clinic, one main difference is the duration of symptoms. Whereas a cold usually ends within 3 to 7 days, the symptoms of hay fever remain as long as the allergen is present.

When is the peak season for hay fever in the UK?

Actually, there is not one hay fever season for everybody. It rather depends on the pollen one is allergic to, and the weather conditions. Overall, one can say that the hay fever season in the UK starts late March and ends in September.

The season depends on the pollen one is allergic to

  • Tree pollen: February – June
  • Grass pollen: May – July
  • Weed pollen: June – September

The Met Office give a very useful 5-day pollen forecast for the UK

Natural remedies for hay fever

As mentioned above there are well established medical treatment options for hay fever symptoms. Taking antihistamines is probably the most established treatment option in the UK. However, more and more people are looking for additional, natural remedies to alleviate the symptoms of hay fever.

Caution: Don´t change your prescribed medication plan on your own and please consult with a healthcare professional. This is especially true if you suffer from asthma or severe symptoms of hay fever such as shortness of breath or wheezing.

There are some natural remedies such as:

  • Locally produced honey
  • Herbal remedies e.g. Butterbur
  • Probiotics
  • Nasal douching

Locally produced honey against hay fever – is it too sweet to be true?
The basic idea is that by consuming small amounts of local pollen through honey, the immune system could become desensitized to the allergen. This could then in turn lead to reduced symptoms. However, the effect is actually unclear and it´s unlikely that pollen that one is allergic to can make it into the honey.

Butterbur – an effective herbal treatment option?
There are some studies that found a positive effect of butterbur as a natural treatment for hay fever. However one should take into consideration that there are some unpleasant side effects of butterbur like allergic reactions, headaches, itchy eyes and sleepiness.

A healthy gut bacteria seems to play a major role in our overall health. Indeed, there is also some evidence [1, 2] out there that probiotics do have positive impacts for people suffering from allergic rhinitis. However, which probiotic strain should be chosen? As there are not enough trials of the different strains, the authors of a review call for clinicians to use caution when recommending probiotics for hay fever treatment [2]. Even though it is an interesting approach, it is still too early to promote a specific strain of probiotic that can alleviate hay fever symptoms.

Nasal douche as an effective and natural remedy for hay fever

So what is a nasal douche? A nasal douche, often also called a nasal rinse, nasal irrigation or nasal wash, is still relatively new for the western civilization. Its history, however, goes way back and it has been used in yoga and ayurveda for centuries. In fact, it can be used as a daily ritual, just like brushing our teeth every day.

The nasal douche is usually performed with an isotonic saline solution that can flush out allergens like pollen from the nose, and also soothe and moisturize the nasal passages. This can reduce inflammation and clear the nose from excess mucus which can directly improve nasal breathing.

Is there any scientific proof for nasal douche helping with hay fever?

Yes, there has been a systematic review article published in the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy [3] concluding that saline nasal irrigation (aka nasal douche) can be an effective and safe complementary treatment for hay fever. The authors point out that there are no adverse effects for the patient and that it doesn´t cause any unexpected side effects. Another study looked at saline nasal douching in children and found that it may be considered as a safe, effective and well-tolerated treatment [4].

Conclusion on natural remedies for hay fever

There are some natural remedies for hay fever, and saline nasal irrigation with a nasal douche can be a beneficial addition to a hay fever management plan. According to review articles [3] it doesn´t cause any adverse effects and there are no unexpected side effects. As just salt and water are used, it doesn´t interact with any medicines you might also take. It is safe and very easy to perform.

Where can I buy a nasal douche?

You can buy the PARI MONTESOL nasal douche online with our trusted partner Nebicorum. We recommend using the PARI MONTESOL Nasal Douche with the PARI MONTESOL Nasal Rinse as you don´t have to worry about the right amount of salt to water ratio to get an isotonic salt solution. On top of that it contains naturally occurring salt from an Alpine spa town in Germany called Bad Reichenhall. It also contains dexpanthenol for an additional soothing effect.