Prevent hay fever early

Autumn 2015 1

Start early to prevent hay fever this season with natural health remedies.

Hay fever facts :sneezing newsletter

  • Around 12 million people have hay fever in the UK
  • 95  per cent are affected by grass pollen, but many suffer from the tree pollens that are abundant from the spring.
  • Silver birch is the most prevalent hay fever trigger from trees, and it releases pollen as the temperature goes up.

Nutritional changes

More and more people are getting hay fever and age is no  barrier – you can start getting it at any age.   Ali Cullen, nutritional therapist at A. Vogel suggests some nutritional changes:

• Eat foods with anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties: including carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, avocado, mango, apricots, peaches, nectarines, papaya, pears, pineapples, blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, blackcurrants, prunes, plums, raisins, figs, herring, salmon, sardines, trout, and pilchards.
• Cut down on foods that trigger inflammation such as: caffeine and refined sugar.
• Avoid mucus-forming dairy foods – milk products – to help to reduce catarrh.

The symptoms

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen or mould which the body reacts to as alien substances. It causes numerous symptoms:

• Sneezing
• Runny, red and itchy eyes
• Blocked nose
• Wheezing
• Itchy throat
• Coughing
• Headaches and tiredness
• Sleep problems

Although it’s unpleasant the body is dealing with the alien substance by trying to get rid of it through sneezing and runny nose and eyes. Not surprisingly all this makes people feel very run down and unwell for as long as it lasts.

What else could it be?

Different people react to different pollens such as grass pollen, tree pollen and mould spores. Some weeds like nettle can affect people who are sensitive and often sufferers also react to house dust mites, animal fur and chemicals in household products and furniture.

Where you live

If you live in the south-east, the Midlands, north-east or central Scotland, particularly in a city you are more likely to suffer than people in most of Scotland and Wales, the north and the west country. The pollen season is shorter in Scotland and Wales and places like Devon or the Lake District benefit because of mountains and moorland.

What can you do about it?

Most people use anti-histamines, but they can make you drowsy.  There are some great natural remedies including a nasal wash – with a tiny bit of salt in warm water, or beetroot juice (if you can bear it) to clear out the nostrils. You can buy neti pots that enable you to do this easily – it has a little spout. This isn’t a pleasant experience and you might prefer one of the nasal sprays below.

A few tips

  • Avoid caffeine as it triggers histamine release – green teas and herbal teas are better.
  • Stay away from grassy areas particularly in the early evening when the pollen count peaks.
  • Cut down on dairy as it can increase the production of mucus.
  • Refined sugar makes blood sugar levels rise and fall, resulting in a surge of adrenaline which releases histamine.
  • Inhale steam with a few drops of basil, tea tree in to soothe nostrils.
  •  Rub some olive oil, Vaseline or HayMax on the inside of your nose to trap pollen.
  • Keep windows closed where possible. Net curtains can trap the pollen.
  • Wear sunglasses to keep pollen away from eyes

Herbal Remedies

• Luffa is little known but believed by nutritional experts such as Alison Cullen from Ayrshire to be the ‘number one treatment’. Clears a blocked or runny nose, and watery red eyes but has no side-effects, and children can take it. Start two weeks before the hayfever season is in force.
• Echinacea can be taken from one month before the hayfever season and then combined with Luffa.
• Euphrasia as a herbal tincture can ease watery sore eyes.
• Nettle for people who get skin rashes as well – a natural antihistamine.

Quercetin is a substance found in onions that is believed to stabilise the body’s cells that produce histamine and cause the allergic response (sniffing, sneezing, wheezing). It is enhanced by Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, which is said to help the absorption of quercetin into the body.

Homeopathic remedies for hay fever

Susanne Haar, Nelsons Homeopathic Pharmacist recommends trying a homeopathic consultation. Homeopathy can be used to help with the symptoms of hay fever and useful remedies include:

•    Nux vomica: for a runny nose during the day, which is dry at night; irritable and impatient mood; a person who feels worse in the morning, better in open air.
•    Euphrasia: for watery irritated eyes.
•    Allium cepa: for sneezing; runny nose; irritated eyes; when a person feels better in cool open air.
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Featured products
Euphrasia homeopathic tablets 30C Ainsworths 120 £7.12
Pollinosan A. Vogel (Bioforce) 120 tablets £10.29
Luffa Tincture A. Vogel (Bioforce) 50ml £10.95
HayMax Pollen Barrier Balm triple pack HayMax 3 x 5ml £12.49
Pollenna homeopathic tablets Nelson’s 72  tablets £5.10
Nux vomica Nelson’s 84 tablets £4.97
Vitamin C BioCare 90 x 1000 mg capsules £20.45
Quercetin Plus with Quercetin, Bromelain, Nettle, Vitamin C Biocare 90 capsules £22.96
Get 15% discount at www.superfooduk.com with the promotion code: HSoul1

 

 

 

Soothe your cough

lemonsJust when you need a lot of sleep to make you feel better when you’ve caught a cold you get a cough which definitely gets worse at night.  Coughs can be painful and debilitating and make your stomach muscles ache with the effort.  To try and get a restorative night’s sleep you need to quell the coughing, so here we offer a few tips.

One of my safeguards is to dilute a teaspoonful of honey (preferably Manuka honey) in a glass of  warm water and have it by the bedside in case you start hacking in the night. If  it starts as soon as you lie down it’s a good idea to prop yourself up on pillows, which means you might get at least some sleep.  I always like to massage Vicks Rub into the chest area before going to sleep. It contains eucalyptus oil, but for a completely natural remedy a few drops of Eucalyptus or Olbas oil in a carrier oil (almond, calendula, etc.) has the same effect.

Steaming: You can’t beat steaming either – morning and night and even in between, but especially before you go to sleep.  If you put a few drops of essential oil into a bowl of steaming hot water so much the better.  Cover your head with a towel and breathe in the pungent vapours. I can recommend Olbas oil (a combination of oils), eucalyptus, tea tree, and lavender oils dissolved in water. But be careful – if they are too strong it can be quite overpowering so start with a couple of drops and add more if necessary.

Olbas Decongestant Oil, 10ml, £6.79

Absolute Aromas Organic Tea Tree Oil, 10ml, £7.58

Absolute Aromas Lavender Oil, 10ml, £11.95

Absolute Aromas Eucalyptus Globulus Oil, 10ml, £7.23

To purchase these with a 5% discount go to www.superfooduk.com and put in the promotion code: HSoul1

Gargling

When I was a child we gargled with TCP which was horrible!  Now I prefer something more natural – if you’ve got Himalayan salt crystals put a pinch in a glass of warm water. Or if you’re prepared for another strong taste a couple of drops of Tea Tree Oil in warm water works well on a sore throat/cough.

I also swear by Echinacea and A. Vogel’s Echinaforce Echinacea Throat Spray moistens your throat and can prevent coughing.

A. Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea tincture, 50ml, £10.95

A. Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea tablets, 42, £7.41

Dr Jen Tan of A. Vogel, recommends plenty of hydration with hot drinks and water, but avoiding mucus-forming milk.  He also endorses lemon and honey which can be mixed together and sipped, and plenty of Vitamin C.

Thyme and pine are also cough relievers and they are included, with honey,  in A. Vogel’s Bronchosan Syrup and Cough Spray.

Find out more about these products atwww.avogel.co.uk 

Some other favourites: 

Comvita Propolis Herbal Elixir with Manuka Honey & Propolis, 100ml, £11.99  has a soothing effect on throats.

A. Vogel Echinacea  lozenges, 30g, £5.36

Potter’s Chest Mixture with Lobelia, 150ml, £6.39

Cherry Active liquid made from Montmorency cherries. Delicious and packed with Vitamin C, Concentrate, 473ml, £17.15;  30 capsules, £12.11

To purchase these with a 5% discount go to www.superfooduk.com and put in the promotion code: HSoul1

 

 

Autumn health tips

gingerAyurvedic and Chinese medicine put a lot of emphasis on the change of seasons and how it affects the body.   For instance, eating right for the time of year is very important so that you eat salads in summer and soups and stews in winter to warm up your body.

Other issues at this time of year: 

  • Lack of exposure to the sun leads to Vitamin D. deficiency as the winter goes on.
  • Darker days can mean that people feel depressed or get SAD – see Winter blues or SAD?
  • Colds and flu are most prevalent before Christmas.  Read Prevent Colds.
  • Sleep can also become disrupted – see Sleep problems and it’s often hard to get up in the morning!

Winter tips:

Vitamin C will help you to stave off colds – a good dose is 1,000mg and any excess is peed out.  Try Cherry Active or Viridian Ester C.

Warming foods such as stews casseroles and home-made soups help to keep the body warm in cold weather.  Include plenty of herbs and spices to keep the digestive system healthy –- ginger, cumin, basil, mustard, cardamom, black pepper, basil, turmeric, and of course garlic!

Exercise outside when it’s sunny and dry so that you get some exposure to sunlight.   According to Mind, the mental health charity, what they call ‘ecotherapy’ can positively affect your mood.

Take plenty of Vitamin D – there isn’t  enough sun in the UK in winter for your body to make Vitamin D.  So try taking a supplement such as Viridian’s Vitamin D, or Better You’s D-Lux spray.

Sleep well – sleep is as vital as exercise and healthy eating for our wellbeing. To see some tips for sleeping well in winter read: Sleep problems.

Drink spicy teas that are cleansing and warming – those containing cardamom, cinnamon and ginger are particularly good.

Hot water with lemon a slice of lemon first thing in the morning is very cleansing to the liver.

Tip from Sebastian Pole of Pukka Herbs: if the change of season affects your digestion, gives you insomnia, constipation or anxiety, try the Ayurvedic remedy: Ashwaganda ((Withania somnifera). He also suggests a delicious cup of milk simmered with a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom to settle in for a blissful night’s sleep!

You can buy these products at www.superfooduk.com  and get 5% discount by putting in the promotion code: HSoul1 .

 

 

Vitamin D essential to health

The Government is now advising the public to take Vitamin D supplements in winter.   The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has produced a report on Vitamin D levels for the Government, emphasising that everyone in Britain over the age of one should take 10 mcg of Vitamin D a day.

Sunshine accounts for 90 per cent of our intake of Vitamin D, which poses a problem for anyone living in northern Europe in winter time and even in summer (when you get poor summers like this one).

Deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to bone loss, poor muscle function and an increased risk of falls and fractures – an increasing problem as people get older.  Migraines, regular headaches,  joint pain, depression, SAD or insomnia can also point to a Vitamin D deficiency.   The Chief Medical Officer is suggesting extending free vitamins to more  young children, rather than just those from low income families who currently receive them.  Also at risk are pregnant and breastfeeding women and the over 65s, who should be taking supplements.   Not only is Vitamin D essential for the bones and heart it is also needed for a healthy immune and nervous system, enables blood to clot normally and maintains healthy teeth.

Why we become deficient:

  • In northern countries we have six months of very little sun.
  • Winter sun in the UK is not strong enough for Vitamin D to be made in the body.
  • Few people get enough Vitamin D from their diet.
  • The skin cancer message may have been taken to extremes – we need sunlight, but not excessive sun bathing.
  • Vitamin D in the body only lasts for three weeks.
  • Some people cover up their bodies for religious or fashion reasons.

All things in moderation mean that you don’t have to lie in the hot sun for hours on end to get enough exposure. A sensible amount of exposure (20 to 30 minutes) will do more good than harm, particularly on sunny summer days that aren’t necessarily hot.

Vitamin D is essential for healthy immune function, cognitive function, and bone health.
 

Dietary sources:

• Salmon and other oily fish
• Eggs
• Milk
• Liver
• Margarine
• Fortified breakfast cereals

Health experts claim that people are not eating enough of the above. In the US the recommended daily levels of intake of Vitamin day are 5 mcg a day.

Problems caused by Vitamin D deficiency
A deficiency in Vitamin D activates the mechanism that boosts blood pressure; stimulates the parathyroid hormone which increases inflammation, and increases insulin resistance – insulin is not recognised by the body, leading to high blood sugar levels.

• High blood pressure/hypertension
• Heart disease
• Alzheimer’s
• Diabetes
• Osteoporosis – affects 1.2 million women in the UK
• Colo-rectal and breast cancers
• Rickets (severe deficiency)

 

Featured products
D Pearls PharmaNord 120 x 20mcg £9.21
 DLux 1000 oral Vitamin D spray Better You 15ml £7.99
DLux Pregnancy Better You 25ml £11.39
Osteoguard (Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, boron) Lambert’s Healthcare 30 £5.18
DLux Infant Spray Better You 15ml £8.11
You can purchase these at www.superfooduk.com and get a 5% discount by using the code: HSoul1

The UK government recommends that pregnant women and nursing mums take 10mcg of Vitamin D daily. Breast fed babies need 7-8.5 mcg a day, while formula milk is fortified with Vitamin D. Although Vitamin D supplements are recommended to pregnant women and children under five, it is this advice is often overlooked by GPs and much of the official information is vague.

Australia changes its sun message

Seven charities in the UK have issued joint guidelines about Vitamin D, recommending short spells in the sun without suncream. Two of the charities endorsing the health message are Cancer Research UK and the National Osteoporosis Society.

According to the BBC, Professor Rona Mackie, from the British Association of Dermatologists, said sun protection with high factor suncream on all the time is not ideal, in terms of Vitamin D levels.

‘Even Australia has changed its policy on this. They’re now producing charts showing parts of Australia where sun protection may not be required during some parts of the year. Some of the messages about sun exposure have been too negative. UK summer sunshine isn’t desperately strong. We don’t have many days in the year when it is very intense.

‘What’s changed is that we’re now saying that exposure of 10 to 15 minutes to the UK summer sun, without sun cream, several times a week is probably a safe balance between adequate vitamin D levels and any risk of skin cancer.”


 

 

 

Eye health tips

Lglasses computerate nights, cold weather and cosy nights in with the central heating on can all take their toll on our eye health, with dry eyes often resulting.

Research by eye health experts Scope Ophthalmics, reveals that three out of five people are suffering from multiple symptoms of dry eyes including:

• eye fatigue
• excessive watering
• a feeling of grittiness or blurred vision.

‘Winter is the worst time of year for dry eyes,’ explains Julian Stevens, an eye specialist based at Moorfields Eye Hospital. ‘Eyes can feel gritty and dry, but they can also become watery as dry spots occur on the front of the eye. Have you ever wondered why our eyes start to stream after a cold winter’s walk? This is because the wind can be so drying that our eyes produce watery tears.’

Try a new online Eye Health Test to see if you could be experiencing dry eyes and find out what to do if you are!

10 Top Tips For Protecting Eye Health This Winter By Amy Liddell, Nutritionist & Eye Health Specialist at Scope Ophthalmics

Water: Alcohol can dehydrate the eyes and we may not close our eyes properly when sleeping after a few drinks. A glass of water for every alcoholic drink can prevent dehydration and help to reduce puffy and red eyes the morning after!

Antioxidants: Late nights, poor diet and lack of exercise can cause oxidative stress on the body which has been linked to dry eye. Incorporating a rainbow of fresh fruit and vegetables in to your diet, as well as dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and chard may actually help slow down the process of oxidation and have been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Oily fish: Omega 3s, the fatty acids found in oily fish such as sardines, salmon and tuna steak improve eye health and have been shown to relieve dry eye symptoms.  You can purchase Omega 3s at www.ScopeOmegaHealth.co.uk or at www.superfooduk.com (5% discount with the promotion code: HSoul1).

Computers: Blink more often when using computers. When concentrating we don’t blink enough and end up with irritable and dry eyes.

LoveLula picMake-up: Quite often eye shadow or mascara can trigger allergies and dry eyes. Use natural make-up which doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and you should notice a change.  Try natural make-up at LoveLula.>>>

Green tea: Green tea is full of antioxidants which boost the immune system and specifically protect the eyes.

Eye massage: A simple eyelid massage will stimulate the tear glands and help push the oil in your tears around the eye. Placing a warm washcloth over closed eyes and gently massage the upper eyelid against the brow bone for 5 to 10 seconds is not only soothing for eyes but relaxing too.

Potassium: This and other minerals may be too low, so eat more pecans, bananas, raisins, dates, figs and avocados, which are all high in potassium. Adding them to salads or snacking on them throughout the day is a healthy way to boost your intake!

Try these eye drops:

Potters Allerclear Eye Drops, 10 doses, £5.79 from www.superfooduk.com
Vizulize Dry Eye Drops, 10ml, £5.64 from www.superfooduk.com
Use the promotion code: HSoul1 to get 5 per cent discount
Or go to www.ScopeOmegaHealth.co.uk