Hay fever symptoms are usually triggered between late March and September, when the pollen count is at its highest. Symptoms usually include sneezing and coughing, a runny nose, itchy eyes and an itchy throat. There’s currently no cure for hay fever but over-the-counter treatments are available to help relieve symptoms.
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Pharmacists may suggest sufferers take antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays to help with itchy and water eyes, sneezing and a blocked nose.
But these treatments aren’t always effective. As an alternative, some hay fever sufferers may look towards more natural treatments.
A surprising herb which has been linked to the relief of hay fever symptoms is stinging nettles.
While nettles are known for their stinging properties, they’ve also been a staple in herbal medicine since ancient times.
Nettle leaves have hair-like structures that sting and cause itching, redness and swelling.
But once they’ve been processed into a supplement, dried, freeze-dried or cooked, they can be safely consumed – and may treat hay fever.
Stinging nettles have shown in some studies to be a natural antihistamine.
In a study published in 2000, 58 percent of participants found relief for their hay fever symptoms with freeze-fried nettles, and 69 percent rated it better than a placebo.
Test-tube research has shown stinging nettle extracts can inhibit inflammation that can trigger seasonal allergies.
This includes blocking histamine receptors and stopping immune cells from releasing chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms.
But some human studies have noted stinging nettles are equal to or only slightly better at treating hay fever than a placebo.
Let year, one hay fever sufferer revealed he hasn’t had hay fever symptoms for three years after taking stinging nettles.
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Goran Pavlovic took to Facebook to claim the herb cured him of his pollen allergy.
He said: “All my life I suffered from hay fever. I pretty much choked to death every Sumer.
“Then, few years ago, an old man (crazy old man according to my wife) told me to try nettles.
“Basically, as soon as the spring starts, he told me, and the first nettles sprout out, pic a bunch and sting myself with them.”
Despite Mr Pavlovic’s reservations, the treatment seemed to work.
He continued: “Do that once a week until the end of autumn. Apparently this would make my immune system concentrate on nettles and forget about the pollen…
“And lo and behold it worked…I haven’t had any problems with pollen for 3 years now.
“So there you have it. Just wanted to share with you my experience. Just in case someone is interested in use of herbs for medicinal purposes…
“And as the law requires, here is the disclaimer: don’t do this at home.”
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