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Garlic and Hay Fever

What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever - or allergic Rhinitis - is an allergy. It's most associated with summer season pollen but can be triggered by household dust, animal hairs, etc. Exposure to these cause the immune system to over-react in its production of histamines. Some people react to a wide range of allergens, others find their symptoms triggered only by very specific pollens.

Symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, an itchy nose and runny eyes. Like all allergies it can be dangerous if severe and you should first consult your doctor.

Treating Hay Fever Symptoms

There are many different over the counter hayfever treatments available to buy from your pharmacist. These include anti-histamines, decongestants and anti-inflammatory sprays.

Hay fever remedies are normally sold in the form of pills or nasal sprays. Whilst many people - including me - take these routinely without problem, others are concerned about possible long term side-effects, suppression of the immune system and building up of resistance.

Different people react differently to different treatments, some people suffer side-effects from preparations that other buyers recommend. I personally use a particular spray regularly whilst a friend of mine finds the same spray causes extreme nose bleeds.

Using Garlic For Hay Fever

The first thing to point out is that a few people are allergic to garlic itself! For these unfortunate people, garlic can actually bring on symptoms akin to hay fever.

For those not allergic to it, garlic can sometimes help control the reactions to pollen and other allergens. Garlic is not a cure for hayfever, nor is it recommended as an alternative to conventional treatment and medicines, especially if your symptoms are severe. However as part of a holistic package of dietary and life-style measures, eating more garlic might sometimes help to alleviate and bring some relief from the symptoms.

Garlic is a generally useful food for health and helps to boost the body's own systems. In particular garlic has anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties. It is also a good source of quercetin, a natural antihistamine.

Garlic requires no special preparation to release its health benefits, however it is more powerful when eaten crushed and raw.

Some studies have suggested that garlic supplements can be effective in the treatment of minor hay fever symptoms. Garlic is sometimes combined with other herbs such as Echinacea in widely sold herbal preparations.