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Latest Hay Fever Su B

Hay fever season is almost upon us.

You can suffer from allergic rhinitis at any time of year, but there is a peak in May and June, just as the lovely weather arrives. The good news, from a herbal point of view, is that it usually responds very well to treatment.

It’s ideal to start your herbs a few weeks before your season begins, so that your system is well primed to deal with it. There’s every chance that you will get away with much milder symptoms than usual, or even none at all. But even if you just take herbs when you already have the symptoms, they do have a useful ‘first aid’ effect that will bring you some relief. It’s also a good idea to avoid dairy products for a while, because they tend to encourage mucus production.

Some of the best hay fever herbs are very ordinary weeds, like nettles and ribwort (called ‘shooters’ by children because you can fire the flower heads at each other). Chamomile, yarrow and eyebright can also help. There are other herbs like Ma Huang (Ephedra sinensis) which are more powerful, but these can only be prescribed by practitioners because there are cautions about their use.

As usual, different plants suit different people, so if you’ve tried a herb or a formula for hay fever and not got good results, don’t despair; there will be something that can help.

EDITOR: Su has an excellent handbook available from her website or click here to buy from Amazon.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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