10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever

South Asian herbs and practices have a proven track record in boosting immunity and easing allergies such as hay fever.

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever - F

This remedy is especially common in rural Bengal.

Don’t let the best months of the year be sabotaged by hay fever!

Get relief from hay fever by incorporating these time-honoured South Asian remedies into your daily routine for better immunity and protection.

The remedies transmitted through the generations provide a glimpse into the various usages of natural resources for better immunity and overall better hygiene.

It would be surprising to learn that common ingredients in South Asian cuisine have been studied for medicinal properties.

For instance, turmeric and cumin have been studied in pre-clinical and clinical trials.

Interestingly, the most-coveted spice back in medieval Europe was black pepper.

It was paraded as a cure for most diseases, used as currency, and is responsible for present-day globalisation.

There is an entire gamut of similar ‘wonder spices’ from South Asian culture with far-ranging effects.

Some common spices are even advertised as superfoods in supermarket aisles.

A balanced way to perceive these indigenous remedies is as medicines from the grassroots.

The mechanisms involve herbs or spices as teas, supplements, or inhaling essential oils by burning or using steam.

Antihistamine tablets for hay fever work immediately.

However, side effects such as drowsiness are dangerous while driving.

In contrast, all the mentioned remedies may not be fast-acting medications, but their mechanisms are more geared towards prevention.

Garlic Dipped in Honey

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay FeverThe antiquity of the practice of fermenting garlic in honey is not exclusively South Asian in its roots, yet its boosting and promoting of health is well-documented throughout the ages.

The phenomenal effect of the antioxidant-rich honey and garlic preparation against seasonal allergies or respiratory issues is owing to the immunity-boosting properties.

As with most Ayurvedic remedies, the preparation should be consumed on an empty stomach.

When garlic and honey are combined, the honey mellows the pungent taste of garlic, making it palatable.

The garlic is to be swallowed to improve respiratory health, the immunity, and to alleviate symptoms of common cold or even hay fever.

Traditionally, the garlic is to be fermented in honey for at least 12 months, although it could be consumed right after the preparation is made, as is commonly done.

Honey Ginger Kadha

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever (2)Kadha refers to the traditional herbal concoction made by boiling herbs, spices, or other ingredients in water.

Kadha is synonymous with traditional cough and cold medicine in Desi culture.

The easiest possible way to make the preparation might be by adding honey to teabags of ginger tea, as ginger tea bags are commonly found.

Thereon, add honey and possibly a few drops of lemon.

As remedy enthusiasts and life hack explorers, especially of indigenous ways, preparing the kadha by boiling the water with ginger would be the savoury and traditional way.

The preparation is made by adding small pieces of ginger to boiling water.

To make it extra tangy, add much more ginger and a lot of steam should be visibly released to reduce the preparation.

Squeeze drops of lemon when boiled or while boiling. Honey is preferably added at the end.

The preparation itself can be considered a habit to get closer to the indigenous lifestyle.

When consumed, ginger tea provides a soothing warmth that permeates the senses.

Its aromatic steam is inhaled to alleviate nasal congestion and make breathing easier during bouts of hay fever.

Basil Tea

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever (3)Among the various kinds of tea such as rhubarb and dandelion tea, for seasonal allergies and respiratory illness, tea made directly with basil has a time-tested efficacy.

While tea with black pepper or cumin-coriander-fennel tea usually has expectorant properties to clear the mucus from the airway, drinking tulsi tea has an ‘apoptogenic’ effect.

The effect of consuming tulsi is classified as apoptogenic, as the herbs or plants regulate the body’s stress response by supporting the adrenal glands and promoting balance in various physiological processes.

Adaptogens are known to assist in normalising the body’s functions, whether to support immune function, enhance mental clarity, or boost energy.

The effects of adaptogens are observed over time to support the body’s healing process.

However, the specific timeframe for experiencing the benefits of adaptogens varies from person to person and is based on factors like individual biochemistry, lifestyle, dosage, and the adaptogen’s mechanism of action.

Black Pepper Tea

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever (4)Consider grabbing some black pepper from the cafeteria at work, and downing it with some lukewarm water.

The anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and decongestant properties of the active compound of black pepper in warm water made it an age-old remedy for seasonal allergies.

Black pepper tea can potentially alleviate the symptoms of hay fever in several ways.

The active compound piperine in black pepper possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and airways.

The expectorant properties of black pepper would make it a deterrent for hay fever.

However, individual responses would vary.

A suitable approach to these remedies for sustainability enthusiasts is seeing them in a spirit of experimentation.

Jal Neti

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever (5)Jal Neti is an ancient practice that involves the gentle cleansing of the nasal passages using lukewarm saline water.

The etymology might not be surprising as ‘jal’ means water, and ‘neti’ means nasal cleansing.

The allergens that trigger the allergic response to cause hay fever typically enter the body through the nose.

Once inhaled, they come into contact with the nasal passages and can cause an allergic reaction.

Airborne substances like pollen, dust mites, or even pet dander trigger the all too well-known allergic reaction.

Jal Neti is a potential drug-free alternative for addressing the causative factor at its inception.

However, it would be the regular practice of Jal Neti during hay fever season that would provide ongoing relief by reducing the presence of allergens in the nasal passages.

Many report relief from life-long sinus problems and seasonal allergies with a Jal Neti practice.

The technicalities of the practice should be learnt from a practitioner or professional teacher.

Consistency is key, so incorporating Jal Neti into your daily routine during hay fever season may provide the best results.

Turmeric Milk

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever (6)Turmeric milk can help combat seasonal allergies like no other.

For those avoiding lactose, plant-based alternatives such as oat milk would be a great substitute too.

Apart from the seasonal hay fever, turmeric milk is widely used across rural communities, as one of the remedies for cough, congestion, colds, skin problems, and surprisingly many other ailments, throughout the generations.

The mechanism of action is mainly owing to the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, and the preparation should be supplemented with honey as well.

Experts suggest that golden milk should be consumed before sleep.

It is advisable to start with small amounts of turmeric and gradually increase the dosage to gauge your tolerance and observe any potential adverse reactions.

Steam Inhalation

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever (7)Before inhalers, stories of treating bouts of asthma and wheezing in villages by steam inhalation and massaging the back with oil are still in the memories of many parents.

This traditional practice of steam inhalation with ajwain (carom seeds) invokes the essential oils and aromatic compounds from the herb to provide relief and promote clearer breathing.

The steam inhalation could be done either by boiling water with the seeds or more conveniently, by adding the seeds to the boiled water before inhalation.

Thereon, drape a towel over the head to make a tent-like enclosure and lean over to inhale the steam from the saucepan.

Be aware to not take the chin too close to the heated saucepan.

By inhaling warm, moist air, the steam with the essential oils from the herb would soothe the nasal passages and lungs to alleviate congestion and provide temporary relief from hay fever discomfort.

Dollop of Ghee

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever (8)Among the various traditional remedies for the morning routine, downing a dollop of ghee as the first thing in the day is said to lubricate the joints, skin, and gastrointestinal tract.

Incorporating a small amount of ghee in the morning has tremendous benefits such as better immunity, brain health, and an immune system impervious to seasonal allergies like hay fever.

Healthy fats are essential for the immune system.

While ghee does not specifically contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids which is commonly supplemented, the concentration of monounsaturated omega-3s predominate in ghee.

The quality of the ghee makes a crucial difference too, and the quality would vary from brand to brand.

If lucky, local produce should be sourced straight from the farm.

Bay Leaf/Tejpatta Smoke

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever (9)While smoking is injurious and must be avoided, it is more surprising that the ‘leaves’ seen in South Asian dishes have an interesting traditional usage.

This remedy is especially common in rural Bengal, where tejpatta is rolled into neat cones and smoked like a cigarette during the monsoons when the infection is said to ‘sit’ on the lungs.

Although this remedy remains to be tested for hay fever, the essential oils released upon the burning entering the lungs upon burning would provide minimal relief from the discomfort.

Scientific studies concluded that the inhalation of the active ingredient, linalool, helped promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.

Nasya Therapy

10 South Asian Remedies for Hay Fever (10)For those familiar with Ayurvedic terms, experts say that hay fever is a predominantly ‘Kapha/Pitta’ based condition, affecting those of ’Vata’ constitution the most, due to their hypersensitivity of the nervous system and lowered immunity.

Nasya therapy, in simple words, is placing two fingerfuls of oil on the nostrils, and insufflating it with a gentle but firm short inhalation.

The oil could be mustard oil or medicated oil with herbs.

The process must be learned from a certified teacher or professional.

A fair disclaimer is to always be cautious about overdoing certain remedies, as a one-size-fits-all approach is unfortunately all too common for natural remedies.

Do consult your GP and refer to the established medicinal streams.

A common erroneous belief that deters those of a scientific bent from herbal remedies is the one-size-fits-all perspective of many proponents of these remedies.

Hence, these remedies should be experimented with for hay fever relief.

While over-the-counter medication reaches pharmacies after clinical trials and scientific determination, most indigenous home remedies are yet to be scrutinised formally.

A popular dictum in Ayurveda about the medicinal properties of food is that the remedies of plant, animal, and mineral origin can be food, medicine, or poison, based on the dosages and conditions.

Ratul is a writer and editor, enthusiastic about futuristic technologies, the news, and hyperreality. His motto is, 'Self-awareness is the key to growth.'

Images courtesy of Canva.

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