Treating hayfever naturally

Posted on: 15th May, 2017

Category: Health

Contributor: Hannah Dare

Summer is certainly coming! Great news for most of us, as we welcome the lengthening of the days, unfortunately for others this means the start of the dreaded hay fever season. Personally I have never suffered from this condition, but I have some family members who do and I know it can be really miserable. Hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen causing the release of histamine, which causes inflammation around the nose and eyes. Characteristic symptoms include red, itchy eyes, and a runny or congested nose, and can include a cough and an inflamed throat.

The conventional medical approach to hay fever generally consists of three types of medication: antihistamines, which block the release of histamine, which is responsible for swelling and congestion; steroid-based nasal sprays; and decongestants such as ephedrine. However, dietary changes and natural supplements may significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for conventional medication, which can have undesirable side effect or simply not work for some sufferers. There is also a warning on many conventional nasal sprays since they can damage the mucus lining of the nose – but the good news is there are very effective chemical-free alternatives!

We get a lot of enquiries about alternatives remedies to hay fever at this time of the year in Organico. There are no silver bullets and finding a suitable remedy takes time and effort but we often find that individuals with hay fever also suffer from food sensitivities as well. When these foods are successfully identified and eliminated, the hay fever very often gets much better. It is thought that the reactions to food ‘sensitise’ the tissues in the eye and/or nose, making it more likely that pollen will trigger an allergic reaction there.

Any food may give a problem, but many people find that dairy products are the main culprits. You might like to try eliminating milk, cheese, ice cream and yoghurt (butter is usually a well-tolerated food) from your diet to see what this effect this has. Our experience is that this often helps clear a hay fever problem. If you are looking for an alternative milk for your coffee or tea, a good one that we have discovered this year is the Barista Oat milk from Oatly – it makes a wonderful flat white! You will need to make sure, however, that you are getting enough calcium; lots of leafy green veg will help with this as well as eating whole grains rather than white (in terms of flour, pasta, rice and so on).

Allergic reactions can also be a result of weakened immune system due to stress, so one approach is to stabilise the immune system to reduce or prevent the development of unnecessary antibodies. Taking the herb echinacea for a few months can help to reset the immune system, which might be a good idea if you suffer from hayfever symptoms every year.

One of the first supplements to try if you are expecting your hay fever symptoms to kick in soon is vitamin C. Vitamin C has natural antihistamine activity in the body and there is some evidence that it can help control hay fever symptoms. One to two grams of powder taken as a drink through the day is the best way of taking it – the best thing is to get yourself a stainless steel bottle and make a vitamin C ‘drink’ every morning to take to work or school. There are a couple of good brands of vitamin C powder available but Biocare is a very high quality and trustworthy one.

Several customers have reported benefits from taking a supplement called Quercetin. This ‘bio-flavonoid’ compound appears to reduce the release of histamine from immune system cells known as ‘mast cells’. In practice, quercetin does seem to help a proportion of hay fever sufferers.

A.Vogel have an excellent hay fever remedy called Pollinosan, which contains various homeopathics to treat a range of hay fever type symptoms, such as sneezing, itchy nose, scratchy throat and burning eyes. As homeopathics work immediately you can take Pollinosan as soon as symptoms appear; it can be taken safely alongside other medication and the Pollinosan nasal spray is very good for symptoms that are all centered on the nose. If you don’t want to take a tablet, or you have a person under 12 with hayfever, try the Luffa Complex drops, as it’s the same remedy but can be given at a dose of one drop per year of age over two-years-old.

And if your eyes get sore and red a good natural eye drop is A.Vogel’s eye drops with Hyaluronic Acid and Eyebright. These can be used at any time of the day or night and for both weepy and dry eyes.

Another helpful habit to take up is nasal washing – call in and have a look at our different options of Neti Pots that can help reduce nasal symptoms and help a cough if caused by a nasal drip.

Local honey is another traditional ‘remedy’ many people find helpful; by eating it regularly the idea is that you will build up a tolerance to the pollen that is common to your area (as the bees will have gathered this pollen, as they make the honey). I’m not sure that this is supported by research but anecdotally a lot of people have found it beneficial. And if you manage to find a raw, unheated honey produced locally then there really isn’t any risk – other than to your waistline if you eat too much! And Nettle tea has been used for years as a traditional herbal remedy for, among other things, hay fever symptoms. The best thing to do is pick fresh nettles and steep them in hot water and drink it – they will all be coming up soon!

Organico Shop Cafe and Bakery is open Monday to Saturday from 9am – 6.15pm (the Cafe from 9 – 6pm). Please call us on 027 51391 or visit us online at for more information (or to buy online – we have an extensive online shop and free shipping over €45). None of this information is intended to replace medical advice, so if you are on medication or are concerned at all about your health please consult a medical practitioner before taking any foods in medicinal quantities.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.
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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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