HayMax advice: Gardening with allergies
Hay fever and other allergies shouldn't get in the way of having a blossoming garden at home.
Making a few changes to the way you garden and the flowers you choose can really help relieve some of those uncomfortable symptoms, allowing you to get up close and personal with some of your favourite plants.
What is Hay Fever?
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to the pollen released from grasses and trees and, in some cases, even flowers.
The particles from pollen can cause discomfort for sufferers resulting in inflammation, irritation and swelling of the nasal passages, eyes, and throat.
We spoke with Max Wiseberg, creator of the HayMax organic allergen barrier balm, who shared some top tips for how to create an organic garden that's optimised for those with allergies:
1. Choose female plants
Female plants don’t produce pollen, and they might even mop up some of the pollen produced elsewhere in your garden.
How do you know which plants are female?
Very often the seedless or fruitless plants in your garden centre will be the males, so if you're looking for a female, fruity or seedy varieties are a good bet.
Planting fruiting shrubs and trees can also attract birds into your garden. Although they will often eat the fruit before you get to it, they will also eat insects. This helps because insect skin cells - or ‘dander’, can also trigger allergies.
2. Pick varieties with double flowers
Double flowering plants often have petals instead of pollen parts. Double headed chrysanthemums are good, and you can get lots of pollen-free varieties.
3. Find disease-resistant species
Diseases come with spores and allergens that can make your life a misery if you suffer with hay fever. Getting disease resistant varieties should reduce the amount of allergens.
Growing native plants and trees makes it easier to tell if they are somewhat diseased. As they are used to the climate, if they aren’t growing well, they may be diseased - producing mildews and moulds and attract insects.
More spores and insect dander means more hay fever. So, if a plant’s not looking healthy, it’s best to remove it.
4. Keep out pests and weeds organically
Invasive weeds will often turn into great pollen producers, so keeping on top of their management in your garden should help reduce sneezing, too.
However, there's no need to reach for the weedkiller. Take some time to research organic and nature-friendly alternatives for weed control. Not only are garden chemicals and pesticides claimed to have triggered allergic reactions in people who previously had no allergies, they also have a hugely detrimental impact on the health of wildlife and our soils.
5. Choose your timing and planting spots carefully
Pollen is out in force in the mornings and the evenings, so it’s best not to do your gardening at these times.
And, if you do choose to grow plants that produce lots of pollen, keep them away from the house, or at least away from windows, doorways, and ‘high traffic’ parts of your garden to reduce allergic reactions.
6. Choose HayMax
Finally, before you go out in the garden, put on some HayMax organic allergen barrier balm, to trap the pollen before it gets into your body. Less pollen, less sneezing.
Hopefully these tips will help you start your own low allergy organic garden - that you’ll be able to enjoy with fewer sneezes!
7. Allergy-Proof Your Home
Once you have your natural remedy kit prepared the next step is allergy proofing your home.
Create a pollen-free haven by closing your windows and doors. This helps create a physical barrier against the pollen, preventing it blowing into your home.
Vacuuming regularly and drying clothes indoors rather than on the line helps to prevent particles from collecting on your washing. Take a look at our list of certified organic cleaning products, household essentials without the nasties.
8. Invest in Natural Hay Fever Remedies
Pollen causes the release of a substance known as histamine. This causes an inflammatory response in the body, influencing the symptoms of hay fever. Traditional hay fever treatments often involve the use of antihistamines and steroids. Antihistamines do help relieve the symptoms of hay fever yet they can also cause side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth and even nausea.
Instead of reaching for the antihistamines, try your hand at natural remedies such as Haymax. Haymax, is an organic drug-free balm made from a blend of beeswax and seed oils.
The balm acts as a barrier for pollen, dust or pet allergens by trapping the pollen and allergen particles. Apply a small amount under the nose or on the eye bone to stop pollen particles in their tracks, beating the hay fever blues for good!
Top tip: Apply Haymax in the morning and at night to trap unwanted pollen.
Don't underestimate the power of aromatherapy! Adding a couple drops of essential oil to the bath or applying essential oils to the skin can help alleviate symptoms, calming the nervous system.
Essential oils to help inflammation and clear nasal passages:
Opt for foods that contain high levels of antioxidants and inflammatory properties. Food such as garlic, carrots, and ginger will help soothe the symptoms of hay fever as well as blocking the histamine receptors in your immune system.
Drinking herbal teas and incorporating supplements into your everyday diet will also help reduce inflammation caused by histamine. We recommend Viridian Nutrition's Organic Turmeric supplement and Pukka Herbs Lemon, Ginger and Manuka Honey Herbal Tea to reduce inflammation and boost you immune system.
Did you know? Organic food contains higher levels of antioxidants (up to 60%)than non-organic food.
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Author: Max Wiseberg
Max Wiseberg is an expert in airborne allergens (including hay fever, dust, pet and mould allergies). Max is the creator of the HayMax organic allergen barrier balm and is a hay fever sufferer himself. He regularly writes in the press, and has appeared on BBC and local radio, as well as The Chrissy B Show, Fitness TV and the Holiday & Cruise channel.