We have one of these in our yard:
(This isn’t ours. My current cellphone takes pix too cruddy to do this gorgeous plant justice.)
It’s beautiful, but egads – the amount of pollen it produces is enough to keep the entire county’s bees fed for a year. Every spring I see it sitting in the corner of my yard, mocking me. “That’s right, bitch. I’m back. I’m gonna blow my pretty yellow sinus destroyers all over you and everything you own – and there’s not a flippin’ thing you can do about it. MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!”
Not that the Forsythia is the only offender, it’s just the most aggressive until the blossoms drop and it gets it’s leaves. Most of what I’ve read about the plant says that it’s a low pollen producer because it’s pollen is insect-distributed. In most places, that’s probably true. However, I live in a valley. A wind tunnel, more accurately. Each spring the wind sprinkles Forsythia pollen far and wide. Go out to get the mail, the box is covered in yellow dust. Go to get in the car, gotta wash the windshield because it’s covered in yellow dust. Time to take out the trash, the cans are covered in yellow dust. It literally gets into everything. Most yards here have at least one because it’s considered an ornamental plant.
In spite of this I have been adamant about keeping it. It’s beautiful, it’s been here since long before we moved in and getting rid of it wouldn’t really help anything due to the overall number of plants in the area. Besides, if I were going to get rid of everything that produces pollen we’d be sitting in the middle of a smoking crater. Enjoying RPGs doesn’t mean I want to actually live in one.
Allergy medicines and nose sprays are excellent, but there are days when even they don’t keep the body’s natural histamine reactions at bay. Also, some people prefer to not take anything that might have some side effects, which I completely understand. Benadryl knocks you out and some meds dry out the sinuses to the point that it’s really painful. I’m not a doctor, but here’s what works for me:
Using a Neti pot. Not only does it dislodge sinus debris (that’s a nice way of putting it, don’t you think?) but it also rinses out any irritants you have breathed in. I use the premeasured packets of salt with eucalyptus. It’s soothing and has the added benefit of fighting bacteria that causes sinus infections. I used to get on average at least ten sinus infections a year. Now I get maybe two. My doctor advised me that it is still safe to use the Neti pot while on antibiotics, since the meds work in the intestines to kill the bacteria. The salt will not kill the antibiotics. I recommend not using the plastic bottles or pots that can be bought in drug or grocery stores. They need to be disposed of every few weeks, which means you end up spending a lot more money and wasting a lot more plastic than you would investing in a porcelain pot. Make sure it has a solid handle. A pot with a hollow handle holds moisture and allows bacteria and mold to build up unless you boil it after every use. DON’T use regular tap water unless you boil it first. If it’s chlorinated, it can cause irritation. Also, there is an ameoba present in some tap water that can kill. We have well water, which is hard enough on my skin and hair, I wouldn’t even consider using it in my pot. I use distilled water to rinse the pot before and after as well as for my sinuses and have had excellent results. Allergy season has been much easier to manage since I started using mine.
A teaspoon to a tablespoon of honey per day not only helps build up some resistance to pollen, it’s a wonderful decongestant and soothes the throat. Taken alone, with food or in tea with a little lemon, helps keep mucus moving and decreases cough and sore throat. It’s good for colds too.
Water. This seems like a common sense thing, but I was surprised how much better I felt after I stopped relying on sodas for hydration and switched over to water and tea. Staying hydrated helps every part of the body and flushes out toxins. Allergy sufferers who are prone to sinus infections will find drinking more water keeps their mucus membranes moist and helps keep swelling down. Inflamed sinuses are a happy place for infection-causing bacteria. I got bored with plain water after awhile but found that flavored water is an excellent alternative. Lemon Dasani and Lemon Nestle Pure Life Splash are my favorites. No sweeteners, no colors and they both taste wonderful. Drinking more water has also had a positive effect on my efforts to lose weight, which is a bonus.
Thankfully, pollen counts are part of daily weather reports so it’s easy to know when you may need a little help. On those days it’s worth it to wear a dust mask to work in the yard. Yes, it’s kind of hot and it does get overly moist inside the mask, but I’d rather do that than deal with the allergens.
We live right next to a farm. The planting, harvesting and fertilizing kick up a lot of dust. This also happens when he mows the grass around the crops to make and bale hay. We keep the windows closed on those days. It’s a small thing, but it really helps.
I haven’t tried this for myself yet, but this morning The Druid Herbalist posted the recipe for a hayfever tea that I’m going to try as soon as I can find the ingredients. She also inspired this post. :o)
I’ll post back once I’ve had the chance to try it for myself. She’s had some excellent results. She posted a blend for day and for night, both of which look pretty tasty.
There is no single thing that works for everyone. Combine, experiment and find the things that work for you. It’s impossible to avoid all allergens and it may not even be possible to 100% take the symptoms away if your allergies are severe, but the ‘right’ combination of things can certainly make them easier to live with. My history of allergies and sinus infections has made me ready to try just about anything, especially if the relief comes from nature.