Effective Herbal medicine for Hayfever By Richard Collisson DipPhyt, MNIMH (Medical Herbalist)
Hayfever season is now in full flow and especially bad this year due to the unusual weather conditions combined no doubt with ever rising traffic pollution levels in our cities. Many over the counter antihistamines for hayfever have the unfortunate side effect of causing drowsiness. Herbal medicine can offer an effective non-drowsy alternative to antihistamines.
Ephedra sinica aka ‘JointFir’ or Ma Huang in Chinese, is a herb native to Mongolia, Russia and north east China, used both in Traditional Western Herbal medicine, as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), to treat asthma, bronchitis, hayfever and colds. It’s thought to be one of the oldest plants used in TCM with usage possibly as far back as 6,000 years.
In my over 25 years as a practicing medical herbalist, Ephedra is without doubt the most potent and effective hayfever remedy I have come across. In fact it is so potent that it cannot be sold as an over the counter remedy, but only on prescription from a qualified medical herbalist.
The plant contains the medicinally potent alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and norephedrine which rapidly relieve bronchial spasms and hayfever symptoms by decreasing nasal and sinus congestion. Unlike many antihistamines which cause drowsiness, ephedra being a central nervous stimulant has the opposite effect and enhances wakefulness.