It may be something of a paradox but latest research suggests that the cure for hay fever could come from a tree. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have been testing a cellulose nasal spray made from pine trees, and found it dramatically reduced the symptoms of hay fever. Typical symptoms include itchy eyes, constant sneezing and a runny nose and although nose sprays such as Nasaleze, Care Allergy Defence and Nasal Ease have been around on sale for years, there hasn’t been any scientific evidence they worked – until now.
Scientists at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden say that tests have proven that the spray does reduce symptoms of hay fever, otherwise known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, and especially among children. Dr Nils Åberg, the Associate Professor said: ‘The cellulose powder has no adverse effects, and this fact makes it a particularly attractive treatment for children. It is used increasingly in many countries, but there is until now no scientific study proving the efficacy of the cellulose powder in children during the pollen season.’
The cellulose nasal spray works by forming a barrier over the nasal membrane, which lines the nose and filters out allergens like flower and tree pollen. The study which was carried out at Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital in Gothenburg and during the birch pollen season in spring 2009, tested 53 children aged from eight to 18 years old who had an allergic reaction to pollen. They were given a daily antihistamine tablet and also used a nasal spray of cellulose powder or a placebo three times a day over four weeks. To test the daily pollen counts, measurements were taken every day from the roof of the hospital and analysed in relation to the symptoms reported by the children.
Dr Åberg commented that, ‘We showed that the nasal symptoms of the children were significantly reduced in those who used the cellulose powder. The best effect was obtained at low to moderate concentrations of pollen. The complete absence of adverse effects makes this treatment admirably suited to self-care, and particularly for the treatment of children.’
The study was published in the journal Paediatric Allergy and Immunology. As hay fever is a very common condition that affects around one in five people in the UK, this could be an important break through in the way sufferers administer medication to help combat the symptoms of hay fever.