Herbal Help for Hayfever Sufferers

See also herbal teas under dietary advice

Butterbur is a herbal extract believed to have an antihistamine -like effect on hay fever symptoms.  A 2005 medical study found that butterbur was as effective as antihistamines in treating hay fever symptoms. Butterbur extract is available in capsules from a wide range of online sources. 

Ginkgo biloba  is thought to decrease the body’s response to allergens while also increasing energy levels and circulation. It is available in most health food shops and is usually taken in capsules.

Liquorice root  can be helpful to treat the nasal symptoms of hay fever. It can ease inflammation and redness in the nose and is also believed to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that can help boost the body’s immune response to hay fever. It has a rich and warming flavour so it’s delicious drunk as a herbal tea.

A pollen supplement can help to build up resistance to pollen. Take half a teaspoon a day. You are advised to check for an allergic reaction to pollen in this form by taking one pellet before you try a larger dose. Side effects include an itching or tingling mouth. If you experience any side effects stop taking the supplement.

Stinging nettle is a powerful natural antihistamine. Nettle is available in capsules on the high street from health food retailers, some supermarkets and online. The recommended dose is two 300mg capsules daily, to be taken when you experience symptoms. It can also be drunk as a tea. Nettle tea should be OK during pregnancy – in fact it is often recommended.

Quercetin  limits the body’s response to allergens. As well as being found naturally in red apples, onions and red wine, it can also be taken in a capsule. The recommended dose is 250-600mg per day, taken 5-10 minutes before meals. (not recommended during pregnancy)

Perilla 6000 contains Perilla frutescens, a Chinese herb with a tradition of treating allergy and Coleus forskohlii. Perilla has only been tested in animals. It has shown promising results in blocking allergic reactions. Perilla 6000 can be bought online. Coleus forskohlii can also cause soreness in the mouth and nausea. This mixture also contains alfalfa, which is harmful to some people with autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus.

Luffa complex (Pollisan) contains extracts of several different plant products, including the sponge cucumber. In a manufacturer’s trial 75% of hayfever sufferers benefited from taking luffa complex.

Lavender  can be applied directly to the skin in a gel base. You can buy it on the high street from pharmacies and healthcare stores. Lavender can help to soothe irritated or itchy skin and to calm the sense. It is said to be the most versatile oil as it can be used widely for many ailments including irritated or itchy skin and feeling irritable. See also aromatherapy.

Aloe Vera has mild antihistamine properties. It also promotes digestion and helps to clear skin problems. You can drink the juice diluted in water. Used externally as a gel it cools and soothes allergic skin rashes and itchy skin.