Alternative Medicine Help for Seasonal Allergies

by in Allergies June 4, 2009

Already the impending doom of scratchy throats, runny itchy noses, water eyes and chronic congestion are slowly setting in amongst many of us. Have no fear though, I have put together a basic plan to help avoid if not reduce the use of allergy medicines that tend to leave us feeling drowsy and groggy.

Having an alternative medicine plan in store before allergy season sets in full force will save you time, medication, and misery in the long run.

First I will be discussing how to get your body in optimal conditioning to cope with allergy season, and then I will discuss specific natural medicines that will help support your immune system to reduce the overall severity of seasonal allergies. If you always tend to be “sick” the months of March, April, May and September you more likely have seasonal allergies than a bad cold.

Now is a great time to do a SPRING CLEANING. Having a healthy liver aids the detoxification of histamine, that nasty molecule that gives us the irritating symptoms of allergies.

Seventy percent of our immune system smartly surrounds our gut and is formally known as GALT “Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue”. If the immune system is already stressed from reacting improperly to foods it will affect the body’s ability to cope with the added burden of seasonal allergies.

The take home message is to just cut back on wheat and dairy during allergy season as they are the typical “worst offenders” for most. Citrus, peanuts, corn, soy, tomatoes, red meat, sugar and processed foods seem to also cause trouble for those with seasonal allergies. Before allergy season starts is a great time to do an ALLERGY ELIMINATION DIET, or simply reduce those foods that you already are aware make you more congested or symptomatic during this time.

Foods as medicine: Increase onions and garlic for quercetin and sulfur levels. Eat Alaskan Wild salmon as often as possible for the anti-inflammatory benefits of the Omega 3’s and increase green leafy vegetables as much as possible to aid the livers role in the detoxification of histamine. Switch to a Whole Foods Diet.

According to Chinese Medicine Theory people have allergies because they are “living too far away from the earth”. Now I doubt they mean that you are living on Jupiter, I am most certain they are referring to a diet high in preservatives and white flours, over-processed refined foods and artificial sweeteners and other chemicals.

Quercetin: Stabilizes the “Mast Cells” of our immune system and prevents their cell membranes from degranulating and releasing histamine in to the system. Histamine is what makes us cough, sneeze, itch and have watery eyes. Typically two 500mg capsules twice daily is a sufficient dose.

Severe allergy sufferers also run quercetin in their Neti Pot to reduce the inflammation of the nasal membranes. Quercetin is a relatively benign substance that can be used in higher doses if need be, just check with your Naturopathic Physician before doing so.

Vitamin C: Supports the immune system and the functioning of quercetin. Typical dose is 500mg three times daily. You can also take it to bowel tolerance when sick or excessively symptomatic.

Freeze Dried Nettles Leaf: Has been shown to be extremely helpful during allergy season. Typical dose is two 500 mg capsules twice daily. Nettles are a nutritive “food” that will build the body up. Using foods as medicines is always optimal to prescribing antihistamines. If need be you can take up to 4 grams of nettles which is equivalent to eight 500mg capsules! I am not recommending taking that many capsules; I am simply trying to demonstrate how safe nettles are as an herbal medicine.

Research has also shown nettles to be helpful for osteoarthritis, myalgia, detoxification and eczema. If you choose to make a tea from the fresh plant, be sure to wear gloves when harvesting so as not to get stung! The leaves are the medicine in this case; the root of this plant is used for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nettle is not to be used by those on anti-coagulant “blood thinning” drugs.

Neti Pot: Doing a couple solid Neti Pot sessions a day is one of the best, cheapest remedies for seasonal allergy sufferers that tend to frequently develop sinus infections. The gentle saline flush of the nasal passages has a three fold benefit. First we are tonifying the mucous membranes that line the passages, second we are washing out residual phlegm (aka-snot- aka the breeding ground for bacteria and viruses that cause sinus infections).

As an added bonus during allergy season you are flushing out the pollens formally known as “antigens” that are causing our immune systems to over react and produce sneezing, itching and watery eyes. Plan to do two Neti pots a day so that you will at least remember to do one. Be sure to check with your doctor before treating yourself with home remedies especially if you are taking medications or suffer from a health condition.

Household: You may want to consider investing in a HEPA air filter to reduce the total level of allergens you are exposed to in your home. Also, when returning home for the day be sure to take off your shoes so you don’t track the pollen throughout your house. Shower and change your clothes after going outside, if that is not an option, at least try to rinse off your hands and face to remove as much pollen as possible.

So there you have the basics to get started. Stay tuned seasonal allergy sufferers spring has hit and I will be walking everyone through how to naturally cope with allergies and their concomitant annoying friends “acute and chronic sinusitis”. Feel free to leave your allergy season questions in the comments and I will briefly answer them or post a formal answer in an upcoming blog article!

~Dr. Nicole

Author: Dr. Nicole Sundene

Resources: Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth by Tilgner; Medical Herbalism by Hoffman; The Web that has No Weaver; Textbook of Natural Medicine by Pizzorno and Murray; The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Wood; Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Balch; Food Allergies and Food Intolerances by Brostoff.

  1. I used to have very bad seasonal allergies, but I usually don’t have them at all any more. What I did was to start taking emergen-c faithfully. Just one a day, but throughout the year. Not only do I not have much in the way of hay fever any more, but I haven’t had so much as a cold for YEARS. Like several years. I don’t even remember the last time I was sick.

  2. KM- Woo hoo! That is great 😀 Hay fever can be extremely annoying, I always feel really sorry for everyone that gets a bad case of it. I am a big fan of emergen-c too…

  3. good advise! Thanks doc!

  4. Oh Happy Day- You are very welcome. Thanks for stopping by 😀

  5. That’s very helpful info. I’m fortunate not to have hay fever, but since I moved to this area I get the good ole junk in my throat we all love.
    I bought some flax seed recently and have been adding it to a lot of food. Will it serve the same function as the Alaskan Salmon for the Omega 3’s?

  6. Hey Doc. Great article – I seem to get pollen problems some years but not others – perhaps something to do with what is being grown that year?
    Anyway, my question is related to eczema – how do I remedy this with nettles? I have medication for blood-pressure – this is not the same as anti-coaggulent is it?

  7. Jennifer- Flax seed is a great source of omega 3 oils the body just has to perform an enzymatic step in order to convert it in to the EPA and DHA that already exists in salmon oil…I tell most people to experiment with flax vs fish and see what works best for them. Flax is great for the average person as it is dirt cheap and also a great source of protein, fiber and phytoestrogens. I use fish oil when treating anti-inflammatory diseases as it is much more potent. That is a great question for next weeks ask the doctor so I will definitely write up a formal answer at that time as many people seem to have that same question.

  8. Justin- Nettlles can be helpful for eczema. High blood pressure meds are not anti-coagulants, but you should check with your doctor specifically before combining any herbs with your medications. I will write about natural treatments for eczema in next Thursdays “ask the dr.”

  9. Thanks Dr. Nicole. I look forward to reading next week’s post.

  10. Thanks Jennifer! See you next week. We will be picking up the pace on the blogging around here soon 😀

  11. Thanks Doc. Look forward to that coz its driving me mad right now!!

  12. Justin- I’m working on it right now! You might not like what I have to say though LOL

  13. First off- the new format is much better and easier to navigate! Kudos!!

    As for the allergies… even when we take all the precautions you have thrown at us here, we still may have those occasional flare ups. Right??

    I handle mine with a homeopathic remedy that I get at my local health foods store. It is specifically for histimine (tho i cant tell you what its called, the label is rubbed clean from carrying it with me in my pocket!) — its little pellets that taste like sugar (good for those of us who are giving up desserts) and is in a container similar to heart patient’s nitro tablets. for about $6 a vial, you cant go wrong when they work in just under 20 minutes!

    misery be gone…

    ps- nicole… email me- we need to talk about my site!

  14. this is my first time to your site. it is very nice. I’ll be back for sure and will be adding you to my feed reader to keep up to date.

  15. Hi Girl Next Door! Thanks we have been working really hard on things…yes allergies are tough and take some time to get managed for most people. I won’t talk about homeopathy on this site because it is too contraversial and most of my MD colleagues can’t stand it, but I’m glad that it is helpful for you. Off to call you now…

  16. Hi Domestic Diva! Thanks for stopping by my site, I was looking for cartoons to give to my illustrator as an example and stumbled across your site and fell in love with it. Wow you are advanced using a feedreader! I need to get up with the times.

  17. Dr. Nicole,

    I just started feeling a bit bogged down with allergies today and thoroughly enjoyed your tips in this post. Thanks!

    Side note: This is my first time here, and I immediately fell in love with your writing. Thanks so much for offering such helpful advice. I’ve only been able to browse a few of your posts, but I added you to my feedreader and will definitely be looking forward to upcoming articles.

  18. Hi again! Quercitin and Neti pots are highly effective for me. I’m also a fan of ingesting a tablespoon of local bee honey for seasonal allergies. What do you think?

  19. Hi Kathleen- glad you are finding help from the quercetin and neti pot! I am a big fan of bee pollen for seasonal allergies. It only makes sense that you are “inducing oral antigenic tolerance” which tempers the immune systems response to all the pollen that is flying around by consuming a tiny bit of it day by bay. This is a classic example of why we should also eat the foods of our region, local honeys will have small amounts of pollens in them as well, so are a great addition for allergy sufferers.

    Thanks for bringing up that great point!

  20. […] and treat more aggressively during cottonwood season. You can read my full article on treating “Alternative Medicine for Seasonal Allergies” if your allergies are getting to […]

  21. So, Onions are good during summers & why tomato is not good? I can’t miss my tomato.. Very informative.. I’m always stuck with this problem every year.. thanks for sharing. Now I have to take preventive measures.. 😛

    Doson’s last blog post..World Environment Day

  22. Thank you for posting this informative article, and it’s nice to have an alternative medicine for a Seasonal Allergies, I am afraid in trying other medicine product to cure a seasonal allergies because of it’s side effect.

  23. I drink Traditional Medicinals Breathe Easy tea to alleviate my sinus/allergy symptons. It has been clinically proven to improve sinus health and it is 100% organic. I think it is a great alternative to regular OTC medications! Check it out at!

  24. How We Lost 350 Pounds Combined In 8 Months…

  25. Many doctors now know that providing your body with extra immune system support, as well as supporting the response to inflammation, is the best way to give yourself a fighting chance against seasonal allergies. Natural solutions include medicinal mushrooms that regulate the immune system and herbs which help the body cope with heightened inflammation. Medicinal mushrooms are immune modulators, able to naturally balance and support your immune system—and in the case of allergies, to reduce your body’s hypersensitivity to pollen and other allergens.

    In addition to medicinal mushrooms, certain unique herbs and botanicals work together to balance inflammation, regulate healthy immune responses and provide antioxidant support. Tannins, flavonoids and polyphenols are considered “cooling” components that provide wide-spectrum immune support and help bring overall balance to the body’s systems.

    Don’t let allergies make you miserable all season long! Prepare and strengthen your body by using natural strategies against hay fever, and skip the unpleasant side effects from drugs. Find out more about the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms by downloading my complimentary wellness guide at

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