Stop Hay Fever With These Herbalist-Approved Remedies


Always reaching for tissues? It might be time to try herbal remedies. (Photo: Getty Images)

Daniela Turley is a board-certified herbalist and has extensively studied allergies and herbal remedies. Below, she shares several of go-to hay fever fixes. 

Spring is here at last, but along with the sunshine comes the pollen season. The good news is there is no need to suffer as there are plenty of alternatives to keep the misery at bay.

When I first moved to New York, it was in one of those crazy springs where it is 75 degrees on St Patrick’s Day and your brain struggles to make sense out of the combination of summer dresses and melting snow. It was into this balmy weather and a haze of pollen that I landed at JFK. A hay fever from hell crashed in to my mucus membranes, and I had no herbal medicine and no idea where to buy any. I managed to get my hands on some allergy medicine and ordered my herbs from England. It was, in fact, a great test into comparison to conventional drugs and herbs. For a week I sniffled, itched, and dripped while I dosed up with conventional meds. Then at last my herbs arrived, and within two days my symptoms were 100 percent better, I was human again, and I could enjoy the spring.

Every year since, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have access to natural alternatives for hay fever treatment. Here are my go-to remedies.


I would normally prescribe several herbs together for allergy rather than just one, as the herbs work better in synergy  A typical formula may include nettle, baical skullcap, and berberis vulgaris. There is an over-the-counter formula I sell in my clinic called “Anti-inflammatory” that contains these herbs.

I drink cups and cups of this tea in the hay fever season. It is naturally high in quercetrin (see below) and is a natural antihistamine. It also has the added benefit of being rich in iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. It works by reducing the nasal inflammation and spasms in the respiratory system as well as being a general anti-inflammatory.

Baical Skullcap
This wonderful Chinese herb has been used for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory effects, which have now been widely researched. It works very well for allergies, especially in combination with other herbs.

This is an other great Chinese herb for calming allergic responses and is used regularly very successfully in hay fever treatment.

Mucus Membrane Tonics
These are a great addition to an allergy formulation as they calm down the inflamed membranes. Herbs that fall into this category include goldenseal, plantain, eyebright, and the berberis species.

Related: Yes, Your Allergies Are Getting Worse

If you live in Europe, you can have your herbalist prescribe this potent decongestant and anti-allergic herb for you.


This naturally occurring flavanoid, found in high levels in red onions, is a great natural anti-histamine. It has been shown in numerous studies to stabilize mast cell and prevent histamine release. I suggest 500 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams three times a day. I find that some seasons one dose a day is enough, other times sufferers need the full three.

This naturally occurs in pineapples, though they must be fresh and eaten away from protein to get the full effects. Some studies have found that bromelain is helpful in reducing nasal swelling and thinning mucus, making it easier for people to breathe. It is often found combined with quercetrin. A good dose is 140 milligrams taken three times day.

A recent review of the available research on probiotics and allergic rhinitis suggests taking good bacteria supplements may be useful at reducing the symptoms and signs of hay fever. As a daily probiotic is likely to have many other health benefits you can't go wrong taking a good quality probiotic supplement. I suggest getting a reputable brand with multiple stains measuring into the billions.


Wash your hair when you come in. This simple act removes the pollen that has attached to your hair in the day and stops you from getting it on your pillow.

Close the windows when pollen is rising and falling, typically in the morning as the temperature rises and in the early evening as the temperature drops.

Cover your bed with a bedspread. This will stop any pollen from falling on the pillow.

Put a natural waxy cream inside your nose. This will trap pollen.

Wear sunglasses to stop pollen from flying into your eyes.

Wash out nasal passages and eyes regularly. Use a neti pot when you come home to clear nasal passages. You can also use eye drops or an eye-bath regularly. Ideally, you can get eyedrops with eyebright added or ask your herbalist to give you drops to calm irritated eyes.

Avoid foods that cross-react with the pollen type you are allergic to. Certain foods contain proteins that are very similar to the protein in the pollen, so when you eat these foods in the hay fever season it will make the symptoms worse. These foods include apples, peach, cherry (stone fruits), kiwi, passion fruit, carrot, tomato, and almonds.

Read This Next: 10 Drug-Free Allergy Remedies

Daniela Turley is a graduate of the College of Phytotherapy (accredited by the University of Wales) with a BSc. degree in Herbal Medicine. She has practiced herbal medicine for over a decade. Turley is on the academic board of The American School of Natural Health, a member of The American Herbalists Guild, and The College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy.

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