Best Plants & Herbs for Allergies
With spring approaching, seasonal allergies are right around the corner. Fortunately, many natural remedies are available, including many types of plants and herbs for allergies.
Herbs are a Great Natural Remedy for Allergies
The use of medicinal plants to treat allergy symptoms is gaining much attention as a safe and effective way to remedy allergy symptoms.
Seasonal allergy symptoms include clogged nasal passages, clear mucus, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy nasal passages. Other allergy symptoms include itchy skin, chronic coughs, allergic asthma, and other inflammatory responses. (PMID: 30844213)
Thankfully, seasonal allergy sufferers have many natural remedies on their side that can provide both allergy relief and immune system support. But before we dive into the best herbal remedies for seasonal allergies, let's take a deeper look at allergic rhinitis.
What is Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis also referred to as hay fever, is defined as an atopic disease characterized by symptoms of nasal congestion, clear rhinorrhea, sneezing, postnasal drip, and nasal pruritis. Additional symptoms of allergic rhinitis include conjunctivitis, chronic sinusitis, atopic dermatitis, and non-productive cough. Allergic rhinitis may be classified as intermittent (seasonal allergies), or as perennial (chronic allergies). (PMID: 30844213)
So what exactly are allergies? An allergy refers to the body's immune function and how it responds to foreign substances common in the environment that triggers a response by the immune system that is known as hypersensitivity. These inflammatory events signal the body to release immune cells, including histamine. Histamine is a signaling molecule that triggers the immune system to release cells and allergic antibodies that will attack any "invader" in the body. Allergy-related inflammation may lead to mucus buildup and poor respiratory health, amongst the many other symptoms associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis. (PMID: 32491722)
This function in the body is important when we are fighting off things like parasites, but multiple inflammatory events caused by common allergens undoubtedly decrease one's quality of life. When strong allergic reactions occur from mundane things like airborne pollen, animal dander, and dust mites, intervention is a must. (PMID: 31424821, 14657851)
Typical Treatments For Allergies
The goal of treatment for allergic rhinitis is to provide relief of allergy symptoms. Allergy sufferers typically turn to oral anti-histamine medications, nasal saline irrigation, intranasal corticosteroids, and sometimes even allergy shots to provide allergy relief.
The goal of antihistamines is to inhibit allergic responses. While many popular antihistamines do relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms, they typically come with their own set of side effects including sedative effects, low blood pressure, dizziness, headaches, dry mouth and eyes, and more. Because of these unwanted symptoms, many are turning to natural medicines including herbal remedies, for allergy relief without the side effects associated with pharmacological treatments.
8 Herbal Remedies for Allergic Rhinitis
With the growing popularity of alternative medicine, herbs are receiving more attention as a natural allergy treatment due to their antihistamine properties and immune system support. You may find these herbs to be your new best friend when dealing with seasonal allergies this year. So now let's take a look at some of the best natural remedies to fight allergy symptoms and treat allergic rhinitis.
It's hard to think of a better herb to start us off than stinging nettle leaf. There is much clinical research supporting stinging nettle as a natural antihistamine with excellent anti-inflammatory abilities. Stinging nettle is a rich source of nutrients including vitamins A, C, D, K, and B complexes, magnesium, and calcium.
In addition to nettle's natural anti-histamine and potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, nettle infusions may be used to help treat numerous conditions including eczema, nasal and menstrual hemorrhage, diabetes, anemia, asthma, and hair loss. Nettle has also been shown to even promote lactation. This just scratches the surface of the multitude of effects nettle can have on health. These actions may be attributed to nettle's chemical makeup and ability to improve immune function. (PMID: 19140159, 29987208)
These properties make nettle tea a must-have if you are looking to improve seasonal allergy symptoms. Brew nettle tea for yourself and make it a habit before this allergy season starts and be amazed at the many benefits nettle has to offer!
Butterbur is an herb that has been used for centuries to treat numerous ailments including urinary tract symptoms, upset stomach, headaches including migraines, hay fever, and other conditions. Butterbur may be used to support the respiratory system, which can be especially good for those with asthma caused by hypersensitivities to things like dust allergies. Butterbur is known to reduce allergy symptoms and can be great for treating seasonal allergic rhinitis. (PMID: 30725845)
Rosemary is a powerful herb that has many anti-inflammatory properties. Let's look at two specific components of rosemary and the actions that make them great for those experiencing spring allergies: Rosmarinic acid and quercetin.
Rosmarinic acid, a derivative of Rosemary, is a polyphenol that has several interesting biological activities, including antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant actions. These components of rosmarinic acid make it a useful tool in supporting the body when allergies seem to be taking over. (PMID: 12482446)
Rosemary also contains histamine-lowering quercetin, which is a flavonoid found in plants and plant foods. It is known to reduce allergic symptoms and inhibit multiple inflammatory events by impeding the production of histamine that occurs during the allergic response. (PMID: 32467711)
Ginger has been valued for centuries for its many medicinal properties, including its antinausea, antiinflammation, antipyresis, and analgesia effects. Studies also find ginger to serve as a natural antihistamine. This is because ginger demonstrates the ability to suppress cytokine production, which then inhibits B-cell and mast cell activation which results in both prevention and alleviation of symptoms from an allergic reaction. In other words, ginger hinders the reactions that occur in the body which would lead to hypersensitivity or an allergic response. (PMID: 26403321)
Though not exactly a herb, garlic is a known immune enhancer. Garlic has been used for centuries for its many health benefits and has been proposed in recent times as a promising candidate for maintaining homeostasis of the immune system. This is likely due to garlic's function in modulating immune and inflammatory responses. Garlic extracts have also been reported to have antiasthmatic properties. So having garlic as a regular part of your daily diet may prove especially beneficial for those dealing with allergic asthma. (PMID: 25961060, 31366207)
Mullein leaf has a long history of use to treat several pathologies. Many of mullein leaf's healing properties can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, which include quercetin. If you recall from earlier, quercetin is known to reduce histamine levels which can help minimize the histamine response people hypersensitivities experience. This could also be helpful for those whose respiratory systems are highly affected by allergens. (PMID: 34356473)
Turmeric is a spice that has been used for thousands of years and is esteemed as a highly valuable component in traditional Indian and Chinese systems of medicine. Turmeric's wide range of medicinal effects can be largely attributed to curcumin. Curcumin is a phytochemical that exhibits strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. Curcumin also modulates a number of activities in the body including immune responses which can result in reduced severity of many immunological diseases, including rhinitis. (PMID: 17569218, 28059453)
Marshmallow root offers a multitude of health benefits from supporting overall skin health to working as a diuretic. One of the most traditional uses for marshmallow root is for the management of cough, sore throat, and other respiratory ailments. Marshmallow root alone has shown to be an effective treatment for dry cough. Other clinical trials found that marshmallow root in combination with the plant Zakaria multiflora can serve as a natural cough relief and support a number of respiratory functions. (PMID: 31770755, 29397088)
Herbal Treatment Options for Allergies
We've already looked at the soothing and healing properties of nettle, turmeric, and marshmallow root. Let's take a quick look at peppermint and lemongrass and the reason we've chosen them to be in Drink Symbi's upcoming Allergy Ease blend.
Peppermint is in the bitter mint family herb category. Besides having anti-inflammatory effects, studies show peppermint to be effective in alleviating sinus symptoms associated with allergies. (PMID: 11201253)
Lemongrass is a popular herb for good reason. Lemongrass has several health-promoting effects and is great for reducing inflammation. In addition to its anti-inflammation effects, studies also find lemongrass to be a great therapeutic candidate for many allergy-related diseases. (PMID: 24682420)
We love our blends at Drink Symbi and hope that you do too! One of our blends "anti-inflammatory" has been a customer favorite for allergies.