Posted on Tue, 17 Jun 14
Hayfever, or allergic rhinitis, is a common problem affecting 10-20% of people and the symptoms of nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching and fatigue can be severe. Research has shown that a number of natural herbs and plants can be very effective.
Spirulina is a blue-green alga used as a super food and dietary supplement. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Spirulina (2000 mg daily for 6 months) significantly improved the symptoms including nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion, and itching, compared with placebo (1).
Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) was compared with placebo in people with allergic rhinitis. They took 300 mg of freeze dried nettles daily and after 1-week 58% rated it effective in relieving their symptoms and 48% found it to be equally or more effective than their previous medicine (2).
3. Herbal medicine
Traditionally herbs are often used in combination, and a particular combination of seven herbal extracts (Phyllanthus emblica, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellerica, Albizia lebbeck, Piper nigrum, Zingiber officinale, and Piper longum) called Aller 7 has been well studied for hay fever. A clinical trial demonstrated the efficacy of 4 capsules daily (equivalent to 1,320 mg of the herbs) in 545 people with allergic rhinitis over 12-weeks. The herbs significantly reduced sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion (3).
4. Lemon juice
Although not a clinical study, a fascinating case report describes a woman with long-term, severe allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis who successfully treated her symptoms with lemon juice (half or a whole lemon daily depending on symptoms) taken diluted in water. “I always carried lemons with me, at all my journeys, even on vacation! I may have forgotten my toothbrush, or anything else, but no way the lemons! I always carried, and still carry, a knife and a lemon!” she said (4).
Butterbur is a shrub that grows in wet, marshy ground and has long been used as a traditional medicine. The name comes from the historical use of the leaves to warp and store butter. A number of clinical studies have found Butterbur leaf extract effective for allergic rhinitis, and as effective as the anti-histamine Zyrtec (5-10). When using Butterbur it is important to use a carbon dioxide (CO2) extract to ensure safety. Try 50-75 milligrams of extract 2-3 times daily.
- Cingi C, Conk-Dalay M, Cakli H, Bal C. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Oct;265(10):1219-23.
- Mittman P. Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Med. 1990 Feb;56(1):44-4
- Saxena VS, Venkateshwarlu K, Nadig P, et al. Multicenter clinical trials on a novel polyherbal formulation in allergic rhinitis. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 2004;24(2-3):79-94.
- Vazouras KG, Partheniou J, Dimoliatis ID. Alleviation and prevention of severe allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis following long-term lemon juice use: a case report. Cases J. 2009 Aug 24;2:8971.
- Käufeler R, Polasek W, Brattström A, Koetter U. Efficacy and safety of butterbur herbal extract Ze 339 in seasonal allergic rhinitis: postmarketing surveillance study. Adv Ther. 2006 Mar-Apr;23(2):373-84.
- Schapowal A; Study Group. Treating intermittent allergic rhinitis: a prospective, randomized, placebo and antihistamine-controlled study of Butterbur extract Ze 339. Phytother Res. 2005 Jun;19(6):530-7.
- Schapowal A; Petasites Study Group. Butterbur Ze339 for the treatment of intermittent allergic rhinitis: dose-dependent efficacy in a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004 Dec;130(12):1381-6.
- Gray RD, Haggart K, Lee DK, Cull S, Lipworth BJ. Effects of butterbur treatment in intermittent allergic rhinitis: a placebo-controlled evaluation. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2004 Jul;93(1):56-60.
- Lee DK, Gray RD, Robb FM, Fujihara S, Lipworth BJ. A placebo-controlled evaluation of butterbur and fexofenadine on objective and subjective outcomes in perennial allergic rhinitis. Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Apr;34(4):646-9.
- Brattström A. A newly developed extract (Ze 339) from butterbur (Petasites hybridus L.) is clinically efficient in allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Phytomedicine. 2003;10 Suppl 4:50-2.