I grew up in the country surrounded by horses, hay, grass, trees and never had any symptoms of allergies – not even a sniffle. Then I moved to Tokyo for two years (a very polluted city) and when I returned home in the summer I was struck with hay fever – which plagued me from then on. Until I discovered these effective natural remedies for allergy symptoms. If you want complete relief, you really need to do ALL of these at the same time – but even just taking the high dose quercetin for allergies should provide noticeable relief:
1. Take 1000 mg of Quercetin 1 – 2x/ day. Quercetin is a unique bioflavonoid shown to inhibit the release of histamines from immune cells (in cell cultures). It stabilizes mast cells and prevents them from releasing histamine, BUT it does not cause the side-effects of drug anti-histamines; no drowsiness, dry mouth, etc. The key though, is to take it in a high enough dose – otherwise you won’t see the effect. That’s why I specifically sourced a high quality brand of Quercetin for allergies where each capsule is 500 mg, specifically for use as an allergy remedy – otherwise, most brands contain only 100 to 200 mg and you’ll be taking a handful of pills every day! For many people, it works best to take 500 mg of Quercetin three times per day (with food). For others, they prefer to take 1000 mg in one dose, once or twice per day. You may need to experiment a bit to find the best supplementation schedule for you.
Contraindications: Avoid taking quercetin with any medication which indicates you shouldn’t consume the following foods while using it: onions, apples, apple juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, pomegranate juice; white, green & black teas. These foods naturally contain higher concentrations of quercetin, so if a medication conflicts with them, you should also stay clear of a quercetin supplement whilst taking that medication. The following medications are known to either be suppressed or enhanced if taken in conjunction with quercetin: Cyclosporine, Estradiol, Felodipine.
2. Stop eating sugar until allergy season is over. I know, I know, this is very hard to do – and I mean ALL sugar. Don’t eat more than 1 piece of fruit per day. Sweeten things with Xylitol or stevia. Once your allergy symptoms have disappeared, experiment with how much sugar you can add back in without them flaring again. Of course, if you don’t miss it, don’t go back to it!
3. Use Similasan Allergy Eye Relief eye drops if your eyes get itchy, runny, or irritated. I always got severe reactions in my eyes before using these remedies. Sometimes I would even get prescription eye drops from my Dad (who is an optometrist), but this homeopathic allergy remedy (or any drops containing Euphrasia) work so well they are all you need for all but the most severe days. On the really bad days, I found the over-the-counter drug eyedrops called Cromlyn worked best – but I only needed these maybe twice in the entire season, and sometimes for only one application. The Similasan homeopathic eye drops handled the eye allergies just fine the rest of the time.
4. Flush your sinuses with a neti pot and salt. This is a very common practice in India, and it only feels strange until you’ve done it once or twice. As soon as my kids learned how to use a neti pot, they use it at the first sign of a cold – cause it just feels so darn good, and it clears your sinuses so you can breathe at night. With seasonal allergies, you can use it two or three times a day to keep your nose and sinuses clear of prickly pollen grains.
An Italian study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that using a neti pot to flush the sinuses was an effective way to treat seasonal allergies in children, and markedly reduced their use of antihistamines. Here my 9-year-old daughter Zara and I show you exactly how to use a neti pot for allergy relief:
5. Take immune system boosters. If your immune system is run down, or if you just can’t stop eating sugar (which depresses your immune system) then you can help to counter this by taking immune boosting herbs and vitamins. Vitamin C (take as much as your bowels will tolerate – if your stools get loose, then cut back) is an easy way to boost your immune system and also works synergistically together with quercetin. You can either get it as crystals that you can stir into any drink, or you can get Emergen-C naturally flavored drink packets – my kids love these, and I take 2 packets at a time (2,000 mg). Just sip slowly to increase absorption.
My other favorite way to boost my immune system is to put medicinal mushrooms and/or astragalus into my tea (or a little bit of hot water). The astragalus has a slightly bitter taste, but not so much that my kids refuse it. The medicinal mushroom blend or the maitake (my kids favorite) are very mild tasting (and also available as capsules if you prefer). Take these immune boosters up to 4 times a day, or as needed.
Original post April 2012. Most recently updated May 2020.