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Natural remedies for hay fever

Phil Day: Superintendent Pharmacist | minute read

Natural remedies for hay fever can be used either as a complementary therapy for people experiencing symptoms or as an alternative to antihistamine medicines.

Hay fever is an allergy to pollen or grass. It is estimated that over 10 million people in the UK live with hay fever, and it can develop in both childhood and adulthood. It is most common between late March and September when pollen counts are high. Also known as hay fever season, it’s when most of us with the condition will have active symptoms, but these can still occur year-round depending on the pollen count and the severity of your allergies.

Hay fever symptoms

Not everyone will experience the same type and severity of hay fever symptoms, but these are commonly reported:

●      Runny or blocked nose, especially in the morning and early evening

●      Sore or dry throat, with or without coughing

●      Sore eyes that are itchy, red, or watery

●      Itching in the ears and nose

●      Loss of smell

●      Pain and a feeling of fullness in the sinuses, temples, and forehead

●      Headache and pressure

●      Earache

●      Fatigue

Although there isn’t a cure for hay fever, its symptoms can be managed using a variety of treatments and remedies.

Treating hay fever in a natural way

While antihistamines are often recommended to control symptoms, there are other options. If you prefer to use natural medicines, there are plenty of products that can provide natural hay fever relief. These can be a good alternative if you prefer not to take tablets, or a healthcare professional has advised you not to take antihistamines.

There are also different ways that you can use natural hay fever relief to support your antihistamine medication. For example, nose strips may help you to sleep better, whilst allergy wipes and tissues can be used to wipe away pollen from the face. It is always worth looking at additional ways to get relief from symptoms, especially when the pollen count is high.


Natural hay fever remedies

Foods for hay fever relief

You may find that adjusting your diet or eating certain foods can offer relief from symptoms. Some foods that can potentially help with hay fever include:

●      Honey - Every morning before hay fever season. Honey can help your body become acclimatised to pollen and lessen the allergic reaction you would normally have. You should use local honey to make sure that the pollen is from the types of flowers in your local area - this means that you will have the most protection against the types of pollen that you will encounter.

●      Turmeric - Add to meals or take one turmeric capsule a day. Turmeric can reduce inflammation and swelling in the throat, nose and eyes. Turmeric is easy to add to a lot of foods.

●      Chamomile tea - One cup daily. Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory effects that may help to reduce swelling and itchiness. It also contains natural antihistamines to help reduce hay fever symptoms.

●      Ginger - Add to food or have one cup of ginger tea daily. Ginger has anti-inflammatory chemicals and can reduce itching and swelling in the nose and throat.

●      Garlic - Add extra garlic to your meals for a month or two before hay fever season starts. Garlic is an anti-inflammatory and has decongestant properties that can help with a blocked nose and head pressure. Garlic is most effective against hay fever if eaten raw. If you do not like the taste of garlic, you can also get garlic tablets.

●      Hot chilli peppers - Add extra chilli to your meals. Chilli peppers contain capsaicin which can open the sinuses to reduce congestion. Capsaicin also has pain-killing effects which may help with head pain and itching from allergies.


Of course, you should be careful when changing your diet. It is always recommended to make sure that dietary changes do not interact negatively with any medications you are taking. Negative interactions from food are uncommon, but it is important to check. 

Natural hay fever supplements

Some vitamins and minerals could help to ease hay fever symptoms, including:

●      Vitamin C - 1000mg daily. Vitamin C can work as a natural antihistamine and it can help with decongestion. Vitamin C-rich foods include kiwis, oranges, strawberries, and broccoli. You can also buy vitamin C supplements in different forms.

●      MSM or Methylsulfonylmethane - Can be taken as a tablet or powder. MSM has anti-inflammatory properties.

●      Omega 3 - Taken as tablets or power. Omega 3 also has anti-inflammatory properties and may help with aches and pains that hay fever can cause.

●      Vitamin D - Usually taken as tablets, but liquids or capsules are also available. While it is not fully understood yet, low vitamin D levels could have a link to hay fever. Supplementary vitamin D might help fix this, and it can also help combat fatigue.

●      Magnesium - Can be taken as tablets, dispersible tablets, or liquid. Magnesium can help improve nerve signal transmission which can relax airways. This could ease a blocked nose, runny nose, or a full feeling in the sinuses.

●      Capsaicin - As creams or tablets. If you do not want to eat hot chilli peppers, you can also get capsaicin tablets and creams, but these should be used with caution. Do not use capsaicin cream near the eyes.

●      Zinc - Taken in tablet form. Zinc helps promote a healthy immune system, which may reduce the severity of hay fever.

●      Glucosamine - As tablets or capsules. Glucosamine is an anti-inflammatory that is typically used for joint pain, but it may also help to reduce the nasal inflammation and swelling caused by hay fever.

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