St. Mark's Hospital - February 18, 2019

It’s finally spring! That means blooming flowers, fresh-cut grass and, unfortunately, seasonal allergies. If you have seasonal allergies, your immune system pumps out a chemical called histamine to fight pollen. This can trigger congestion, a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes.

Over-the-counter antihistamines can fight symptoms, but there are also natural antihistamines that may curb tiresome reactions. Here are five to consider:

Vitamin C

Drinking a glass of orange juice every morning may help fight allergy symptoms. Or try other fruits and veggies that contain lots of vitamin C like citrus fruits, broccoli, leafy greens and berries.

Quercetin

Quercetin is an antioxidant found in onions, apples, grapes, red wine, black tea and some fruits and vegetables. A 2016 study in the journal Molecules revealed that quercetin has anti-allergic properties and may inhibit histamine release.

Bromelain

If you love pineapple, you’re in luck. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice that may help relieve nasal swelling and inflammation. It is also sold as a dietary supplement.

Butterbur

Butterbur is a plant extract that may have antihistamine effects, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). However, butterbur can cause side effects like headaches, drowsiness and diarrhea.

Stinging Nettle

An herb commonly used in natural medicine, studies have linked freeze-dried nettles to allergy relief. However, it’s important to consult your doctor before using since all herbal rem¬edies have side effects and may interact with medications you’re taking.