Supplements and Herbs for Seasonal Allergies

The flowers are blooming, the temperature is not yet blazing…its the perfect time to get outdoors until…..Achoo! Seasonal allergies! If you want to try a natural approach to treating your seasonal allergies, I think a multi-factorial approach is often best. In this blog, I’ll discuss how you can use supplements and herbs to treat seasonal allergies.

Supplements and Herbs: 

You may have seen the allergy supplement section at the natural food store and immediately became overwhelmed.  There are a lot of vitamins and herbs that claim to help allergies! The challenge can be that what works for one person may not work for the next so there is a bit of trial and error to find out what works best for you or your family member.   Here are a few of my favorite supplements and herbs with general adult dosing (appropriate dosing for children is dependent on weight so unfortunately I cannot give you that information easily).  Before starting any of these, please be sure to check with your (or your child’s) physician to make sure it is a safe fit:  

  • Vitamin C: Adults can take up to 6 grams (6000mg) divided throughout the day.  The right dosage is found by finding the dose that causes a person to have diarrhea and then backing off a bit, a process known as bowel tolerance.  High dose vitamin C prevents secretion of histamine by white blood cells.  
  • Quercetin/Bromelain Complex: These two ingredients are found naturally in onions and pineapple. When taken more concentrated together as a supplement, they effectively stabilize immune cell membranes and prevent the release of histamine.  Quercetin and bromelain often come in capsules with 300mg of each/cap: adults can take 2-3 caps up to 3 times a day.  
  • Essential Fatty Acids (fish oil): Fish oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. During allergy season, adults can take 2000mg total EFA/DHA to reduce the body’s overall inflammation and strengthen cell membranes.
  • Probiotics: Studies have shown that probiotics are effective in reducing runny noses caused by allergies as well as making the immune system less hypersensitive, thus preventing future seasonal allergies. Strains found to be most effective include Lactobacillus GG and Lactobacillus gasseri taken daily.
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine: NAC is the supplement form of the amino acid cysteine, a building block of proteins. It is a potent antioxidant and it works great to stop mucus and clear congestion.  The adult dose is 500mg 3x day.  
  • Nettle:  This herb, when made into a tea, tastes just like freshly mowed grass.  Though it may not be anyone’s favorite flavor, it works very quickly to take the itchy eyes and runny nose away.  The herb is also high in minerals which is an extra benefit.  Adults and kids alike can safely drink this tea throughout the day for symptom management.  
  • Butterbur:  An herb known more for migraines, butterbur works by reducing leukotrienes, an inflammatory chemical that worsens allergy symptoms.   Adults can take up to 150mg in divided doses daily.  Caution as it is in the ragweed family so for those with ragweed allergies, it could make symptoms worse.

Supplements and herbs are a great thing to investigate for your specific body’s constitution. From the naturopathic perspective, treating seasonal allergies is best done with a three-pronged approach that also includes attention to diet and home environment. Don’t forget to check out my other blogs for a deeper dive into my suggestions for treating your seasonal allergies.

At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you.


Written by: Dr. Kate Sage, NMD, Naturopathic Family Physician

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