Natural treatment for allergic rhinitis

Natural treatment for allergic rhinitis

After the long dark winter, we all look forward to the lighter, warmer days of spring and summer with the trees bursting into full leaf. However, for many people the season brings with it the unwelcome and miserable symptoms of hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. This is triggered by pollen, initially from trees, with pollen from ash, birch, ash, oak, and lime floating on the air in succession from April right through to July. Later on, the flowering grasses in hedgerows and waysides give up their pollen load. In susceptible people (that’s up to 26% of adults and it’s increasing year on year) the pollen triggers an allergic reaction in the sensitive lining of our nose and throat, also affecting the eyes and the delicate structures of the lungs.

Conventional treatment includes avoiding exposure by closing windows and staying indoors on days with a high pollen count; using a barrier balm to coat the nasal lining or using a nasal wash to flush the pollen away. These techniques will give some relief. You may also have tried antihistamines to block the symptoms of the allergic reaction, or nasal steroids to reduce inflammation. While these can be effective, they may cause drowsiness, dry mouth or throat irritation, which is why many people look for natural, plant-based treatments. Herbal treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis aims to reduce the over active allergic response by using medicinal plant extracts and diet to bring the immune system back into balance and to strengthen the nasal mucous membranes, preventing the pollen getting in and causing trouble!
If you’d like to try the herbal approach yourself, start with food – lots of garlic and turmeric to help correct the immune response. Reduce of eliminate refined carbohydrates and dairy products. This is long term therapy – so start now and keep it going. Remember the basics, enough sleep, good hydration, adequate protein. Take Echinacea, it’s an immune modulator, which means it brings the immune system into balance. There are some herbs that you can take in the form of an infusion including Ground ivy (which appears in the hedgerows just as the hay fever starts) and Elderflowers. Use a heaped teaspoon of dried herb per mug of boiling water, infuse for 5 minutes, strain and add a squeeze of lemon.

For a more in-depth treatment to tackle the root cause of allergic rhinitis you’ll probably want to go a bit deeper with herbs and diet. A herbal treatment plan will almost always include working on gut health because this is where much of the immune tissue resides. You might be prescribed a blend of immunomodulatory herbs and mushrooms. Your programme may need to support you with other immune conditions like eczema and asthma which often co-exist with allergic rhinitis. Herbal prescriptions are always designed to work safely alongside any G.P. prescribed medication that you need to take.

Carol Thorogood (MNIMH) is a qualified Medical Herbalist offering consultations and bespoke herbal medicine online and at the Falmouth Natural Health Practice. Book a free call online at or contact me on 07947908376.


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  1. OceanWP

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