Herbs & Natural Remedies:
Nettle (Urtica dioica), ephedra (Ephedra spp.), vitamin C and homeopathy.
Nettle: freeze-dried leaf. Ephedra: tea. Vitamin C: tablets. Homeopathy: a microdose of Galphimia glauca, a tropical plant.
How it Works:
Naturopathic researchers gave allergy sufferers either a placebo or freeze-dried nettle. Nettle users reported fewer and milder hay fever symptoms. Ephedra is a natural decongestant that opens the bronchial passage and helps with breathing. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine. Studies show it reduces blood levels of histamine, which plays a key role in allergic reactions. It remains unclear how homeopathy works, but a German study shows it effective for hay fever.
Nettle: 600 mg of freeze-dried leaf daily. Ephedra: Mix 1 teaspoon of dried herb per cup of water; bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes and drink up to 2 cups daily. Vitamin C: 1,000 mg per day. Homeopathy: consult a homeopath.
Any herb may cause allergic or sensitivity reactions. Large doses of ephedra cause insomnia, jitters, and irritability. Using huge amounts may cause heart attack or stroke. Stick to the recommended amounts. Large doses of vitamin C give some people diarrhea.
Get tested to learn what triggers your allergies, then avoid your triggers.
San Francisco health writer Michael Castleman is the author of 11 consumer health books. Visit Michael Castleman.