It may not feel much like hayfever season at the moment, but for people who suffer, treating with herbal remedies about 6 weeks before it all starts can increase effectiveness.

Hayfever involves an inappropriate (allergic) immune response to a plant protein (e.g. in pollen), leading to  production of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine from immune cells deep in the membranes of the upper respiratory tract. Herbs used to treat hayfever therefore include those that tone the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract such as plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis), herbs that reduce the allergic response such as nettle (Urtica dioica) and baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) and herbs that balance the immune response such as Echinacea. A recent study suggests that the blue-green algae spirulina may be useful in reducing hayfever symptoms through its suppressive effect on the allergic immune response (Mao et al., 2005)


Mao TK, Van de Water J, Gershwin ME. (2005) Effects of a Spirulina-based dietary supplement on cytokine production from allergic rhinitis patients. J Med Food. 8(1):27-30.