7+ Drug-Free Options for Seasonal Allergies

Published on March 03, 2023

By Kristen Boye BS, Natural Health

Kristen Boye

Kristen Boye is a natural health expert, writer, copywriter, and editor. Kristen was raised on an organic farm in British Columbia which inspired her life’s work. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Health, is a Certified Natural Foods Chef, co-owner of a medicinal herb farm, and is a natural foods and children’s health advocate. Kristen lives with her husband and two children on their medicinal herb farm in Western North Carolina.

If pollen season gives you the occasional sneezes, wheezes, itchy eyes, and runny nose, you are not alone.

According to the CDC, over 60 million American suffer from varying degrees of seasonal allergies.REF#741

This means even the healthiest among us are vulnerable to the onslaught of springtime pollens.

There are several theories about why some people are more susceptible to pollen problems than others.

However, a common root cause has not been determined. This means finding relief usually requires some trial and error.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your susceptibility to pollen and other seasonal irritants potentially.

In this article, you’ll learn seven natural solutions to help you through this season—from herbs and nutrients to lifestyle changes.

7 Natural Solutions To Help You Deal With Seasonal Allergies

If you’re tired of missing out on springtime fun but don’t want to take medication, this list is for you!

As previously mentioned, since no one knows why some people are more susceptible to seasonal allergy issues than others, you’ll need to practice some patient trial and error.

Unlike synthetic options, which usually guarantee an immediate result, the herbs, nutrients, and lifestyle tips here may not work immediately…or at all for every person.

However, with some research, patience, and perseverance, you should find relief in one or more of these natural solutions.

#1: Focus On What You Can Control: Indoor Air Quality 

Did you know research has shown indoor air is often 200-500 times more polluted than outdoor air?REF#742

That’s because dust, dander, chemicals, pollen, and other allergens get trapped inside homes that may not be well-ventilated and/or cleaned regularly.

Fortunately, we can significantly improve the air quality in our homes, which should help take the edge off pollen season. Everyone can benefit from cleaner indoor air! 

Here are eight ways to reduce pollens, dust, and other irritants indoors:

  1. Dust your home, car, and workspaces regularly using a damp microfiber cloth: Microfibers are excellent at trapping dust versus just moving it around and are more sustainable than disposable options. Aim to dust every day or every other day during pollen season.
  2. Invest in a high-quality air purifier (especially for your bedroom): Stand-alone or whole-house air purifiers will help remove pollens and other irritants from your home effortlessly. For best results, look for air purifiers with a HEPA filter and/or products designed to trap pollen. If you can’t afford multiple filters or a whole-house system, prioritize your bedroom to breathe cleaner air while you sleep.
  3. Change your air filters once a month during the season: Standard recommendation is to change home air filters every three months. However, more frequent changes during pollen season can help ensure cleaner air.
  4. Have your air ducts cleaned every couple of years: It’s inexpensive and can help boost air quality. Those with stronger reactions to pollen or those with pets may choose to have their air ducts cleaned annually. Note: This may also cause a reaction since the cleaning process “kicks up” all the material in the air ducts. Use your best judgment when deciding if this is best for you.
  5. Keep a no-shoes indoor policy: Shoes can track in pollen and other unsavory allergens, pesticides, toxins, dirt, and bacteria..REF#743 To make it easy for guests, invest in a shoe bench or leave a basket at the door.
  6. HEPA vacuum or vacuum your home and car regularly: HEPA vacuuming is one of the best ways to improve indoor air quality because HEPA vacuums have a sealed system that prevents the redistribution of dust and pollen. If you don’t have a HEPA vacuum, consider vacuuming with the windows open to prevent the redistribution of dust and pollen particles.
  7. Open windows when pollen counts are low: Opening windows during pollen season may sound counter-intuitive, but you still want to bring fresh air into your home. A quick look at the day’s pollen counts will show you the best times to do this.
  8. Wash and dust off your pets when they come in from outdoors: Indoor/outdoor pets can bring in a lot of pollen on their coats. A quick wipe-down with a damp cloth and/or brush outside will help keep this under control.

#2: Look For Supplements Containing Quercetin

Quercetin, a type of polyphenol antioxidant found in colorful fruits and vegetables, is a popular ingredient in many immune-supportive supplements.

That’s because a growing body of research suggests Quercetin may provide relief for pollen sufferers.*

For example, research has shown Quercetin may provide relief by promoting normal immune response and histamine secretion.*REF#744 REF#745

Quercetin may also support skin health by promoting normal inflammatory response in mast cells (a type of white blood cell that plays a crucial role in immunity).*REF#746 

The best way to get Quercetin from foods is to eat plenty of deeply-colored vegetables and fruits, like berries, leafy greens, and purple onions.

You can find a whole list of Quercetin-rich foods in: Where Can I Find Quercetin in Foods?

Gaia Herbs also offers several formulas featuring Quercetin,, such as Turmeric Supreme® Sinus Support.

#3: Ask Around About The Best Local Honey And Bee Products

You may have heard raw honey can be helpful during pollen season, but has it been proven?

Yes and no.

Although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that raw honey may be beneficial, some research has shown a benefitREF#747, and some demonstrate no benefit.REF#748

Honey has also shown potential benefits for coughs,REF#749 which can be a factor during pollen season.

Bottom line, like all things natural, honey’s effectiveness likely depends on several factors, such as the individual, how the honey is consumed, and the quality/source.

If you want to try raw honey during pollen season, here are some helpful tips based on traditional herbalism:

  • Make sure it’s authentic raw honey. Labels like “organic,” “local,” or “all-natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s raw.
  • Look for local honey. The idea here is that low-dose exposure to local pollen from the honey may produce a beneficial effect for some people.*
  • Get honey with the comb if you can. Some beekeepers swear honey stored with the comb (which may contain more pollen) is more effective than combless honey.*
    • Start taking honey before symptoms hit. Honey is generally believed to be most effective if given before pollen season, so the body has time to adapt to the natural pollen.* However, many people report success taking it mid-season, so it’s always worth a try.*

    • Be consistent. Just like when taking herbs or changing your diet, using honey may take some time to produce results. 

    There is no general recommendation on dosage. However, you can try substituting honey wherever you use sugar or other natural sweeteners.

    Honey is high in natural sugars, so talk to your doctor if you have blood sugar issues or other health concerns.

    Finally, do not give honey to children under one year as they are unable to swallow it properly.

    #4: Turn To Turmeric For Sinus Support

    Turmeric, also known as “the Golden Spice,” has been a staple in Ayurveda (the traditional wellness practice of India) for centuries.

    Turmeric has been used for various health concerns, including those related to pollen, such as congestion, occasional respiratory troubles, skin eruptions, immunity, and cough.*

    Modern research has begun to validate many of these traditional uses, making Turmeric a go-to herb during pollen season.

    A 2014 study published in Biomolecules and Therapeutics found Curcumin (the main active plant compound in Turmeric) supported normal histamine levels and various aspects of normal inflammation in the presence of allergens.REF#750

    Another study published in The Journal Cell Immunology also found Curcumin supported normal histamine levels, inflammatory processes, mast cell response (a type of white blood cell that plays a crucial role in immunity), and sinus health in the presence of allergens.REF#751

    More robust trials are needed to explain how Turmeric and Curcumin may affect human allergic response.

    However, these studies and the extensive body of research on Turmeric and Curcumin’s other benefits provide some encouraging information.

    #5: Emphasize Gut Health This Spring

    Pollen-related complaints tend to be localized in the sinuses, where most people put their focus.

    However, research has shown gut health can play a role in our reaction to pollen and may potentially influence symptoms in some people.

    A 2021 study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology compared the gut microbiome composition between adult allergy sufferers and controls using stool samples.

    Researchers found the following: 

    “The adults with AR (allergic rhinitis) had a distinct gut microbiome profile, marked by a reduced microbial diversity and altered abundance of certain microbes compared to controls. 

    “The results of this study provide evidence that unique gut microbial patterns occur in AR sufferers in adulthood and warrant further examination in the form of mechanistic studies.”REF#752

    A 2017 study published in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics found children with allergies experienced “significant improvement” when given Bifidobacteria mixture—a specific mix of probiotics that promote beneficial gut bacteria.REF#753

    Another study entitled “Role of intestinal flora in the development of allergy” found children who lacked certain gut bacteria as babies were more susceptible to developing allergies later in life.REF#754

    The authors noted the exact role gut microbiota plays in the development of allergy remains unclear.

    However, the results of these studies (and there are more similar studies) may make a case for the importance of focusing on gut health to potentially address pollen-related ailments.

    Some simple ways to support gut health include:

    • Avoiding antibiotic overuse
    • Avoiding NSAIDs as much as possible
    • Eating a diverse diet
    • Exercising
    • Spending time outdoors
    • Avoiding over-sanitizing
    • Spending time with pets and farm animals
    • Consuming probiotic-rich foods such as cultured vegetables, yogurt, kefir, and kimchi
    • Eating plenty of fiber, especially prebiotic fiber which feeds good gut bacteria. Prebiotics are found in onions, garlic, chicory, artichokes, sunchokes, and other fibrous foods.
    • Taking probiotics and prebiotics may also be helpful*

    Gaia Herbs offers several supplements designed to support gut health, including*:

    #6: Use Ginger To Support Sinus Health

    Ginger is one of the world’s most inexpensive, widely available, and often overlooked spices.

    It’s been traditionally used in Asian practices of wellness for stomach complaints, headaches, nausea, heart health, pain, inflammation, immunity, respiratory health, and more.*

    One of the best things about Ginger is that it is naturally pungent and spicy, making it an excellent expectorant.

    According to traditional herbology, expectorants are herbs and spices that support respiratory and sinus health by breaking up mucus.*

    Research has confirmed Ginger’s expectorant properties, showing it can support healthy nasal passages and airways in those with pollen complaints without unwanted side effects.*REF#755

    It has also demonstrated immune, inflammatory response, and respiratory health benefits.*REF#756

    Ginger can be used fresh in cooking, as a comforting tea (fresh or dried) with raw honey and lemon, or taken as a supplement.

    Gaia Herbs offers organic Ginger in several supplements, including:

    #7: Treat Your Nose To Nettles

    Consumption of Nettles in springtime is a centuries-old practice of herbal folklore.

    In herbalism, Nettles are traditionally taken to strengthen the body and blood, cleanse the liver, support the respiratory system, and help the body stay resilient during pollen season.*

    To this day, Nettles remain a popular ingredient in many herbal supplements and teas geared toward immune and respiratory health.*

    The use of Nettles has garnered so much interest there are now studies explaining some of its actions on pollen-related issues.

    For example, a 2009 study published in Phytotherapy Research entitled “Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis” studied nettle extract in vitro (aka a test tube experiment) and found it may benefit pollen sufferers by supporting several normal reactions relating to inflammatory response, including histamine levels and key receptors and enzymes related to pollen reactions.REF#757

    Nettles can be found at your local farmer’s market in the spring (watch out! They’ll likely sting until cooked), dried in bulk, as a tea, or in various herbal supplements such as Gaia Herbs:

    Seasonal Allergy Trial And Error Tips

    Are you ready to kick some pollen butt this year?

    Then now is the time to start testing some of these natural solutions.

    Not sure where to start?

    You can’t go wrong with taking some initial steps to improve your indoor air quality. 

    Whether you invest in a HEPA vacuum, an air purifier, or stock up on air filters, any of these steps will instantly reduce your exposure to pollens and other unwanted air pollutants.

    Whether you’re starting before spring or during, it’s never too late to source out some local, high-quality raw honey. 

    If you’re already starting to feel the tickles and drainage from spring blooms, don’t wait to try out some of these herbs.

    Gaia Herbs Turmeric Supreme® Sinus Support is a great way to test out Turmeric, Nettles, and Ginger in one formula.

    If you need extra support, you can try adding additional herbs and see how you feel.

    Out of everything and desperate for relief?

    If you have a knob of fresh ginger or a bottle of dried, you can turn that into a quick sinus-opening tea.

    Regardless of where you begin your journey, you now have the knowledge to take back your power during pollen season.

    For more tips on drug-free allergy solutions, check out:


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