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As everyone starts mowing their lawn and the trees break out with blossom, the hay fever sufferer finds their eyes starting to become red and swollen, their throat tickling and most often their nose streaming. As these symptoms hit, we are tempted to reach for the anti-histamines to try and suppress the symptoms – but these bring their own issues. Some cause drowsiness, others you should not drink alcohol with. This can mean missing out on one of the other great joys of summer – a glass of something alcoholic in the sun with friends! It can also, more seriously, mean that those going through exams at this time of year must choose between feeling drowsy or suffering with hay fever symptoms, whilst trying to perform academically.

However, all is not lost – there are some great natural ways to help to reduce hayfever symptoms, with none of these drawbacks.


I know I have mentioned that a drink in the sun can be one of the joys of summer, however, certain drinks will make hay fever symptoms much worse. These include red wine, beer and lager. This is because these drinks all increase histamine, so aggravate hay fever. Therefore, when hitting the beer garden, it would be better to choose white wine, gin or vodka.

Other foods which increase histamine include coffee and cheese, so avoiding these as far as possible would also be helpful.

I once had a client, a gardener, with dreadful hay fever, who ate cheese sandwiches every day and went for a pint most evenings – simply changing these habits put a stop to the hay fever which was ruining his career!


There are several natural remedies which can be very helpful for hay fever as well. They can be taken one at a time or may be found in complexes which combine some or all of them together.

The key ingredients to look out for include:

• Quercetin – found in many foods, including onion, quercetin has been identified as a natural antihistamine – helping to reduce inflammation, snotty noses and irritated eyes.

• MSM – a number of clinical trials have noted that MSM is particularly useful for the itching eyes and irritated throat.

• Pine Bark Extract – pine bark has been shown to be an effective natural anti-inflammatory agent, and trials have indicated that using it daily throughout hay fever season can significantly reduce the need to use anti-histamines.

• Vitamin C – vitamin C helps to support the immune system, and can have a natural anti-histamine action, reducing the amount of histamine produced.

• Vitamin B5 – vitamin B5 helps to reduce fatigue and promotes mental clarity – a vital one for those going through exam season. It additionally seems to work well when taken on combination with vitamin C, to help reduce the symptoms of hay fever.

Written by Jenny Logan DN Med.(Jenny is a nutritional therapist who has worked with clients in health food stores and private clinics for over 20 years.)

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