Respiratory allergies are irritation and swelling in the nose. It is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to allergens like pollen, dust mites, or mold. It can cause a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and coughing.
Allergens cannot always be avoided. Symptoms may be managed with medicines, such as antihistamines and steroids. Some people turn to natural therapies to further ease symptoms.
May Be Effective
Therapies that may help manage symptoms are:
May Not Be Effective
These therapies may not be effective:
Unlikely to Be Effective
These therapies are unlikely to have benefit:
Not Enough Data to Assess
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.
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A3. Lee DK, Gray RD, et al. A placebo-controlled evaluation of butterbur and fexofenadine on objective and subjective outcomes in perennial allergic rhinitis. Clin Exp Allergy. 2004;34:646-649.
A4. Schapowal A. Butterbur Ze339 for the treatment of intermittent allergic rhinitis: dose-dependent efficacy in a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004;130:1381-1386.
A5. Gray RD, Haggart K, et al. Effects of butterbur treatment in intermittent allergic rhinitis: a placebo-controlled evaluation. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2004;93:56-60.
A6. Schapowal A, Study Group. Treating intermittent allergic rhinitis: a prospective, randomized, placebo and antihistamine-controlled study of Butterbur extract Ze 339. Phytother Res. 2005 Aug 22. [Epub ahead of print]
B1. Matkovic Z, Zivkovic V, et al. Efficacy and safety of Astragalus membranaceus in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):175.
Ayurvedic Herbal Formula
C1. Rao CS, Raju C, et al. Immunotherapeutic modification by an ayurvedic formulation Septilin. Indian J Exp Biol. 1994;32:553-558.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid
D1. Turpeinen AM, Ylonen N, et al. Immunological and metabolic effects of cis-9, trans-11-conjugated linoleic acid in subjects with birch pollen allergy. Br J Nutr. 2008 Jan 2. [Epub ahead of print]
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F1. Tamura M, Shikina T, et al. Effects of probiotics on allergic rhinitis induced by Japanese cedar pollen: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2006 Dec 29. [Epub ahead of print]
F2. Ishida Y, Nakamura F, et al. Clinical effects of Lactobacillus acidophilus Strain L-92 on perennial allergic rhinitis: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Dairy Sci. 2005;88:527-533.
F3. Giovannini M, Agostoni C, et al. A randomized prospective double blind controlled trial on effects of long-term consumption of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei in pre-school children with allergic asthma and/or rhinitis. Pediatr Res. 2007 Jun 25. [Epub ahead of print]
G1. Takano H, Osakabe N, et al. Extract of Perilla frutescens enriched for rosmarinic acid, a polyphenolic phytochemical, inhibits seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in humans. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2004;229:247-54.
H1. Kobayashi M, Matsushita H, Shioya I, et al. Quality of life improvement with soy sauce ingredients, Shoyu polysaccharides, in perennial allergic rhinitis: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study. Int J Mol Med. 2004;14:885-889.
H2. Kobayashi M, Matsushita H, Tsukiyama R, et al. Shoyu polysaccharides from soy sauce improve quality of life for patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study. Int J Mol Med. 2005;15:463-467.
I1. Yang HN, Lee EH, et al. Spirulina platensis inhibits anaphylactic reaction. Life Sci. 1997;61:1237-1244.
I2. Cingi C, Conk-Dalay M, et al. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Mar 15.
J1. Mittman P. Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Med. 1990;56:44-47.
K1. Badar VA, Thawani VR, et al. Efficacy of Tinospora cordifolia in allergic rhinitis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;96:445-449.
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine
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L3. Brinkhaus B, Hummelsberger J, et al. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized-controlled clinical trial. Allergy. 2004;59:953-690.
M1. Rajan TV, Tennen H, et al. Effect of ingestion of honey on symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002;88:198-203.
N1. Yoshimura M, Enomoto T, et al. An evaluation of the clinical efficacy of tomato extract for perennial allergic rhinitis. Allergol Int. 2007 Jun 1. [Epub ahead of print]
O1. Shahar E, Hassoun G, et al. Effect of vitamin E supplementation on the regular treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2004;92:654-658.
O2. Montano Velazquez BB, et al. Vitamin E effects on nasal symptoms and serum specific IgE levels in patients with perennial allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006;96:45-50.
P1. Bernstein CK, Deng C, et al. Double blind placebo controlled (DBPC) study of grapeseed extract in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) [abstract]. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001;107:1018.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Oils
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R1. Brinkhaus B, Hummelsberger J, et al. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized-controlled clinical trial. Allergy. 2004;59:953-690.
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R3. Ng DK, Chow PY, Ming SP, et al. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of acupuncture for the treatment of childhood persistent allergic rhinitis. Pediatrics. 2004;114:1242-1247.
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Enzyme Potentiated Desensitisation
S1. Radcliffe MJ, Lewith GT, et al. Enzyme potentiated desensitisation in treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis: double blind randomised controlled study. BMJ. 2003;327:251-254.
T1. Amellal M, Bronner C, et al. Inhibition of mast cell histamine release by flavonoids and biflavonoids. Planta Med. 1985;51:16-20.
T2. Gabor M. Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties of flavonoids. Prog Clin Biol Res. 1986;213:471-480.
T3. Middleton E Jr. Effect of flavonoids on basophil histamine release and other secretory systems. Prog Clin Biol Res. 1986;213:493-506.
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T7. Yoshimoto T, Furukawa M, et al. Flavonoids: potent inhibitors of arachidonate 5-lipoxygenase. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1983;116:612-618.
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U1. Croft AM, Bager P, et al. Helminth therapy (worms) for allergic rhinitis . Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;4:CD009238.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Richard Glickman-Simon, MD
Last Updated: 11/12/2020
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