The beauty of new plants stirring into life signals the arrival of spring, but it also brings hay fever season. And while for many this is a time to enjoy the colour and scents blooming all around, for others the pollen that accompanies this blossoming marks weeks and sometimes months of watering eyes and swollen eyelids; stuffy, runny noses, and sneezing.

Hay fever can also make you cough, which is a lesser-known symptom of hay fever, but a surprisingly common one. Some people might also experience severe hay fever symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath. For those with a pollen allergy, the summer months can therefore be a double-edged sword.

The good news is that although hay fever symptoms are triggered by an allergic reaction to pollen being in the air, there are some simple measures that you can take to get natural hay fever relief. So, we’ll go through some ideas that can help you treat hay fever naturally with vitamins, minerals and plants that can be used in everything from recipes and dietary supplements, to skincare and teas.

In this guide, we’ll be covering:

  • Quercetin
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Chamomile
  • Elderflower
  • Nettles

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is the resulting symptoms that happen when our bodies have an allergic reaction to pollen. The classic symptoms of hay fever are also called seasonal rhinitis, and are triggered when pollen causes our bodies to make antibodies, mistakenly thinking that the pollen is dangerous. Pollen is a fine powder that is released by plants to fertilise plants of the other species, but it can also be irritating to people allergic to pollen. The chemicals released by the body when this happens are called histamines, and they can really get in the way of enjoying the summer months.

Hay fever can vary a lot from person to person in terms of intensity, but typically the allergic reaction happens when pollen comes into contact with a person’s mouth or nose. It also tends to be worse between late March and September when the weather is warm, windy and humid and the pollen count is at its highest. If you want to get a heads up prior to heading out, you can check the MET Office pollen forecast for the day to know what to expect.

These hay fever symptoms can be caused by grass pollen, tree pollen, and weed pollen. Depending which one(s) you are allergic to, you might find that certain situations or months make your symptoms flare up.

Can you cure hay fever?

If you’re wondering how to cure hay fever permanently, unfortunately the short answer is that there is no cure currently. However, there are lots of things that you can do to minimise the allergic reaction that occurs in your body when it comes into contact with pollen. Many people also find that after years of living in a new area, they become more used to the types of pollen that are prevalent locally, and therefore have more manageable hay fever symptoms as time passes.

How to treat hay fever naturally

While you might not be able to actually cure your hay fever, there are plenty of changes you can make to your diet or supplement intake that will make your hay fever more manageable. Optimising your diet means that your immune system will be more supported and less sensitive to environmental factors like pollen; for more on maximising your immunity, check out our blog on this subject. wash your clothes thoroughly after walking in nature, and avoiding plants you know will trigger you, such as specific trees or freshly cut grass.

Here are some dietary nutrients that can be helpful towards curbing symptoms. You might also want to check out our delicious and easy to follow recipes to see how to get started at including these nutrients in your meals. In addition, you can try some options from homeopathy, such as our hay fever relief kit, to improve your symptoms.


An antioxidant flavonoid found in many plants, quercetin is naturally found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables, from apples and berries to broccoli and onions. As quercetin can have antihistamine properties, it can help to minimise hay fever symptoms. You can also take supplements containing quercetin if you find that this works for you.

Some ideas for quercetin-containing foods are:

  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Buckwheat
  • Black tea
  • Red onions
  • Peppers
  • Grapes
  • Green tea

Vitamin C

You’ve probably heard about the antioxidant properties of vitamin C, which is found in dark green leafy vegetables, fruit and peppers. It’s also a useful ingredient in skincare, which you can learn more about in our blog post on vitamin C serums. As well as having plenty of other health benefits, higher intakes of vitamin C have been linked to decreased symptoms of allergic rhinitis — or hay fever. A study of over 4,500 people living in Seoul in South Korea, scientists discovered that people who had good intakes of vitamin C were at a lower risk of having hay fever symptoms compared to those with lower intakes.

A lack of vitamin C can also result in lowered immunity and therefore a higher susceptibility to infections, which is the last thing we need when our bodies are already dealing with adverse reactions to pollen. You can increase the amount of vitamin C in your diet by eating more citrus fruit, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and cabbage. A great way to incorporate vitamin C is to simply pair a glass of orange juice with your meal.

Vitamin A

While vitamin C can be a helpful part of how to treat hay fever without antihistamines, we shouldn’t forget vitamin A either. Vitamin C acts by keeping our ‘internal army’ of immune cells, including antibodies and white blood cells, in good shape, and this combines with our physical barriers to such invaders. These ‘external’ barriers include the linings in our noses, mouths, throats and airways. Vitamin A is a crucial nutrient to keep these linings healthy, which in turn helps with preventing unwelcome visitors such as pollen, from finding their way into our systems.

This nutrient, found pre-formed in foods like oily fish, eggs and full fat milk, can also be made in our bodies from beta carotene, the vibrant orange pigment found in orange-coloured foods like carrots and mangoes to spinach and broccoli where its’ bright orange colour is camouflaged by the more dominant green chlorophyll.

Vitamin D

Another nutrient that is linked to whether we have a healthy immune system is vitamin D, and this means that it can be a useful part of how to treat hay fever at home. Scientists have found that lower levels of vitamin D have been linked to higher prevalence of symptoms like runny or blocked noses, sneezing and itching triggered by allergies.

Researchers have therefore concluded that when assessing people with hay fever, it is well worth doctors checking for signs of vitamin D deficiency and recommending supplements if discovered. Furthermore, the NHS recommends that everyone in the UK above six months of age supplements their diets with 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily from September through to April, because of the lack of sunshine in our country at that time of year.

As well as supplements being an option, you can add vitamin D to your diet. Foods such as oily fish, egg yolks, liver, red meat, and fortified foods such as some breakfast cereals and some fat spreads. Having varied sources for vitamin D in your diet is excellent for supporting your immune system, and can therefore contribute to reducing the impact of your pollen allergy.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

It has been known for decades how the wonderful essential fatty acids found in oils of fish and plankton dampen down inflammation in our bodies. This helps to explain why in a large German study, researchers identified those with the richest intakes of the omega 3 fat ‘eicosapentanoic acid’ (or EPA for short), had lower risk of hay fever compared to those with high intakes of ‘oleic acid’ found in vegetable fats and oils.

A portion of oily fish a week or regular supplements can help us to top up our omega 3 intake for the week. Sardines, salmon, mackerel and trout all make great additions to your diet and can be included in lots of dishes too.


Used for thousands of years in traditional medicines around the world, healers over the centuries have intuitively known that tinctures and teas made from this simple plant has calming and healing properties. Now contemporary scientists are beginning to work out why, as they discover hundreds of active components present in this extraordinary herb.

Among other capabilities, some stimulate components of our immune systems whilst others dampen down inflammation. Combined, these attributes may prove helpful in themselves if we fall prey to classic symptoms of hay-fever, but it has another potential benefit too; chamomile’s natural and mildly sedative properties, could help ease us into a much needed, restful, and restorative night of sleep to help our bodies better face the next day ahead.

You can also use your chamomile tea as an eye compress by soaking a flannel in it. This will help to calm the irritation of itchy eyes that hay fever can cause, and help to reduce redness. Chamomile is also used in lots of skincare and can be a great ingredient in a calming moisturiser or eye cream to help soothe the skin after you’ve been rubbing your eyes due to allergies.


From late May it is not unusual to see masses of tiny white elderflowers hanging in sprays from elder trees and shrubs, which grow abundantly throughout the UK. Rich in ‘phenolic’ compounds that are highly antioxidant in nature, research shows elderflower extracts promising in preventing allergic reactions.

Thought to work in part by dampening the onset of allergic inflammation, elderflower extracts are helpful additions to hay fever remedies. To benefit from the properties of elderflowers, you can drink elderflower teas, cold infusions and cordials — and as a bonus, they taste great too! You can also use elderflower teas as cold compresses to ease irritation, or look for the anti-inflammatory properties of this flower in your moisturising skincare, to help ease dry or cracked skin brought on by rubbing your nose between sneezes. This makes elderflower a great natural treatment for hay fever, as it can be used to help calm the body down in a variety of ways.


Can stinging nettles cure hay fever? Well this plant can be surprisingly helpful for as a way to prevent hay fever without antihistamines. Synonymous with the English countryside, is also commonly found across Europe, Asia and North Africa as well as Western North America. Known for the stinging hairs on their leaves, which can cause painful itchiness when touched, medical herbalists have looked beyond these downsides of this herbaceous plant and embraced instead nettle extracts for their healing properties. Welcome news to those hay fever, these include relief of allergic reactions including sneezing, sore eyes, itchiness and a blocked or runny nose.

This herb is a surprisingly common anti-inflammatory ingredient in skincare, and can be used in everything from moisturiser to protective salves. These natural ways to cure hay fever can be great used in tandem with one another, so you can both minimise your symptoms, and manage the ones you still get. Alternatively, you can try using this plant as a tea or taking it as a supplement in the form of specially made capsules.

While hay fever can be a frustrating addition to the summer months, these tips can help you to reduce your symptoms and enjoy the warm weather more. As well as the specific supplements named here, you can try The Organic Pharmacy’s Immune Boosting Duo, which is specifically designed to support healthy immune system function. We also offer a Complete Guide to Natural Health and Beauty which can show you how to use many natural remedies.

Alternatively, you can check out our health products to browse the full range of supplements we have available, and read our blog for more insight and information.