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Beating hayfever with supplements

Some nutritional ideas to beat the seasonal sneezing

Author: Doreen Corbey February 18 2010

child with hayfever blowing her nose in a meadow

Spring/summer is a dreaded time of the year for some people who suffer daily throughout the season from the hayfever symptoms of runny nose, sore throats and itchy eyes. A wishful check on the day’s pollen count can bring either anticipated misery or a measure of relief depending on the level of pollen.

If you are not a hayfever sufferer, you know the season is upon us when the adverts for commercial anti-histamines start to appear on TV. But what if you find yourself ‘living’ on antihistamines every day for 3-4 months a year as I did? For me, the journey into alternative therapies has always been a preference to conventional medicine if I can find as good a cure or better for my symptoms or illness.

The same is true for hayfever. Over the years I have tried some appropriately coloured green tablets from the chemist which were labelled as natural; I have tried the bark from an African tree, local honey, less wheat and dairy consumption and, over the last 5 years, varying combinations of supplements. Each time I had to return to the prescriptive medicine. Until recently.

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Last year, I took a potent multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement, MSM (methyl sulphonyl methane) and vitamin C. This combination worked perfectly and I experienced no hayfever symptoms at all. BUT this same combination had not worked in previous years. The difference this time was I sourced all the vitamins from a quality supplier. The vitamins I had bought previously were from Holland & Barrett, Healthspan or other on-line suppliers.


An alternative to MSM is a herbal supplement called Butterbur. You must exercise caution when taking Butterbur because the plant naturally contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are harmful to the liver. The best supplier is Linpharma. This brand filters out the alkaloids and are the best quality of butterbur available in the UK. Adults can take for up to 6 months but you must take a break after this period before continuing use if necessary. I have also given the same to my children (age 6), with ½ of the adult single dose once a day for up to 4 months.

Other nutritional ideas

Nutritionists also recommend taking the following to combat symptoms:

  • Increase intake of omega 3 foods such as oily fish, flax or pumpkin seeds, increase consumption of colourful vegetables which have powerful anti-oxidants, take ginger, turmeric and garlic, all of which are anti-inflammatories.
  • If you need to supplement, you can try the bromelain (from pineapple) and quercetin (found in apples and red onions). Solgar, Lamberts and Biocare have ranges in MSM, bromelain and quercetin plus various strengths of vitamin C. These are all top quality supplements with which you can’t go wrong.
  • Viridian have their own recommendations for combatting hayfever, which is to take Quercetin B5 complex (which includes bromelain) together with their herbal Bilberry & Eyebright capsule.

Good luck!

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Posted on 23/02/10 18:05 by: Max Wiseberg

All looks like excellent advice.  Just one thing to add: the bromelain in pineapple helps the body to absorb the quercetin in the apples and red onions. That's why the pills are often sold as a complex. If you're eating the fruits, though, it's worth eating them together. Finally, try a decent pollen barrier too. Pollen barriers trap some of the pollen before it gets into the upper respiratory tract where it can trigger the reactions we all hate! They come in the form of a nose balm that you wipe on the bottom of your nose. Natural and non-invasive.
Posted on 17/05/10 23:57 by: Natasha

Hi Doreen, you mention that you bought MSM and vitamin C from a quality supplier which resulted in you having no hayfever symptoms at all - please could you tell me the name? Also, how have you found the Butterbur? Are you taking the MSM and Butterbur together. I'm also considering acupuncture, but the treatment course works out to quite expensive. As I suffer really badly from hayfever any advice you could give me would be much appreciated!
Posted on 17/05/10 23:58 by: Doreen

Hi Natasha, I was taking the Vitamin C and MSM from Higher Nature together with the Butterbur from Linpharma.  I found that taking them in granular form or smashing the tablets to grains worked better for me because they were absorbed quicker in that form.  Other well-respected companies that sell vitamin C and MSM are Bioforce/A Vogel, Solgar, Lamberts, Nutrigold and Biocare Patrick Holford do a combination that includes vitamin C, Quercetin and MSM.  I am now taking a Quercetin/B5 with Bilberry & Eyebright combination from Viridian (see my other article on alternative hayfever remedies) as a test.  Seems to be helping.  I have never taken Butterbur on its own, always in combination with other herbs/supplements but I have given it to my children on its own since they were toddlers and it definitely helped them. All the best, Doreen.

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