Alternative Therapies for Allergies
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Sneezing. Itchy, watery eyes. Sore throat. Runny nose. Allergies can cause lots of discomfort. The first sneeze or tingle in the throat may cause us to head to the store for over the counter medicines. But alternative treatments may also ease our symptoms.
Getting to Know Plants
Alternative treatments make most people think of herbs with healing powers. But it can be hard to tell what has been shown to work as well as standard treatment and what is unlikely to help. Several small studies may help shed light on the effect of medicinal plants in treating allergy symptoms. Some remedies that may help ease allergic rhinitis symptoms are:
Pass the Butterbur
Larger studies show that the shrub butterbur is likely to help ease allergic rhinitis symptoms. A few studies have even found it to be as effective as popular over the counter allergy medicines like cetirizine and fexofenadine.
On Pins and Needles
Acupuncture may be another method you can use to treat allergies. It is believed to promote health by inserting thin needles into specific parts of the body. However, the evidence is still very conflicting.
There are options outside of the pharmacy aisle. Talk with your doctor first before taking any herbal remedy. Some herbal therapies may cause problems with medicines you may already be taking or may cause unwanted side effects.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Allergy Asthma Information Association
Calgary Allergy Network
Acupuncture for persistent allergic rhinitis: a randomised, sham-controlled trial. SourceMedical Journal of Australia. 2007;187:337-341.
Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/allergic-rhinitis. Accessed October 22, 2021.
Allergies, respiratory. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed October 22, 2021
Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 10/22/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.
All rights reserved.