close up dandelion in field of yellow flowers

The buds of spring and shoots of new grass are welcome relief after the rough winter…unless you’re an allergy sufferer. Then, your joy in warmth and rebirth is tempered by the runny sticky eyes, congestion, sneezing, and fatigue that come bundled together with those flowers and grasses each spring season.

You’ve probably tried every over-the-counter promise of clear breathing, maybe even a few prescription guarantees for your symptoms…but have you tried the produce aisle and farmer’s market? That may be where the answer lies.

Give some of these suggestions for natural allergy relief a try—you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Search for the C

Citrus Fruits give you a giant dose of symptom-battling vitamin C—add them to your daily intake to cut mucous production and create a more alkaline environment in your body—both aid in fending off secondary sinus infections, too.

Deep Green Relief

Cruciferous, dark green veggies are great for us for so many reasons, and allergy busting is yet another. Kale, broccoli, and collard greens (as well as beet greens and other vegetable “tops”) help relieve sinus symptoms and also boast carotenoids that experts say bring blessed relief.


Parsley is another green ally in your allergy battle—it helps inhibit histamine production so your sinuses will be happy (and your breath fresh!)

Oil of Oregano

This strong-tasting stuff soothes throat and congestion symptoms almost immediately, calming your system when it goes into hyper-drive trying to fight off its imagined allergen enemies.

Spice of Life

Onions and Garlic deliver a dose of quercetin, which acts as an antihistamine. Liberally flavor meals and heat up smoothies and sauces with these flavorful aromatics. Substitute stereotypical jokes about garlic breath with a happy embrace of garlic BREATHE!


Quercetin again—it’s part of that whole apple-a-day wisdom that keeps the allergist away. Plus, in another form, Apple Cider Vinegar, among so many other amazing uses, can reduce mucous production so it, too, brings welcome relief.


This shrub is gaining lots of attention as an alternative to medicinal allergy remedies. The leaves have passed testing that shows them rapidly relieving runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and congestion (tests were of tablets of butterbur extract) with no drowsy side effects.

Ocean Spray

Not the juice—actual salt water. Neti pots and other saline nasal irrigation techniques are a great way to clear sinuses. There is a valid reason why this practice has become overwhelmingly popular—it not only clears congestion, it also washes away actual pollen particles and allergens that lodge in our sinuses. Once or twice per day is a regimen that takes some getting used to, but one you’ll embrace in no time at all.

Stinging Nettle

This remedy works the opposite of some others—nettle actually contains histamine rather than elements that block it, so it helps you build a tolerance to the inflammation of seasonal allergic reactions. Look for organic, freeze-dried capsules.

Local Honey

Similar to the small dose of nettle that helps you build a tolerance to allergens, honey derived from local sources (where the bees are busy pollinating the same plants that are found in your vicinity) helps your body practice fighting off allergic invaders in small, manageable battles, making your system grow accustomed to what, in larger does, would make you sneeze and wheeze.


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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation ( and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project ( Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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