Itchy eyes, runny nose, and generally feeling worn down to the bone, while for many people spring brings a burst of bright hope, for those who suffer from seasonal allergies it can be less than fun. With all the trees and flowers in bloom, landscapes can turn beautiful but this is also the time when pollen is on the rise. If you suffer from allergies and don’t want to spend your days sleepy and spaced out from popping hay fever pills, let tea step in and help you out. There are some teas that can help you battle the symptoms and side effects of hay fever. Certain herbal teas come loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, compounds, and bioflavonoids that mirror antihistamine properties. In short, you can get the benefits of an antihistamine the natural way with tea.
For those who want to embrace the simple pleasures of breathing deep and enjoying the benefits of spring, take a look at our picks of the seven best teas for allergies.
What are Allergies?
Allergies come from the body’s natural defense system reacting to a normally harmless substance. This could be anything from pollen to dander, pet hair, and even certain foods. An immune system reaction is triggered and the side effects can range from a runny nose to rash, swelling, and inflammation.
In short, you could say that allergies - especially when it comes to hay fever and environmental irritants - is the body going into overdrive and overreacting as it produces antibodies. Seasonal allergies are also known as hay fever or seasonal rhinitis and can be a reaction to grasses and weeds releasing pollen particles, or natural outdoor molds releasing their spores.
What are Allergens?
As mentioned, allergies can show up when your immune system is triggered into an allergic reaction response to an allergen. An allergen is usually one of these harmless substances that spark the immune system into overdrive. Allergens can be anything from food to environmental substances, pet hair, beauty products, and any kind of ingredient natural or manmade.
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
So how do you know if you suffering from a seasonal allergy? Hay fever shares some symptoms with the common cold, but unlike a cold, you shouldn’t feel any body aches, temperature changes, or progression of the sickness. Here are a few common symptoms of allergies to help you spot when your sneezing could be down to allergy season:
- Itchy or red eyes
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sneezing and sniffling
- Sore throat
Causes of Allergies
From the full bloom of spring to the last leaf of fall, seasonal allergies can occur throughout the year and how you react depends on exactly what your body is struggling with. Here’s a quick breakdown of all the causes and triggers that may just get your allergies going:
Spring: Tree pollen and Grasses
Summer: Ragweed and Grasses
Fall: Ragweed, Sagebrush, and Mold
Winter: Dust, Dander, Pet hair, and Dry air
7 Best Teas for Allergies
Rather than succumb to a state of suffering throughout the year, make tea drinking a conscious habit and it could just help you dispel that over-the-top body reaction. As mentioned, teas have tons of healthy healing properties that can help the body stay balanced and reduce the pesky side effects that can show up as part of seasonal allergies. To find out which teas can take the misery out of sunlight and blossom, keep reading.
The body loves peppermint tea even if the jury is still out on how well it can help when it comes to allergic rhinitis. While the science is sketchy around peppermint and helping the body overcome allergies, it has been proven that pesky side effects from hay fever can be helped by sipping sweet and bright peppermint tea. This is because the minty fresh plant gets to work on reducing inflammation in your nasal passages and helping create free-flowing air and space in your respiratory system. Thanks to peppermint's awesome anti-inflammatory properties, it can also help ease those stuffy feelings around congestion helping you to breathe in clear bliss.
Everyone knows that ginger tea is a glorious choice whenever cold and flu season hits. Yet this spicy warm brew can also help kick hay fever side effects out the door as well. Since hay fever and the common cold share many of the same symptoms, it stands to reason that ginger can certainly lend a helping hand. Studies have shown that ginger can reduce the inflammatory compounds in the body which in turn can lead to allergy relief. This anti-inflammatory effect can also reduce itchy eyes, rashes, swollen nasal passages, and other symptoms that lead to a stuffed-up feeling. For those who want to clear out mucus and soothe a sore throat, ginger tea is just the therapy your body needs.
Stinging Nettle Tea
Stinging nettle tends to show up in the spring months and, despite its bite, if touched with bare hands, it is forever a culinary favorite. Not only is stinging nettle used to make soups and pesto, but it also works as an antihistamine remedy when brewed in tea. This is because the stinging nettle contains histamines along with serotonin and acetylcholine. This magic melody can actively help your body as it blocks histamine receptors, reduces inflammation (farewell stuffy nose), and suppresses certain hormones that can cause seasonal allergies in the body. Make sure you wear gloves when picking this wild plant or buy already prepped nettle tea to avoid the risk of stinging your skin.
While it may sound like something fresh out of a Harry Potter novel, butterbur is actually a natural antihistamine, rhubarb-like plant that grows in marshy areas. Studies have found that this plant extract can get to work on preventing the release of histamines in the body which means that rather than get all riled up, your system won’t go into overdrive to battle pollen and other triggers. The same studies found that this tantalizing tea was as effective as antihistamine medication only without the side effects of feeling drowsy.
Yerba Mate Tea
Yerba tea is a high-altitude tea that packs quite a punch full of caffeine and antioxidants. When you're feeling run down and rubbish from all those hay fever symptoms, yerba can swoop in and save the day, giving you a bright burst of energy along with nudging your body to create corticosteroids too. These corticosteroids are believed to help reduce allergy symptoms and to ease watery eyes and running noses. Yerba also contains saponins which can act as a natural anti-inflammatory helping to reduce congestion and making the day much more pleasant.
Green tea is a glorious all-around healer and is so stuffed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that it is considered to be quite the superfood. One of the best things that can be found in gentle grassy green tea is a compound called EGCG. This compound is a fighter, and it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help clear out blocked nasal passages and reduce congestion in the chest. One of the strongest kinds of green tea for dealing specifically with allergies is the Japanese Benifuki steamed green tea. This version of green tea has a high catechin count which can deliver a strong antihistamine remedy for those looking to flush out their system.
Sweet licorice tea is more commonly known for bringing a healing touch to the belly. It has amazing stomach-soothing properties but it may also help with allergies too. The active ingredient in licorice root that does all the good work is glycyrrhizic acid which has been studied to see whether it has a positive impact on all kinds of allergies. Licorice tea can also help to soothe a sore throat and as it has a slight aniseed-like aroma, this can also provide relief to blocked sinuses too along with other awesome health benefits.
Next time you start to sneeze or when your eyes turn that watery kind of red, reach for the kettle and boil up some water for a friendly allergy remedy. All of these teas we called out for allergies can also be enjoyed chilled, so for those who don’t want to get sweaty with a steamy cup of tea, a beautiful cold brew can also bring instant relief. You can also up the wellness effect by adding a teaspoon of local honey which is believed to help allergy sufferers too. Other teas that are considered to be fighters in the hay fever and allergy space include black tea, turmeric tea, and even rooibos too. When it comes to teas that bring relief, the opportunities are endless.
Even if these teas don’t completely cure you of all your allergies, they can certainly help to keep you comfortable, refreshed, and fully hydrated so that you can enjoy the beauty of spring.
**Medical Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informative purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Those who have any health-related queries should be sure to reach out to a medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.