Embracing Antihistamine Alternatives: Natural Approaches to Seasonal Allergy Relief

Seasonal allergies affect many people, with about one in every four adults and one in every five kids dealing with them [1]. Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, occur when our bodies react strongly to things like pollen, dust, or pet dander, especially during certain times of the year when these allergens are more common. During peak allergy season, many people find their lives revolving around managing their symptoms.

In the spring, tree and grass pollens are the main culprits, while weed pollens become more common in the summer. Common symptoms include congestion, a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, fatigue, and headaches.

Seasonal allergies can sometimes lead to more severe issues, like sinus infections (acute sinusitis). A viral or bacterial infection can develop when this happens, causing symptoms to worsen significantly. These symptoms include yellow or green nasal discharge, more severe sinus blockage and pressure, and increased fatigue.

Most people use over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as antihistamines, to relieve their symptoms. But they don’t always work well for everyone and can sometimes cause unwanted side effects. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the bacterial infection, and antihistamines are still recommended to address the underlying allergy.

What is an Antihistamine?

An antihistamine is a medication used to treat allergic reactions and relieve symptoms caused by histamine, a chemical released by the body in response to an allergic reaction. Antihistamines work by blocking the action of histamine on its receptors in the body, thereby reducing the symptoms of an allergic reaction [2].

Here’s how they work:

  1. When the body detects an allergen, such as pollen, dust, or pet dander, it releases histamine from mast cells and basophils, which are types of white blood cells [2].
  2. Histamine then binds to receptors on the surface of cells, including H1 receptors in the brain, heart, and smooth muscle, and H2 receptors in the stomach and small intestine [2].
  3. The binding of histamine to its receptors triggers a range of symptoms, including congestion and a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and coughing, and skin rashes and hives.
  4. When an antihistamine is taken, it binds to the same receptor as histamine, but it blocks the action of histamine, preventing it from triggering symptoms.


Therefore, by blocking the action of histamine, antihistamines relieve symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Types of Antihistamines

There are two main types of antihistamines: first-generation antihistamines and second-generation antihistamines.

First-generation antihistamines easily cross the blood-brain barrier and can cause drowsiness because they exert effects on the central nervous system and are designed to target H1 histamine receptors. These include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), cyproheptadine, and hydroxyzine [3].

Second-generation antihistamines, however, are less likely to cross the blood-brain barrier and cause unwanted effects because they are better designed to target histamine receptors without crossing the blood-brain barrier. Second-generation antihistamines are intended to target H2 histamine receptors. These include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and levocetirizine (Xyzal) [3].

Issues with Antihistamines

Tolerance is one of the many issues with first-generation antihistamines. When used for more than 4-5 consecutive days, a person can develop a tolerance, decreasing the effectiveness of the drug [4].

Also, research has shown that “regular long-term antihistamine use among those reporting a history of asthma or allergies was significantly associated with a 3.5-fold increase in the risk for glioma . . . the most common primary brain tumor in adults” [5].

Certain antihistamines can have dangerous effects when taken in high doses, especially first-generation antihistamines, because of their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and affect the central nervous system and involuntary soft muscle functions, such as the heartbeat.

For example, in 2020, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning regarding diphenhydramine (Benadryl), stating that taking higher than recommended doses of the drug can lead to serious heart problems, seizures, coma, or even death [6].

Natural Compounds with Antihistamine Effects

Several natural compounds induce effects upon the body, similar to antihistamines that have been researched for seasonal allergies.


According to a 2021 publication, probiotics are a promising area of research [7]. The publication highlighted that probiotics are “good” bacteria, like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, known to benefit our health [7].

Studies have shown that these probiotics can help with common allergies such as hay fever, asthma, and eczema. In many cases, they help by calming the body’s overreaction to allergens and reducing inflammation. While the researchers noted that for children, some studies show mixed results, with certain probiotics not consistently showing clear benefits, in studies where probiotics did help, the children experienced less severe allergy symptoms, making their daily lives easier [7].

The researchers also noted that the effectiveness of probiotics can vary from person to person, attributing this effect to the specific strain of probiotics used and the unique balance of bacteria in each person’s gut [7].

This research highlights that probiotics can be a valuable natural option for managing allergies. While results can differ, many people find relief from allergy symptoms with the right probiotic strains, making it a worthwhile option for kids and adults [7].

In a 2021 study, researchers explored whether a probiotic mix could help prevent symptoms of allergic rhinitis in children. Researchers gave 250 children either a probiotic/antihistamine mix or a placebo for three months before allergy season. The children who took the probiotics had fewer allergy symptoms and needed less medication than those who took the placebo [7].

The probiotics used were Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis BB12 and Enterococcus faecium L3. The study suggests that taking these probiotics before allergy season can help reduce allergy symptoms and the need for allergy medications in children [8].

Finally, in a 2026 meta-analysis, researchers thoroughly reviewed all high-quality clinical trials (randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled) following specific guidelines [9]. They selected 22 studies, 17 showing that probiotics were beneficial, with eight showing improved immune responses. They noted that despite some variability, specific analyses showed consistent and significant improvements, especially for seasonal allergies [9].

Overall, although there is variability from person to person, probiotics have been shown to have a positive effect on seasonal allergies.

Healthmasters carries three probiotic supplements: Probiotic DF, Probiotic 100 Billion, and Probiotic 350 Billion.


Bromelain is an enzyme commonly associated with pineapples and has research-supported benefits regarding its beneficial effects on allergies [13].

In a 2005 German study, researchers studied the safety and effectiveness of bromelain for treating sinus infections in children under 11 years old. They looked at 116 children from 19 centers in Germany. The children were divided into three groups: one group got only Bromelain-POS (62 children), another group got Bromelain-POS with standard treatments (34 children), and the last group got only standard treatments (20 children) [13].

The main focus was on how long the symptoms lasted. The group that got only Bromelain-POS had the shortest average symptom duration (6.66 days), followed by the standard treatment group (7.95 days) and the combination group (9.06 days). The children treated with only Bromelain-POS recovered significantly faster compared to the other groups [13].

There was one case of a mild allergic reaction in a 10-year-old boy already known to be allergic to pineapples, but no other side effects were reported. The study shows that Bromelain-POS is commonly used in Germany to treat sinus infections in young children and can benefit them [13].

One publication recommended a therapeutic dose for allergic rhinitis of 400-500 mg three times daily [15] [16].


Quercetin is a flavonoid, a type of plant pigment, that has been found to possess potent antioxidant and anti-allergy properties.

In a 2016 study, researchers investigated the effects of quercetin on seasonal allergies [10]. They noted that quercetin boosts the immune system, fights viruses, reduces inflammation, and prevents histamine release. Quercetin is often included in anti-allergy medications and supplements because it effectively reduces inflammation and allergic responses, sometimes even more so than certain standard allergy drugs [10].

For best results, people should start taking quercetin at the first sign of allergy exposure, with an initial high dose followed by a maintenance dose throughout the allergy season.

One researcher suggested that people should take quercetin upon the first signs of allergen exposure [11]. The initial recommended dose should be 400-600 mg, thrice daily, for the first 5-7 days [11]. After this period, 200-400 mg per day should be sufficient throughout the allergy season [11].

Quercetin is well-tolerated and offers additional benefits like antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, making it a solid choice for natural allergy treatment.

Indeed, in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group study, just 200 mg of quercetin daily improved individuals’ allergic symptoms [12].

Finally, research also shows that combining quercetin and bromelain has a synergistic effect on one another and can be taken together. [11] [16]

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another research-based supplement that can be used for allergies.

Vitamin C has several effects on histamine by helping prevent white blood cells from releasing histamine and speeds up its breakdown [15]. When vitamin C levels in the blood drop, histamine levels rise significantly [17].

In a study on the effectiveness of using vitamin C in the nose, 48 participants received either a vitamin C solution or a placebo, sprayed three times daily [18]. After two weeks, 74% of those using the vitamin C solution had less nasal discharge, congestion, and swelling. Only 24% of the placebo group saw improvement. People with allergic rhinitis had nasal secretions that were more alkaline (higher pH), typically above 7.0, while normal nasal pH ranges from 5.5 to 7.0. After using vitamin C, the nasal pH returned to normal, and those with a pH closer to 8.0 responded better to the treatment [18].

Vitamin C is well-tolerated and has few side effects, with diarrhea and stomach bloating being the most common. For treating allergic rhinitis, a daily dose of at least 2 grams of vitamin C is recommended [19].

Healthmasters’ Quercetin Plus contains solely Quercetin and Vitamin C, with one scoop providing 500 mgs of each nutrient.

Vitamin D

Like Vitamin C, Vitamin D is another vitamin with research-backed benefits for seasonal allergies. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to increased allergic diseases, possibly because people spend more time indoors and get less sunlight [20].

One study examined whether vitamin D supplements can help treat seasonal allergies [20]. The study involved 21 AR (allergic rhinitis) patients aged 15-50 over a year. Their nasal symptoms and vitamin D levels were measured before and after treatment. They were given standard AR treatments plus vitamin D supplements (1000 IU). Another 21 patients received only the standard treatments without vitamin D. The patients’ nasal symptoms and vitamin D levels were compared before and after treatment [20].

Before treatment, the average vitamin D level was low (18.03 ng/ml) [20]. After vitamin D supplementation, the average level increased to 28.92 ng/ml. Patients receiving vitamin D showed significantly improved nasal symptoms compared to those without [20].

The researchers explained that AR involves inflammation in the nasal lining due to allergens like dust mites and pollen [20]. This inflammation is partly due to immune cells that respond to allergens. Vitamin D affects these immune cells, helping reduce inflammation and allergic responses [20].

The study showed that AR patients generally have low vitamin D levels [20] [22]. Supplementing with vitamin D improved their symptoms significantly. They concluded that vitamin D plays a role in managing AR and improving patients’ quality of life [20].

Additional studies support that vitamin D supplementation can improve allergic rhinitis symptoms and reduce inflammation [21] [22] [23].

Healthmasters provides three Vitamin D supplements: Ultimate D3-10,000 with K2, Ultimate D3-5000, and Vitamin D3 Liquid.

Black Seed Oil

Black Seed Oil (Nigella sativa) (N. sativa) is one of the most renowned natural substances with numerous health benefits because it possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antihistaminic, immune-modulator, antimicrobial, and analgesic effects [24] [27].

A 2018 paper highlighted the potential efficacy of black seed in managing sinusitis and its anti-histaminic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects of the oil, attributing much of the oil’s anti-inflammatory effects to one of the oil’s compounds: thymoquinone [24].

Another study involved 66 patients with allergic rhinitis, divided into two groups: one receiving Nigella sativa oil and the other receiving a placebo [25]. Researchers evaluated the patients’ symptoms over 30 days, noting any changes in congestion, runny nose, itching, and sneezing. They also measured specific markers of inflammation in the patient’s nasal passages [25].

The results showed that Nigella sativa oil helped reduce symptoms like congestion, itching, runny nose, and sneezing within the first two weeks of treatment. It also improved other signs of inflammation in the nasal passages [25].

The researchers noted that the results suggest that Nigella sativa could be a helpful treatment for allergic rhinitis, especially for people who can’t use other allergy medications [25].

Further, in a 2016 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, researchers investigated the efficacy of black seed oil nasal spray in patients with chronic sinus infections [26].

The researchers enrolled 65 patients with mild to moderate chronic sinus infections in a randomized clinical trial. They divided the patients into two groups: one receiving N. sativa nasal spray and the other receiving a placebo spray. The patients used the sprays twice a day for eight weeks [26].

After eight weeks of treatment, both groups improved their symptoms, as measured by scores on different tests. However, the group using N. sativa spray had significantly lower scores than the placebo group, indicating better symptom relief.

Using N. sativa nasal spray effectively relieves symptoms of chronic sinus infections without causing any adverse side effects. This suggests that N. sativa could be a helpful treatment option for people with this condition [36].

Healthmasters offers a N. sativa product with their Black Seed Oil.


Curcumin, also known as turmeric, has many researched-backed benefits, including its effects on respiratory and allergic disorders.

In a 2021 review, researchers delved into the extensive experimental and clinical evidence supporting using turmeric and curcumin in managing respiratory, allergic, and immunologic disorders [28].

In experimental animal models, turmeric extracts and curcumin exhibited preventive effects against various respiratory diseases through their antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory properties. Clinical studies further supported these findings, demonstrating the prophylactic effects of turmeric and curcumin on certain lung disorders [28].

Notably, the therapeutic effects of Curcuma longa on pulmonary diseases were primarily attributed to its active compound, curcumin. This suggests that curcumin is crucial in mediating the pharmacological effects observed in respiratory, allergic, and immunologic disorders [28].

They concluded that the accumulating evidence underscores the therapeutic potential of Curcuma longa and curcumin in managing respiratory, allergic, and immunologic disorders. Incorporating turmeric into one’s diet or considering curcumin supplements may offer a natural and practical approach to alleviate symptoms and improve overall respiratory health [28].

Additional research has come to the same conclusion [29].

In a 2016 rigorous randomized, double-blind study involving 241 allergic rhinitis (AR) patients, oral curcumin’s efficacy was tested over two months [30]. Results revealed promising outcomes: curcumin alleviated nasal symptoms such as sneezing and rhinorrhea and improved nasal congestion by reducing airflow resistance [30].

Digging deeper, researchers uncovered the molecular mechanisms behind curcumin’s therapeutic effects [30]. It exhibited diverse immunomodulatory actions, including the suppression of inflammatory markers like IL-4, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor α, while boosting the production of IL-10 and soluble intercellular adhesion molecules. However, curcumin didn’t influence the release of certain inflammatory compounds like prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene C4 from immune cells [30].

This pioneering study sheds light on curcumin’s potential to enhance nasal airflow and modulate immune responses in AR patients [30].

Healthmasters offers two turmeric products: Black Seed Oil with Turmeric and Turmeric Force.


Managing seasonal allergies, particularly allergic rhinitis, presents a significant challenge for millions worldwide. While conventional treatments like antihistamines are widely used, they often come with unwanted side effects and limitations.

Fortunately, natural compounds offer promising alternatives with fewer adverse effects. Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, have shown beneficial effects in alleviating allergy symptoms by modulating the immune response. Furthermore, compounds like bromelain, quercetin, vitamin C, vitamin D, black seed oil, and curcumin have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic properties, relieving allergy sufferers without the drawbacks associated with traditional medications.

Research has consistently highlighted the efficacy of these natural compounds in managing allergic rhinitis symptoms and improving overall respiratory health. From reducing nasal congestion to modulating immune responses, these compounds offer a holistic approach to allergy management.

As more individuals seek natural and safer alternatives for allergy relief, incorporating these compounds into their daily routine may offer a viable solution. With various natural supplements available, such as those provided by Healthmasters, individuals can explore personalized, research-backed approaches to effectively managing their seasonal allergies.



[1] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/nchs_press_releases/2022/20220126.htm

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538188/

[3] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/21223-antihistamines


[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6436627/

[6] https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-warns-about-serious-problems-high-doses-allergy-medicine-diphenhydramine-benadryl

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8064452/

[8] https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/4/1315

[9] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2500/ajra.2016.30.4354

[10] https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/5/623

[11] https://www.opintegrativecenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Allergies_-The-Natural-Approach.pdf

[12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35776034/

[13] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1016/j.otohns.2006.06.1254

[14] https://altmedrev.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/v1-4-243.pdf

[15] https://www.anaturalhealingcenter.com/documents/Thorne/articles/AllergicRhinitis.pdf

[16] https://altmedrev.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/v1-4-243.pdf

[17] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022316623279869

[18] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2065622/

[19] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2221490/

[20] https://journals.lww.com/IJAA/fulltext/2014/28010/Role_of_vitamin_D_supplementation_in_allergic.7.aspx

[21] https://iji.sums.ac.ir/article_47229.html

[22] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6108797/

[23] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00405-019-05546-x

[24] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213422017302214

[25] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0196070910001407

[26] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2152656718800059

[27] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6526035/

[28] https://iubmb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/biof.1818

[29] https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/ctmc/2009/00000009/00000017/art00003

[30] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1081120616310547

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Healthmasters' products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.