Stop sneezing! Try this for seasonal allergies

Take Nettles to combat those allergies

If you suffer from seasonal allergies and not finding relief from standard therapies. Give our office a call today at (425) 686-4498 to set-up your initial consultation to learn more about how we can help.

Breathe with Ease at Starting Point Acupuncture

Relief for Seasonal Allergies?!

This year seasonal allergies hit hard, especially in the PNW. Sneezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, headaches…on and on! To make it worse, most OTC (over the counter) allergy medications are not working and sometimes produce un-wanted side effects like headache, dry mouth, and drowsiness.

What happens when you are exposed to allergens?

Histamine is a naturally occurring chemical neurotransmitter that is produced when we are exposed to allergens or irritants. Histamine is naturally produced in small amounts circulating in our system at all times.  But when we are exposed to those substances that are irritants or allergens our body produces a large quantity of histamine in response to exposure to that irritant.The ultimate function of histamine is actually for our own protection against toxins, irritants, and bacteria.

The histamine reaction functions to produce vasodilation and relax the blood vessels so more fluid secretion can get to the site of infection/irritant exposure to help remove the irritant. Histamine response is a good part of the inflammatory response because it allows our immune system to more easily get to the site of the infection or exposure and rids the body of the allergens/infection faster. However, in the this natural process histamine release in response to allergens produces symptoms such as swelling, itchiness, redness, cough, and increase in mucus production.

Most allergy medications are considered “anti-histamines.” As they work to alleviate some of the histamine response that is causing some of the symptoms from exposure to allergens.

Nettles for Seasonal Allergies

What can help with seasonal allergies?

If you are not finding relief from your usual treatments for seasonal allergies, it is time to give nettles a try.

Nettle (Urtica dioica) is a perennial flowering plant that has been used for centuries for help with allergies, arthritis, prostate, and urinary issues. The root of the plant has diuretic properties and may provide relief from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and other prostate problems. While the leaf, has allergy-fighting properties.

Nettle is also known as stinging nettle because of the small “toothed hairs” on the leaves also thought to cause “stings” when you become in contact with them. The hairs contain histamine and formic acid which causes skin irritation and produce the “sting” sensation (Roschek, 2009). Studies have shown that freeze-dried nettle leaves can provide anti-inflammatory properties, boost the immune system, and can be effective for treating seasonal allergies.

Freeze-dried nettles can be found in supplements (capsules), or made into a tea and can be combined with other anti-inflammatory herbs that can help combat those seasonal allergy symptoms.

Learn more about how we can help with Seasonal Allergies in our previous post, here.

Cautions and how to using nettles safely

Nettles very safe to consume internally. Just to note, some people have allergic reactions when exposed to the plant in the wild (mostly contact dermatitis) but reactions to freeze-dried nettles taken orally is rare. Nettles do have other properties besides being used for allergies as nettles also have diuretic properties. Some cautions with consumption if you have kidney issues or chronic renal failure.  If upon taking nettle supplements you develop symptoms including upset stomach, fluid retention, and hives or a rash, discontinue the supplement. As with any medication or supplement, if you exhibit signs of an allergic reaction such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face or tongue, seek urgent care.

If you know you have a nettle allergy, a good alternative are supplements with other anti-inflammatory properties specifically Quercetin and Vitamin C.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies and not finding relief from standard therapies. Give our office a call today at (425) 686-4498 to set-up your initial consultation to learn more about how we can help.


Cummings, A, Olsen, M. Mechanism of Action of Stinging Nettles. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (2011): 22: 136-139.

Roscheck B., et al. Nettle extract (Urtica Dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Phytotherapy Research (2009): 23: 920-926.

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Call or Schedule Now!

(425) 686-4498

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Dr. Heintze Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Doctor

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