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These Teas Ease Allergies Naturally + the Timing Trick That Boosts the Benefit

It's the most soothing way to banish sniffling, sneezing and itchy eyes

A cozy mug of tea can make just about anything better. That includes your spring allergy symptoms, which may already be starting to ramp up. And no matter how you take your cuppa, tea for allergies is a smart way to keep sniffling and sneezing at bay. Here’s a look at the best types of tea for allergies, plus brewing tips get the biggest bang for your buck.  

Why allergies flare up in spring

“Spring pollen season typically refers to the start of tree pollen blooming, which in the United States tends to begin as early as February,” says Monica Kraft, MD, an allergist and immunologist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Typically by March, spring pollen is in full swing.”

Pollen is released by flowering plants and trees as they bloom. And your allergy symptoms are the result of an overactive immune system response to this pollen. In other words, your body thinks the pollen is something dangerous. So it launches an attack to try to fight off the “invader”, similar to the way it would to protect you against an infection.

The cells responsible for sensing allergens like pollen are present in our nose, eyes, ears, throat, lungs and skin. “People with allergies have an antibody that recognizes pollen as a key to unlock these allergy cells and release their contents,” Dr. Kraft says. That includes histamine, an immune system chemical that triggers inflammation.

A woman surrounded by flowers blowing her nose into a tissue
Oliver Helbig/Getty

When you’re exposed to the powdery yellow stuff (either by breathing it in, having it enter your eyes or even having it land on your skin), histamine floods your system in an attempt to get rid of the pollen. The result can be inflammatory symptoms like congestion, itchy or watery eyes, itchy skin and coughing or asthma-like symptoms, says Dr. Kraft. (Click through to learn how taming allergies helps heal swollen eyelids and erase tiredness, too.)   

Related: 8 Natural Ragweed Allergy Remedies That Deliver Relief Fast — Without Side Effects

Tea for allergies: A natural remedy

Over-the-counter or prescription anti-allergy medications are mainstays for stopping allergy symptoms. But certain warm brews can give your standard treatment regimen a little more oomph.

“When it comes to allergies, one of my favorite remedies is tea,” says Stacie J. Stephenson, DC, an integrative physician in Phoenix, AZ and author of Glow: 90 Days to Create Your Vibrant Life From Within. “In fact, brewed teas and herbal concoctions were used for thousands of years before the invention of allergy medications such as antihistamines.”

Related: Could This TikTok-Trendy Tea Be the Next Superfood? What to Know About Chaga

The 6 best types of tea for allergies

Research shows that certain types of teas boast properties that could be helpful for easing your allergies. And that’s especially true when you pair your cuppa with your doctor’s recommend treatment.

A woman holding a mug while seated at a wooden chair with her feet up on a table surrounded by plants
Westend61/Getty

“When pollen counts are high and allergy symptoms are in full swing, using allergy medications like long-acting antihistamines and nasal sprays in addition to home remedies is most likely to give relief,” Dr. Kraft explains.

What’s more, the simple act of sipping something warm can make you feel a little better. “Just like with an infection like a cold, strep throat or the flu, allergies can irritate the throat from mucus drainage and coughing,” Dr. Kraft says. “And warm beverages like tea can be soothing.” (Click through to see the best tea for a sore throat.)

Here, six potent tea for allergies options to try this spring:

1. Green tea

The verdant sipper brims with EGCG, an antioxidant compound. “EGCG’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce pain, swelling and even chronic disease risk, as well as inflammation in the throat and sinuses during allergy season,” Stephenson explains. EGCG may also have natural antihistamine properties, since it targets and thwarts the production of histamine, suggests research in the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry.  (Click through to learn how green tea helps with bloating and how tea can stop someone from snoring, too.)

How to drink it: Steep a green tea bag in hot (not boiling) water for 5 to 10 minutes, then drink, recommends Stephenson.

A close-up of a woman stirring a cup of green tea for allergies
mikimad/Getty

2. Nettle tea

A flowering plant long used in herbal medicine, stinging nettle “has anti-inflammatory compounds to reduce pain and swelling,” Stephenson says. “Many people say it reduces their allergy symptoms.” That could be because nettles are rich in compounds that block production of inflammatory hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins, found a study in Phytotherapy Research.

How to drink it: Pour 8 oz. of boiling water over 1 tsp. of dried nettles, like Frontier Co-op Organic Stinging Nettle Leaf. (Fresh nettles have tiny hairs that can sting your skin when you touch them, but you don’t have to worry about that with dried nettles.) Steep for 10 minutes, then strain and sip, Stephenson advises.

A cup of nettle tea on a wood board beside fresh nettle leaves
jchizhe/Getty

3. Rosemary tea

The piney herb lends flavor to chicken or fish, and it helps ease allergies, too. Rosemary has compounds that block the activation of allergen-sensing mast cells that spur histamine production, a study in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology reveals. “It also contains substances like carnosic acid and carnasol, which help neutralize inflammatory free radicals,” Stephenson explains. (Click through to learn how to grow your own rosemary.)

How to drink it: Pour 8 oz. of boiling water over 1 tsp. of dried rosemary. Steep for 5 minutes, then strain and sip, Stephenson suggest. Tip: The rosemary you already have in your spice cabinet will do the trick!

A white cup of rosemary tea beside fresh rosemary
mescioglu/Getty

4. Turmeric tea

Curcumin, an anti-inflammatory compound found in turmeric, has been used to ease everything from muscle soreness to arthritis. And it helps fight inflammation related to allergies too, Stephenson says. According to a study in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the curcumin inhibits histamine release, which helps curb allergy symptoms. 

How to drink it: Whisk 1 tsp. of ground turmeric into 8 oz. of almost-boiling water. “Add a small pinch of black pepper, which increases your absorption of curcumin,” Stephenson suggests. Let steep for five minutes before drinking.

A cup of turmeric tea beside fresh turmeric root
udra/Getty

5. Ginger tea

You might know it as a stomach soother, but ginger tea also eases allergies. One of the spicy root’s anti-inflammatory compounds, 6-gingerol, reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines “and helps relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis — in other words, your stuffy, itchy sinuses,” Stephenson explains.

How to drink it: Peel a 1-inch piece of ginger and thinly slice. Steep the slices in 8 oz. of boiling water for 5 minutes, then strain and sip, Stephenson advises.

A cup of ginger tea beside fresh ginger root
5second/Getty

Related: Ginger Tea Can Dramatically Relieve Migraine Pain + 3 Other Migraine Self-Care Strategies That MDs Recommend

6. Licorice root tea

Licorice root reduces nasal allergy symptoms thanks to its immune-calming properties, found a study Journal of Ethnopharmacology. “It can also help to clear inflamed lungs and sinuses, and it may even be good for a nagging allergy cough,” Stephenson adds.

How to drink it: Add 1 Tbs. of dried licorice root (like Brewer’s Garden Dried Licorice Root) and 8 oz. of water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 more minutes, then strain and sip, Stephenson suggests.

A mug of licorice root herbal brew beside fresh licorice
PicturePartners/Getty

When to drink tea for allergies

For the best results, aim to have your tea in the morning before you head outside. “That way, the anti-inflammatory and antihistamine compounds can get ahead of the allergic reaction,” explains Stephenson. That said, you’ll likely still get some relief if you’re already having symptoms and sip tea for allergies later in the day, too.

Another pro tip: Add a squeeze of fresh lemon to your tea whenever you can. “It gives you a boost of vitamin C, which is always useful when your immune system is fighting off a threat,” Stephenson adds.


For more healing, health-boosting teas:

The Best Tea for a Sore Throat? Docs Reveal Their Top 6 Picks That Soothe Fast

Could This TikTok-Trendy Tea Be the Next Superfood? What to Know About Chaga

These Teas End Bloating Fast — Learn How to Blend Them to Boost the Benefits

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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