Supplements for Summer Health

Updated by Charlie Rose, Spring 2015 

The most requested information about summer health is how to manage hay fever! Herbs are excellent helpers and there is more information here about using herbs to treat hay fever, however there are also many useful supplements too. Hay fever is a common, allergic condition. It occurs when the immune system responds to pollen as if it were a dangerous substance, invading the body. When pollen comes into contact with the cells on the lining of the eyes and nose, histamine gets released. This leads to inflammation, swelling and irritation in the form of cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing. These symptoms occur to help the body rid itself of these ‘foreign’ substances. Unfortunately pollen is harmless: the body is acting unnecessarily.


Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples. It is used for many purposes because of its multifaceted benefits, such as its anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine and decongestant properties. Bromelain helps to greatly reduce inflamed, congested symptoms in hay fever sufferers. It is also rich in Vitamin C, providing the immune system with a powerful boost.

Quercetin is a bioflavonoid. Bioflavonoids help to relieve pain and are essential for the absorption of Vitamin C, a natural anti-histamine and immune system booster. Quercetin then, is especially useful for a strengthened immune system and for combating potential histamine outbreaks.

Garlic helps clear nasal congestion as it is a natural decongestant. It helps to make mucous less sticky.  As a food source, it is most potent when chopped or crushed- this is when the powerful compound Allicin forms. Allicin has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Packed with antioxidants, garlic will have a direct effect on your symptoms as well as improve your general wellbeing and immunity.

Bee Pollen helps reduce the body’s sensitivity to pollen. It is a particularly powerful supplement to take as it contains most of the spectrum of nutrients we require. Bee pollen is fantastic for energy because of this: particularly due to its B Vitamins.

Omega 3 is well known throughout the health industry for its substantial benefits particularly its anti-inflammatory ones. It is often used to help with arthritis and asthma. It will combat the symptoms of hay fever in the same way- by reducing inflammation within the body.

Pycnogenol has also made a case for hay fever sufferers. Pycnogenol is particularly effective if you start taking 50mg a day before the onset of birch pollen. Ideally, five weeks prior to pollen exposure is required for Pycnogenol to defy hay-fever symptoms. In controlled clinical trials, people who took Pycnogenol seven weeks before the onset of the birch season required very little over-the-counter antihistamine medication (just 12.5%) compared with people taking the placebo (50% needed medication). So start taking Pycnogenol in late February/early March as the birch first tree is one of the first to flower.