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Last Updated on July 15, 2021
14 Best Teas for Allergies : Reviews & Buying Guide
If you, like more than 50 million Americans, suffer from seasonal allergies, the arrival of spring is bittersweet. Pollen season is officially here, and for allergy-sufferers that doesn’t just mean sunshine and barbeques, it means the return of uncomfortable symptoms.
No one wants to spend the summer battling red eyes and a runny nose. But allergy medicines often come with some unwanted side effects, so what other options are out there?
Many people don’t realize that tea is a powerful herbal remedy that can provide allergy symptom relief. Herbal teas contain natural antihistamines and other properties that build immunity and calm inflammation. So for those preferring to go the natural route, herbal tea is a great alternative. Plus, it’s delicious!
Here are the top teas to help calm your allergy symptoms and get you back to feeling good again:
14 Best Teas for Allergies (2021 Update)
1. Stinging Nettle Tea
Stinging nettle is a perennial flowering plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, and it’s still in popular use today. The stinging nettle plant contains antihistamines that effectively and quickly relieve nasal inflammation, plus anti-inflammatory properties that further improve symptoms.
A 2018 study found that nettles contain a significant number of biologically active compounds. Stinging nettle was found to act upon the receptors and enzymes that cause allergic reactions. This review showed evidence of what many traditional herbalists have known for centuries, that stinging nettle helps with hay fever symptoms.
To make stinging nettle tea at home, steep 2-3 teaspoons of dried stinging nettle leaves in about two cups of water for 5 to 10 minutes. To preserve the nettle’s vitamin C content, steep the leaves for 10 minutes in 122 to 140°F (50 to 60°C) water, as one 2016 study suggests (1).
This organic nettle tea from The Republic of Tea is a great one to start with.
2. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea, or “red tea”, offers wonderful allergy relief with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is known to relieve congestion, and its high vitamin C content reduces runny nose and watery eyes.
Rooibos tea also contains natural properties that block histamine release, including rutin and quercetin, making it a powerhouse for allergy relief.
Drinking rooibos tea regularly helps you metabolize allergens and reduce allergy symptoms. The anti-inflammatory properties even help reduce skin irritations. Plus, with antioxidants like aspalathin, rooibos is a superfood which is great to regularly incorporate into your diet.
Try this rooibos tea from Celestial Seasonings:
3. Turmeric Tea
Turmeric has grown in popularity the past ten years, and for good reason. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and natural antihistamine full of antioxidants. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric which, in addition to reducing troublesome inflammation, also has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
It excels at reducing the irritation and swelling caused by allergic rhinitis. With turmeric’s immune-boosting capabilities, it is a great choice for allergy sufferers. A 2008 study showed evidence that turmeric reduces allergic reactions in mice (2). While more human studies are needed, “curcumin was reported to have antiallergic properties with inhibitory effect on histamine release from mast cells.”
To get the most benefit from your tea, add a dash of black pepper to activate its anti-inflammatory properties.
To make turmeric tea, you can simply chop a tablespoon of fresh turmeric and boil it in two cups of water for ten minutes. You can also add 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric to 2 cups of boiling water. Or, purchase a prepared bag, like this active tea from Pukka:
4. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes, and for good reason. Peppermint tea is known to help with indigestion, congestion, bloating, gas, menstrual cramps, insomnia, tension headaches, migraines, and even bad breath!
Peppermint tea’s decongestant and aromatic properties are great at relieving clogged sinuses and can also help clear your airways. Peppermint prevents the release of histamines which cause the allergic reaction in the first place. Plus, its cooling and stress-relieving properties can help relax you when allergy symptoms are making you irritable.
And it’s not just the tea that has benefits: peppermint oil may also be helpful for allergy symptoms like clogged sinuses.
Studies support these claims, with a 2006 review finding that, “in vitro, peppermint has significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities, strong antioxidant and antitumor actions, and some antiallergenic potential.” (3)
This peppermint tea from Traditional Medicinals is perfect for soothing allergies:
5. Tulsi Tea
Tulsi tea, also known as holy basil, has adaptogenic properties that reduce allergic inflammation. Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that help our bodies resist stressors, whether those stressors are biological, physical, or chemical. Adaptogens have been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicinal traditions for centuries, and they are gaining popularity in modern times.
Drinking tulsi tea can ward off stress and fight inflammation from allergies. Plus, it has antimicrobial properties and can boost your energy- a welcome benefit when you are feeling exhausted from allergy symptoms. It also blocks the release of cortisol, a hormone your body releases when under stress.
A study from 2014 found that “Tulsi has also been shown to counter metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function and through its anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties.” (4) For a simple cup of tea, that’s pretty good!
Holy basil can be consumed whole with a meal or brewed into a tea. Try this classic tulsi tea from Buddha Teas:
6. Licorice Root Tea
Yummy as it sounds, licorice root tea doesn’t share much in common with the tasty red candy. Licorice root is an herb coming from the licorice plant, and it has many useful medicinal applications. It has been used to effectively fight respiratory conditions for thousands of years including asthma, the common cough, and bronchitis. It is also naturally soothing to irritated airways.
A 2018 study on mice showed that licorice can reduce coughing by up to 78 percent. (5)
While more human studies are needed, this supports what traditional medicine has found to be true for millenia.
Licorice root tea contains glycyrrhizic acid, a special acid that actively fights allergic reactions. Its antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effects help alleviate allergic rhinitis and other uncomfortable symptoms. It can kill viruses, bacteria, and some fungi, and has antiinflammatory properties. These all help fight allergy symptoms and get you feeling more comfortable fast.
This organic tea by Traditional Medicinals is a great place to start:
Or try this licorice root and peppermint tea hybrid from Pukka:
7. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is a great “Jack of all trades” tea when you are feeling under the weather. While it’s most commonly used to fight nausea, it is also a great natural antihistamine. Ginger tea relieves itching and swelling around the eyes, throat, and nose and reduces inflammation of the nasal mucosa.
You can easily make fresh ginger tea at home by chopping a few tablespoons of peeled ginger root and boiling it in a liter of water for about 10 to 20 minutes. To add further healing properties and a delicious taste, add in some lemon or lime juice and some local honey.
For a cup of ginger tea on the go, try this three ginger tea from Pukka:
8. Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm is part of the mint family, and like mint, has a delicious, comforting flavor. Lemon balm has a soft lemon fragrance and is great for soothing headaches. Its anti-inflammatory properties and natural antioxidants make it a great choice for relieving allergy symptoms and associated respiratory symptoms. Plus, it’s great for facilitating relaxation, which always helps you feel better when you are suffering through allergy season.
This organic lemon balm tea from Alvita is caffeine-free and a great one to start with:
9. Green Tea
Green tea is a popular tea choice due to its high levels of antioxidants and energy-boosting caffeine. However, it is also great for fighting allergy symptoms and contains natural antihistamines.
Green tea is specifically rich in the antioxidant quercetin, which activates an anti-inflammatory response against allergens. Quercetin is what helps block allergic immune reactions, and it’s also what gives green tea its lovely color! In fact, a study conducted in 2013 demonstrated that Benifuuki green tea could help reduce allergy symptoms to cedar pollen. (6)
To try it for yourself, pick up this green tea from Bigelow:
10. Yerba Mate Tea
If you haven’t tried Yerba Mate tea yet, it’s time to give it a go. Yerba Mate is a South American tea which, like green tea, has high levels of caffeine. It’s great for fighting the inflammation associated with allergy symptoms due to the presence of saponins.
It also has vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc, meaning it has antioxidant properties. It can help strengthen your immune system. Plus, it may even increase your energy, assist with weight loss, and contribute to your overall health and wellness.
Try this unsmoked yerba mate tea from Ecoteas:
11. Berry Tea
Berry teas are the best kept secret in the tea world. Not only are they delicious, but they are a natural antihistamine and contain high amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C. Similar to green tea, berry teas have quercetin which reduces seasonal allergy symptoms.
Try this True Blueberry herbal tea from Celestial Springs:
12. Butterbur Tea
The little-known butterbur plant is common in marshy areas, and tea made from its leaves is great for fighting sinus and nasal problems. In fact, a 2013 study found that butterbur tea is just as effective as a leading pharmaceutical allergy medication! (7)
Another study in 2001 on humans found that subjects taking butterbur tablets for 1 week experienced fewer allergy symptoms, and a 2006 study found that butterbur reduced allergic reactions in rats. (8), (9)
Butterbur can be tricky to find, though some specialty tea shops carry it. You can take it in capsule form instead, if you are unable to locate a brewed tea.
13. Fennel Tea
Allergies can cause muscle spasm in the bronchial passages which can close off your airways and restrict breathing. Fennel is a delicious and soothing tea which has antispasmodic properties, relieving tough allergy symptoms. Fennel is great for clearing mucus and relieving digestive distress, including colic in babies.
Try this tasty fennel tea from Pukka:
14. Chamomile Tea
Everyone’s favorite bedtime tea, chamomile, is also great for fighting allergic reactions. With its high concentration of natural antihistamines, it effectively relieves uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Plus, its relaxing and sleep-inducing qualities make it a great choice to get you back to feeling good.
Try this organic chamomile tea from Taylors of Harrogate:
How to Reduce Allergy Symptoms Naturally?
Allergies are a frustrating part of life for many people, and pharmaceutical allergy medications can come with some undesirable side effects. For those looking to avoid conventional allergy medications, herbal teas are a great alternative.
We recommend trying different varieties to see which kinds work best for you. And to further boost your immune system, try adding in some local honey to your tea. Local honey can acclimate your body to local pollen and, over time, reduce your allergic response. Plus, it’s delicious
And don’t forget, sleep is important when fighting inflammation and allergy symptoms. It’s best to drink teas with high levels of caffeine (like flavorful oolong tea, green tea and Yerba Mate) in the morning, and then switch to caffeine-free herbal teas in the afternoon.
Allergies don’t have to ruin your summer. Try one of these natural remedies today and relieve your symptoms with a remedy steeped (pun intended!) in tradition.
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- McKay DL, Blumberg JB, A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.)., retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16767798/
- Cohen MM, Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons., retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296439/
- Kuang Y, Li B, Fan J, Qiao X, Ye M, Antitussive and expectorant activities of licorice and its major compounds., retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29224994/
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