Allergic rhinitis, or runny nose due to allergy, has been studied for treatment with spirulina and butterbur (Petasites hybridus) with some evidence for benefit. Cingi did a double blind study of spirulina and found it improved nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion, and itching in allergic rhinitis.
Guo, R., et al, reviewed the literature for evidence of herbal treatment of allergic rhinitis. A number of studies were of butterbur extract with evidence that it worked as well as non-sedating pharmaceutical antihistamines.
Probiotics (friendly bacteria) are used to alter the intestinal environment and, thereby, alter the immune system to relieve allergic rhinitis. According to Kalliomaki, studies have shown benefit in allergic rhinitis and other allergies with the use of specific probiotics. More studies are needed, but the results are “encouraging” at this time.
St. John’s Wort is said to work against sinusitis and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Hypericin is considered the active ingredient in St. John’s Wort. Kusari reviewed the uses of St. John’s Wort and found a fungus that produces hypericin living in conjunction with the St. John’s Wort plant.
Nayak reports that homeopathic medications are effective as treatment for chronic sinusitis when patients were followed at 3 and 6 months. There are no complications or side effects from homeopathic treatments.
According to Roschek, nettles (Urtica dioica) is a plant used to treat seasonal allergies, such as allergic rhinitis. The plant is called stinging nettles. Nettles extract works against inflammation, inhibiting the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Rhinitis, inflammation of the nasal passages, is one type of seasonal allergy.
Inhalation of wheat dust can cause allergic rhinitis in some people. This can be due to gluten allergy. The treatment is complete avoidance of wheat. Sapone reviews the kinds of gluten sensitivity and suggests that even tiny amounts of gluten can cause problems in some people.
Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is an herb used in sinusitis with colds and flu. Zakay-Rones studied elderberry and found benefit in the treatment of influenza A and B viral infections with elderberry.
Cingi, C., et al. The Effects of Spriulina on Allergic Rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Oct;265(10):1219-23. Eshisehir Osmangazi University Medical Faculty, Eshisehir, Turkey. (Summary #754.)
Guo, R., et al. Herbal Medicines for the Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis: A Systematic Review. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2007 Dec;99(6):483-95. University of Exeter, England. (Summary #752.)
Kalliomaki, M., et al. Guidance for Substantiating the Evidence for Beneficial Effects of Probiotics: Prevention and Management of Allergic Diseases by Probiotics. J Nutr. 2010 Mar;140(3):713S-21S. University of Turku, Turku, Finland. (Summary #756.)
Kusari, S. et al. An Endophytic Fungus from Hypericum Perforatum That Produces Hypericin. J Nat Prod. 2008 Feb;71(2):159-62. University of Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany. (Summary # 292.)
Nayak, C., et al. Homeopathy in Chronic Sinusitis: A Prospective Multi-Centric Observational Study. Homeopathy. 2012 Apr;101(2):84-91. Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, New Delhi, India. (Summary #753.)
Roschek, B., et al. Nettle Extract (Urtica Dioica) Affects Key Receptors and Enzymes Associated with Allergic Rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2009 Jan 12. (Epub ahead of print) Herbal Science, Naples, FL, USA. (Summary #289.)
Sapone, A., et al. Spectrum of Gluten-Related Disorders: Consensus on New Nomenclature and Classification. BMC Med 2012 Feb 7;10(1):13. University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. (Summary #695.)
Zakay-Rones, Z., et al. Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections. J. Int. Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40. Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel. (Summary #281.)