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NCCIH Clinical Digest

for health professionals

Seasonal Allergies and Complementary Health Approaches: What the Science Says

March 2017

Clinical Guidelines, Scientific Literature, Info for Patients: 
Seasonal Allergies and Complementary Health Approaches


Natural Products

Saline Nasal Irrigation

There is some evidence to suggest that saline nasal irrigation may modestly improve some seasonal allergy symptoms.

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)

There is some evidence that butterbur extract can decrease the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.


There is no convincing scientific evidence that honey relieves seasonal allergies.

Mind and Body Practices


There are data from some randomized controlled trials that suggests that acupuncture may improve some symptoms of allergic rhinitis, as well as quality of life.

Other Approaches


There is some limited evidence that suggests that probiotics may improve some symptoms, as well as quality of life, in patients with allergic rhinitis, but overall the data on probiotics and allergic rhinitis is inconsistent and effects may vary from one probiotic formulation to another.

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH’s Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH website at NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.


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