Surviving Oregon allergy season, naturally

Living in the lush green state of Oregon can be mesmerizing with all the natural beauty it has to offer, but with beauty comes sacrifice. When springtime rolls around and the many, many showers have brought us flowers, allergies can often be unmanageable and unbearable.

UO student and California native Charlie Paretchan noticed his allergies had become much worse after he had made the transition from San Rafael, California to Eugene, Oregon. “I would guess it has to do with the greenery, for lack of a better word, especially around campus. There are a lot more flowers and pollen in the air,” Paretchan said.

Kimberly Foster, a Naturopathic Physician at Oregon Naturopathic Clinic explains that allergies act up in Oregon particularly for exactly that. “We live in a valley and it traps a lot of pollen, and the variety of plants we have is really concentrated,” said Foster.

Foster believes that natural remedies are being used to treat many conditions, including allergies, because people want to avoid the side effects of drugs or becoming dependent on them. “We lie in the Northwest; many people here embrace the natural lifestyle,” Foster said.

Allergy shots and even prescription medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin or Benadryl tend to lose effectiveness over a period of time and can also cause drowsiness, dry sinuses, insomnia and high blood pressure.

“I would definitely be open to using [natural remedies] if they worked, especially since I have to take Claritin multiple times a day,” Paretchan said.

If you’re desperate for a new way to manage your sniffles and itches this spring, try any of these natural remedies suggested by Natural Medicine experts and their studies.

The Neti Pot

This genie-looking bottle is used to effectively rinse any kind of unwanted debris from inside the nasal cavity. Mixing sterilized water (either bottled or boiled, for example), salt and a pinch of baking soda, tilt your head and pour into your nostril allowing the liquid to drain through to the other side. You can purchase these pots on Amazon for less than $10.

Tea & Coffee

Not only will the steam of hot tea or coffee feel great and open up your nasal passages, a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that Green tea allows for the release of histamines (important in reducing inflammation) and also contains allergy-fighting antioxidants. Additionally, the menthol in peppermint teas can reduce congestion and the caffeine in coffees and teas can reduce swelling.

* You might want to stay away from chamomile if you have springtime ragweed allergies!

Eucalyptus Oil

Studies show that eucalyptus oil helps loosen respiratory phlegm, prevents infection and has anti-inflammatory properties – it’s a win, win. Adding a few drops to the floor of your shower, or to a bowl of steaming water will allow the soothing oil to work its magic. Because of the oil’s ability to kill dust mites, add a few drops in your washing machine, especially when washing sheets and pillowcases.


Butterbur is an herb that comes from a plant in the sunflower family and is said to relieve allergy symptoms such as inflammation in the airways. You can buy it in the form of a Butterbur Extract supplement – it’s suggested to purchase “PA free.”

Nettle Leaf

This herb, like green tea, is an antihistamine. The plant grows in many places and can be incorporated into teas, but for easier and more effective use you can buy Nettle Herb capsules. If you are unfortunate enough to experience hayfever in the springtime, Nettle is a remedy free of the side effects of medication.

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Sydney Zuelke

Sydney Zuelke