Allergies: The Natural Approach

It’s allergy season in the Willamette Valley. Many people routinely reach for a bottle of Claritin or Allegra; others experience unpleasant side-effects, find that medications wear off over time, or wish to avoid drugs. Because of this, some people choose to pursue natural methods of allergy relief, such as Chinese medicine or dietary changes.

Chinese medicine includes a range of treatments including acupuncture, traditional Chinese massage, and herbal medicine. Jennifer Buys, a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist in Corvallis, addresses her clients’ seasonal allergies using a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine.

Buys creates mixtures of herbs tailored to each person’s needs.

“Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture is personalized to deal with each person’s constitution and imbalances,” she said.

Getting the jump on allergy season can increase its effectiveness.

“Usually it works best if people come in and begin treatment at least a month before allergy season hits,” she said, “but even if people start later, it’s still effective.”

Katy Rogers of the Corvallis Acupuncture and Wellness Center often recommends a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and nettle tea for seasonal allergies. She’s found great success with acupuncture, especially for people who get headaches with their allergies.

The idea behind any Chinese medicine is that you’re treating the root of the problem rather than just the symptoms.

“If you took Chinese herbs for two winters in a row, by the following spring ideally you wouldn’t have any allergies,” said Rogers.

Natural supplements such as local bee pollen can also help with seasonal allergies. Because a small percentage of people can have an allergic reaction to bee pollen, Rogers suggested putting two or three granules under your tongue the first time you take it. Gradually work up to a dose of two heaping teaspoons a day.

Christy Rummel, a family nurse practitioner at the Corvallis Heartspring Wellness Center, recommended quercetin and omega-3 oils. At her Wellness Center, they sell a D-Hist supplement containing Vitamin C, quercetin, stinging nettles, bromelain, and N-acetyl-L-cysteine.

“It is good to start something like this before your symptoms become severe,” said Rummel.

When purchasing any supplements, make sure they are legit.

“Purchase from offices that supply a formulary that is only available to prescribing providers, or get products from companies that do third-party testing,” said Rummel. “Not all supplements are created equal, and they aren’t regulated.”

According to Rummel, some people find relief from allergies by using a neti pot once or twice a day to irrigate their sinuses. Altering your diet could also help; Rogers recommended eliminating processed sugars and dairy from your diet. As a first step, try drinking lots of water and get enough sleep; it can make a big difference.


Local Sources


Katy Rogers

Corvallis Acupuncture and Wellness Center

426 NW 4th Street



Jennifer Buys

Licensed Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist

435 NW 4th Street



Christy Rummel

Corvallis Heartspring Wellness Center

990 NW Circle Boulevard, Suite 101




By Jen Matteis