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Is There a Link Between Pollen Allergy and Herbal Supplements?


Updated November 26, 2007

Question: Is There a Link Between Pollen Allergy and Herbal Supplements?
Answer: It is well known that having hay fever, or pollen allergy, can lead to allergy to fresh fruits and vegetables; this is called the oral allergy syndrome. There is also some evidence that people with pollen allergies can have allergic reactions to herbal teas and bee pollen.

Chamomile tea is made from various plants, including weeds that commonly cause hay fever, such as ragweed and mugwort. Some people with pollen allergy have experienced severe allergic reactions after drinking herbal teas, such as chamomile.

Bee pollen has been used for various causes, and is a popular natural allergy remedy available at local health food stores. It seems obvious, since bees collect pollen from various plants, but bee pollen contains large amounts of pollen from various allergenic plants. People with pollen allergy are therefore at risk for allergic reactions from taking bee pollen.

Regardless of whether or not you suffer from allergies, it's always best to check with a doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Though considered "natural," herbal supplements can carry side effects and may negatively interact with other drugs you're taking.

Learn more about alternative therapies for the treatment of allergies.


Constantinos Pitsios MD; Caterina Chliva MD; Nikolaos Mikos MD; Evangelia Kompoti MD; Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn MD; Kalliopi Kontou-Fili MD, PhD. Bee pollen sensitivity in airborne pollen allergic individuals. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006; 97:703-6.

Subiza J, Subiza JL, Hinojosa M, Garcia R, Jerez M, Valdivieso R, Subiza E. Anaphylactic reaction after the ingestion of chamomile tea: a study of cross-reactivity with other composite pollens. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1989;84(3):353-8.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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