The budding of green on winter’s bare limbs can bring with its beautiful glory pure misery in the form of spring allergies.

This is the time of year when Kleenex’s stock likely skyrockets and many folks purchase over-the-counter medicines to quell the relentless effects of pollen: itchy and watery eyes, runny or stuffy nose, and copious sneezes.

What some don’t realize is there are natural hay fever solutions available. Three potent players in the quest for an asymptomatic spring season are the herb nettle, a flavonoid called quercetin and bee pollen.

Do you recollect running as a child, barefoot in the summer, free, wild and happy as a lark with the warm sun as your fuel? And then suddenly, all that mirth and joy stopped cold due to a debilitating sting tormenting the bottom of your foot?

The culprit was likely nettles. For those who brave the high possibility of nettles’s sting while procuring it, they know it’s so worth the pain.

Nettle has constituents called amines that inhibit the histamine process that causes allergic symptoms. In a double blind study, according to, 58 percent of people reported it (nettles) to be effective and about 48 percent thought it to be just as effective, if not more so, than over-the-counter medications.

Quercetin is another strong contender in natural allergy relief. Quercetin is a flavonoid (pigment) found in apples, citrus, dark purple grapes and berries, olive oil, red wine and green tea.

It’s a compelling antioxidant that has an impressive antihistamine effect, no matter whether it’s seasonal pollen, the family cat or food.

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers,” wrote Ray Bradbury in “Dandelion Wine.” This “spice” is known as bee pollen.

While bees don’t make the tiny golden nuggets themselves, they glide from flower to flower, picking up microscopic bits of pollen on their legs and carrying it back to their hive to make even bigger granules of pollen.

Collected by beekeepers, this highly nutrient dense pollen is ingested by many for its wonderful effects. Like nettles and quercetin, bee pollen acts to inhibit the havoc of histamine.

Your local, natural supplement store likely carries bee pollen from your area. This helps ensure that you build up immunity to plants in your region.

Regina K. Cannella writes about various health issues from her home in Charleston. This article is provided in collaboration with Health Smart in Bluffton. gina@health