A study published in the BMJ (Jan. 2002) may be of interest to hay fever sufferers.

Researchers in Switzerland have revealed that extracts from butterbur, a three foot tall plant with purple flowers, found in the UK and other damp European countries, can combat the symptoms of runny nose and itchy eyes.

In a trial involving 125 patients butterbur was as effective as antihistamines, but without any ‘drowsy’ side effects.

Edzard Ernst, a professor in complementary medicine at the University of Exeter said,  “This is excellent news and could be the answer to millions of prayers when the pollen count is high.”

The butterbur tablets are not readily available in Britain but alternative treatment stores are expected to stock them soon.

Early days but sounds promising.