The Best Natural Antihistamines to Fight Allergic Reactions

The Best Natural Antihistamines to Fight Allergic Reactions
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Millions of people worldwide suffer from allergies and if you are one of them, you know what it’s like to suffer. Sneezing, headaches, puffy or watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, sinus pressure and digestive issues— all of these symptoms can become nearly unbearable. There are certain medications that you can use but you can also use natural antihistamines to ease or even prevent allergy related symptoms.

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Let’s have a look first at what antihistamines are and how they can help to alleviate allergy related symptoms. Later on I will share with you antihistamine foods and supplements.

What are Antihistamines?

Histamine is a substance that is released by the body during an allergic reaction. Mast cells, which are a type of white blood cell, release the histamine, and this triggers a process which is most commonly referred to as the “inflammatory immune reaction”.1

The inflammatory process is easily recognized by the puffy and swollen eyes, red nostrils, inflammation of intestines, or hives on your body.

Antihistamines block histamine activity, seeking to stop the allergic reaction. Many allergy medications work as antihistamines but they usually come with side effects, including sedation, impaired learning and memory.2

There are certain foods and plant extracts that can have similar effects to these medications and as such they can be used as natural antihistamines.

Below I focus on these natural foods and supplements, how they work, how to take them, and how much to take, as well as scientific studies that report their effectiveness.

The Best Natural Antihistamines

Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica)

Stinging nettle can be used as a natural antihistamine as it contains several different components that assist in fighting histamines.3

A randomized, double-blind study using 300 mg freeze-dried stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) in the treatment of allergic rhinitis found that the 69 patients who completed the study rated it higher than placebo in global assessments: 58 percent rated it effective in relieving their symptoms and 48 percent found it to be equally or more effective than their previous medicine.3

A 300 milligram daily of freeze dried stinging nettle is recommended for the treatment of allergens that are in the environment and some allergens that are ingested. Side effects are rare, typically allergic and gastric in nature.3

Freeze dried stinging nettle can be found in health food stores or online.

Bromelain

Bromelain is another natural antihistamine that you may want to add to your medicine cabinet.

Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem.4 However, it is important to mention that pineapple itself can be a histamine trigger, thus you need to use supplements of bromelain. Bromelain supplements are available at natural food stores, vitamin shops or online.

There are mechanisms during the anti-inflammatory process that cause inflammation, swelling and pain. Bromelain is able to reverse the effects of the harmful substances, and reduce the swelling, pain and inflammation.

The therapeutic dose for allergic rhinitis ranges from 400-500 mg three times daily of an 1800-2000 m.c.u. potency bromelain. Allergic reactions may occur in those who are sensitive to pineapple. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea are some of the unlikely side effects.3

Quercetin

Quercetin is another natural ingredient that can help to fight allergic reactions.

Fruits and vegetables are the primary dietary sources of quercetin, particularly citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, sage, tea, and red wine.5

In test tubes, quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines. As a result, researchers think that quercetin can be used as a natural antihistamine and it may help reduce symptoms of allergies, including runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and swelling of the face and lips.5

It has been found to stabilize mast cells in a way that helps lower stress induced anxiety and allergic reactions.

A study conducted in The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Japan, has discovered that quercetin is able to suppress the histamine promoting gene, and aid in the antihistamine process.6

In addition, another study conducted by the Department of Clinical Analysis in Brazil, showed a decrease in respiratory distress and inflammation in airways when quercetin is used.7 Further research confirmed that quercetin also stabilizes mast cells, which lowers stress induced allergic reactions.8

It’s best to use quercetin supplements as a natural antihistamine, and not the foods that contain quercetin. The reason is that some of the foods containing quercetin may have high levels of histamines and can actually increase the allergic reaction. For example, citrus fruits contain quercetin, but can cause themselves allergic reaction in some people.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a natural antihistamine and it is the most common and easiest to use in order to treat allergic reactions. There are countless foods that contain adequate amounts of vitamin C, as well as many different types of supplements available.

A study featured in the Alternative Medicine Review Journal, states that vitamin C supplementation of 2 grams daily reduced the blood histamine levels by 38%.

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From this study, only minimal side effects were observed, including diarrhea and stomach distention. In general, the side effects were small to nonexistent. Researchers and natural doctors alike, suggest taking two-grams of vitamin C a day to prevent allergic reactions.9

As mentioned before, it’s best to use vitamin C supplements as a natural antihistamine, and not the foods that contain vitamin C, as some of these foods may have high levels of histamines and can actually increase the allergic reaction (for example citrus fruits).

Foods that Contain Natural Antihistamines According to Research

Vegetables that Contain Natural Antihistamines

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) has been shown by researchers to be able to block up to sixty percent of histamines that are released from mast cells.10

Pea Sprouts (Pisum Sativum) are a type of vegetable that has a high concentration of the histamine-degrading enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). DAO is also very high in peas, lentils, and chickpeas (however, it is possible for chickpeas to have the opposite effect, so use caution when eating these).11

Garlic (Allium Sativum) and Onions (Allium Cepa) have the same effect watercress does: they inhibit the release of histamines from mast cells.12

Herbs that Contain Natural Antihistamines

Ginkgo biloba – Ginkgo biloba is a Chinese herb that is often associated with mental alertness and memory support. A 2009 study has suggested that Ginkgo biloba extract may have therapeutic activity in the treatment of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. You can find other home remedies for conjunctivitis in my previous article.

Moringa (Moringa Oleifera) also inhibits up to 72% of all histamines released.13  Moringa has many other health benefits and you can consume the seeds too.

Holy Basil (Ocimum Tenuiflorum) helps to stabilize mast cells and produce a calming effect on them as a result it can be used as a natural antihistmine.14

Jewelweed (Impatiens textori) – Jewelweed is best known for its skin healing properties. A 2010 study found that its main compounds have significant allergy-preventive effects.

Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) is an herb with high levels of vitamin C that helps to stabilize mast cells as well.15

Tarragon works similarly to thyme and holy basil, by helping the mast cells stabilize and inhibiting release of histamines.16

Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita) can be used as an herb or made into a tea which has many other health benefits. This herb as well inhibits the release of histamine.17

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Peppermint contains flavonoids which are plant pigments and phytonutrients, and have been observed to inhibit the release of histamine, especially when treating allergens that are environment based and cause congestion and runny mucous.18

Nigella Sativa (Black Seeds) can be found in either seed or oil form, also known as fennel flower, roman coriander, and black-caraway. This herb acts as an anti-histamine protecting the lining of the intestines, inhibiting secretion of histamine in the intestines.19 It has many other health benefits and has even been called “The Remedy For Everything But Death”.

Roots that can be used as Natural Antihistmines

Galangal (Alpinia Galanga) is also called Thai Ginger, can be used as an anti-inflammatory and stabilizer for mast cells. A study has shown that it has a potential to prevent allergic reactions.20

Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) is primarily used as an anti-inflammatory, histamine inhibitor, and mast cell stabilizer. A 2009 study has concluded that ginger contains potent compounds capable of inhibiting allergic reactions and may be useful for the treatment and prevention of allergic diseases. It has many other health benefits which are mentioned in my article about how to use ginger as a medicine for great health.

Lotus Root (Nelumbo Nucifera) is found in many Asian markets and helps support the immune system, stabilizing mast cells, and one study found that the lotus root can inhibit the release of histamines.21

Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is both a spice and root, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and was shown to inhibit the activation of mast cells, thus inhibiting release of histamines.22 Turmeric has low bio-availability in the body so make sure you read my article on how to optimize turmeric absorption for super boosted benefits.

Fruits that Fight Allergies

Pomegranate (Punica Granatum). Pomegranate extract was shown to act as an efficient and effective mast cell stabilizer.23

Apples (Malus Domestica) are high in quercetin and also help to inhibit the release of histamines from mast cells.24

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Capers (Capparis Spinosa) are also highly concentrated with quercetin. They are also antimicrobial, which kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral, and possess antihistamine properties. However, preservation in salt is highly recommended because preservation in vinegar, and generally preserved foods, can produce a histamine response.25

Mangosteens (Garcinia Mangostana) are small fruit found in tropical climates. Mangosteen is used as a traditional medicine in Southeast Asia for inflammatory and septic ailments. Studies show that mangosteens lower the inflammatory immune response and can serve as a natural antihistamine. 26

Peaches (Prunus Persica) have been found to prevent mast cell inflammation in a recent study reported in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal.27

Black Rice Bran. A 2010 study demonstrated the potential value of black rice bran as an anti-inflammatory and anti allergic food ingredient and possibly also as a therapeutic agent for the treatment and prevention of diseases associated with chronic inflammation.28

Mung Bean Sprouts, much like peppermint, are highly concentrated with flavonoids, the phytonutrients in plants. Mung beans inhibit the release of the triggering histamine enzyme in mast cells and help prevent histamines from being released.29

By eating these different natural antihistamine foods in combination with the previously mentioned supplements, you may be able to reduce the intense allergic response naturally. The medications currently used for treating allergies have been found to produce harmful and uncomfortable side effects.

Natural Antihistamines – Precautions and Side Effects

Please be aware that some of the above natural antihistamine foods and supplements may interact with pharmaceutical drugs. If you take any medications, it’s best to consult with your doctor first before taking any natural supplement.

Read my other related articles:
1. The Best Essential Oils For Allergies
2. The Probiotics That Protect Against Food Allergies
3. Top 10 Natural Treatments For Asthma

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2 Responses to The Best Natural Antihistamines to Fight Allergic Reactions

  1. Natasha Adderley says:

    Thank you for this very well-done article. One would think that you truly know the sufferings of one with Mastocytosis or their Mast cell issues.
    I have been using many of these natural means to counteract the Mastocytosis – picking up all that I have from pure Divine Intervention alone; especially the red wine, chickpeas, and Stinging Nettle – none of which were in my use before.
    I do not know whether you have sent this to anyone at The Mastocytosis Society or any other such organizations but it is a very worthy article. I will make further use of this as my use of things should be on a 7 day rotation (which is extremely difficult to do) and the variety of options you have mentioned is helpful as I have been searching (trial and error) to add to my ‘arsenal’ if measures. Some of the food sources I have suspected but not yet tried and some I have tried but cannot use due to the very reactions you have mentioned.
    So all of this is to say, “Well done!” And do keep up the good work and be encouraged. Your work is most certainly appreciated and not in vain.
    Thanks again.

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