Ditch the Pills: Best Natural Antihistamines for Allergy Relief

Understanding the role of natural antihistamines in allergy relief is essential in today’s world, where holistic health approaches are increasingly valued. In this article, we’ll delve into the science behind antihistamines, shedding light on the vitamins and herbs that possess these properties.

Moreover, we will explore how everyday foods can act as potent natural antihistamines and discuss lifestyle changes that can provide additional support during allergy season. We’ll also address frequently asked questions about natural antihistamines to ensure a well-rounded understanding. So, let’s plunge into the fascinating world of natural Antihistamines and their role in offering a more sustainable and safer way to manage allergies.

The Science Behind Antihistamines

Antihistamines block the effects of histamines – chemicals your body produces during an allergic reaction. While synthetic antihistamines can effectively reduce allergy symptoms, they often come with side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and blurred vision. On the other hand, natural antihistamines, derived from certain foods, herbs, and vitamins, function similarly by inhibiting the action of histamines.

Their composition allows them to alleviate allergy symptoms and offer additional health benefits. For instance, they can boost overall immune health, provide anti-inflammatory effects, and lack the common side effects associated with their synthetic counterparts. Therefore, natural antihistamines present a more holistic and gentle approach to managing allergies.

Vitamins & Herbs: Nature’s Antihistamines

Herbs offer a botanical approach to allergy relief and can inhibit histamine production and release, helping to reduce allergy symptoms. Below are the top herbs that possess these antihistamine properties.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that safeguards your cells from harm, lessens the intensity of allergic reactions, and supports your body in combating infections. When consumed during allergy season, vitamin C can reduce your body’s excessive response to environmental triggers by lowering histamine production. Research shows that it can improve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including reduced nasal congestion, sneezing, nasal itching, runny nose, and levels of NBF and MDA. [1]

Bromelain

Bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties are responsible for several of its effects, including its ability to decongest the nasal cavity, allowing it to act as a nasal decongestant. [2]

Quercetin

Quercetin, when present in test tubes, hinders the release of histamines from immune cells, which are responsible for allergy symptoms. This suggests quercetin could alleviate common allergic reactions like runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and facial or lip swelling. In rat studies, it was observed that over 25% of absorbed quercetin is targeted toward lung tissue, offering additional advantages in combating allergies and related asthma. [3]

Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil seems to positively impact the symptoms of allergies such as rhinitis, eczema, and asthma. The results are particularly significant when using supplements. [4]

Guduchi

Tinospora cordifolia (Guduchi) can effectively eliminate symptoms of allergic rhinitis in 61-83% of people. These symptoms include nasal blockage, mucus, itching, and sneezing. [5]

Spirulina

Spirulina has been found to effectively control allergies, improving symptoms such as nasal discharge, sneezing, congestion, itching, and even smell. One study revealed that satisfaction with treatment doubled in the group taking spirulina compared to the control group. In another study, Spirulina was as effective or even more potent as a pharmaceutical drug. [6][7]

Stinging Nettle (or nettle root extract)

Taking these pills orally can provide a moderately powerful anti-inflammatory effect that can help alleviate nasal congestion and is shown to reduce allergy symptoms slightly. [8]

*Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo is often used by individuals seeking relief from allergies and other conditions, such as anxiety and concentration. However, scientific research has yet to provide conclusive evidence of its effectiveness.

Astragalus

Despite not providing significant relief for nasal congestion and other rhinitis symptoms, Astragulus proved more effective than a placebo. [9]

Holy basil

Holy basil offers benefits for our immune response by preventing mast cell degranulation. Mast cells play a role in signaling histamine responses in the body. This herb can effectively lessen the intensity of hay fever symptoms by reducing the amount of histamine released to combat pollen.

Butterbur

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is a natural remedy that can help with allergies and asthma. It has antihistamine and anti leukotriene properties, which can help reduce the symptoms caused by adenosine monophosphate challenge in people with allergic rhinitis and asthma. [10]

Incorporating herbs and vitamins as natural antihistamines into your lifestyle can be an effective strategy for managing allergies. It’s best to use these in their most natural form, whether incorporating them into your diet or supplements. Consistency is key, and regular consumption, under a healthcare professional’s guidance, can help you achieve optimal benefits. Always listen to your body and adjust dosages as necessary, as everyone’s response to these natural antihistamines will vary.

The Power of Foods as Natural Antihistamines

Foods can serve as natural antihistamines due to the nutrients they carry. Quercetin-rich foods like apples, berries, and red onions inhibit histamine release, while pineapple, rich in bromelain, acts as a nasal decongestant.

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish and walnuts help manage allergies with their anti-inflammatory effects. Vitamin C-rich foods, including citrus fruits, berries, and bell peppers, lower histamine production, providing allergy relief. Thus, a diet inclusive of these foods is a natural strategy for allergy management.

Lifestyle Changes to Support You During Allergy Season

Lifestyle changes can significantly influence your body’s response during allergy season. Our lifestyle choices can affect histamine levels, with regular physical activity acting as a natural antihistamine. Movement can help regulate the immune system, keeping allergic reactions at bay. Moreover, stress reduction plays a crucial role in managing allergies.

Stress can trigger an increase in histamine production, exacerbating allergy symptoms. By practicing stress management techniques like mindfulness and yoga, we can regulate our nervous system, thereby reducing histamine production. Thus, adopting a healthy lifestyle involving regular physical activity and stress management can be an effective strategy for handling allergies.

FAQs about Natural Antihistamines

Q: How quickly do natural antihistamines work?

A: The effects of natural antihistamines vary from person to person and depend on the severity of the symptoms. Some may notice improvements within hours, while others might take a few days.

Q: Can natural antihistamines cause side effects?

A: While natural antihistamines are generally safe, they can occasionally cause side effects like stomach upset or headaches. Always start with small doses to see how your body reacts.

Q: Are natural antihistamines safe for children and pregnant women?

A: Most natural antihistamines are safe for children and pregnant women; however, it’s always best to consult a healthcare provider first.

Q: Can natural antihistamines replace over-the-counter medications?

A: Natural antihistamines can be an alternative to over-the-counter medications for some people, but it’s important to discuss this with your doctor before making any changes.

Q: Should I see a doctor about my allergies?

A: If your allergy symptoms are severe or not improving with treatment, it’s advisable to seek medical advice.

Conclusion

In conclusion, natural antihistamines in certain foods and herbs offer a promising approach to managing allergies. Nutrients like quercetin, bromelain, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin C help inhibit histamine release and alleviate allergy symptoms. Regular physical activity and stress management also play crucial roles in regulating the immune response during allergy season.

While these options can be effective, it’s important to remember that individual responses may vary. Therefore, exploring the power of natural antihistamines should be done under the supervision of a healthcare provider to ensure safety and effectiveness. With the right guidance, these natural remedies could be a beneficial addition to your allergy management toolkit.

REFERENCES:

[1] Ghalibaf MHE, Kianian F, Beigoli S, Behrouz S, Marefati N, Boskabady M, Boskabady MH. The effects of vitamin C on respiratory, allergic and immunological diseases: an experimental and clinical-based review. Inflammopharmacology. 2023 Apr;31(2):653-672. doi: 10.1007/s10787-023-01169-1. Epub 2023 Feb 27. PMID: 36849854; PMCID: PMC9970132.

[2] Braun JM, Schneider B, Beuth HJ. Therapeutic use, efficiency and safety of the proteolytic pineapple enzyme Bromelain-POS in children with acute sinusitis in Germany. In Vivo. 2005 Mar-Apr;19(2):417-21. PMID: 15796206.

[3] Mlcek J, Jurikova T, Skrovankova S, Sochor J. Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response. Molecules. 2016 May 12;21(5):623. doi: 10.3390/molecules21050623. PMID: 27187333; PMCID: PMC6273625.

[4] Işik H, Cevikbaş A, Gürer US, Kiran B, Uresin Y, Rayaman P, Rayaman E, Gürbüz B, Büyüköztürk S. Potential adjuvant effects of Nigella sativa seeds to improve specific immunotherapy in allergic rhinitis patients. Med Princ Pract. 2010;19(3):206-11. doi: 10.1159/000285289. Epub 2010 Mar 29. PMID: 20357504.

[5] Badar VA, Thawani VR, Wakode PT, Shrivastava MP, Gharpure KJ, Hingorani LL, Khiyani RM. Efficacy of Tinospora cordifolia in allergic rhinitis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 15;96(3):445-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.09.034. Epub 2004 Nov 23. PMID: 15619563.

[6] Nourollahian M, Rasoulian B, Gafari A, Anoushiravani M, Jabari F, Bakhshaee M. Clinical comparison of the efficacy of spirulina platensis and cetirizine for treatment of allergic rhinitis. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2020 Jun;40(3):224-229. doi: 10.14639/0392-100X-N0139. PMID: 32773785; PMCID: PMC7416373.

[7] Cingi C, Conk-Dalay M, Cakli H, Bal C. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Oct;265(10):1219-23. doi: 10.1007/s00405-008-0642-8. Epub 2008 Mar 15. PMID: 18343939.

[8] Mittman P. Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Med. 1990 Feb;56(1):44-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-960881. PMID: 2192379.

[9] Matkovic Z, Zivkovic V, Korica M, Plavec D, Pecanic S, Tudoric N. Efficacy and safety of Astragalus membranaceus in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):175-81. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2877. PMID: 19504468.

[10] Jackson CM, Lee DK, Lipworth BJ. The effects of butterbur on the histamine and allergen cutaneous response. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2004 Feb;92(2):250-4. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)61556-6. PMID: 14989395.

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Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler has dedicated 20+ years to serving patients, first to a small number of individuals as a successful surgeon and then to thousands of people worldwide as the CEO of a digital health startup. After overcoming her own struggles with a dysregulated nervous system, she created Heal Your Nervous System (HYNS) to empower others in their healing journey. Her combination of neuroscience and somatic work helps those struggling with overwhelm, trauma, burnout, and anxiety to heal their dysregulated nervous systems and thrive.