Allergies affect millions of people worldwide, causing symptoms such as sneezes, runny noses, itchy eyes, hives, asthma, and hay fever. Seasonal allergies brought on by pollen can be a nightmare, but did you know that there are natural remedies for allergy relief?
What Are Natural Antihistamines?
Table of Contents
Various foods, herbs, and essential minerals can provide help if you suffer with hay fever and allergies. Substances naturally occurring in certain foods and herbal supplements can help to reduce allergy symptoms and they work by blocking or reducing the amount of histamine released by your body during an allergic reaction. Other substances such as certain vitamins have an antioxidant effect which helps prevent or lessen the misery of allergies by reducing or eliminating the damaging effect of free radicals.
Advantages of Natural Antihistamines
Unlike pharmaceutical histamine blockers, natural antihistamines are free from side effects. They don’t cause drowsiness, blurred vision or the dry mouth so commonly experienced when taking over-the-counter allergy medications. They also provide a general antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body.
How Natural Antihistamines Work
Natural antihistamines work by keeping the immune system healthy, reducing inflammation, and interrupting the connection between allergies and inflammation. This brings great relief if you are struggling with seasonal allergies or if you have chronic allergic reactions to various things such as pet hair, house dust mites, mould spores, or pollution fumes.
Most Common Allergies
Many people suffer with allergic reactions to many things which are encountered during everyday life, these include:
- Insect stings from mosquitos, bees and wasps
- Bites from fleas that plague pets will happily jump ship
- Tree and grass pollen
- Pollen from farm crops such as oilseed rape
- House dust mites
- Mould spores
- Foods, such as peanuts, milk, gluten, eggs, sulphur in wine, fructose
- Animal hair and saliva, especially from house pets such as cats and dogs
- Certain medications
The usual symptoms of allergy include:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Sore and itchy eyes
- Pain around your cheeks, eyes and forehead
- Coughing and wheezing
- Itchy skin and a raised rash (hives)
- Sickness and diarrhoea
- Swollen eyes, lips, mouth or throat
Your GP can arrange for you to have some tests to see if what you are experiencing is due to an allergy. These tests may include a skin prick or patch test, and blood tests. In the case of food allergy, an elimination diet where you avoid certain foods to see if your symptoms improve is often sufficient to spot the culprit, but more stringent testing is available.
Serious Allergic Reactions
It’s important that you don’t use home remedies to treat severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis. These types of allergies will present with the following symptoms and should always be referred to a doctor for treatment and symptom management:
- Breathing difficulty
- Tightness in chest
- Pain in chest
- Blood pressure changes
- Dizziness and/or fainting
If you have these symptoms, you need to seek immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening without prompt treatment.
Often these allergic reactions arise if you are seriously allergic to such things as wasp or bee stings, peanuts, and shellfish. Once your allergy is confirmed you may be given an adrenaline auto-injector known as an EpiPen. The EpiPen should be always kept near you. Medical advice should always be sought and followed in the case of severe allergic reaction.
Top Natural Antihistamines
For less severe but still very debilitating allergies there are certain natural substances and supplements available to help you manage your symptoms and bring relief:
In 2015 a review was published citing 23 studies indicating that probiotics may help with the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Allergies most studied are those related to respiratory issues such as asthma, but atopic dermatitis and food allergies have also been the subject of research, showing a beneficial effect from the use of probiotics to ease inflammation due to the presence of allergens. The main probiotics used in studies were a mixture of Bifidobacterium, and Lactobacillus.
Fermented foods which naturally contain probiotics, or those which may have had probiotics added, include sourdough bread, yogurt, cottage cheese, buttermilk, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, and cider vinegar.
It is possible to take a probiotic supplement to ensure you are getting the correct balance of probiotics to keep your system strong and healthy. One capsule per day of our supplement, Probiotic Gold, contains 20 billion colony-forming units of the most beneficial bacteria to keep your body functioning at its optimal level. The probiotics have a protective effect against harmful bacteria which can cause illness and allow allergies to take hold.
Asthma is often triggered by allergies, including allergic rhinitis. Research has verified that vitamin A helps by decreasing the severity of inflammatory responses in allergic rhinitis and asthma. It also helps control the triggers for other diseases caused by allergens. It has been recommended by medical scientists that those suffering from allergic reactions should be routinely monitored for vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin C is the top vitamin for boosting the immune system and it also performs well as a natural antihistamine. A study carried out in 2018 on the treatment of allergies, found that oxidative stress plays a major role in allergic diseases so when targeting the source of allergies, oxidative stress is one of the main problems to be addressed. As vitamin C is a key antioxidant it can prevent excessive inflammation from allergic reactions and respiratory issues, without reducing the capacity of the immune system to fight off pathogens.
The way vitamin C works against oxidative damage is by directly scavenging and detoxifying free radicals. It helps further by reactivating other antioxidants such as vitamin E which then further reduce free-radical damage.
Vitamin C occurs naturally in many wholefoods such as citrus fruits, peppers, blackcurrants, strawberries, cruciferous vegetables, brussels sprouts and potatoes.
Many people choose to supplement their diet with vitamin C at times when they are fighting infection. It is also a way of ensuring that you are getting sufficient vitamin C to meet your body’s needs. Our Wholefood Vitamin C capsules contain 200mg of natural vitamin C along with naturally occurring bioflavonoids.
Many types of allergies, including asthma, rhinitis, food allergies, eczema and anaphylaxis have increased over the past few decades and researchers suspect that this may be partly due to vitamin D deficiency. This possibility is supported by evidence that food allergies are more prevalent in areas exposed to limited amounts of sunshine.
Research has found that vitamin D can trigger certain regulatory immune system cells that prevent the release of those chemicals causing allergic diseases. This means that in cases of vitamin D deficiency, the regulatory mechanism may be inhibited, allowing allergies to get a foothold.
Several studies have found that vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly common. This is not necessarily to the extent where bone health is compromised (such as in cases of rickets), but more to the detriment of the immune system.
Because vitamin D is naturally produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight, it is thought that the main reason for modern-day vitamin D deficiency is due to lifestyle habits that include a great deal of time spent indoors with limited sunlight exposure. Another factor is the necessary use of sunscreen to avoid the risk of melanoma.
When considering the causes of vitamin D deficiency, diet is another explanation. Vitamin D only occurs naturally in a limited number of foods such as oily fish, cod liver oil, and egg yolks. Many foods are fortified with vitamin D, and these include breakfast cereals, milk and other dairy products but despite these fortifications, the amounts consumed are not usually sufficient to provide sufficiently high levels of vitamin D without the addition of adequate sunlight.
It is possible to take vitamin D as a supplement which is available in various forms, vitamin D3 being the most bioavailable. Read more about our Wholefood Vitamin D3 supplement.
Known to contain a natural antihistamine which can help in the treatment of certain allergic reactions, nettle has been successfully used in folk medicine for centuries to ease symptoms.
Our Holly Botanic Cleanse tisanes contains nettle as well as other herbs designed to detox the body and support the lymphatic system which can be need additional support when suffering with an allergy.
An essential trace mineral which is needed by the body for various functions within the body. It occurs naturally in certain foods such as fish, poultry, crab, and wheat. It is also in the soil and water. The amounts of selenium in the soil varies depending upon location and soil quality so foods grown in different soils will contain differing levels of the mineral.
Research has found that children with food allergies had significantly lower concentrations of selenium and a weakened antioxidative barrier.
These findings suggested the need for a programme of monitoring trace elements of selenium in the diet of children with food allergies.
See our Multivitamin and Minerals (Wholefood) supplement which contains the recommended amount of selenium as well as other vitamins and minerals vital to boost immunity as well as protect against, and relieve allergy symptoms.
Bromelain is an enzyme found in fruits such as papaya and pineapple. It has been found to be effective at improving breathing by alleviating swelling.
A popular choice for helping to reduce allergy symptoms. Quercetin is contained in citrus fruit, green vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. Green tea is also a good source of quercetin.
We supply a supplement called Trans-Resveratrol and Quercetin. Both compounds are highly antioxidant, helping to fight inflammation and reducing free radical damage.
The active ingredient of the turmeric root is called curcumin and clinical trials have found it to be one of the most antioxidant and anti-inflammatory natural compounds. Trial results into curcumin for reducing allergy symptoms, particularly asthma, have shown a marked inhibition of allergic response.
The results of a 2016 trial involving 241 participants with perennial allergic rhinitis symptoms who received either oral curcumin or a placebo have proven extremely positive. The trial took place over the course of two months and showed that those subjects who received curcumin had greatly reduced signs of sneezing, runny nose and less nasal congestion. It was concluded that symptoms were reduced by approximately 70 percent and the benefits carried on after the end of the trial.
Our supplement, Curcumin (Turmeric extract) with Black Pepper extract, has the addition of black pepper to help the body absorb the curcumin more effectively.
Known as the miracle tree, the health benefits gleaned from the moringa tree have been heralded by ancient medicine for centuries. It has now been found that moringa is rich in antihistamine polyphenols, flavonoids and antioxidants. It also contains Omega-3 which is a potent anti-inflammatory.
In a study entitled investigation into the mechanism of action of Moringa Oleifera for its anti-asthmatic activity, the findings were that Moringa has properties which act as bronco dilators, increasing airflow to the lungs by decreasing resistance in the airways. It also helps control allergic disorders by blocking the release of histamine. Moringa has anti-inflammatory activity comparable to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the very undesirable side effects of pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory products which invariably cause digestive upsets such as reflux, heartburn and stomach bleeding.
Our Moringa Leaf Extract Capsules supplement contains 18 amino acids, including all 9 essential ones. It is high in vitamins minerals and antioxidants.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae classed as a superfood due to its richness in vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
A 2020 study concluded a highly positive effect from taking dietary spirulina for protection against allergic rhinitis. It was found that spirulina out-performs over-the-counter allergy medication in easing allergic rhinitis, and has the added benefit of containing high levels of proteins, essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, micro and macro minerals, vitamins and polysaccharides, so offers many benefit needed for good health.
We offer a high-quality Hawaiian Spirulina in easy to swallow tablet form.
May be taken in its fresh form as an ingredient in many dishes and drinks. Research has found that treatment of allergic rhinitis with ginger favourably compares with that of the pharmaceutical drug Loratadine, but without side effects. Read more about ginger in our blog.
A study from 1998 found that peppermint oil used in diffusers could provide sufficient anti-inflammatory effect to reduce the symptoms of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis. NOTE: it is fine to use pure peppermint oil in a diffuser but if applying it to the skin it must be diluted in a carrier oil. Essential oils should also not be ingested.
It is a popular belief that adding eucalyptus oil to your washing cycle during allergy season can act as an antimicrobial agent.
There is no scientific proof at this stage that locally produced honey is effective against hay fever but it’s a popular theory amongst many who have felt that their symptoms have been eased by eating honey made by bees foraging on pollen from local grasslands, tree blossom, wildflowers, and even crops of oilseed rape. It is widely believed that if you regularly eat the honey collected in your area it will lower your allergic reaction.
Additional Options for Allergy Relief
There are a few things you can do at home to help with air quality. You may also like to try certain alternative health therapies to ease your symptoms:
- Air Filters – Various types of air filter are available, but a high-efficiency particulate filter is one which traps irritants such as dust, pollen, and pet dander. This can help greatly with a variety of allergies.
- Dehumidifiers – If you suspect that there is damp in your home or have noticed signs of mould or mildew growth, you may be surprised to know how much this can impact on your health and cause the development of allergies. Researching the best kind of dehumidifier for your situation may prove to be time and money well spent.
- Acupuncture – This is an ancient Chinese therapy which many people find extremely beneficial for a wide range of ailments. A 2015 review of 13 research studies found that acupuncture resulted in positive results for hay fever and for those suffering with the type of allergic rhinitis which is not caused by pollen.
Lifestyle Choices for Allergy Relief
- Avoid Allergens
- One of the primary factors in avoiding and reducing the effects of allergies include the practice of avoiding the things that you are allergic to wherever possible. This may sound obvious, but it requires quite a lot of planning and organisation to anticipate and forestall situations that may cause you problems.
- Good Diet
- Following a healthy diet which incorporates anti-inflammatory and probiotic foods can help greatly in avoiding and reducing allergic reactions. This means eating a wholefood diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit and wholegrains, lean meat and fish or legumes and plant proteins. Avoiding processed foods will help, as will a moderate approach to alcohol. This style of eating will help boost and maintain a healthy immune system which is one of the best ways to keep allergies, and food sensitivities at bay.
- Remember to drink enough water so that your body is always well hydrated. It may be helpful to drink a large glass of water with each meal, even if you are having other drinks as well, and get into the habit of keeping either a bottle of water nearby or having a couple of glasses of water in between each meal.
- Fresh Air and Movement
- An active lifestyle where you get plenty of fresh air and restrict the time you spend sitting, will greatly contribute to keeping a strong immune system.
- It is of course a disaster when it comes to any kind of immunity-boosting attempts, and if you have allergies, smoking will make resistance and symptoms much worse.
- Aim to get a good night’s sleep. Whenever possible try to make bedtime the same time each night. Get into a routine that tells your brain that sleep time has arrived. Some people love a warm bath before bed, and this is a good signal to your brain that sleep is imminent. Maybe an open window so the room is cool, and if you like to read before sleep then do so. Research has now concluded that screens in the bedroom with their blue light are not as disastrous as was originally thought, but at least have your phone set so notifications don’t disturb your sleep.
When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can. If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.