Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS (PART 6): NATURAL ANTIHISTAMINES

ImageFinding the right combination of natural antihistamines and dietary food intake is going to take a bit of time. Please don’t try and fix yourself in one day! Try out a couple of the natural antihistamines for a few days, and see how your body reacts. Make a few substitutions in your diet, and see if you can notice a difference.

It’s all about patience, the willingness to experiment, and most importantly … listening to your body.

from wisegeek.com
A natural antihistamine is a substance found in nature that can fight against histamines in the bloodstream. Antihistamines can treat allergies, colds, and sinus problems by blocking histamines and alleviating symptoms caused by excess histamines in the blood.

Histamines are a defense mechanism used by the body to protect against organisms it views as a threat. When an allergen is encountered, the body releases histamines into the blood to fight against the perceived intruder.

from Healthy Skin Care

Vitamin C
In addition to being a powerful anti-oxidant and immune booster, some studies have shown that high doses of vitamin c can help reduce sensitivity to allergens and reduce inflammation, mucus production, and wheezing. Researchers at Arizona State University indicated that taking 2000mg of vitamin c per day reduces histamine levels in the blood by up to 40%. In order to act as a natural antihistamine the dose is usually greater than 1000mg per day.

(Editor’s Note: Many studies have shown that Vitamin C is an energy booster, so I highly recommend that you don’t take it later than mid-afternoon in order for it not to interfere with your sleep).

ImageQuercitin
is a bioflavonoid. Bioflavonoids are potent nutrients that help maintain the health of collagen in the body. The firmness of the skin is due to collagen and so quercitin plays a role in preventing the anti-aging of skin and more specifically preventing the sagging of skin. Because quercitin and other bioflavonoids aid in improving the health of capillaries, connective tissues, and circulation, they also help treat bruising and varicose veins. Bioflavonoids are powerful antioxidants that also boost immunity and can aid in reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, cataracts, cancer, help to regulate blood sugar, help in respiratory problems such as asthma, and prevent inflammation.

In addition to the above stated benefits, quercitin falls into the group of natural antihistamines that will not cause drowsiness. Quercitin can be very effective in preventing the release of histamine from cells and can be used to treat allergy symptoms such as swollen nasal passages, congestion, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes and nose, and skin conditions such as dermatographism, psoriasis, and eczema. On the other hand, non-natural antihistamines work differently. They do not prevent the release of histamine, but rather they block the action of histamine at receptor sites.

Natural antihistamines such as quercitin can be found in apples, grapefruit and some other citrus fruits, cherries, raspberries, red grapes, yellow and red onions, leafy vegetables, red wine, green tea, black tea, evening primrose, squash, shallots, courgettes and broccoli, blue-green algae, and capsium or “chili peppers”.

Uritca urens is an herb that has been used for many centuries because of its natural antihistamine properties. This herb is a rich source of quercitin.

Quercitin also helps boost the benefits of vitamin c and visa versa and therefore are often taken together.

There is no set dosage for how much quercitin should be taken. Some recommend 1,200mg per day, while others suggest not going over 500mg per day to be absolutely sure of no problems, although no side effects have been reported. Dosages should be discussed with a physician and/or in consultation with a qualified nutritionist.

Bromelain
is an enzyme from pineapples that is an effective natural anti-inflammatory compound. It improves the absorption of quercitin and other bioflavonoids and therefore, natural antihistamine products often contain bromelain as well.

(Editor’s Note: Some companies like NOW Brand have supplements that are a combination of Quercitin and Bromelain).

ImagePycnogenol
also falls into the bioflavonoid group of natural antihistamines. Like quercitin, this bioflavonoid will not make you drowsy and is very effective at preventing the release of histamine from mast cells. Some laboratory studies have shown that this natural antihistamine can block up to 70 per cent of histamine released when an individual is exposed to an allergen.

Pycnogenol is obtained from the extract of the bark of the French maritime pine, which grows in Les Landes in southwest France. Suggested dosage is around 300mg per day.

Many studies have been performed on pycnogenol and have shown that it is very safe. In addition to being one of the very effective natural antihistamines, it also is a powerful antioxidant and helps with a variety of conditions from diabetes to cholesterol control, menstrual disorders, asthma, other skin care problems, etc.

Grape Seed Extract
can be used as a natural antihistamine. The main active component is its high content of proanthocyanidin (OPC or PCO). Proanthocyanidin is found in red, white, and purple grapes, blueberries, cherries, and plums. The PCO is found mainly in the peels, skins, or seeds. Food processing and storage is detrimental to the amount of active proanthocyanidin available.

The PCO bioflavonoid complex can also be found in the barks of the lemon tree and the Landis pine tree, as well as the leaves of the hazelnut tree. The highest known concentration (95 per cent) of the PCO complex is found in purple grape seeds, and the second highest (80-85 per cent) in pine bark.

In addition, it has other benefits for the skin and body as well, such as: use as an anti-inflammatory, improves circulation and therefore good for varicose and spider veins and bruises, promotes healing, restores collagen and elasticity of the skin and thus good for anti-aging of the skin, strengthens weak blood vessels, arthritis, etc.

Dosage is usually 75 to 300mg daily for 3 weeks, then a reduction to a 40 to 80mg daily maintenance dose.

Butterbur (petasites hybridus)
is an herbaceous plant found in Europe and parts of North Africa and Asia. It is a plant with heart shaped leaves that enjoys damp marshy areas and sometimes is referred to as bog rhubarb.

For many years, butterbur was used to treat migraines. Recent research (in 2005) by Swiss and German scientists compared the butterbur extract versus other non-natural antihistamines. The conclusion from the study was that butterbur was as effective as an antihistamine as the other products, but with fewer side effects such as drowsiness.

Extracts from the butterbur plant need to be processed in order to eliminate some of the existing toxic components. This is the main concern about the use of butterbur, although proper processing of the extract would eliminate this problem. Many would like to see more safety information and research being produced before recommending it for long-term use.

Butterbur extracts are not recommended for individuals under 12 years of age, people with kidney or liver problems, or pregnant or lactating women. Consultation with a physician is highly recommended before considering the use of this product.

Green tea
also falls into the group of natural antihistamines. Green tea contains quercitin and catechins, which possess antihistamine properties. Two to three cups of green tea a day is required in order to obtain the antihistamine benefits. Green tea extract supplements are also available.

Honeycomb
can be used as a natural antihistamine. The active component in honeycomb that possesses mild antihistamine properties is propolis.

Simply chew a small square of honeycomb up to three times daily or add honeycomb to tea, etc., instead of sugar.

Magnesium
Natural antihistamines may also include certain minerals. For example, magnesium is one such mineral. Dosage as a supplement is typically in the 400 – 800mg per day range. Certain foods are also good sources of magnesium – plants, grains, meat, and fish. More specifically the top magnesium containing foods are: pumpkin and squash seed kernels, Brazil nuts, bran cereal, halibut, quinoa, spinach, and almonds.

L-Histadine
is an essential amino acid in the body that can prevent excessive histamine production. One or two 500mg capsules three times daily are usually required.

from Allergy Relief Help

Modern Alternative Health

and better nutrition

ImageStinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
has been used for its herbal quality for centuries. Other than being used for allergies, nettle is commonly used for inflammation and water retention. The leaves contain biologically active compounds that reduce inflammation. They can also be used as a diuretic. The leaves have also been used to treat conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease.  The roots contain unique and helpful qualities in similar and different ways from the leaves. Also useful as a diuretic, the root has been known to assist in prostate problems and treatment, including BPH (an enlarged prostate). An infusion of the plant also stems intern bleeding and can be used to lessen and control excessive menstruation.  Similar infusions have also been used to treat hemorrhoids and skin complaints like eczema.

Stinging nettle’s leaf contains a quality that blocks histamine receptors. This quality means that the leaf can function just as a common allergy treatment such as Allegra or Claritin as a histamine blocker but has none of the side effects that those drugs carry.

The best ways to receive the benefits of the plant as a histamine blocker are to either take a supplement or make a nettle infusion. Taking a supplement of freeze dried extract provides you with the best possible option as a supplement – the activity of the leaves are biologically preserved in the freeze drying process. A dosage of 300 mg 2-3 times a day should keep allergies at bay.

Making an infusion of the leaves is also a successful way to treat and prevent allergies, much more effective than a tea. A trip around the web will give you multiple recipes for infusions. Most lead to a recipe of 1 cup of dried leaves to 1 quart of water. Some people recommend boiling the water and then having the leaves steep/set for 8-10 hours. Others recommend using the sun as the heating element for the process. I’m going to start with hot water while the temperatures are still unpredictable and then move to sun steeping once spring is solidly here. (I am also waiting until this little boy is born before I start taking infusions.)

The primary antihistamine herb is STINGING NETTLE, which is one of the most popular herbs among those seeking natural allergy relief.  One study found that it may offer relief to people with hayfever.  Sixty-nine patients completed the study.  Of these 58 percent rated the freeze-dried preparation of stinging nettle effective.  Forty-eight percent said it worked as well or better than their conventional medications.  Typical dosage:  300 mgs. of freeze-dried nettle in capsules two or three times per day.

Some researchers think one of the active components is a bioflavonoid, others think polysaccharides are responsible, still others say lectins deserve the credit. But whatever the final determination of the active ingredients, nettle loses its antiallergy power if not harvested and processed correctly. Look for a high-quality powdered product that has been freeze-dried or specially processed to retain the active ingredients. This special processing costs more, so don’t be seduced by cheap imitations.

Use nettle when you would otherwise use an antihistamine drug to stop your misery. Many people take up to 3,000 mg per day of nettle leaf powder in capsules to relieve the temporary symptoms of hay fever and other allergic reactions, including animal allergies. Symptoms often begin to improve within 15 minutes, and the effect typically lasts for about four hours. The studied dosage is 300 mg twice a day of freeze-dried nettle leaf.

from Cybele Pascal on CybelePascal.com

Flavonoids
such as Quercetin are a group of plant pigments that are largely responsible for the colors of many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine that helps stabilize mast cells to prevent both the manufacture and release of histamine, as well as other allergic and inflammatory compounds. Good sources of Quercetin are citrus fruits, onions, garlic, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, legumes and berries.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
are thought to reduce allergic reactions through their anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in such foods as cold-water fish (think salmon), and walnuts, but since this is a blog devoted to food allergy sufferers, I prefer to recommend you get your Omega-3s from less allergenic sources, such as hemp seeds, flax seed oil, canola oil, and grass-fed meat.

from One Good Thing By Jillee

ImageLavender, Lemon and Peppermint
For a couple of months now I have been dealing with the most random ailments. Things I’ve never dealt with before. But the two most tormenting things have been itching (all over) and swelling in my ankles. No matter WHAT I tried I couldn’t find relief! I would find temporary relief with a few natural remedies for the itching…but since it wasn’t dry skin related they really didn’t last. The swollen ankles were impervious to anything I tried!

UNTIL my sister Rebecca (Camp Wander) recommended I try something new. Through her work and research with essential oils she has become more and more convinced that many chronic medical issues stem from an allergic response our body is having to toxins. Toxins that our bodies are bombarded with every day from our drinking water, to our health and beauty products, to the materials used to build and furnish our homes!

So by following this line of thinking it makes sense that an antihistamine of some sort would help with this allergic reaction. No? YES! And, according to my sister, the combination of Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils can create a powerful all-natural antihistamine. These three oils together can cool down body inflammation resulting from the body’s allergic response.

I’m going to get technical for just a minute…so bear with me. From what I understand, when an allergen of some kind (which could be a myriad of different things) enters the body, something called IGE antibodies begin releasing histamines that trigger an inflammatory response in the body. Cells start to release fluid and SWELL. The exact symptom I was having.

After Rebecca explained all this to me it made so much sense, and I was eager to give it a try! I’ve been taking the LLP combination faithfully since then and have seen an almost COMPLETE elimination of my symptoms. The itching is MUCH better (with just an occasional flare-up) and my ankles are finally back to their normal size and shape! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am about this!

While the typical recommendation for using LLP as an antihistamine is to combine equal parts Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint essential oils with 1 part fractionated coconut oil and rub it on your feet twice a day, my sister suggested I try taking it internally. At first I was a bit worried about this because I know how STRONG those oils are! But then she told me about these “gelatin capsules” (which I found at my local health food store for about 5 bucks) and I was off and running and haven’t looked back! I faithfully fill and swallow 3 capsules a day with 3 drops each of Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint in them. For me, it has made all the difference in the world.

from LiveStrong

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
can be found growing in the woodlands and meadows of many parts of North America. Its gnarled underground root is collected for medicinal use. Goldenseal possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it effective in combating the effects of histamine. Goldenseal has been nicknamed the “cure-all” herb because it can be used for a wide range of ailments, including periodontal problems, eczema, heartburn, infections and painful menstruation. AltMD.com advises only taking goldenseal for short periods — not more than three weeks at time — because it can build up in your tissues and become toxic.

Horny Goat Weed
is a member of the Epimedium genus of plants; in traditional Chinese medicine, it is known as yin yang huo. This herb is native to parts of China and Korea, being used to relieve some of the symptoms caused by the body’s release of histamine. Horny goat weed has some anti-inflammatory properties, which may account for its effectiveness in treating hay fever. Horny goat weed should only be used for a short time, and it should not be used if you are pregnant, nursing, have heart disease or are taking any type of steroids.

Papaya
is very rich in vitamin C; each piece of whole fruit contains more than 300 percent of the recommended daily allowance, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods website. In addition to the antioxidant vitamins, enzymes found in papaya can help regulate inflammatory response in your body. “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook” suggests that eating papaya or drinking its juices may act as an antihistamine and relieve the itching associated with hives.

from Colette Bouchez on WebMD  

ImageAcupuncture
In addition to whatever natural treatments you try on your own, you may also find significant relief visiting a practitioner of the ancient Chinese medical practice known as acupuncture. Based on the idea that stimulating points outside the body can change or initiate reactions inside, in this case treatment is thought to affect the immune system, where allergic reactions begin.

In a small but significant study of 26 hay fever patients published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture reduced symptoms in all 26 — without side effects. A second study of some 72 people totally eliminated symptoms in more than half, with just two treatments.

Acupuncture can be particularly useful if you are suffering from multiple allergies, since it works to quiet the areas of the immune system that are overstimulated by exposure to multiple irritating factors.

from Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac. on acufinder.com

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
is rich in anti-histamine properties. The flowers can be crushed and used as a poultice for inflammatory swelling. Make a tea and drink 2-3 times a day. Chamomile can cause histaminic allergic reactions in some very sensitive people. If this occurs, simply discontinue.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
is a widely used herbal remedy for treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. This purple coneflower has shown to have antihistamine properties.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Hailed the “mushroom of immortality”, one of my favorite natural remedies is Reishi (Ling Zhi). Japanese researchers have found that reishi acts as an antihistamine, making it useful for treating allergies. “Lanostan”, a compound found in reishi, appears to control the release of transmitting chemicals in the body, thereby inhibiting the release of histamine. Since reishi also promotes the adrenal function and immune reaction, it has added effectiveness in controlling the body’s reaction to an allergen.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
is a natural antihistamine, as well as having antiseptic properties to help purge infections. The essential oil has been shown to have antimicrobial activity against a host of different bacteria and fungi.

from Jeanie Lerche Davis on WebMD

ImageTea
is considered a superfood — whether it’s black, green, white, or oolong tea. All those tea types come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The leaves are simply processed differently. Green tea leaves are not fermented; they are withered and steamed. Black tea and oolong tea leaves undergo crushing and fermenting processes.

All teas from the Camellia plant are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that detoxify cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Tea has about eight to 10 times the polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables, according to long-time tea researcher John Weisburger, PhD, senior researcher at the Institute for Cancer Prevention in Valhalla, N.Y.

Studies of humans, animals, and petri-dish experiments show that tea is high beneficial to our health. Research suggests that regular tea drinkers — people who drink two cups or more a day — have less heart disease and stroke, lower total and LDL cholesterol, and recover from heart attacks faster. There’s also evidence that tea may help fight ovarian and breast cancers.

Tea also helps soothe stress and keep us relaxed. One British study found that people who drank black tea were able to de-stress faster than those who drank a fake tea substitute. The tea drinkers had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

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