Allergies Bothering You? Natural Antihistamines!

Little Girl Sneezing Due to Allergies by Flowers

Ugh! The weather outside is beautiful – the sun is shining, the trees are blooming and the air finally feels tolerably warm. So why do I find myself suffering? The answer is – seasonal allergies.

I got the telltale itchy eyes a few weeks ago, and since then they’ve threatened to get worse. I knew a few other people, too, with this problem, so I decided to do a little investigation into the field of natural antihistamines. Because who wants to keep popping pharmaceutical products that make you feel drowsy and unable to function? If you have to work or be alert, that can seem almost as bad as the annoying allergy itself!

An antihistamine can be used to treat allergies and cold symptoms that involve inflammation. When your body encounters agents to which it’s sensitive, like pollen or pet dander, it releases histamine to try to fight it off. Unfortunately, in trying to protect the body from invaders like bacteria, histamine can cause an even more annoying side effect of puffy eyes, runny nose, and constant sneezing. And this season has me feeling it. So I compiled a little list, and here it is: a few natural antihistamines to choose from and check out.

Vitamin C

I’m always singing the praises of this all-around immune system helper, but vitamin C acts, among other things, as a natural antihistamine, so it can only be of help during allergy season. You can’t really take too much of it as excess is flushed out, so adding an extra C supplement is not a bad idea to offer your body all the vitamin C that it can use to fight the allergy. On the contrary, though, a deficiency in C levels can send your allergy responses through the roof. You should take at least 2000 milligrams a day for it to be effective therapeutically.

Butterbur

According to a 2005 study, butterbur can be as effective as an over-the-counter antihistamine in reducing allergy symptoms. However, it’s best to take a butterbur supplement prepared by a laboratory, because the stems of the wild plant contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can be toxic to the liver. Butterbur is also helpful in the long-term prevention of migraines.

Mangosteen

This is considered a “superfruit,” but unless you get fresh mangosteen, it’s probably useless against your allergic rhinitis, as many of the micronutrients will be leached out by the time mangosteen makes it to juice form.

Stinging Nettle

This common plant grows almost worldwide, and its leaves can be used to make an antihistamine infusion to lessen the symptoms of allergy.

Spirulina

A type of blue-green algae that’s a popular supplement in whole fruit and vegetable smoothies, spirulina may also have antihistamine properties in that it blocks the release of histamines altogether. It may be better preventatively, but if you’re already suffering from allergies, it can’t hurt to add spirulina to your next juice drink.

Other good things to add to your diet during allergy season are honey, garlic, and onion — all of these have strong antibacterial effects and function as boosters of the immune system.

 

Maria (Niina) PollariMaria (Niina) Pollari is a poet, editor, writer and translator. She wrote two chapbooks, Fabulous Essential (2009) and Book Four (2011). Pollari’s writing has been featured in numerous literary journals as well as the Brooklyn Rail and Jezebel.com. She has received her Master’s in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks so much for these tips! I have bad allergies and often the antihistamines simply don’t work after a while, or cause their own set of problems.
    I never considered the fact their might actually be natural remedies to help!
    One thing that might ease allergy symptoms , is fish oil (omega 3 and 6) which has anti-inflammatory properties, amongst other health benefits (improving ldl to hdl fat ratios in your blood, reducing cholesterol, improved memory function). Also liquorice which boosts your natural adrenal output (cortisol) which reduces your inflammation – don’t take it every day though as it acts as a mild laxative :)

  2. Raechelle Ripley says

    I tell you, I’ve been looking everywhere for straight answers to fighting allergies. I finally found it on your site! Thank You. All of this makes so much sense. All I kept hearing from the doctors was that allergies were largely due to a low immune system, so, naturally, I thought “if this is so, wouldn’t it stand to reason to then try to boost my immune system, instead of taking some drug that makes me feel like crap?” I believe that God provided everything that our bodies need to be healthy right here on earth…in nature! So, again, thank you so much for taking the time to share with those of us who have been searching for something better!

  3. Maria Pollari says

    Dan and Raechelle, thanks for commenting and for reading. Dan, the fish oil tip is a good idea. Raechelle, I agree with what you’re saying — our bodies are fantastic, efficient machines, and if we give them the right fuel they are capable of wonders. Plus all medicine has its origin in nature, so it stands to reason, as you say!

  4. Carol says

    Another good remedy is locally produced honey. One or two teaspoons a day (straight is better, but also works in tea or coffee) seem to immunize you against hayfever-type symptoms. Don’t really know the science behind it, but it works — give it a week or two.

  5. says

    Mangosteen. This is considered a “superfruit,” but unless you get fresh mangosteen, it’s probably useless against your allergic rhinitis

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