Histamine, Natural Antihistamines & Herbs

What is Histamine

Histamine is defined as a chemical compound that our cells release in response to injury, immune responses when there is an allergic reaction, inflammation and chemical exposure. Histamine also helps regulate the gut. Non-mast cell histamine also acts as a neurotransmitter in our nervous system. Basophil and mast cell histamine, once released, cause the contraction of smooth muscles as well as dilation of capillaries. In this function, it is mostly an immunologic reaction.

Histamine has a protective action in the body. One of the main actions is to correct shortages of potassium, salt and water. Histamine and its 5 helpers, work to maintain homeostasis in our bodies. Homeostasis is another word for balance.

Histamine is produced in specialized cells in the body known as mast cells. Also, one type of whit blood cell called basophils produce histamine.

How Do Antihistamines Work

Antihistamines block the action of histamine.

Your mast cells leak the histamine into the cells and subsequently into our surrounding tissues and into the blood. This is the precursor of inflammation. Antihistamines are given with the thinking that inflammation is bad, eliminating inflammation is good.

Antihistamines help stop the action of histamine at receptors in our skin, nose, blood vessels and airways. But this is an oversimplification.

Three Functions of Histamine:

Histamine working as a neurotransmitter, among other things, is responsible for our sleep. It is believed to be part of the mechanism that causes us to forget memories and learning. Is it any wonder that a side effect of antihistamine use is memory disturbance?

Histamine in our gut helps with the production and stopping the production of acid for digestion. Why would we want to tell our gut to stop doing what it is supposed to do?

Finally, histamine has a protective response, the inflammation. This is in reality, a cry for water. It should also be noted that histamine is implicated in Multiple Sclerosis.

Commonalities Of Histamines in the Body

The one main commonality of the various histamines is prompting us to hydrate and inner body water redistribution. We do not store water in our bodies.

Should We Use Chemical (Drug) Antihistamines?

The late Dr. Batmanghelidj worked on the theory that the current thinking of antihistamine was wrong. Histamine, he pointed out based on research, can be overproduced due to the exposure of too much of something we are consuming or may be exposed to. When exposed, histamine signals for water intake or for transferring water from a place of abundance to a place of lack.

The natural histamine response is one of our bodies cries for water, salt or both. Why not fix it with a natural antihistamine.

When we use chemical or drug antihistamines, all that is happening is a covering over of the bodies water shortage and the need for salt and water.

The Best Natural Antihistamine: Salt

What do wild animals turn when they have congestion or runny noses? The fact they don’t often have health problems like humans should clue us in. Animals get their salt (natural antihistamine) from certain foods other sources. Have you ever noticed deer grazing on grass by the side of the highway. No doubt it is for the extra salt they get from the roads in the winter.

The first thing you will get on admission to the hospital is usually a saline IV. Our cells, everyone of them, needs both water and salt to maintain health. Only drinking water can actually cause harm to our heart. When we only drink water, the sympathetic nervous system is constantly stimulated, which prematurely ages our heart.

Why are we told to cut down on salt? Why not drink more water? The key, drinking plain water. While too much salt is bad, not having enough plain water is worse. Water helps wash out the excess salt.

A related problem is the substitution of sweetened drinks and juices for thirst and not water. What do all animals, wild and domestic drink? Water. Yet they rarely get the diseases humans do.

ALLERGIES

Are you among the many seasonal allergy sufferers each year? Are you tired of the negative side effects many over-the-counter antihistamines provide? Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that can provide relief without inducing drowsiness, dizziness, or headaches — symptoms usually accompanied by most conventional approaches. Most natural antihistamines help to deter symptoms associated with an overactive immune system. They may also help quiet allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, sinus congestion, and difficulty breathing. Or, they may simply respond to a histamine reaction resulting from exposure to a specific allergen.

Allergies and reactions that could require Natural Antihistamines

  • hay fever.
  • allergic reactions to insect bites or stings.
  • mild allergic reactions to food allergies.
  • atopic eczema – a common allergic skin condition.
  • nettle rash and hives.
  • allergic rhinitis – inflammation of the nasal passages.
  • allergic inflammation of the eyes or conjunctivitis.

How do antihistamines work?

  • They inhibit the actions of histamine which is a substance released when the body reacts to a foreign substance (known as an allergen).
  • The antihistamine blocks the histamine from attaching to histamine receptors, thereby reducing itching, inflammation, colds and coughs, stomach cramps and other symptoms of reactions to foods, or insect bites and stings.

Side effects of chemical antihistimines.

Anti-histimines, you might be interested to know, are also one of the main ingredients in motion sickness pills, cough syrup and sleeping pills.

Some of the main side effects of the chemical versions are:

  • drowsiness
  • slow reaction time
  • difficulty concentrating

Natural antihistamine herbs

The following herbs have many benefits and beneficial medicinal properties coupled with their antihistamine qualities.

elderberry-and-influenzaElderberry is a European folk remedy typically used for supporting health during bouts of the cold and flu. However, there is evidence that the active ingredients in elderberry also support the sinuses by discouraging swelling of the mucous membranes. [1]This benefit makes elderberry an excellent tool for supporting health while combating seasonal allergy symptoms. It naturally protects defenses by keeping bacteria in check, and it has also been used to deter sinusitis and nasal congestion. [2] It is usually found over the counter in health food stores as a liquid syrup.

eyebrightEyebright is a flowering herb that has been used to support eye health since the Middle Ages. There is very little scientific evidence to date to support the herb’s use as a natural antihistamine; yet, the existing data does provide promising insight into the herb’s powerful benefits. Eyebright contains high levels of antioxidants [3] which may be used to support eye health, and the plant itself has been said to combat dry eyes, allergies, sinusitis, conjunctivitis, and other eye infections. [4] It can be taken as an herbal tea or combined with water and used as an eyewash.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAGinkgo biloba is a Chinese herb that is often associated with mental alertness and memory support. [5] However, it is actually a versatile herb that can be used for a variety of conditions, including glaucoma, bronchitis, asthma, [6] seasonal allergies, [7] tinnitus, and poor blood circulation. Some references also describe ginkgo as a natural antihistamine. It is considered a tonic herb in Ayurveda, meaning it helps restore balance in the body.

Impatiens_capensis-FJewelweed has been used for centuries by Native Americans as a natural approach to poison ivy. The allergic response generated by poison ivy is what is known as a histamine reaction. [8] The natural chemical constituents of jewelweed appear to act much like corticosteroids, compounds that inhibit or “block” this histamine reaction. This may also apply to other histamine reactions, such as those that occur with contact dermatitis and bee stings. Ttry this herb as a home remedy for ringworm

Stinging nettle may sound painful, but it’s actually considered a wonderful health-supporting herb. Nettle has natural histamine-blocking properties which are especially beneficial for seasonal allergies. [9] Historically, stinging nettle has been used for sore joints and gout as well as eczema and hay fever. Current research, however, has yet to support this ancient use. Nettles, is well known for its relief of arthritis and as a diuretic to rid the body of excessive water.

Evening Primrose, which is also rich in potassium, magnesium and iron.

Parsley, which is also a popular herb for a home remedy for psoriasis.

Ginger, for nausea and for high blood pressure.

Chamomile, which also relaxes the nervous system and helps with insomnia.

Saffron a wonderful herb for any stomach ailments as well as been a natural antihistamine.

Anise, makes a very nice infusion which can be used for a day long breath freshener.

Fennel, a highly aromatic and flavorful herb which can be used to get rid of fleas when used as a powder around your domestic animals’ beds.

Caraway, which is also useful for a natural aid to relief of colic.

Cardamon, another natural anti-histamine herb, and this one can also be used for relief of colic.

Basil not only has natural antihistamine properties but can also be used for home remedies for hair loss.

Echinacea – an effective sinus infection herbal remedy.

Warning: People who are allergic to ragweed can also cross-react to Echinacea.

Thyme, a herb which can help with candida or thrush as well as for problem skins.


References:

  1. Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD. Elderberry. UMM. Fact Sheet. January 11, 2012.
  2. Uncini Manganelli RE, Zaccaro L, Tomei PE. Antiviral activity in vitro of Urtica dioica L., Parietaria diffusa M. et K. and Sambucus nigra L. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2005 April 26;98(3):323-7.
  3. Blazicus B, Alberti A, Kery A. Antioxidant activity of different phenolic fractions separated from Euphrasia rostkoviana Hayne. Acta Pharmaceutica Hungarica. 2009;79(1):11-6.
  4. Stoss M, Michels C, Peter E, Beutke R, Gorter RW. Prospective cohort trial of Euphrasia single-dose eye drops in conjunctivitis. Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine. 2000 December;6(6):499-508.
  5. S. Mahadevan and Y. Park. Multifaceted Therapeutic Benefits of Ginkgo biloba L.: Chemistry, Efficacy, Safety, and Uses. Journal of Food Science. Volume 73, Issue 1, pages R14-R19, January/February 2008. DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00597.x.
  6. Tang Y, Xu Y, Xiong S, Ni W, Chen S, Gao B, Ye T, Cao Y, Du C. The effect of Ginkgo Biloba extract on the expression on the expression of PKCalpha in the inflammatory cells and the level of IL-5 in induced sputum of asthmatic patients.Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology – Medical Sciences. 2007 August;27(4):375-80.
  7. Russo V, Stella A, Appezzati L, Barone A, Stagni E, Roszkowska A, Delle Noci N.Clinical efficacy of a Ginkgo biloba extract in the topical treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. European Journal of Ophthalmology. 2009 May-June;19(3):331-6.
  8. Iwaoka E, Oku H, Iinuma M, Ishiguro K. Allergy-preventive effects of the flowers of Impatiens textori. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 2010;33(4):714-6.
  9. Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael M, Alberte RS. Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Phytotherapy Research. 2009 July;23(7):920-6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2763.

Are you among the many seasonal allergy sufferers each year? Are you tired of the negative side effects many over-the-counter antihistamines provide? Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that can provide relief without inducing drowsiness, dizziness, or headaches — symptoms usually accompanied by most conventional approaches. Most natural antihistamines help to deter symptoms associated with an overactive immune system. They may also help quiet allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, sinus congestion, and difficulty breathing. Or, they may simply respond to a histamine reaction resulting from exposure to a specific allergen.

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