This time of year causes a lot of grief for people who have allergies. It’s not just an itchy nose and sneezing, it can disable some people. Of course, we have terrific antihistamines now, and you can buy nationwide. We also have other immunomodulating agents but they come with worse side effects than you might be interested.
I am not opposed to the antihistamines though, if you take them in moderation. But you should also lower your histamine burden through diet. Did you know you could do that?
Many people do not realize that the foods they’re eating contribute to the histamine they liberate in their bodies. It can ultimately cause or contribute to an existing autoimmune condition; that’s how serious your diet can impact your health. If you’d like a free food guide on how to avoid histamine, feel free to download it HERE.
Follow a low histamine diet that eliminates or minimizes certain high histamine foods and calms your body’s inflammation. Incorporate fresh, organic, preferably non-GMO fruits and vegetables, lean meat or seafood, and nuts/seeds. The key to reducing toxic burdens in the body is through the gut, so make sure you feed it well. Here are the 5 best natural antihistamines:
Ginger is not only a histamine blocker, but it is also great for your levels of cytokines, and immune function. Ginger is probably best known for its ability to ward off nausea and soothe stomach aches, however, another important medicinal component of ginger fights inflammation in the bones and joints. You’ll find a small amount of ginger in high-quality formulas for joint support. As for allergies, ginger is easy to use and fast-acting. Shave off the skin of a piece of raw ginger root. Cut a few very thin slices (about a half-inch worth) and simmer this in a pot of water for about 15 minutes. Adding lemon will boost antioxidant power. You can also purchase commercial extracts of ginger, dietary supplements, essential oils for diffusing, and dried herb. I do not think the powdered spice will work as well as the other choices I’ve listed.
This is a natural immune supplement, and deficiencies are known to increase the risk of allergies. It can also make collagen which is needed for a healthy immune response and shortening the duration and/or severity of discomfort. You’ll find vitamin C naturally in citrus fruits, kiwi, bell peppers and squash. You’ll also find a lot of C in strawberries, however, I don’t recommend eating those because strawberries are thought to be a histamine releaser. There are mast cells in the GI tract, and strawberries may cause them to spill histamine and exacerbate your allergic symptoms. That’s also part of the reason I didn’t put them in my Yummy Greens. As for the type of Vitamin C, if you’re using more than say, 100mg per day of C, I’d recommend a naturally derived type of supplement that would offer the C from food or fruit (like oranges, cherries or lemons). However, if you are taking less than 100mg, my opinion is you could use synthetic vitamin C, which you will see on the back of your label as “ascorbic acid.” This type is bio-identical to the body, however, it comes from corn extract and it’s purified in a laboratory. It isn’t squeezed out of an orange like you might think, even though the label will still say Vitamin C.
Quercetin is a naturally-occurring antioxidant found in many fruits, grapes, tea, and especially capers! A lot of scientific research suggests that having quercetin in your diet relieves allergy symptoms because this compound stabilizes mast cells. As a perk, quercetin can improve mood due to the gentle lift in your dopamine and downline catecholamine neurotransmitters. These are “happy” chemicals. People love quercetin! It’s in wine, too, by the way. You can also try supplements if you don’t want to eat too much fruit. With supplementation, it is very easy and affordable, but one note of caution: do not take more than your product label advises because toxic amounts of quercetin can lead to temporary neuropathy and headaches due to the excessive lift in dopamine.
In an animal study, quercetin could reduce breathing and airway problems associated with allergies. It has a drying effect on mucus membranes. Dihydroquercetin is a novel natural form of quercetin, sometimes abbreviated as DHQ or Taxifolin. DHQ acts as a buffering agent against harmful free radicals among other things. DHQ is extracted to make supplements from the Dahurian Larch Tree, not grapes as you might think.
This fresh-tasting herb contains a lot of vitamin C as well as thymol, its major active medicinal component. Thymol has properties that block histamine release from mast cells and can block it at the receptor site. Buy fresh sprigs of thyme at the grocery store, and include a few leaves in your recipes from now on. You can also buy pure essential oil of thyme and have them apply it to your pedicure oil during massage, or you can diffuse it in the air. Some high-quality brands can be taken internally in a capsule. If you are allergic to oregano, you may also be cross-sensitive to thyme.
This is a patented food fermentate made from yeast; it is not yeast. It is sold all by itself by that brand name or in multi-tasking formulas for Immune health.* We know it supports the health of the GI tract which is where your immune system cells are. EpiCor is not an antihistamine and does not treat, prevent, or cure any disease. It simply increases the levels of critically important things such as beneficial bacteria (helping you to make probiotics), butyrate, which is important for immune strength, and secretory IgA which is an immunoglobulin needed for your first line of defense against pathogens/antigens. I put a full dose of this ingredient in my supplement called Immune Script which supports immune function and helps with seasonal discomfort.*
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.