Histamine is a protein that triggers allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and an itchy throat. Over-the-counter and prescription are effective at relieving symptoms, but can cause side effects, such as drowsiness and nausea.

As a result, some people want to try natural alternatives.

Here are five natural antihistamines that can be used to minimize side effects.

  1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C boosts the immune system. 

Because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, vitamin C can act as a treatment for allergies.

They also report that vitamin C deficiency can lead to allergy-related illnesses.

Another study from 2000 suggested taking 2 grams (g) of vitamin C daily to act as an antihistamine.

Vitamin C is present in many fruits and vegetables, including: bell peppers, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, citrus fruits, kiwifruit, strawberries, tomato and tomato juice, winter squash.

  1. Butterbur

Butterbur is a plant extract from a shrub that grows in Asia, Europe and parts of North America.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), butterbur may have antihistamine effects.

A 2007 review of 16 randomized controlled trials, testing 10 herbal products, showed that butterbur could be an effective herbal treatment for fever.

This review shows that butterbur is better than placebo, or just as effective as antihistamine drugs, at relieving allergy symptoms.

However, the review authors pointed out that some of the large studies received funding from industrial producers, so further independent research was needed.

Most people tolerate butterbur well, but it can cause side effects such as: difficulty breathing, diarrhea, drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, and itchy eyes.

Butterbur extracts that do not contain this substance are available. 

Plant extracts can also cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies.

  1. Bromelain

Pineapple juice contains the anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain.

Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and nucleus and is also available as a supplement.

Bromelain is a popular natural remedy for swelling or inflammation, especially of the sinuses and after injury or surgery.

Research on mice has shown that bromelain may reduce allergic sensitivity and allergic airway diseases thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties.

In some people, oral bromelain supplementation can cause adverse reactions such as: menstrual changes, indigestion, and increased heart rate.

  1. Probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms that may offer health benefits by helping the body maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria.

Probiotics can boost a person’s immune system, which can help the body fight allergies.

The NCCIH says the evidence for probiotics is mixed and that some probiotics may help while others may not.

  1. Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavonoid antioxidant found in many plants and foods.

Research shows that adding quercetin to your diet can help relieve allergy symptoms.

Research reports that quercetin can have antiallergic and natural antihistamines properties.

In an animal study, researchers found that quercetin could reduce the respiratory effect of allergies in mice by lowering airway inflammation.

However, taking quercetin supplements will work better in the treatment of allergies than consuming foods that contain it.

This is because foods contain much lower levels of flavonoids.

Quercetin is generally safe for most people. This can cause headaches and tingling in the arms and legs of some people.

Very high doses, especially when taken long term, can cause kidney damage.

Other natural remedies

Alternative allergy treatments

If natural antihistamines don’t reduce a person’s allergy symptoms, they may need to find other alternatives.

Other methods of treating and preventing allergy symptoms include:

Avoiding allergens

Allergy avoidance is usually the first line of defense against symptoms.

Try to identify allergens, which could be pollen, pet dander, or mold spores, and reduce exposure as much as possible.

Treatment

Allergy shots may be useful for people with severe allergies.

Allergy medications can cause the immune system’s reaction to the allergen to calm down. 

Antihistamines can reduce symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and sinus pressure.

Immunotherapy

During immunotherapy, a health care professional will give a person a series of injections containing small amounts of allergens.

This treatment can last for several years and aims to make the body less sensitive to allergens.

For people with pollen allergies, a doctor may recommend sublingual immunotherapy. This involves placing the tablet under the tongue until it dissolves.

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