Allergies can range from annoyances like seasonal allergies brought on by weather or pollen to the life-threatening like some food allergies. They are the sixth most common chronic condition in the United States, afflicting over 50 million Americans in a given year. Allergies can prevent you from living your best life, but they can be easily addressed with over-the-counter medications, specifically steroids and antihistamines.
But synthetic antihistamines sometimes aren’t for everyone. If you are looking for organic alternatives to the treatments you find in drugstores, you may want to consider using natural antihistamines. A lot of plant-derived extracts make excellent homeopathic allergy medicine.
However, you may be wondering how exactly do any type of antihistamines work? Will using natural antihistamines for allergies be effective? Are they safe to use as allergy medication for babies and young children?
Learn the answers to all these questions today.
How Do Antihistamines Work?
Antihistamines do not cure or prevent allergy attacks. Instead, they prevent the symptoms that make allergy attacks unbearable. The most common symptoms of mild allergies such as pollen allergies and seasonal allergies include nasal congestion, lots of mucus, throat irritation and puffy eyes.
You may also break out into hives or skin rashes, even if your allergy isn’t dermal in nature.
What causes all these symptoms are chemicals known as histamines, which are stored in nearly all human cells. They are crucial to the immune system and act as first-responders when your body is under attack. However, they do irritate the skin and other cells in response to an allergen’s presence in your body.
Antihistamines work by suppressing the bodily reactions caused by the release of histamines.
Not all allergies or allergy symptoms can be addressed by antihistamines. They are excellent for superficial symptoms like the ones listed above. But more serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, may require stronger medications, such as epinephrine or even direct medical attention.
Why Use Natural Antihistamines?
You may be wondering why you would use natural antihistamines instead of more conventional drugs you can buy over the counter. The truth is that there are several conditions and circumstances that may make it necessary that you use natural antihistamines for allergies.
Below are some of the most common reasons you may have to rely on stinging nettle extract or bromelain powder the next time your allergies begin acting up.
As strange as it may seem, there are people are allergic to antihistamines. These are extremely rare circumstances and can cause severe symptoms such as anaphylaxis, which means your blood pressure drops and your breathing becomes obstructed, to fixed drug eruption, which causes fever, diarrhea and even pain.
If you have been medically certified to be allergic to synthetic antihistamines, you should talk to your doctor about homeopathic allergy medicines such as plant extracts instead. It’s crucial that you talk to your doctor before using natural antihistamines because you could also be allergic to them.
Your Prefer Natural Treatments
You may have decided to reduce the number of synthetic chemicals that you expose yourself and your loved ones to. Since allergies are so common among Americans, you may want to make the switch to natural antihistamines instead.
However, you should remember that even homeopathic allergy medications like bromelain powder have their limits. If your allergies are severe enough, you should take synthetic medication to ensure you don’t suffer or even die from your symptoms.
It’s for Children
Young children, especially babies, are sometimes forbidden from using the standard antihistamines prescribed for allergy treatments. This is because such medicines can have adverse effects on their fragile systems.
If you have determined that your child or toddler is allergic to something, you may want natural allergy medicines for babies to help alleviate their symptoms. As usual, you should talk to your child healthcare provider before giving your child anything, even if it’s just butterbur extract.
You Want Alternatives Handy
Antihistamines have mild side effects that may make them unsuitable for your lifestyle. For example, one of the most common side effects that you may experience after taking a Benadryl or similar drug is drowsiness and disorientation.
If you operate heavy machinery or need to remain alert at work, alternative antihistamines like bromelain powder can provide relief from your allergies without these unpleasant side effects.
What are Some Natural Antihistamines?
If you plan on making the switch from over-the-counter medication to natural antihistamines, you could be led astray by various companies and individuals attempting to sell you their products.
The following chemicals and plant extracts have been studied by experts and have shown promising results for use as natural antihistamines for allergies. The next time you run down to the drugstore, be sure to ask about these medications if you want to use organic solutions.
Bromelain is a slightly acidic chemical that causes the slight itchiness in your mouth when you eat pineapple. Bromelain helps reduce inflammation throughout the body and can be just as effective as a substitute to steroid-based anti-inflammatories.
The benefits of using bromelain is that using this pineapple-based extract produces significantly fewer side-effects than steroids.
According to allergy experts, you can gain the anti-allergy benefits of bromelain by eating enough pineapple. You can also take it directly as bromelain powder, with the recommended dosage between 400 to 500 milligrams, taken three times a day.
Stinging nettles are common garden nuisances that can cause burning rashes if you touch them unprotected. It may seem ironic, but researchers looking for homeopathic allergy medicines discovered that the weed can be used to treat allergies.
A study found that when the plant is freeze dried and consumed, it is more effective than a placebo in reducing allergy symptoms.
Many health food stores and online supplement providers now carry freeze dried stinging nettles as a dietary supplement and as a natural antihistamine. The recommended dosage for using this freeze-dried plant to treat your allergies is 300 milligrams, either taken as a crushed powder or mixed into a smoothie or shake.
The butterbur is a flowering plant related to the daisy that often grows in muddy or swampy areas. Often left growing in the wild or cultivated around ponds by gardeners, butterbur has been studied as a form of natural antihistamine.
Scientists have determined that extract from the plant can help reduce the pain and recurrence of migraines. Their research also showed that it can be helpful in improving the nasal symptoms of certain allergies, such as stuffed noses and mucus overproduction.
Butterbur extract isn’t a common homeopathic allergy medicine, but you can still easily acquire it from specialized stores or online. You can find it as an oil or in pill form and you should take it as directed by a specialist.
Are Natural Antihistamines Safe?
Despite coming from plants, not every organic or natural extract is harmless or free from side effects. For example, hemlock is a dangerous plant full of poisonous chemicals. You may still experience side effects when taking natural antihistamines.
For example, research still hasn’t determined if butterbur is safe for pregnant women in the third trimester. It can also make your stomach upset and only the highest quality butterbur should be consumed.
Stinging nettle extract can have adverse interactions with certain drugs such as blood thinners, diuretics and most medications that need to be processed by your kidneys.
As with all types of medications and treatments, do your research and consult with physicians before using natural antihistamines. Doing your due diligence may protect you from adverse side effects and determine which ones are the most effective substitutes.