Is There Such A Thing As A Natural Antihistamine?
Do you experience side effects from taking over the counter antihistamines, and perhaps have wondered if there is a natural antihistamine you could take instead? Most antihistamines, whether sold as pills, tablets, or nasal sprays are quite effective in reducing the symptoms caused by the presence of histamine.
Histamine is a chemical produced by the immune system, usually in response to a disease or the presence of an allergen. The histamine is carried to the affected area by the bloodstream. Among other things, histamine causes mucous membranes to swell, and can cause some tissues, such as the skin to become inflamed. Although histamine is basically a good chemical, a disease fighter, it can also cause unpleasant symptoms which can be worse than the problem. A good example is an allergen. The immune system releases histamine to fight an allergen which it views as invasive, even though the allergen may not be dangerous, and in fact most are not. Pollen in the air, while normally quite harmless, can trigger the immune system and trigger the release of histamine. As a result, we suffer from watery eyes, a runny nose, and possibly an irritating cough, sneezing, or a skin rash.
Taking an antihistamine pill or tablet will often provide quick relief. Taking too many, or taking them for too long a time may result in side effect which in some cases may be worse than the effects caused by histamines. Drowsiness is one common side effect. While drowsiness is not in itself harmful, and can even be a pleasant feeling, it can make operating machinery or driving an automobile, and trying to stay awake during a lecture an adventure.
Other side effects of antihistamines include dry mouth, constipation, and in some instances an irregular heart rhythm. Many of the antihistamine drugs on the market today have been formulated to reduce the chances of drowsiness, but many of the other side effects remain.
Is A Natural Antihistamine Any Different? - Why would a natural antihistamine work differently than an over the counter antihistamine? Wouldn't it produce exactly the same effects, assuming an antihistamine is an antihistamine regardless of the source? There's really no definitive answer. For one thing, different people respond differently to antihistamines, and it's highly probably that some people will respond differently to a natural antihistamine than will others.
When you look at medicines and medications, what you often have are ingredients which also exist naturally in the foods we eat, but are in a vastly more concentrated form. There are no doubt antihistamines in many food items we eat, but in concentrations so low that for all practical purposes they don't exist. Certain herbs however, have been found to have strong antihistamine properties, that is to say the antihistamines are present in a greater concentration than in most foods, and perhaps in a concentration strong enough to relieve the symptoms caused by a histamine.
Getting More Than We Really Need - It just could be that in most cases when we take an antihistamine tablet or pill, we're getting more of the substance than we really need. The pill does its job, but the dosage, while not harmful, is so high that we experience side effects. Herbs on the other hand, may give us a much lower dosage, but an adequate one. The antihistamine in herbs may be concentrated enough to provide the relief we seek, but not strong enough to cause any of the more common side effects. Some vitamins, especially vitamin C, appear to have antihistamine properties.
As far as which herbs, minerals, or vitamins you might want to try, it's really a matter of trial and error more than anything else. Most herbs, vitamins, and mineral supplements are safe to take, but it's always a good idea to consult with a doctor or nutritionist before trying something new, especially if taken in large quantities.