Antihistamines are medications that block your body from releasing histamines, a substance that produces an inflammatory response in your body. People who suffer from seasonal allergies often taken antihistamines to relieve a runny or stuffy nose, skin reactions like hives, and other symptoms. Vitamins and herbs with antihistamine qualities may be used, under the supervision of your doctor, as natural substitutes for conventional antihistamine medications.
According to the University of Michigan Health System, taking antioxidant vitamins C and E might be beneficial to seasonal allergy sufferers, due to their ability to stop the production of histamines — though the scientific evidence is contradictory. Studies done in the 1940s showed that taking between 2,000 and 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily yielded positive results, but more recent surveys showed the benefits are not as clear-cut. A 2004 article in the "Annals of Allergy and Asthma Immunology" noted that when vitamin E was added to conventional allergy treatments, symptoms improved.
Papaya is very rich in vitamin C; each piece of whole fruit contains more than 300 percent of the recommended daily allowance, according to the World's Healthiest Foods website. In addition to the antioxidant vitamins, enzymes found in papaya can help regulate inflammatory response in your body. "The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook" suggests that eating papaya or drinking its juices may act as an antihistamine and relieve the itching associated with hives.
Many plants have antihistamine qualities that can support your immune system, and block the action of histamines. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests taking 600 milligrams of stinging nettle each day for a week to ease symptoms of allergic rhinitis, otherwise known as nasal allergies. Stinging nettle may cause you to urinate more often, so be especially careful if you take diuretic medications. Butterbur is another natural antihistamine option to discuss with your doctor. This herb is traditionally used to treat bronchial allergies, such as asthma, in doses of 500 milligrams daily. The UMMC notes scientific evidence that, for some sufferers, butterbur can be as effective as brand-name allergy medications.
Herbal teas can also inhibit the secretion of histamines. Teas made from ginger, peppermint, or amaranth seeds may all help minimize hives that crop up as a result of allergies.
Essential oils — oils derived from cloves, chamomile, and lemon — have antihistamine properties, and can be natural substitutes for topical antihistamine creams and ointments used to treat allergic skin eruptions. The oils themselves are volatile and may cause skin irritation, so mix a couple of drops of essential oils with equal parts of vegetable oil. The smooth, greasy texture of the vegetable oil acts as an emollient, and protects your skin from irritation.
Natural therapies to inhibit histamine action can include the traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture, the art of inserting very fine needles into pressure points throughout the body, to realign its energy. Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of ailments, and to reduce pain. "The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook" reports that this branch of traditional Chinese medicine might be a natural alternative to over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines for some allergy sufferers. Discuss acupuncture with your doctor to determine if you are a candidate.