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Alternatives to Antihistamines

Seasonal allergies and food and chemical sensitivities can contribute to chronic nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, headache, itchy skin and eczema. Whilst traditional antihistamines and decongestants are effective in the treatment of some or all of these symptoms, they also hinder quality of life due to their common side effects. Sedation and decreased mental clarity may be the most common consequences, but these pharmaceuticals can potentially cause heart dysrhythmias and have multiple interactions with a number of other medications. Additionally, many patients report that their symptoms are only partially alleviated with these treatments.

Treatment without Side Effects

Certain supplements can be used with similar efficacy and significantly fewer, if any, side effects as traditional antihistamines and decongestants. Fish oil, MSM, bromelain, quercetin, vitamin C, and olive leaf extract. Ideally, they should be administered under the guidance of a medical professional as their efficacy is due to the fact that they have legitimate antihistamine and decongestant properties that in some cases mimic their pharmaceutical counterparts.

Fish oil is a broad-spectrum anti-inflammatory that can mute inflammation in the bronchi and nasal passages.

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a sulfur derivative that can be such a potent anti-inflammatory that it can help alleviate arthritic pain.

Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme found in the core of pineapples. It acts as both an antitussive (cough suppressant) and a mucolytic (reduces the viscosity of sputum).

Vitamin C blocks histamine, and is used to treat nasal congestion, and those suffering with hives

Quercetin potent anti-inflammatory agent hels pt stabilise the release of histamine in the body, resulting in an anti-inflammatory effect.



Histamine is a major neurotransmitter, influencing the brain and the autonomic nervous system. It is produced from the essential amino acid, histidine. Individuals with low histamine levels have fewer pollen allergies.

Histamine is produced widely in nature by the putrefactive (ageing) process and, hence, all aged foods will contain small amounts of histamine. High levels can cause food poisoning.

Histamine Containing Foods

Work with your practitioner to determine if you may have high levels of histamines. If you do avoiding the below list of foods and contact with pollens will help to naturally decrease your level of histamine.

  • Aged foods
  • Lobster
  • Bass, black
  • Milk, cow
  • Beer
  • Milk, goat
  • Casein, cows milk
  • Milk, human
  • Catfish
  • Mutton
  • Chicken
  • Oyster
  • Cocoa
  • Perch
  • Cod
  • Salmon
  • Crab meat
  • Sausage, dry
  • Flounder
  • Scallop
  • Haddock
  • Shrimp
  • Halibut
  • Trout
  • Ham
  • Tuna
  • Yeast mix

Present in these pollens: 

  • Cottonwood
  • Orchard grass
  • Short ragweed