Natural Antihistamine Alternatives

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August 5, 2016
Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.

When your nose runs, your eyes itch, you can’t stop sneezing, and you’re breaking out in hives, what’s going on?

Allergies? A cold?

How can you tell? The symptoms can be very similar.

What should you do?

The usual response is to “take something.”

Whether it’s a cold or an allergy, that “something” is usually an antihistamine.

But I would recommend against ever taking a Big Pharma antihistamine for a cold. They offer little or no help, and can have very undesirable side effects.

And I offer you the same advice if it’s an allergy.

The problem with antihistamines

I firmly believe that we get better with age.

Not so with antihistamines. The first of those to arrive on the scene came in the 1940s. They were a breakthrough at the time, and some remain the go-to choice for treating both colds and allergies. Diphenhydramine, for example, undeservedly remains one of the most widely-used medications in the US.

You’ll recognize these brand names—all for the same old 1940’s diphenhydramine formulation:

  • Allermax
  • Benadryl
  • Compoz
  • Dramamine

This is only a few of a dozen or more diphenhydramine old-timers still active in the market.

Other familiar oldies, but no longer so goodies, include chlorpheniramine—brand name Chlor-Trimeton, and brompheniramine, sold as Dimetapp Cold and Allergy Elixir.

Elixir?

First generation, thanks and bye bye

All of these old-timers, called “first-generation” antihistamines, should be sent off, with thanks and respect, to an old meds home. For allergies, there are much better solutions.

Exceptions: You spotted Dramamine in the list up there? The anti-motion sickness aid gets a pass. And diphenhydramine can also be useful in the treatment of some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

But they still have side effects you don’t want:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble peeing
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion

If your body tolerated and worked well with these old-timers, it wouldn’t throw those side effects at you.

Choose natural antihistamines

When my patients suffer from what’s clearly an allergy or allergies, not a cold or upper respiratory infection, I rely on what nature has given us.

For example, who would choose a mind-messing, mean-sounding chemical like diphenhydramine when one of my preferred natural antihistamines includes such lovely-sounding ingredients as Ambrosia artemisiaefolia and Euphrasia officinalis.

And it won’t knock you out—it’ll just knock out your symptoms.

Same goes for other natural antihistamines.

Another trusted symptom whacker I like is an immune system booster with a special fenugreek-based formulation that helps move mucus out of your stuffy head and hacking lungs. Among its other healthy ingredients:

  • Carrot root
  • Sweet potato
  • Soy beans
  • Oat flour
  • Dried alfalfa juice
  • Wheat germ
  • Sunflower lecithin rice
  • Vitamin E
  • Carrot oil

Sounds like a great salad, all packed into a pill.

I also put some patients on a natural antihistamine that delivers a good dose of the calcium we need to supercharge our stressed immune system.

Merci, our French friends

Finally, thanks to an observant French GP in the 1970s, there’s the quail egg. He noticed that several of his patients … and their families … and their farm workers … reported that their allergy symptoms had inexplicably disappeared. He was able to identify the raw quail eggs in their diets as the cause.

Voila—after extensive research proved the eggs’ anti-allergenic effects, a quail egg formulation was born. I recommend it, if your doctor agrees.

Don’t worry. It’s made with powdered quail egg, not raw.

Make sure your doctor knows about these safe, natural, and effective alternatives to Big Pharma’s first-generation old-timers.

Think of all the money you’ll save on tissues.

References

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  • Rusti1

    I have used Vitamin C for years, working on colds, flu, allergies and asthma actually, . I do appreciate the list of foods to look for, thank you, though I would stay away from anything that’s gmo like soy beans.

  • Alice G

    What is the immune system booster? There is a link but not to this salad in a pill.

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