4 of the Best Natural Antihistamines
If you have seasonal allergies, you know they can be challenging. These symptoms can become nearly unbearable sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion, and sinus pressure.
You’ve likely used many over-the-counter (OTC) solutions to attempt to tame these seasonal symptoms and may want to try something else. There is evidence that completely natural solutions can ease your symptoms.
Hay Fever, allergenic rhinitis, or seasonal allergies — numerous drugs, both prescription and OTC, are made to help combat these cold-like symptoms. But some of these medicines have their own lengthy list of side effects.
Understanding how histamines work can help you better understand how natural antihistamines can be an ally during allergy season.
How do antihistamines work?
Allergies are an immune response to an otherwise harmless substance. This substance — whether it’s pollen or dust — comes into contact with cells in the mucus membranes of your nose, mouth, throat, lungs, stomach, and intestines. This triggers the release of histamine.
Histamine is a part of the immune system that causes all of the symptoms you associate with allergies — the sneezing and cold-like symptoms you dislike. Antihistamines block histamine activity, seeking to stop the allergic reaction.
Many allergy medications on the shelves of your local drug store work as antihistamines. But there are also certain foods and plant extracts that can have similar effects on histamine production.
1. Stinging nettle
A common herb in natural medicine, stinging nettle, may also be a natural antihistamine. In one study, 58 percent of participants found their symptoms relieved with the use of freeze-dried nettles, and 69 participants rated it better than the placebo.
Stinging nettle can be found online and at health food stores. The study participants in question used 300 milligrams (mg) each day.
Quercetin is an antioxidant found naturally in onions, apples, and other produce. Research has shown the antihistamine effects of quercetin. One study found that it even lessened the respiratory side effects of allergies in rats by reducing inflammatory response in the airways.
You can get quercetin as a supplement or simply add more quercetin-rich foods to your diet (the better choice of the two).
WHERE CAN I GET QUERCETIN? Quercetin is found in grapefruit, apples, and okra.
Taking in bromelain through the natural food pineapple consumption is recommended.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamen C is an easy-to-find natural antihistamine. It’s prevalent in many fruits and vegetables, and also in supplement form.
Because it’s free of side effects and nontoxic, it’s a safe solution for treating stuffy nose and other unpleasant symptoms of seasonal allergies. Research suggest taking at least 2 grams (g) per day for the best antihistamine results. Increase your intake with three to five citrus fruits a day.
The Take Away
When you suffer from allergies, relief can seem just out of reach. By combining natural remedies with proper self-care and allergen avoidance (when possible), you can find allergy symptom help. Proper diet and exercise can help your immune system operate at its highest levels.
Also, remember that while food sources of these antihistamines are natural and safe, supplements aren’t regulated in the United States. So be sure to get them from quality sources, and check with your doctor prior to using supplements.
Triclosan, a Chemical Formerly Used in Antibacterial Soaps,
Was Found to Impair Muscle Function
In a study, the chemical inhibited muscle activity in individual human heart cells, mice and minnows
Some chemicals in antibacterial soap have been banned by the FDA after testing showed they did not provide any benefit over normal soap and water.
Editor’s Note, May 13, 2019: This article was originally published on August 13, 2012. In September 2016, the FDA banned the use of triclosan and 18 other active ingredients in over-the-counter antibacterial soaps. Manufacturers were given one year from the FDA announcement to remove these ingredients from their products or take the products off the market. The headline of this article has been updated to reflect this fact.
Take a look at the bottle of antibacterial hand soap in your bathroom. Chances are good that a particular chemical is listed among its ingredients: triclosan.
The antibacterial substance, which was first developed in the 1960s to prevent bacterial infections in hospitals, has since been incorporated into everything from hand soaps to toothpastes to mouthwashes. Manufacturers see it as a marketing bonus, increasing consumer confidence that a particular product kills harmful bacteria. Even some household products—such as kitchen utensils, toys and bedding—include triclosan.
In recent years, though, research has shed light on a number of problems with employing triclosan so widely. Studies have shown that the chemical can disrupt the endocrine systems of several different animals, binding to receptor sites in the body, which prevents the thyroid hormone from functioning normally. Additionally, triclosan penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream more easily than previously thought, and has turned up everywhere from aquatic environments to human breast milk in troubling quantities.
To this list of concerns, add one more: A new paper, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates that triclosan impairs muscle function in both animals and humans. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of California, Davis, found that the chemical hinders human muscle contractions at the cellular level and inhibits normal muscle functioning in both fish and mice.
“Triclosan is found in virtually everyone’s home and is pervasive in the environment,” said lead author Isaac Pessah. “These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.”
In the first phase of the study, the researchers exposed individual human muscle cells, both from the heart and typical skeletal muscles, to concentrations of triclosan similar to what our bodies experience in everyday life. Then, they used electrical stimulation to cause the muscle cells to contract. Normally, electrical stimulations prompts an immediate muscle contraction—a mechanism that is responsible for the entirety of our muscle activity. In the isolated cells, though, exposure to triclosan disrupted communication between two proteins crucial for proper muscle functioning, causing failure in both the heart and skeletal muscle cells.
The research team also tested the effects of the chemical on two types of live animals—mice and fathead minnows. In the mice, heart muscle function was reduced by as much as 25 percent after exposure to a single dose of triclosan, and grip strength was reduced by as much as 18 percent.
The minnows were used in the experiment to mimic the effect of triclosan in marine environments. After being exposed to concentrations of triclosan equivalent to those found in the wild for 7 days, the minnows were significantly worse swimmers than minnows that hadn’t been exposed to triclosan, and were less effective in swimming tests that simulated the the act of evading a predator.
Using studies with animals to make assumptions about human health is always dicey, but the researchers say the fact that triclosan produced similar results in widely varying conditions with different animals—and the troubling effects of the chemical on human heart cells in test tubes—are causes for concern. ”The effects of triclosan on cardiac function were really dramatic,” said co-author Nipavan Chiamvimonvat. “Although triclosan is not regulated as a drug, this compound acts like a potent cardiac depressant in our models.” He speculates that in some cases, triclosan may be responsible for exacerbating heart problems in patients with an underlying condition.
Additionally, the FDA has declared that there is no evidence that using antibacterial soaps with triclosan confers any more health benefits than simply washing with conventional soap and water, and the agency is currently conducting a risk assessment for the chemical. ”Triclosan can be useful in some instances, however it has become a ubiquitous ‘value added’ marketing factor that actually could be more harmful than helpful,” said study co-author Bruce Hammock. “At the very least, our findings call for a dramatic reduction in its use.”
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/triclosan-a-chemical-used-in-antibacterial-soaps-is-found-to-impair-muscle-function-22127536/#0xX9QtjvjlpP4sbw.99