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Natural antihistamines
The term 'antihistamines' refers to a class of drugs that are used for allergy treatment. These work by inhibiting the release or action of histamine, which is a chemical released by the immune system during an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction is the hypersensitivity of the immune system, where it recognizes certain harmless substances like pollen, dust and some foods as harmful foreign particles, and hence, stimulates the production of histamine to destroy them. Antihistamine drugs help control or alleviate the allergy symptoms by counteracting the effects of histamine. Since the use of these drugs can cause certain side effects, it is not a bad idea to opt for something natural.

Nutrients and Herbs with Antihistamine Properties
Natural antihistamines not only relieve the symptoms of an allergy, but can also reduce the frequency of future episodes of allergies by strengthening the immune system. A few nutrients with great antihistamine properties are mentioned below.

Vitamin C
The most important nutrient that has been found to possess strong antihistamine properties is vitamin C. It is a well-known antioxidant that fights against the free radicals, boosts the immune system, and relieves the symptoms of allergies. It is also believed to reduce the sensitivity to particular allergens, so as to manage allergic conditions in the future. That's why it can be termed as one of the best antihistamines available. A few of the best vitamin C-enriched foods are:
  • Bananas
  • Pineapples
  • Papayas
  • Strawberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Guavas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwifruit
  • Oranges and clementines
  • Kohlrabi
  • Bell peppers
  • Red and green chili peppers
  • Herbs (parsley and thyme)
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Mustard greens
  • Kale
  • Garden cress
Though pineapple, banana, citrus fruits, strawberry, papaya, and kiwi fruit, are good sources of vitamin C, which has antihistamine properties, these foods are also known to stimulate the production of histamine by the mast cells. Some individuals can also be allergic to pineapple, which however, is not a very common food allergy.

Basically, every individual reacts in a unique way to excess histamine in the body and foods that trigger its production. Some individuals may be able to eat pineapple and papaya safely, while others may experience an adverse reaction. So, if you have any type of allergy or histamine intolerance, you will have to find out your own trigger foods and then reduce or avoid their consumption.

Another vitamin that can help control allergic reactions is vitamin A. Our body can prepare vitamin A from the plant pigment carotenoids, which have strong antioxidant properties. Carotenoids can be widely found in mangoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, papayas, and bell peppers.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are also very helpful in reducing various allergic reactions. They are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and are found in the following food items:
  • Salmon (cold water fish)
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Grass-fed meat
  • Hemp seeds

Flavonoids
Quercetin and pycnogenol are flavonoids that impart the rich colors to certain flowers, fruits and vegetables. Both quercetin and pycnogenol can inhibit the release of histamine by the mast cells, and hence, control flare ups. Quercetin can be found in red wine, broccoli, capsicum, berries, red onions, garlic, tea, and red apples. On the other hand, pycnogenol is largely extracted from the bark of the French maritime pine. Apart from being natural antihistamines, both quercetin and pycnogenol are powerful antioxidants.

Apart from these vitamins and nutrients, an enzyme, known as bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties, and can facilitate the proper absorption of quercetin and pycnogenol. Bromelain enzyme can be found in pineapple. Minerals that work as natural antihistamines are magnesium citrate, calcium citrate, and selenium. Another antihistamine is L-histidine, which is an amino acid that can inhibit over-secretion of histamine.

Herbs
For a long time, herbs have been known to cure a number of ailments, and some of them can prove quite beneficial for allergies too. They are enriched with compounds that can prevent or lower the secretion of histamine. For instance, green tea contains the compounds quercetin and catechin, that possess antihistamine properties. Similarly, herbs like basil, fennel, echinacea, reishi, chamomile, Ginkgo biloba, spirulina, ginger, garlic, butterbur, and licorice root, can also be used as natural remedies for allergies.

These natural antihistamines can not only reduce the severity of allergy, but can manage the condition in the long run too. Therefore, including the foods that possess antihistamine properties in the daily diet can prove quite effective to reduce the frequency of flare-ups in the future. As far as herbs are concerned, avoid their excessive use, or consult a herbalist or health care professional to know more about their appropriate dosage. Some herbs and foods can produce adverse effects in certain medical conditions, and also if they are taken along with some medications. Be sure to consult your physician before taking any herb or food for therapeutic purposes.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.