Last modified on June 22nd, 2023
With spring approaching, you may be searching for the best natural antihistamine. Below we explore everything you should know about antihistamines in general and our picks for the best natural options.
Finding the Best Natural Antihistamine
An antihistamine is typically a medicine that reduces or blocks histamines, reducing or stopping allergy symptoms.
Over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines can come in the form of tablets and capsules, nasal sprays, liquids, and eyedrops.
Prescription antihistamines include:
Popular over-the-counter antihistamines include:
While your allergy symptoms may plague you, antihistamines can have side effects, including prescription and OTC options.
Older antihistamines tend to have the most side effects.
Antihistamine side effects frequently include:
- Dry mouth
- Problems with urination
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
Since antihistamines can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion, you might not be able to take them during the day. You may only be able to take them at night, before bed, which might not benefit your allergy symptoms.
The side effects are one of the big reasons you may be looking for the best natural antihistamine.
What is Histamine?
You may be searching for the best natural antihistamine without really knowing how histamine works or its role in your immune system.
Histamine is a chemical made by your immune system. It works by eliminating things that bother you, i.e., allergens.
Histamines create a removal process to get that allergen out of your body or off your skin. That means you might start itching or sneezing, and these are the symptoms of histamines doing their work.
If you have allergies, your immune system can see a trigger like pollen as a threat requiring a response.
The overreaction of histamine and your entire immune system is what creates so-called allergies, and that’s why you might turn to an antihistamine.
When your allergies are triggered, your immune system first signals to mast cells. Mast cells are located in your lungs, nose, mouth, gut, blood, and skin. The message sent to mast cells is to release histamines. Histamines are stored in the mast cells.
When histamines leave mast cells, they cause inflammation, which then triggers other immune system chemicals.
If you’re allergic to a food, histamines also play a role in that response.
There are also foods that are high in histamines naturally, including fermented foods and alcohol, like red wine.
How Do Antihistamines Work?
Antihistamines block the effects of histamine. If you take an antihistamine before you come into contact with something you know gives you an allergic reaction, the medicine may stop the response altogether. If you take antihistamines after you’re exposed and have symptoms, the medicine may reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Symptoms treated by antihistamines include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy or watery eye
- Skin rashes
- Itchy skin
Types of Antihistamines
Antihistamines, along with being divided by whether they’re prescription or over the counter, are also divided into two other categories.
There are first-generation antihistamines and second-generation antihistamines.
First-generation antihistamines affect H1 receptors in the central nervous system and cross the blood-brain barrier. As a result, first-generation antihistamines also have sedative properties. That means first-generation antihistamines are much more likely to make you drowsy and impair your cognitive function and your motor function.
Other side effects related to first-generation antihistamines include dry mouth, low blood pressure, and even potentially liver damage.
Unisom, Dimetane, and Phenergan are all examples of first-generation antihistamines.
Second- and third-generation antihistamines are less likely to cross the blood-brain barrier, so they don’t have sedative effects.
They are considered safer than first-generation antihistamines.
These include Allegra, Claritin and Clarinex.
As a natural antihistamine, bromelain is perhaps one of the most effective.
It’s a natural remedy for inflammation and swelling, especially of the sinuses.
Research in mice found that bromelain reduced allergic airway disease and allergic sensitization.
Bromelain, along with being a natural antihistamine, is used for a variety of other reasons.
For example, it can help with aching muscles and pain from osteoarthritis. It may also help with digestion.
The anti-inflammatory effects may help with asthma, and since bromelain potentially reduces swelling, it can help with chronic sinusitis.
Bromelain has few, if any side effects for most people, but talk to your doctor before taking it and follow dosage instructions. Side effects can include nausea and vomiting.
Bromelain can also cause your menstrual bleeding to be heavier than normal, and you shouldn’t take it if you’re on a blood thinner.
If you’re allergic to pineapple, you shouldn’t take bromelain.
Interestingly, probiotics are thought to help boost your immune system and that may help you fight off allergy symptoms.
There’s some evidence that taking probiotics can break histamine down.
Probiotic strains that work especially well as natural antihistamines include the Bifidobacterium strains. This includes Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium infanti, and Bifidobacterium bifidum.
Butterbur is a plant that’s been long used medicinally.
One of the reasons people currently use butterbur is for migraines, but there’s also growing evidence it can help with allergies.
Findings are showing that taking a butterbur supplement may help nasal allergies. In a human study, people with allergies who took butterbur tablets for a week significantly improved their symptoms. After five days of treatment, participants’ bodies had less leukotriene and histamine, which produced allergies.
When your body comes into contact with something that’s an allergen, it releases leukotriene, which triggers the allergic reaction in your body.
Leukotriene inhibitors can block an allergic reaction, and butterbur seems to be an inhibitor. Butterbur is thought to act similarly to montelukast, available under the brand name Singulair.
DAO is an enzyme and a supplement that people use for histamine intolerance. DAO stands for diamine oxidase.
DAO is more specifically a digestive enzyme produced in the kidneys, lining of the digestive tract, and thymus. Its primary function is to help your body break down extra histamine.
DAO helps maintain histamine levels in a healthy range so that you don’t get uncomfortable symptoms.
Histamine intolerance is a condition that occurs because of high histamine levels, and one of the reasons researchers believe some people have histamine intolerance is a deficiency in the DAO enzyme.
When your DAO levels are too low, your body isn’t able to effectively or efficiently break down and remove extra histamine, and your levels rise.
Symptoms of histamine intolerance can include headaches, congestion, itchy skin, rashes, and hives.
A lot of people with histamine intolerance also have digestive symptoms.
A DAO supplement may alleviate histamine intolerance symptoms in some people.
For example, there was an analysis of 62 studies that found being deficient in nutrients, including zinc, is associated with a higher level of allergies and asthma.
In 2016, an article published in Pediatric Reports found that taking a zinc supplement and standard treatment lowered the severity of children’s asthma attacks.
In 2012, a study on atopic dermatitis found zinc levels were significantly lower in people with the condition.
Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 helps your body make proteins.
It’s also a co-factor in many important processes. Taking vitamin B6 can help relieve bronchial constriction. It can also reduce mucous blockage of your air passages.
Vitamin B6 also works as a potential natural antihistamine because it helps your immune system function properly.
If you use it along with vitamin C, it can help reduce histamine intolerance.
Stinging nettle has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It’s taken for a number of health conditions, including benign prostatic hyperplasia, joint pain, and diabetes.
It may also act as a natural antihistamine. Stinging nettle can relieve symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing because it’s an anti-inflammatory.
Stinging nettle is thought to disrupt the allergic process by stopping not only the production of inflammation but histamine as well.
Astragalus plays a vital role in the immune response, which is why it’s sometimes described as a natural antihistamine. It doesn’t act directly on histamine, though.
Instead, astragalus works on an immune protein called interferon. When interferon is activated, it suppresses mast cell activity. That thereby suppresses the release of histamine.
Astragalus has also been shown to help decrease upper respiratory infections.
Curcumin, which is one of the active components in turmeric, may have benefits for allergies and may be a natural antihistamine. Research has shown that because of both the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of curcumin, it may help with allergy and asthma symptoms.
In human studies, curcumin has helped with nasal airflows, and it has had a positive effect on immune response in people with allergic rhinitis.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
NAC is a supplemental amino acid. NAC is one of the most powerful supplements you can use because it helps restore your glutathione levels. Glutathione diminishes as we age, but it combats cellular damage and researchers think maintaining your levels may contribute to longevity.
NAC can reduce symptoms of respiratory conditions because it’s an antioxidant as well as an expectorant, so it loosens mucus in your air passages. NAC can replenish the glutathione in your lungs to reduce inflammation in your lung tissue and bronchial tubes.
NAC may also improve your immune health.
The Best Natural Antihistamine Supplements on Amazon
While any of the above are things you can use individually to try and relieve your allergy symptoms, we also put together some of our favorite specific products that act as natural antihistamines.
Histamine Shield Plus
- Contains 300 mg of vitamin C
- Includes 400 mg of quercetin
- Includes 100 mg of bromelain
- Supports healthy histamine levels
- Helps promote healthy immune function
- Other ingredients include stinging nettle and NAC
This supplement is top-rated as a natural antihistamine on Amazon and packs a punch with three powerful ingredients to reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system.
These all-natural antihistamine ingredients won’t cause drowsiness, and they may help with symptoms like runny nose, itchy nose or throat, watery eyes, or sneezing.
According to reviews of Histamine Shield Plus, it’s an effective product on par with allergy medicines.
- Top-rated and one of the most popular natural antihistamines on Amazon
- 300 mg of vitamin C
- 400 mg of quercetin
- 400 mg of stinging nettle
- 100 mg of bromelain
- 50 mg of NAC
Users describe Natural D-Hist as a lifesaver if you have allergies. While it’s a bit expensive for a supplement, there are multiple reviews that say it’s well worth the cost. Many reviews of Natural D-Hist describe it as effective as over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines, without the side effects.
Many users also say that Natural D-Hist can tackle allergy symptoms that their other allergy medicines can’t.
Now Supplements Quercetin with Bromelain
- NOW is one of our favorite high-quality supplement companies
- Each bottle contains 240 capsules
- Affordable natural antihistamine
- Helps balance the immune system
- Packaged in the U.S.
- Contains 800 mg of quercetin in each dose
- 165 mg of bromelain in each dose
The NOW Supplements combination of quercetin and bromelain is affordable and has thousands of positive reviews. The quercetin and bromelain combination can help combat inflammation and destroy free radicals.
This supplement may restore respiratory function and can balance your immune system.
According to reviews, this supplement works well for seasonal allergies, asthma, and viral infections.
Some users even say they got unexpected benefits from taking Quercetin with Bromelain, such as reduced bloating and a boost in their energy levels.
Seeking Health Histamine Block
- DAO enzyme supplement
- Helpful for both food and histamine intolerance
- Contains no allergens
- Supports the breakdown of histamine in the digestive tract
- May reduce abdominal bloating, swelling, and cramps
We like Seeking Health’s Histamine Block because it’s a potent DAO supplement. It contains 10,000 HDU of DAO to help with the digestion of food-derived histamine in your digestive system. The Seeking Health Histamine Block may also help support a normalized inflammatory response in your digestive tract.
According to reviews, many people feel that this is a miracle product. For example, some reviews of Seeking Health Histamine Block detail people who were told they had allergies to multiple things, but their symptoms were relieved after they got rid of their excess histamine using this product.
Some users say they would itch or have uncomfortable symptoms every day and were reliant on medicines like Zyrtec until they found Histamine Block.
Other benefits that reviewers say they had when using this product include clearer skin and a reduction of cystic acne, as well as less dandruff.
- Relieves allergy symptoms, including sinus and nasal discomfort
- Naturally strengthens the immune system
- Helps manage health tissue in the respiratory tract
- Usually works within 30 minutes of taking it
- The longer you take it, the more benefits you are likely to see
- Clinically-proven ingredients
- Includes quercetin, bromelain, nettle leaf, and vitamin C
We like this product for a few reasons. First Breathe-X uses natural, proven, plant-based ingredients to relieve allergy symptoms. It supports your body’s own immune system and defenses to protect nasal tissues that are affected by an allergy attack.
The combination of ingredients in this natural antihistamine also provides antioxidants to detoxify your body.
With this natural antihistamine, it seems to work best if you take it every morning with or without food. If you’re facing severe allergy symptoms, take two in the morning and two in the evening. Breathe-X works best if you consistently use it every day.
According to reviews of this natural antihistamine, it’s a very effective solution for allergy symptoms. A lot of people who reviewed the product say that previously they were taking each of the ingredients it contains individually, which was more expensive and less convenient, so they like the combination of effective natural antihistamine ingredients contained in Breathe-X.
Mt. Angel Vitamins Immune Support Supplement
- Contains quercetin and zinc
- Also contains vitamin C, vitamin D3, bromelain, and stinging nettle root
- Helps improve cognitive clarity and metabolism as well as allergy symptoms
- May improve respiratory symptoms
- Each bottle contains 300 capsules
One of our favorite things about the Mt. Angel Vitamins is that it contains vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is important for your overall immune health, so it’s an important inclusion in this product. This supplement might also help improve your general mental and respiratory health and increase your energy levels.
You get a lot of value in this one supplement, in addition to the fact that it’s a natural antihistamine.
According to user reviews, this is a high-quality and effective supplement. People seem to use it not only as a natural antihistamine but also to prevent viral respiratory infections. The pills, according to reviews, are easy to swallow, and generally, users seem very happy with this supplement.
Ancestral Supplements Thymus Extract
- Glandular immune support
- Contains unique peptides that can both enhance and modulate immune health
- Supports allergy and inflammatory health
- Comes from grass-fed and grass-finished animals
- Contains immunologically active proteins that can activate immune cells
Using a thymus extract as a natural antihistamine may be something you haven’t tried or heard of before, but it could be the solution you’re looking for. We, in general, love all the Ancestral Supplement products as well.
The thymus is a gland below your thyroid gland. It produces T cells that protect you from infections and perhaps even cancer.
This thymus extract comes from cows. There’s some evidence thymus extract might help protect you from bronchitis and other respiratory infections. Some people also use thymus extract for hay fever and eczema.
Allergic reactions tend to happen when your body sees a harmless substance a threat, and thymus extract is thought to calm your immune system when needed, which may prevent allergic reactions.
If you read the reviews for the Ancestral Supplement Thymus extract, you’ll find that the majority of users feel it’s a game-changer for them.
Along with helping with allergies and autoimmune symptoms, many people feel that it helps them feel less brain fog and muscle stiffness.
Other reviewers say they feel an immediate opening of their sinuses and an improvement in their breathing when they take Ancestral Supplements Thymus.
If you have chronic allergies and you get approval from your doctor, we think it’d be worthwhile to try Ancestral Supplements. Their kidney extract is also a natural DAO supplement that you might want to try.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the best natural antihistamines.
What is a Natural Antihistamine?
An antihistamine is something that reduces or blocks histamines. Histamines are chemicals that your body produces in reaction to allergy triggers such as dust mites or pollen. Antihistamines work on seasonal allergies like hay fever, indoor allergies, and food allergies.
Despite the benefits, over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines tend to have side effects. Many also get less effective over time.
A natural antihistamine is an alternative. Many natural antihistamines modulate the immune response and stop inflammation to reduce allergy symptoms.
Examples of natural antihistamines include bromelain, quercetin, NAC, and vitamin C, among others.
What is a Good Natural Antihistamine?
Some of the ingredients that are good natural antihistamines to look for in the product you select include:
- Vitamin C
- Thymus Extract
What is the Best Natural Antihistamine for Hives?
Hives are also known as urticaria. They’re raised, itchy welts on the skin. A reaction to an irritant like food or something in the environment most commonly causes hives. Most cases of hives are temporary, while some people have chronic hives.
The best natural antihistamine for hives would be any of the options we named above. All could theoretically work on hives because they help modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation and allergic symptoms.
The best natural antihistamine is a good replacement for over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines that may cause undesirable side effects. When you use the best natural antihistamine and the reduced side effects, many also have other benefits, like anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. Before taking a natural antihistamine, talk to your doctor and get their recommendations.
Our Editorial Process
All of our reviews are completely unbiased. We have an in-depth review and ranking methodology for each of our products. We base our reviews on:
- Peer-reviewed scientific studies and research
- Real customer reviews
- Our own experience using products
- Price and availability
Whenever possible, we review and rank products that we actually use to provide a better understanding of what you can expect.