Posted by Maddalena Frau on March 25, 2014 at 1:35 AM
Although the cause of hives is not always known, they are often a
response to the body releasing histamines, which it does when we have an
allergic reaction to food, medicine or other allergens. Histamine is
also sometimes the body's response to infections, stress, sunlight and
changes in temperature, among other things. Hives typically manifest as
small, swollen, itchy, red areas on the skin that may occur singularly
or in clusters.
Left untreated, hives usually fade within a few hours,
but new ones may appear in their place. Most hive outbreaks resolve
themselves completely within a few days. You can treat hives naturally
to get relief from the symptoms.
Apply a wet, cold compress to the hives to reduce the swelling and cool the inflamed skin.
- Dampen a paper towel with cold water and lay it on your affected skin for 15 minutes at a time.
- Reapply the cold compress every few hours as needed to reduce pain
and swelling. If hives are terrible it's easiest to take as cold of a
bath (covering hives with water) for 20-30 minutes and then stay cool.
2Drink herbal teas for a natural hive treatment.
Purchase tea bags or buy herbs loose and brew your own tea. In general,
you should use 1 teaspoon of herb for each cup of hot water. Steep leaf
or flower herbs for around 10 minutes, and root herbs for 20. Drink 3
to 4 cups of tea a day for optimal effect.
- Green tea, commonly known for its health benefits, including antihistamine effects, is available both with and without caffeine.
- Licorice root may reduce inflammation caused by hives and supports
your immune system to help your body recover from symptoms more quickly.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, a heart condition, edema, or
are taking certain medications such as warfarin or diuretics, do not take licorice root.
- Goldenseal, best known for its gastrointestinal benefits, has also
been found to be beneficial for people with food allergies to eliminate
or reduce allergic reactions.
- Devil's claw, also known as harpagophytum procumbens, may reduce the
inflammation and can be helpful if skin lesions occur from severe hive
outbreaks. If you have diabetes or are taking blood pressure or
blood-thinning medication, do not take devil's claw.
- Chamomile tea is commonly used by people to treat hives, although
there is no scientific evidence to prove its benefits in hive treatment.
If you are taking warfarin, do not take chamomile without first getting
approval from your doctor.
3Try other herbal antihistamines.
Most of these remedies can be ingested in pill form. They should offer
either temporary relief from itching or reduction in redness. Natural
herbal antihistamines include:
- Stinging nettle. This may sound weird, because touching nettles in
the wild can produce a rash not unlike hives. Some doctors, however,
recommend taking a freeze-dried preparation of stinging nettle, which is
known for its ability to reduce the amount of histamine the body
- Coldsfoot may be effective as a natural antihistamine. Europeans have a long history of using the plant to cure skin conditions. The leaves can either be ground up into a paste or coldsfoot extract can be ingested in pill form.
- Basil may also work as a natural antihistamine. Heat a couple sprigs
of basil leaves up under some steam and apply gently to the hives.
Basil may help reassure the body that the foreign agent causing the
hives is not something it should be fighting.
4Soak in a warm, not hot, oatmeal bath to relieve itching and sooth your skin. This is especially helpful if the hives cover a large portion of your body or are concentrated on your legs and lower body.
5Apply aloe vera topically to the hives as well as to the skin surrounding any affected areas. Aloe Vera helps the effected skin to heal quicker and decreases the chances of hives developing on unaffected areas.
6Use ginger. Known as a "wonder drug" around the world, ginger can be taken in a variety of ways: incorporated into food, taken as a pill, or used in steam treatments.
Try buying fresh ginger, cutting off the skin so that the meat is
exposed, and gently daubing the ginger onto the inflamed skin. Place
your ginger in the refrigerator beforehand for a cooling effect.
7Enrich your diet to boost your immune system, decrease your chances of getting hives, and help your body recover from attacks.
- Eat a well-balanced diet that follows recommendations established by
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or recommendations your doctor
makes, for optimal health.
- Increase the amount of vitamin C in your diet by eating more oranges
and other citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe,
tomatoes, red peppers and green leafy vegetables.
- Eat foods that contain acidophilus and other probiotics for optimal
digestive health to shorten the length of the hives when they occur as a
result of food allergies. Yogurt that contains live active cultures,
cottage cheese and sauerkraut are some good sources.
8Seek professional help for
hive treatment if your attempts at providing relief are not effective or
if you have extremely painful or chronic hives. An experienced homeopath can asses your condition and determine which homeopathic remedy is your best natural hive treatment.
- Acupuncture may decrease the frequency or severity of hives caused
by allergic reactions, including angioedema. This is an extreme hive
outbreak which also causes swelling of the soft tissue membranes around
the lips, tongue and larynx, which can cause breathing problems.
Part 2 of 2: Preventing Hives in the Future
1See a qualified allergist to take an allergy test.
An allergy test should include both kinds of dust mites, all foods, and
trees and grass, as these are very common allergens. An allergy test
should help you conclude which allergens to avoid in the future. You may
be allergic to:
- Food or additives. Strawberries are common triggers of hives, as are food colorings, or salicylates, sulfites and polysorbates.
- Medications. If you take a medication, especially an antibiotic,
that causes you to break out into hives soon afterward, you could be
allergic to it.
- Insect bites. The venom of certain insects may cause an allergic reaction.
2Avoid stress. The exact
medical reasons aren't completely understood yet, but scientists do
think there is a link between stress and the immune response. Try to find natural outlets for your stress if you feel overwhelmed,
helpless, and frequently exasperated. Exercise, sports, art, and
meditation may help avoid a stress-induced breakout.
3Avoid triggers. Your
allergist might be able to help you figure out what natural, chemical,
or animal interactions give you hives, but many people are completely in
the dark about their triggers.
- After you have an incident, write down all the foods that you have
eaten in the past three days, as well as all the detergents, beauty
products, and hygiene products you have used or consumed. Write down
every detail you can remember. Bring this list in to your allergist as
- If your allergist is unable to come up with a culprit, do some
investigation yourself. Start out with a completely bland diet — rice,
potatoes, chicken, etc. — for a few days, and then begin introducing
different items into your diet, one by one. In the beginning, only wash
with unscented, not-chemically-treated soaps; expand to some different
detergents if you think they might be the culprit.
- If you have a big outbreak of hives that is effecting a large part
of your body, the quickest way to cool the skin is take a cool shower.
Start with warm water and gradually lower the temperature until it is
comfortable cool or cold. Avoid taking a hot shower, which could cause
further itching and irritation to the sensitive tissue.
- Try to identify the source of the allergen if you think an allergic
reaction is causing your hives. The best way to treat hives is to avoid
them. Common food allergens include shellfish, fish, eggs, milk, nuts,
berries and tomatoes. You could also be allergic to a preservative, food
dye, medicine or other chemical ingredient in prepared products. Keep a food
diary and use process of elimination to identify offending foods, or see
a doctor for allergy testing.
- Make a thick paste out of baking soda and water or rice water. Spread on infected area.