Hayfever AntiHistamine Herbs
Herbs and Hayfever and Urticaria
Natural anti-histamine herbs work effectively for the symptoms of hayfever.
There are many factors that can cause urticaria.
Food allergens: Milk, cheese, egg, protein products, wheat, cereals, certain daals as used in India, peas, orange, fish, chicken, etc. Synthetic and natural food additives and artificially-flavored food articles. Non-allergic food reactions, from salicylates in fruit, azo dye food coloring agents, benzoate preservatives and other food additives.
Urticaria and alcohol: Most reactions to ingested alcoholic beverages are secondary to other chemicals in the beverage such as metabisulfite, papain, dyes or yeasts. However, there are reports of true allergic reactions in which the offending agent was shown to be the ethanol itself.
Exposure to pollen, house-dust, dander, fungi, change in temperature, etc. are known exciting factors. Extreme cold, heat, pressure may also induce urticaria.
Drugs: The major cause for urticaria are man-made drugs such as antibiotics (Penicillin), anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, indomethacin), quinine, ipecac, vaccinations, hormonal preparations, contraceptive pills, etc.
Infections and infestations: The bites of bedbugs, wasps, bees, mosquitoes, flies, and certain kinds of caterpillars can be a cause of urticaria. Fungal, protozoal, frequent bacterial infections (Urinary tract), viral infections (Hepatitis), helminthiasis (worm infestations such as round worms, tapeworms), etc. are factors known to cause urticaria. One cause of urticaria appears to be infection with H. Pylori. There is some evidence of a relationship between H. pylori infection and both chronic idiopathic urticaria and atopic dermatitis. Treatment of infection demonstrated by reduction in C-urea breath test and anti-H. pylori antibody titers resulted in partial improvement of clinical symptoms in some patients with atopic dermatitis. Domestic contact with the pet animals should be examined as cause for urticaria. Dental abscess and candida (thrush) could be a urticaria cause.
Synthetic products: Use of personal products such as deodorant, perfume, and talcum powder, cosmetic products, animal derivatives, and similar synthetic substances may induce this disorder.
Emotional factors: Emotional stresses, such as a fight with a spouse, may directly or indirectly make one susceptible to develop a tendency to urticaria.
Systemic and general disease: Urticaria in some cases may present as a sign of other systemic or general internal disease such as hormonal disorders (hyperthyroidism), lupus, polycythaemia, reticuloses, etc. In certain variety of malignancies (cancer) urticaria may present as a precursor.
Antihistamines for Urticaria
Antihistamines that bind to the histamine 1 receptor (H1) serve as important therapeutic agents to counter the effects of histamine in the skin. Two generations of antihistamines exist; however, second-generation agents are more advantageous because they cause less sedation, have a longer half life and are more selective for the H1 receptor. While H1 antihistamines have proven to be effective at reversing the pruritus and cutaneous lesions of chronic urticaria, their ability to treat pruritus associated with other cutaneous and systemic diseases is unproven.
Pathophysiology of urticaria
Urticaria is dermal oedema resulting from vascular dilatation and leakage of fluid into the skin in response to molecules released from mast cells. Histamine produces a short-lived urticaria. However, the clinical spectrum and pattern of urticaria lesions indicate that other molecules, including prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and cytokines, produced at different times after mast cell activation contribute to the polymorphism of this symptom and the variable evolution of this disease. It is a common practice to distinguish immunological and nonimmunological urticaria. Immunological urticaria is a hypersensitivity reaction mediated by antibodies and/or T-cells that results in mast cell activation. Although immunoglobulin IgE-mediated type I hypersensitivity (HS) was long postulated to be the major immunological pathway associated with mast cell activation, interaction between IgE-bound mast cells and allergens is unlikely to be the mechanism by which urticaria develops in most patients. It is now well established that urticaria may result from the binding of IgG auto-antibodies to IgE and/or to the receptor for IgE molecules on mast cells, thus corresponding to a type II HS reaction. These auto-immune urticarias represent up to 50% of patients with chronic urticaria. Mast cell activation can also result from type III HS through the binding of circulating immune complexes to mast cell-expressing Fc receptors for IgG and IgM. Finally, under certain circumstances, T-cells can induce activation of mast cells, as well as histamine release (type IV HS). Nonimmunological urticarias result from mast cell activation through membrane receptors involved in innate immunity (e.g., complement, Toll-like, cytokine / chemokine, opioid) or by direct toxicity of xenobiotics (haptens, drugs).
Herbs have been used for centuries to treat this condition. The Stinging Nettle being the well-known herb of choice due to its associated botanical name Urtica dioica folia. But this is usually insufficient to effect a cure. A complete treatment will involve liver cleanses, anti-parasitic herbs, relaxant herbs for stress, nutrient rich herbs (e.g. the ABC Daily Powder), immunostimulants, and hormonal regulators. Such treatment you can receive from you local herbalist.
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Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.
Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.
Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.
HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436
General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.
Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.
A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.
A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.
Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.
The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
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