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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