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A Self- Help Guide to Treating Hives Naturally

written by: Shuchi Kalra • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 5/26/2009

While a flare up is not a medical emergency and can be easily controlled by an antihistamine tablet, the itching can prove to be quite debilitating. Here are some natural cures and home remedies to prevent and treat hives as well as relieve the symptoms while the pill does its job.

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    What are Hives?

    Also known as nettle rash or urticaria, hives are usually caused when body tissues release histamine in response to an inflammatory or allergic reaction. Hives are typically characterized by white or reddish weals or bumps on the skin.

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    Cool it off

    A cold shower or a cold compress on the affected area will constrict the blood vessels and control the release of histamine.

    Adding colloidal oatmeal to the bath water soothes the rashes and relieved itching.

    Use natural astringents like calamine or witch hazel to constrict the blood vessels and curb the inflammatory reaction.

    A paste of sodium bicarbonate or cream of tartar also helps relieve itching.

    A diluted solution of vinegar in water also works well to soothe the rash.

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    Herbal Remedies

    Eat nettle capsules as a safer alternative to antihistamine. If these are difficult to find, steam some sprigs of the weed and add it to your meals.

    A poultice of chickweed leaves or chickweed cream soothes the lesions and minimizes itching.

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    The Nutrition Link

    Making minor changes in your dietary and lifestyle habits can go a long way in reducing the intensity and frequency of flare-ups.

    Take fish oil supplements or oily fish like salmon, tuna and trout. The omega-3 fatty acids possess natural inflammatory properties.

    Take 250 grams of vitamin C supplements three times a day to boost immunity and control inflammation.

    A bioflavonoid called Quercetin acts as a natural anti-histamine.

    Stress can often trigger hives. Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga may help.

    Herbal teas like passionflower, valerian and catnip are natural sedatives and stress-busters.

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    Preventive Measures

    Keep track of things you eat, drink or do throughout the day. This will help you narrow down on the possible triggers and you can avoid them subsequently.

    Some foods like eggs, shellfish, artificial sweeteners and nuts are known to cause allergic reactions in some people. Identify which foods don’t work for you.

    Drugs like NSAIDs, supplements, sedatives, laxatives and pain-killers can sometimes trigger a flare-up.

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