Natural Treatments for Hives

Skin rash

Hives (urticaria) is the name given to a skin eruption characterized by outbreaks of red, itchy, occasionally swollen welts on the skin associated with histamine release. They are most often treated by conventional doctors with antihistamines or corticosteroids. Hives can be the result of anxiety, viral infections, chemical exposure or hidden food allergies.

Food allergies can develop because of heredity or some specific injury to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. This injury can be caused by non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), antibiotics, chemicals in food or water, steroids like the birth control pill, and other drugs.

Another possible direct cause of hives is parasitic infection. Yet another possibility is candida (yeast) infection. In many cases of hives, low stomach acidity is present as well. If stomach acidity is adequate, parasites and fungi like candida cannot get past the acid barrier of the stomach and infestation cannot take place.

Natural treatments for hives

If the cause of the hives is unknown, it is harmless to try some natural remedies that reduce inflammation without the deleterious side effects of antihistamines. This can be done while one is being investigated for food and chemical allergies or various infections by a health care practitioner. For most adults this means taking the following nutritional supplements on at least a temporary basis:

Vitamin C: 1000 mg three times daily and increased daily by 1000 mg until bowel tolerance (loose bowel movements) is reached.

Quercetin: 1000 mg three times daily. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that stabilizes the mast cell membrane, where histamine is manufactured.

Pycnogenol: 300 mg daily until hives are gone, then 150 mg daily thereafter.

Low stomach acidity prevents a person from completely digesting foods, especially the high protein foods. As a result, partially digested foods can get absorbed into the blood, eliciting an allergic/inflammatory reaction. In essence, the food that is partially digested behaves as if it were an allergen that needs to be attacked by the immune system. Even so-called "healthy" foods can turn into allergies when hydrochloric acid is inadequate. Rashes like acne and hives can result.

Once the cause of hives has been established, treatment can be directed at the source of the problem. A health care practitioner should be consulted for testing and treatment tailored to individual needs.

Dr. Zoltan Rona

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Dr. Zoltan P. Rona is a graduate of McGill University Medical School (1977) and has a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut (1984). He is past president of The Canadian Holistic Medical Association (1987-88) and is the author of three Canadian bestsellers: The Joy of Health (1991), Return to the Joy of Health (1995) and Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection (1997). He is co-author with Jeanne Marie Martin of The Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook (1996) and is the medical editor of the Benjamin Franklin Award winning Encyclopedia of Natural Healing (1998). He has had a private medical practice in Toronto for the past 35 years, has appeared on radio and TV as well as lectured extensively in Canada and the U.S. Dr. Rona currently writes regular articles for Reader’s Digest, Alive, Vitality magazine and for several web sites. His latest book “Vitamin D, the Sunshine Vitamin” was published in 2010. In 2011, Dr. Rona was named Chief Medical Advisor for NAKA Herbs and Vitamins and has developed a line of nutritional supplements (TriStar Naturals) which are sold in health food stores across Canada. He can be found at