Antihistamine and Anti SIBO Herbs — plus anti-cold and flu congestion

by Bea Garth
copyright 2015

I have found that for me there are many antihistamine teas that can help against histamine sensitivity as well as congestion during the cold and flu season. The usual kitchen herbs (like thyme, marjoram, oregano, sage, tumeric) plus things like mint, hyssop, coltsfoot, mullein and Yerba Santa can and have really helped me despite years of being ill from having severe gluten sensitivity and pretty heavy duty histamine sensitivity. I have found heavy guns like goldenseal or barberry can be very helpful. And eating a ton of fresh garlic!

Of course steaming one’s face and breathing it in with a pot of hot water with some good aromatic herbs in it like eucaplytus or mint can be life savers. Also a neti pot with just plain old salt water can do wonders. Plus absolutely no sugar, milk, or gluten have been essential healing ingredients for me.

In addition, nothing in my experience seems to combat sinus and lung congestion as well as a potent olive leaf extract and strong oregano oil.

Both are also great against SIBO too–which I have, like many of us with histamine issues do. (SIBO is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth–which often comes as a result of overuse of antibiotics. SIBO tends to worsen histamine reactions–I’ll have more on this in another article sometime soon.)

I often just put some neem leaf or olive leaf in a cup and add boiling water and let it steep for 10 or 15 minutes. I bought the powdered teas in bulk from on Amazon. They have lasted me several months of attack mode against my own case of SIBO–though I have gone on and off them since they are  so extremely powerful as natural antibiotics. I often alternate them with each other and with barberry bark which I boil for roughly half an hour. For a while I was putting the loose olive leaf tea covered in a pot of water on a low simmer, like they say to do. But then I just started pouring boiling water over it instead so as to preserve more of its goodness. Maybe I just got confused or lazy?? But no apparently it is correct to just let it steep. Same with the neem leaves.

But then I got this bug after a very (now these days for me extremely uncommon) sudden UTI on the Solstice during the recent Holidays. The UTI created a week of intense pain due I think in part to inflammation for whatever reason. I got past the UTI by going on an even more extreme diet (is that possible??) and took various herbs I have learned over the years which are soothing and healing of the urinary tract and kidneys (like marshmallow root, corn silk, cleavers, uva ursi, dandelion root etc). I was bound and determined not to have to take more anti-biotics that after all created my underlying SIBO condition after all, which in turn has made my histamine situation that much more cranky!

My home made fresh Cranberry juice concoction by the way just made it worse–apparently cranberries have very high histamine!! So unlike for most people, it is a big no no for me.

On this side note concerning the UTI/inflammation, I just recently discovered that the great anti-allergenic Twinlab vitamin C made from Sago Palm that I had started taking early this winter, -is made with a gelatin capsule which I was reacting to. Many with histamine issues can handle gelatin, but I apparently cannot. Unfortunately I just did not notice this fact until just a few days ago. It really did sneak up on me since this type of C was highly recommended. I now pour the vitamin C out of the caps and onto my food or in a cup of water–so now there is no longer any problem. In the end I finally found I can tolerate normal hypoallergenic ascorbic acid vitamin C as long as I don’t take too much of it at a time and dilute it in enough water.

The gelatin capsules was the cause of my getting ill with the UTI during the holidays in the first place, since gelatin and I do not get along very well. Unbeknownst to me, it was the likely causes of my continued hives and inflammation in my private areas after all. Like many with histamine sensitivity, this is the only variety of Vitamin C I can tolerate–so I am glad it exists, especially since the right vitamin C acts as a very good antihistamine. I just wonder why they use gelatin caps?? I need to call the company and ask.

This is also a lesson to me that I need to watch what I take with an eagle eye… instead of just trusting the Fates like I would like to!!

Meanwhile, my energy was still down and I contracted this difficult to get rid of congesition while meanwhile religiously taking the vitamin C, capsules and all. Silly unobservant me!!

Nevertheless, now despite the fact I am finally taking the vitamin C correctly, the flu is still lingering. It has got me down in the tops of my lungs to some degree-so I still have a dry cough now and then. To get really effective stuff for this insidious congestive flu that’s been going around, I have found I have to take olive leaf extract since its fresher and more potent than plain ground olive leaf. As it was, the plain olive leaf tea was simply not potent enough to either stop me from getting the flu this time, nor enough to quickly get past it.

I finally found a safe for me variety of olive leaf extract made using vegetarian caps from NOW–which has helped me a great deal this last week. This experience shows me that some extracts are OK for me despite my histamine sensitivity as long as they are not made from or extracted with alcohol. Being histamine sensitive, I just don’t tolerate alcohol at all. I also had to make sure the capsule was vegetarian once again, since clearly I also don’t tolerate regular gelatin capsules for the same reason–too many amines from all those cow hooves etc.!

I soon plan to experiment with having some Barlean’s olive leaf complex which is made fresh using glycerin. It is then put in a bottle rather than capsules. However I am cautious. I called the company to see just how they make it to be certain its safe for someone like me with histamine sensitivity. I’ll let you know how that turns out. I am crossing my fingers!

Meanwhile I am also relying on oregano oil I bought online last summer from Greece in a small dropper bottle (to combat my entrenched SIBO). I put the oil 2 to 4 drops at a time in a single veggie capsule, and add olive oil with another dropper and then close the capsule. I then gingerly put it in my mouth and quickly swallow the capsule with water. I then chase it with more water and something to eat, even a stalk of celergy will do to stop the burning. Best natural anti-microbial, anti-viral and antibacterial set I know of–olive leaf and oregano oil!! So despite all I am improving!! Again I have found over the months its important to cycle the oregano oil on and off in order to not blast out my system with too much of the same anti bacterial herbs. So I also alternate it with the barberry bark, and support all of these activities by eating a whole lot of fresh garlic! This goes for this bug too.

Although as said, I did manage somehow to get sick with this bug this winter (I’ve had some nasty astrological transits after all! as well as that sneaky vitamin C!), at least I did not develop walking pneumonia, get lost in hacking fits or get completely plugged up sinuses like this bug has often manifested for many people. Given my less than optimal health history, I believe it likely would have done me pretty bad in the past however before I knew about severe gluten sensitivity and histamine sensitivity.

Meanwhile, I do think that when I can have a stronger form of olive leaf extract like Barlean’s it will go a long way towards beating these bugs even more effectively.

Definitely the combination of some of the anti histamine herbs with the olive leaf extract and oregano oil will soon help me beat this bug entirely. Already today I have noticed a huge improvement.

If you try some of these remedies, and notice an improvement, please let me know. I am not a doctor, so I can’t say if these remedies will help anyone else or not. I am just offering my experience as someone who has gone through the health mill, and is still in the process of learning how to heal myself.

Categories: Health article by Bea Garth, Herbal Remedies by Bea Garth

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6 replies

  1. By the way, in the end I discovered the olive leaf extract was not the best thing for me either. I have to make my own olive leaf extract with hot but not boiling water and keep it on my burner on my stove for most of the day. It works better than most anything else I know of for a cold or congestion. Many suggest that olive leaf is also good against SIBO and thus also for histamine/amine sensitivity.


  2. Hi Kelly–I am glad to see you are up on all this info!! I had some genetic testing done, and while I have some methylation issues, they are not great, fortunately. Nevertheless I take methylated Vit. B12 and Selenium. I don’t take methylfolate or any folate at all except from the numerous greens I eat. It makes me feel very off and headachy otherwise if I take it as a supplement. Its worse for me if the folate is methylated actually… Go figure?!
    By the way, I have created a new site which I think is better suited for health info etc. as well as my healing journey. Its at Please check it out and let me know what you think!


  3. Gelatin is high in histamine — that could be why you were reacting so badly. I’m wondering if you’ve tried DAO enzyme products? Apparently if one has low levels of DAO (an enzyme that breaks down histamine) then histamine levels build up…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kelly. Yes I know about the gelatin. I found out the hard way. Hives plus no sleep. I do take DAO now and then, but mostly not. So expensive! I am using the really organic cold pressed olive oil just before I go to bed. Seems to help me sleep. Apparently it helps the body make DAO. Doesn’t do the whole thing, but is really helping. I can now tolerate having an egg a day for instance! Am hoping soon I can tolerate having cod liver oil that we freeze in a wide mouth jar immediately upon opening. My fiancee can and it is helping him a lot! He too has histamine/amine sensitivity.


      • Hi again Bea,

        One other suggestion: Have you looked into methylation problems? The other main way that histamine is broken down is via methylation. I’m not sure if you allow links, so I’ll just say that a google search on “histamine” and “methylfolate” or “methylcobalamin” will turn up more information, and Dr. Ben Lynch, just as one example, has a lot of good information on his site.

        Also, certain probiotics can increase histamine levels while others can help lower them. At least that’s my understanding. I’m trying to resolve this issue as well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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