Chalk another one up to traditional medicine. Skullcap Baicalensis, a herb used in Chinese healing, has been used for over 200 years as a relaxant, to fight anxiety, and convulsions. Now we’re getting confirmation that it works to prevent runny noses triggered by mast cells and histamine, making it worth looking into for histamine intolerance. It’s worth knowing however that there’s two main kinds of skullcap, and they have differing properties.
Please consult with a medical professional before adding anything new to your diet and remember that even natural herbs have side effects, especially for those with immune system dysfunction.
There are two main types of skullcap. Both have benefits, but the Chinese herb is the main focus of this post.
This herb has significant antioxidant effects and could help prevent neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It has also been shown to help alleviate anxiety, and depression. There’s also evidence pointing to American Skullcap’s ability to prevent allergic responses to food. This herb is often combined with other relaxants. I’ve used combinations of skullcap, wild lettuce, valerian and passionflower as a tea infusion before bed. They all have antihistamine properties, but, they may ferment as they’re dried, and are high in salicylic acid, which may explain why some people find they have the opposite effect.
This Traditional Chinese Medicine herb has been used to treat allergies, infections, cancer and more. One animal study in particular found that uncooked egg white (a major histamine trigger) triggered the release eosinophils and mast cells in the nasal passages, while setting off an IgE allergy, IgG response, and a rise in serum histamine level. A ton of other inflammatory cells got involved, which is why I always say we shouldn’t focus on eliminating histamine to resolve symptoms, we need to focus on fighting inflammation as a whole. Read more about that here.
Skullcap Baicalensis (Chinese Skullcap) extract reversed this inflammatory cascade, helping normalise IgE, IgG and histamine levels and resolving inflammation of the nasal passages and lungs.
SUPPLEMENTS MAY TRIGGER MAST CELLS & HISTAMINE
There’s a number of reasons to be cautious before starting new supplements when dealing with histamine intolerance and mast cell activation.
Fillers: dyes, preservatives, and even “harmless” ones like titanium dioxide are mast cell/histamine triggers
Immune system reaction: if you’re having strange reactions to foods, odds are you may be too reactive to start a supplement
It’s not right for you: just because a few research studies on animals show a highly concentrated extract had antihistamine benefit, doesn’t mean it’ll do the same for us
Source: always make sure to purchase from trustworthy brands because testing has turned up some nasty surprises over the years
So how do we heal if we can’t tolerate food or supplements? I’ve spent the last few years answering that question on this blog and in my courses. There’s no magic bullet, no one answer. What we can do is simplify the process of allowing the body to heal naturally: good, balanced diet, exercise, stress relief, happiness. It’s a process that, when done right, takes some time. The trick comes down to emptying the inflammation bucket enough so we can fill it back up again with the things we love. Thankfully what I love has evolved over the years!
——– REFERENCES ———
“Skullcapflavone II attenuates ovalbumin-Induced allergic rhinitis through the blocking of Th2 cytokine production and mast cell histamine release.” International Immunopharmacology, Elsevier, 5 Sept. 2017, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1567576917303363.