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Hives (urticaria), the most common form of allergic response, is a skin reaction. It is characterized by intense itching, most notably due to the rapid onset of wheals. Hives are a symptom of an allergy involving only the dermis.

Urticaria is a self-limiting disease with no known cure. Therefore, treatment is towards the symptoms. This may involve identifying and avoiding the allergen, antihistamines and/or corticosteroids (for more severe cases).


Primary Factors
The primary cause of hives is an allergy-producing substance which causes mast cells to release histamine and other vasodilative drugs.

Predisposing Factors
Any allergy-producing substance
Food dyes
Animal dander or hair
Insect stings
Viral infections, especially hepatitis
Drugs such as aspirin or desensitization shots
Heredity enzyme deficiencies
Water (aquagenic urticaria)
Cold (cold-induced urticaria)
Heat (heat-induced urticaria)
Sunlight (light-induced urticaria)
Vigorous exercise (cholinergic urticaria)

Signs & Symptoms

Sudden outbreak of red or white wheals, either isolated or over the entire body
Difficulty breathing if allergy has led to swelling in the respiratory tract
Intense itching

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function:
        Immune System Support &

General Supplements

Beta Carotene*
Bromelain 5 - 10 mg 2 - 5 mg
EPA 4 - 8 g 2 - 4 g
Vitamin B12*
Vitamin C1,000 - 3,000 mg 500 - 2,000 mg
Vitamin E 600 - 800 IU 200 - 400 IU

* Where amounts are not specified please refer to the text.

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

Hives may be a symptom of food allergies. Foods that commonly trigger urticaria are: shellfish, strawberries, nuts, and food additives. Medications such as penicillin can also produce urticaria. The offending substance or substances can be identified by using the Elimination Diet.

Two classes of related substances frequently causes urticaria in sensitive individuals: the salicylates and the tartrazines.

Salicylate, a chemical, naturally occurs in fruits. Methyl salicylate is sold as a flavoring agent under the name "wintergreen" or "teaberry."

Tartrazine is used as a food coloring under the name "yellow no. 5." It is found in various foods, including cola drinks and candy, and also as a filler in medication.

Diets for persons allergic to salicylates and/or tartrazine should be based on the following guidelines:

Bread and cereal exchange list

Most breads (see ingredients label)

Commercially prepared cake mixes
Commercially prepared rolls
Breakfast cereals

Fruit exchange list

All fruits not noted below



Meat and meat substitute exchange list

Red meat


Milk exchange list



Fat exchange list

All fats except almonds


Vegetable exchange list

All vegetables not noted below


CucumbersGreen pepperBell pepper
TomatoTobasco pepper

Miscellaneous exchange list


Cola drink
Root beer and other soft drinks
Wintergreen-flavored candies and gums
Commercially prepared pies
Commercially prepared puddings

Homeopathic Remedy

Hives - urticaria

Advanced , by symptom:

1. Swollen lips and eyelids- Apis Mellifica.
2. Itchy blotches, usually hands- Urtica urens.

Hives (chronic)

1. Icthyolum- 15C

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Herbal Approaches


Aloe vera gel
Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)
Tea tree oil

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


Aloe vera gel or Chamomile, applied topically, may provide symptomatic relief. A Ginger bath has also been recommended.

Cayenne pepper (Capsicum frutescens) may be effective by depleting substance P, thereby providing pain control.

Tea tree oil may be useful if an infection should occur.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Chamomile Essence,Yarrow Essence.

Related Health Conditions

Hereditary enzyme deficiencies



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