Herbal Remedies for Hives

Prescription anti-histamines or even corticosteroids in severe attacks of hives sometimes may be prescribed. The steroids particularly can have serious side effects. Often a simple home hives treatment using herbs may relieve the symptoms.

Hives, technically called urticaria, are slightly elevated pale skin swellings surrounded by areas of redness. They are often referred to as wheals or welts. There are a number of common triggers including drug reactions, insect bites, or food allergies, especially shellfish, eggs, nuts and fruits. Hives usually begin with itching followed by wheals. Sometimes they recede quickly, but at other times may last for days. There are some herbal remedies that  because of their anti-inflammatory or anti-histiaminic activities may help with mild cases. Severe hives, particularly those that extend over the whole body can be a medical emergency.

External Treatments

Various herbalist sites suggest a number of topical applications that may have anti-inflammatory effects on skin conditions. Apply aloe gel to the area of inflammation and cover with a loose clean cloth. This may stop the inflammation and prevent infection.

German Chamomile, Creative Commons By Rilke

Soaking two ounces of dried whole German Chamomile .” (Matricaria recutita) in 2-1/2 gallons of warm water and applying this as a bath to the wheals may help.  Chamomile “is commonly used for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, …” effects. (“A systematic review study of therapeutic effects of Matricaria recuitta chamomile (chamomile),” Electronic Physician 2016 Sep 20;8(9):3024-3031

Black Nightshade Creative Commons. By John Tann from Sydney, Australia

European Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum l.) berries have been found in studies to have anti-inflammatory effects. Herbalists suggest boiling the leave leaves in water, soaking a cloth in this and applying it to the hives. See for example:

Anti-inflammatory steroidal glycosides from the berries of Solanum nigrum L. (European black nightshade),” Phytochemistry, 2018 Apr;148:87-96.

Potential Anti-inflammatory Steroidal Saponins from the Berries of Solanum nigrum L. (European Black Nightshade),” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2017 May 31;65(21):4262-4272.

Internal Remedy


Stinging Nettle Leaf Creative Commons. By John Tann from Sidney, Australia

Another plant suggested on herbal remedy sites because of its anti-inflammatory properties is Stinging Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica). (“Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Herbs with Special Emphasis on Herbal Medicines for Countering Inflammatory Diseases and Disorders – A Review,” (Recent Patents on Inflammation & Allergy Drug Discovery, 2018 Jan 15. Typical use is either as a tea or by simply drinking a tablespoon of stinging nettle leaf juice three times a day. It has been said this may speed up the rash healing, particularly when due to a shellfish allergy.


Other Possible Remedies

Avoid aspirin or NSAIDs or foods with sulfites. At the first sign of hives, take a cool shower. It may prevent hives from spreading. Vitamin C tablets at 1,000 mg strength taken three times a day can act as a potent anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. One teaspoon of Lactobacillus acidophilus taken three times a day may reduce an allergic reaction.


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