Hives are the common name for the condition called urticaria, which is usually caused by an allergic reaction in the body. Hives are a skin rash characterized by raised pale red bumps on the skin that are itchy. They can be both acute or chronic, depending on the cause.
Hives are frequently caused by allergic reactions; however, there are many nonallergic causes. Most cases of hives lasting less than six weeks (acute urticaria) are the result of an allergic trigger. Chronic urticaria (hives lasting longer than six weeks) is rarely due to an allergy.
The majority of chronic hives cases have an unknown (idiopathic) cause. In perhaps as many as 30–40% of patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria, it is caused by an autoimmune reaction. Acute viral infection is another common cause of acute urticaria (viralexanthem). Less common causes of hives include friction, pressure, temperature extremes, exercise, and sunlight. (source)
Fortunately, we have antihistamines that we can use to treat hives and other allergic reactions. But antihistamines can bring their own problems, the side effects of which range from sleepiness to just plain feeling weird (that’s a technical term I like to use.) And really, an antihistamine is useful, but doesn’t have to be the only treatment you use.
The root of the cause of hives can be tricky to assess. You may be allergic to a food or medicine. You may be allergic to detergent or a chemical you came in contact with. You may be experiencing stress. But the good news is this: you can treat hives pretty effectively at home!
- apple cider vinegar: for itchiness — dab directly on to the hives and let dry
- burdock root tea: for purification — brew medicinally by steeping in boiling water for at least 30 minutes
- turmeric: for everything! — scoop a heaping teaspoon into your burdock tea, stir it in, and drink it as fast as you can, because it’s yucky!
- coconut oil: for soothing — coconut oil is calming to the skin and is also known for its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties which can help with infection
- lavender essential oil: for soothing — dab directly onto the skin, diluted in coconut oil
- peppermint essential oil*: for cooling — dab directly onto the skin, diluted in coconut oil
- peace and calming essential oil blend: for soothing –dab directly onto the skin, no dilution needed
Lavender, peppermint, and peace and calming are all available in the premium starter kit HERE.
I highly recommend getting the premium starter kit to keep on hand as a major portion of your homemade medicine cabinet. And while you’re at it, get this peppermint lip balm to make at home! It’s better than anything you can buy, and it’s quite calming to hives if needed in a pinch.
I have spent the last several years enjoying a respite from the intermittent hives of my childhood. It wasn’t uncommon for me to get hives for no reason at all when I was younger. We just treated them with an anti-histamine and waited for them to clear up. It was usually just the raised bumps you normally see, with the occasional veer into swollen lips or eyes or ears. Not fun!
To this day I am still not sure what the common denominator was for all my break outs when I was younger. It could have been the stress of the abuse at home. It could have been a lot of things.
The above remedies are the ones that I have used personally with pretty good success. The last time I had hives, this is what I did:
- I used apple cider vinegar first, dabbing it onto my skin and letting it air dry
- Then I mixed lavender and peppermint essential oils into coconut oil (about 20 drops of each into a tablespoon of coconut oil) in a small bowl and rubbed the mixture all over my hives.
- While that soaked in, I made the burdock tea and stirred in the turmeric with a bit of raw honey and chugged it.
The next day, the itching was very improved, and I didn’t need to use my antihistamine much at all. Try it! See if it works for you!