Not only for herb witches…


What about herbs and spices?

Generally on histamine intolerance

Herbs and spices make the difference when we prepare food. Yet, after being diagnosed with histamine intolerance one should go easy on them, because histamine intolerance seldom comes alone.

Allergies and other intolerances, like for instance lactose intolerance, often come with histamine intolerance. So please check if you are affected by another ailment besides HIT, like allergies, before you try herbs and spices listed here.

After being diagnosed with HIT it is advisable to a) detox your body and b) introduce new foods to your diet again slowly. For this process food lists like this one from the Swiss interest group for HIT can be helpful. More information on dietary change can be found here.

I also recommend to start your own, personal food diary. Especially in the beginning this is helpful. For that you’ll write down what you’ve eaten and note symptoms if they occur. That way you can find out what you can tolerate. Note: sometimes reactions occur delayed (1-3 days after eating).


Luna studies herbs and spices, yet, sheshe actually only enjoys catnip and valerian

Generally on herbs and spices

Always try to buy organic, otherwise many herbs and spices you can buy contain pollutants. They can also cause histamine related reactions.

Use herbs and spices only if you know your allergies (or if you know you don’t have any). Also check for possible cross reactions. When in doubt try in small amounts and review it with your food diary (see above).


The power of herbs and spices

Herbs and spices can be soothing if you know which ones to pick. There are natural substances that help with breaking down histamine ((still) water, vitamin c and b6) or that inhibit histamine (e.g. blackberry). The right “cocktail” can work miracles or at least sooth some symptoms.


Soothing herbs and spices

Caraway aids with digestion and can soothe flatulences. Tip: Even if not everybody will like it, a fennel anise caraway tea can be of great help to all kinds of digestion problems. Moreover, caraway is great in soups, to rice and potatoes.

Southernwood (artemisia abrotanum) is a great spice for meat that fell into oblivion, it can also be used for sauces and salads. It has a lemon-like taste to it. Don’t use too much of it, because it is quite intense. It is appetising and stomachic. If kept in the kitchen it will keep moths and flies at bay. Just as lavender you can use it for scented sachets.

Cloves contain essential oils that help against headaches and migraines when applied externally. Besides working as pain killers the essential oils improve blood circulation. Often suitable for ingesting when suffering from HIT though.

Baikal Skullcap (scutellaria baikalensis) is supposed to help with many ailments. It is supposed to be able to heal cancer. It is listed here because it can inhibit the histamine release. A tea of Skullcap therefore can work miracles.

Toothpickweed (ammi visnaga) is an insider’s tip like Skullcap. It contains cromoglicic acid that stabilises mast cells and therefore regulates histamine release.

Garlic is a real allrounder when it comes to spices respectively herbs with many benefits and fields of application.It contains lots of vitamins (A, B, C) and several minerals, like selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium. Used freshly garlic is the best. It is a natural antioxidant that inhibits free radicals. Garlic is supposed to prevent bowel cancer and cardiac diseases. Moreover garlic is antibacterial and antifungal – it helps against colds and yeast infections.

Ramson (allium ursinum) is just as useful as garlic. It contains lots of vitamin c, therefore it should not be boiled. To get the benefits it is used best freshly in salad or pesto. When gathering ramson yourself be sure NOT to pick lily of the valley, autumn crocus or common arum by accident. They are toxic. Other than them only ramson has that typical garlic-ish smell to it when you rub the leaves between your fingers.

Aloe vera neither herb, nor spice it found its way into this list anyway, because this one is quite a miracle drug as well. Applied externally it soothes burns, also sunburns and small cuts. It cools the skin. WITHOUT the peel (which is toxic), aloe gel can be applied internally. It is anti-inflammatory. Careful when suffering from salicylate intolerance!

Other herbs and spices, mostly tolerated

Mint soothes the nerves. Yet, if applied too often it can cause insomnia.
Melissa soothing and applied externally against insects.
Basil can help against headaches. Place ground leaves on temples to do so. Tea helps against flatulences. A special kind of basil is tulsi (holy basil) that is a natural antihistamine.
Lavender is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. A vapour bath helps against oily skin. Soothing when used in scented sachets.
Parsley– chew it against bad breath. A great boost for your immune system. Lots of vitamin c.
Thyme helps with digestion and against cough (as tea). Can be used for inhaling when having a cold.
Rosemary stimulates circulation, also as bath additive. Don’t use before going to bed. Don’t use during pregnancy!
Rucola/rocket is great for salad.

Herbs and spices that might cause reactions

Dill, shamrock, chives take only in small amounts, curry, ginger take only in small amounts, poppy (seed), nutmeg, mustard, hot pepper (Cayenne), peperoni, horseradish and onions (are actually low in histamine, but supposed to be triggers).

Edit (02/28/2015): I’ve had listed curcuma as red before, meaning, as not suitable. Quite the contrary is true and I’ve started adding it to many foods. Curcuma stabilises mast cells and therefore can be eaten without regret, it’s helpful even.

Generally most herbs contain high amounts of salicylates. If you have problem with salicylates be careful when testing out new herbs.
For feedback please leave a comment or email me at histaminarm(at)


(c) The Histamine Pirate