Itchy bumps, patches, and rash on surface of the skin, often white at their caps, surrounded by red, inflamed tissue. Hives most commonly appear on the limbs and trunk, but in severe cases can spread elsewhere on the body. Hives usually only last a few hours.

What are Hives?

From Modern Western Medicine

Though the cause is unknown, the most common stimulus is an allergic reaction to certain foods, such as milk, eggs, shellfish, strawberries, or nuts; certain food additives or artificial colors; the pharmaceutical drugs, such as penicillin or aspirin. The allergic reaction triggers the production of the chemical histamine from cells, which in turn causes capillaries to leak fluid into the tissues of the skin. Less commonly, heat, strenuous exercise, and sweating can bring on a flare-up of hives, as can overexposure to sunlight or cold temperatures. Calamine lotion or antihistamine drugs can relieve the irritation and itching. Severe cases may require corticosteroid drugs.

From Traditional Medicine

Hives are the body’s effort to eliminate toxins that have temporarily overloaded the liver and kidneys, thus been shunted to the skin surface in the hope of eliminating such waste products through the skin’s pore. Hives usually appear when the blood stream, lymph system, liver, kidneys, and large intestine are already burdened by toxins. At that point, some toxic foods, substances, or chemical is added to an already-overworked immune system, blood-cleaning organs, and the digestive tract, and thus becomes the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

The first thing to do is to take these burdens off the blood-cleaning organs and systems (such as the lymph) and boost eliminative organs, especially the large intestine. If constipated, take a laxative, and then promote healthy elimination through the bowels.


Foods to Eat

  • Omega-3s oils boost immunity
  • Soybeans
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Micro-algae such as spirulina, chlorella, and blue-green algae
  • Flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds
  • Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and other deep-water/cold-water fish


These fluids will help eliminate toxins:

  • Carrot and green vegetable juice
  • Distilled water


Foods to Avoid

The following foods are common allergens:

  • Shellfish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Pork
  • Onions
  • Some fruits
  • Food dyes, additives, and preservatives


Also avoid:

  • Saturated fats
  • Fried foods
  • Sugar
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Dairy products
  • Spices
  • Tobacco
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol


Herbs to Treat Hives

  • Chickweed tea and oil
  • Burdock seed tea
  • Catnip tea
  • Nettles: 1 tsp., three times per day
  • Sassafras tea
  • Infusion: 1 part nettles, 1 part yarrow, 2 parts dandelion, ½ part goldenseal
  • Echinacea: tincture, 30 drops four to five times daily
  • Tea made from equal parts burdock, sassafras, red raspberry, and red clover. Drink in cupful doses, two or three times daily to clean the blood.



To draw out toxins from the skin, take a hot bath with 1 pound of baking soda or Epsom salts added to the water.