While my beverage of preference may well always be coffee, when I first went on a low histamine diet, I glommed onto bags of chamomile tea for comfort. Soon, stewed bits of fresh ginger with coconut milk became a ritual in the evenings, and I began looking for other low histamine teas. For weeks I was too scared to even add honey to my tea, and it’d be months before I found a decent powdered coconut milk, but teas have become a part of my usual morning routine (with coffee being more of a treat).
This guide to low histamine teas covers eleven different types of tea for histamine intolerance sufferers and those with mast cell activation syndrome. Some of these are actively anti histamine teas, while others are merely safe to consume if you’re histamine-sensitive. You’ve probably noticed from a quick skim that none of these teas actually contains tea leaves, meaning no black, green, white, oolong, or pu-er tea bases. That is because all of those contain some level of caffeine, which (like in coffee) can block the clearing of DAO (diamine oxidase) and cause a histamine reaction, so they’re not recommended for people whose histamine levels are still very high.
However, if you can tolerate caffeinated coffee, research and anecdotal evidence lead me to believe that it may be okay for you to drink regular teas at some point. That point would be once you’ve finished the elimination diet portion of living low histamine, though only as long as you’re still eating low histamine overall. For your ease in the moment, each low histamine tea is divided into one of three categories, so hopefully you can find one you like. Happy steeping!
Low Histamine Teas
Ginger Tea: Quite possibly the most universal tummyache tea, ginger has been used for millennia to soothe the stomach and fight infections in many parts of the world. This natural antihistamine tea has been upheld time & again in lab tests, proven to fight inflammation, stabilize mast cells, and inhibit viral activity. From the beginning of my low histamine journey, I’ve made my own ginger tea with chopped fresh ginger and boiled water, plus a bit of manuka honey if I’m using it to replace dessert. You can also boil dried ginger or ginger powder in water with any number of spices, and then carefully strain it all to create your own masala chai (with or without cinnamon, depending on tolerance).
Rooibos Tea: Also known as redbush tea, rooibos is made from the leaves of Aspalathus linearis, a shrub native to South Africa. Traditionally this low oxalate tea has been brewed much like a black tea, though the flavor is smoother, earthier, and notably sweeter. Green rooibos is even lighter and more vegetal than red, making it more comparable to a green tea. It’s also unfermented and contains higher levels of antioxidants relative to red rooibos, though it’s harder to find and therefore slightly more expensive.
Tulsi Tea (Holy Basil): Tulsi has long been used in its native India as both a spice and a tea, brewed either fresh or dried. The herb is packed with nutrients, particularly Vitamin K, a potent anti-inflammatory, and is known to affect H2 receptors and stabilize mast cells against excess histamine release. Its flavor packs quite a punch, though, with a mildly bitter and moderately spicy flavor that can be overwhelming for some people. If you’d prefer to grow your own tulsi for tea, make sure pinch off any flowers growing on the plant, as they cause the leaves to turn bitter.
Peppermint Tea: It’s not just a decongestant! When consumed as an herbal tea, peppermint seems to act similarly to a H2 inhibitor, stabilizing mast cells and even keeping seasonal allergies at bay. Peppermint tea is available alone of course, but it goes beautifully as the base note in blends, particularly with lavender or chamomile flowers.
Spearmint Tea: The most common mint in the market, spearmint is renowned for its antimicrobial and anti inflammatory properties, as well as its lovely scent. Similar to peppermint, spearmint is great for brewing with dried or fresh leaves, though it also has numerous culinary uses for which peppermint would be too harsh. Its flavor differs from peppermint because it has a much lower menthol content, lessening the cooling effect on the tongue.
Chamomile Tea: Highly lauded as a relaxant, chamomile tea is a popular choice at nighttime, as it’s also great for soothing the stomach after a meal and even keeping nausea at bay. The tea is made from the dried buds of the chamomile flower, and has a very light florality with a touch of bitterness. Just beware that chamomile is in the same family as ragweed, so you may want to avoid it if you have a severe ragweed allergy, as it may induce symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Hibiscus Tea: Some people swear by hibiscus tea for their Vitamin C fix, but it’s always been too sour for me. That said, hibiscus (also known as flor de jamaica or roselle) tea is known for its bright red color, which in fact is revealing of its elevated antioxidant content. Polyphenols are the particular group of antioxidants which contribute that pigment, though hibiscus also boasts abundant mast cell-stabilizing compounds, such as quercetin. I highly recommend sweetening your roselle tea with manuka honey, as it won’t increase the histamine level of the beverage, and the antioxidant effect of hibiscus will balance out any sugar-induced inflammation.
Moringa Tea: While you may have heard of moringa oleifera more in the context of smoothies, moringa is a very nutrient-dense leaf native to the Indian subcontinent. It’s been used there for centuries to treat malnourishment, but it also has strongly antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and is known to stabilize mast cells. It has a strongly grassy and hay-like flavor when eaten, but when brewed into tea this effect is greatly lightened, and it lacks the bitterness of many other herbal teas.
Nettle Leaf Tea: Nettle tea is perhaps one of the best-advertised teas for histamine intolerance, as stinging nettle is commonly consumed as a supplement in capsule form (as if you need another pill). But if you’re looking for a tea that’s rich in mast-cell stabilizing substances and easy to prepare, this earthy and grassy herb may be the pick for you.
Dandelion Root Tea: Dandelion is the first ingredient in the digestive bitters I take before most meals, because the plant is very protective of the liver and therefore aids in effective detox. That is furthered by stimulating the production of bile and stomach acid, making it a great option for before meals. Just beware that it’s rather bitter, so you may want to combine it with something more naturally sweet, like chamomile or ginger.
Milk Thistle Tea: As one of the most commonly-used herbs to support liver detoxification, milk thistle is also an antioxidant and an antiviral, known to boost functioning of the immune system. It boasts a mildly bitter and earthy flavor with a slight sweetness, often compared to dandelion root tea, though it’s more commonly sweetened and enjoyed in the evenings.
This post from Healing Histamine lists a few of the teas above in addition to a couple of her own, but she goes a bit more in-depth into the science of each.
Low Histamine Creamers
Much like with my low histamine latte, my preferred creamer for beverages is usually pure coconut milk powder (no maltodextrin), though there are several other options to consider. These days when I’m eating mostly antihistamine foods and overall healthily, I have no issues adding a little heavy cream (dairy) to my tea or coffee. But since we can’t be perfect all the time, I’ve listed a few backups which may also work for you.