Quercetin is a bioflavonoid, or part of the vitamin C family. Bioflavonoids are coloring pigments that are found throughout the plant kingdom. Bioflavonoids are antioxidants and are known for providing protection from environmental stresses.
Quercetin is known for inhibiting allergy and inflammatory responses. Allergy and inflammatory conditions are triggered by contact with allergens that are absorbed into the blood. When allergens meet special immune cells containing histamine, the cell wall of the immune cell becomes leaky and releases histamine into the surrounding blood and tissues. Allergen released histamine produces the familiar allergic symptoms of runny noses, blocked sinuses, itchy eyes, blotchy skin, coughing and wheezing.
Quercetin actually helps to stabilize the cell walls of the immune components that contain histamine. This stabilization helps prevent release of histamine. The allergy symptoms simply will not occur without release of histamine, even though you have inhaled pollen, animal hair, or whatever normally triggers allergy attacks.
Quercetin also helps with asthma, which is allergic inflammation involving the lungs.
Quercetin is available in supplement form. Quercetin is usually combined with bromelain or pineapple enzyme since it is barely soluble in water and needs the bromelain to increase absorption. Bromelain has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that act synergistically with quercetin.
Suggested dosage of quercetin for allergy and asthma is 1000 to 2000 mg. per day divided into at least 2 doses.
Since this is cedar season and many are suffering from acute allergy symptoms, I will briefly mention other products that help with allergies.
Homeopathics are a category of products that many are unfamiliar with. They are effective and safe enough for a small child with no drowsiness and no drug interactions. There are many homeopathic formulations available. Some are for general allergy symptoms while others are specific to the allergen, such as tree pollen, pet dander, mold, dust, etc.
Other allergy products include the herb nettle, which inhibits histamine release; special allergy formulated enzymes which help digest allergy causing proteins in the blood; and many combination formulas for the various symptoms of allergies.
Margaret Durst is a naturopathic doctor who owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas. She is available by appointment for private consultation.