Allergy season is upon us as spring trees bloom and March winds carry pollen through the air. There are some great natural products that help alleviate the symptoms of allergies without the side effects of some of the “unnatural” products that many use.Quercetin is one of our bestsellers. It is known for inhibiting allergy and inflammatory responses. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid, or part of the vitamin C family. Bioflavonoids are coloring pigments found throughout the plant kingdom that are antioxidants and provide protection from environmental stresses. 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. Without histamine, there are no allergy symptoms. What is really nice about quercetin is it doesn’t “over” dry, doesn’t make you drowsy, and has very few negative interactions since it is part of the vitamin C family. 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.Other allergy products include homeopathics. These 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. A bestseller in this category is Texas Allergy Mix – for mold, oak, cedar, ragweed, etc.There are also herbal products for allergies. Nettle, which inhibits histamine release is available in both capsules and tea. Boneset, horehound, fenugreek and horseradish are some of the other herbs used – usually in combination to soothe the repiratory tract while breaking down mucous. There are also enzymes which help digest allergy causing proteins in the blood which takes away allergy symptoms.Give some natural products a try this allergy season and see how they work for you.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.