Quercetin is widely found in nature, providing natural anti-histamine activity, and is particularly beneficial for the relief of respiratory allergy symptoms related to acute or chronic allergic rhinitis (hayfever) and sinusitis. Anti-histamines do not inactivate or affect the release of histamine; instead, they help to protect your body from the ill-effects of large amounts of histamine.

Quercetin is a natural, plant-based chemical

Quercetin is a naturally occurring flavonoid or bioflavonoid, a water-soluble plant pigment found in many fruits, vegetables, leaves and grains. Flavonoids possess potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties useful for a number of health benefits. Other flavonoids, including rutin and hesperidin, have a similar action to that of quercetin, although quercetin is the most active of the flavonoids, providing greater bioavailability for a better therapeutic effect.

As quercetin is a plant pigment, foods that are brightly coloured provide a naturally rich source of quercetin including apples, red onions, red grapes, citrus fruit, tomato, broccoli, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, green tea, capers and parsley.

How your immune system handles an allergic reaction

Allergies produce abnormal immune responses to objects that are typically harmless to most of us. When you're allergic to something, your immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harmful to your body so establishes a defence mechanism to protect you.

Your immune system generates large quantities of a defence molecule called immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody that attaches itself to the allergen. Each IgE antibody is specific to a particular allergen, so if you are allergic to grass pollen you would have large numbers of specific IgE antibodies for grass but no IgE antibodies for any other types of pollen.

After your first exposure to an allergen, the IgE antibodies produced attach themselves to immune system cells called mast cells. These mast cells become primed and ready to be activated when you next come into contact with that allergen. IgE antibodies attach to the primed mast cells, signalling the release of large amounts of histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation and irritation, responsible for your allergy symptoms.

 Quercetin dampens allergy symptoms quickly

Quercetin’s natural anti-histamine activity helps to reduce the strength of an allergic reaction, reducing the inflammation and irritation associated with allergy symptoms.

Excessive histamine release is largely responsible for the symptoms of allergic rhinitis including itchy nose, eyes, mouth or throat, runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes; so anti-histamines help to reduce these effects.

Quercetin provides significant anti-inflammatory activity by blocking a number of different inflammatory pathways in the initial stages of an allergic response, helping to decrease the level of inflammation associated with allergic reactions.

The antioxidant activity of quercetin helps to mop up free radicals that cause damage in your body and preserves the action of vitamin C, another natural anti-histamine. Free radicals have the ability to activate inflammatory pathways in your body.

Quercetin is generally well tolerated and is suitable for children aged 6 and over, or as prescribed by your healthcare practitioner. The recommended dosage for allergic rhinitis ranges from 250-600mg, in divided doses, three times daily.

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References

Antihistamines, Retrieved on 05/09/2014 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Antihistamines
Braun, L & Cohen, M, 2010, Herbs & Natural Supplements: an evidence-based guide, Elsevier, Australia.

Thornhill, SM & Kelly, AM 2000, ‘Natural treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis’, Alternative Medicine Review, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 448-454.
Pizzorno, JE & Murray, MT, 2006, Textbook of Natural Medicine, Elsevier, Missouri.