The Natural Antihistamine

Fight Allergies and Pain with Quercetin

I love vitamin C. And that means I also love bioflavonoids. They're closely related compounds. Together vitamin C and the bioflavonoids protect our bodies from oxidizing ... they (and a few other crucial micronutrients) keep us from drying out and crisping.

But they do much more than that. Vitamin C is also the glue that holds us together. If it wasn't for vitamin C we'd instantly dissolve into puddles of cells on the floor. And that means vitamin C is crucial whenever I'm trying to use acupuncture to heal any physical injury.

So we need vitamin C to help new connective tissue grow. But Vitamin C and the bioflavonoid antioxidants (AOs) are also natural anti-inflammatories. These two effects support each other. By soaking up sand-in-the-gears free radicals, these AOs "clean up" our cells, their membranes, their microstructures and metabolic pathways. This makes it much easier for our cells to go about their work as they make the new proteins they need to heal and grow.

Their anti-inflammatory nature also makes AOs useful when allergic inflammation strikes ... whether it shows up as sinus congestion, a sluggish, cloudy-headed feeling, or a chronic pain flare-up.

Yes, that's right. Chronic pain can be an allergic response. Not always ... but often enough that it's a good idea to do a self-test to see, if you've had chronic pain for awhile. The biology's a little complex, so we'll save that discussion for later. Besides, I'd rather talk about quercetin.

Quercetin is a bioflavonoid antioxidant, which means it's water soluble and fights inflammation, too. Natural sources include apples, tea, red onion, most citrus, tomato, broccoli and other green leafy veges.

My fave use for quercetin is to blunt allergic reactions, like the ones that flare up after wet winters when warm spring days first hit and pollen counts go mad. Quercetin blocks the action of cytokines, signalling molecules that tell the immune system it's time to attack.

500-1,000 mg once or twice/day will usually do the job. If you're on meds be sure to check with your pharmacist first of course. Quercetin slows the rate at which the body breaks down some drugs, making them more than normally potent.

Now quercetin is just a patch job for allergies, even if a good one. But if your pain or other symptoms improve with quercetin, there's an excellent chance they're allergy-related. A more comprehensive approach would involve working to identify any substances in one's diet or environment to which one reacts and reducing one's exposure to them. This is a project that can take years. Alas ... sometimes there's no other workable option.

In other cases quercetin alone, or in combination with acupuncture, will do the trick for quite some time. And that can be enough.

If one's not yet ready to come to grips with all the ways modern diets and social habits feed allergies, there's something to be said for a good patch job that works. Because once summer arrives and the hills dry out, many allergy sufferers will be able to breathe freely and move without pain again ... at least until next spring.