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Is Quercetin Useful Against Allergies?

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

With allergy season underway, many people are experiencing sneezing, itching, watering eyes and other symptoms of hayfever. Quercetin is one of the natural substances often discussed for pet, pollen and other environmental allergies. What is it and does it really work though?

Quercetin is a plant pigment, part of a group of substances called flavonoids known for their an anti-inflammatory properties. It is found in a variety of foods, with onion, broccoli, apples, grapes and berries containing some of the highest amounts. It can reduce inflammation in different ways. As a common antioxidant, it reduces the amount of free radicals (high energy molecules that can cause cellular damage) in the body. It can also inhibit mast cells which release histamine in the presence of allergens (histamine is one of the major molecules associated with the symptoms of hay fever and skin allergies). Quercetin counteracts other inflammatory molecules as well and can also inhibit the formation of antibodies specific to allergens, which could keep your symptoms from getting worse.

Photo by Lisa Fotios/Pexels Supplemental quercetin was being recommended by doctors based on their clinical experience with how allergy patients respond to it, even before there was much research on it. Its anti-inflammatory properties have led to it being used in other inflammatory conditions as well, such as asthma and diabetes (though there is even less research on these). Along with a healthy diet and exercise, it can be useful in controlling symptoms. You want to make sure there are less toxins going in, and that you are able to eliminate any internal toxins more effectively so your body will be less reactive. In the end though, quercetin will not cure the issue itself, which is the reaction. Pollen, pet dander and other "allergens" are common in our environment, and many people have no problems with them at all. There's a complicated dysfunction occurring when the nervous system, immune cells and other parts of the body respond to these normal materials as if they are dangerous to us. Mental and emotional aspects can also come into play over time as the problem is not dealt with effectively. Naturopathic Doctors guide patients to tease apart the reasons why their body is reacting this way and get back to living a more normal life. (Here is a link to my 2023 blog post about allergies)

If you want to learn more about allergy relief and resolution, we invite you to book a free consultation with one of our licensed Naturopathic Doctors. Just call us at (415)-488-5831 or visit for more information.

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