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Can Quercetin Control Your Allergy Symptoms?

The plant compound quercetin may be as effective as NasalCrom at preventing allergy symptoms. One reader has found it works even better.
Kale salad with dried cranberry, almonds and apple

Hay fever season is looming, and many allergy sufferers may be wishing they had a way to prevent the misery of sneezing and sniffling. One reader made a serendipitous discovery: quercetin taken for glaucoma calmed allergy symptoms quickly. What should you know about this supplement?

Quercetin for Glaucoma and Allergies:

Q. You’ve written about NasalCrom for allergies and I ordered it with high hopes. I also have glaucoma and wanted to get off Nasacort although it is working beautifully for my nose. I also take Xyzal or Zyrtec daily. Sad to say, despite using it two or three times a day for three months, NasalCrom did not seem to do anything for my allergies.

I did stumble across a supplement that seems to help–quercetin. It may reduce the risk of glaucoma, specifically benefiting retinal cells (Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, Sep. 7, 2017).

Oddly, I found that it helps with allergies too! I would be verging on breakthrough sneezing and found the symptoms settle down within 20 minutes of taking quercetin. You are supposed to take twice a day. Imagine my surprise when I checked the reviews and read that others also reported relief from allergy symptoms.

What Is Quercetin?

A. Thank you so much for alerting us to this approach to managing allergy symptoms. Quercetin is a flavonoid compound that is found in many different plants. Onions, kale and apples are particularly good sources of quercetin in the diet. Capers, berries, Brassica vegetables like broccoli or cabbage, grapes and tomatoes are other foods that contain quercetin (Nutrients, March 15, 2016).  Even tea has a small amount.

When we checked the medical literature, we were quite surprised to find research showing that quercetin is more effective than cromolyn (the active ingredient in NasalCrom) in blocking the inflammatory compounds released by mast cells (PLOS One, March 28, 2017). These studies were conducted in tissue cultures, and this compound might not be as effective when it is taken as a dietary supplement. However, research in rats suggests that it may ease allergic rhinitis, aka hay fever (European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Aug. 2017).

We’d love to see a clinical trial in humans, but they are expensive. Quercetin, as a natural compound, cannot be patented and therefore it is unlikely such a study will be conducted.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I have been struggling with allergies for many years and have tried multiple medications with little relief. I have been taking montelukast, loratadine and fluticasone which have helped a little bit but I was still suffering with symptoms. After reading about quercetin I decided to give it a try. I could hardly believe how much it helped. On the first day I took it the sinus drainage, coughing and sniffling was reduced by about 75!%! I have been astounded and thrilled! I haven’t breathed this easily in years! Nothing has given me as much relief as the quercetin.

One capsule a day of stinging nettle works great for me. It is inexpensive. I have recommended it to others. One friend has me order her some too because it has eliminated post nasal drip from allergies. It is good to know quercetin works too.

I’ve been giving quercitin to our dog for a couple of years to help with her allergies. Quercitin works best when combined with bromelain (an enzyme in pineapples) and papain (an enzyme in papaya).

I was prescribed Quercitin for gerd symptoms. I was told that it is a powerful protector of the esophageal lining. Is this true?

I’ve been taking D-Hist for about 4 years, instead of other antihistamines like Claritin or Allegra. It contains quercetin, bromelain, stinging nettle, and N-Acetyl cystein. I take it once-twice a day during seasonal allergy season, and as needed other times of the year. I also react to scented laundry products and air fresheners, and this seems to calm my reaction within 20 minutes or so.

Isn’t it interesting how different things work (or don’t) for different people? I tried quercitin supplement for months once, to no effect. For me, Nasalcrom (and, if necessary, steaming my sinuses with sage and eucalyptus tossed into the water as it comes to a boil — hint: be careful of the hot steam!) was more effective. But I don’t use any conventional sinus medications, either. Perhaps that changes the equation.

Could this be helpful for asthma sufferers?

Capsules work great for me but I take it at bedtime because it makes me drowsy. Natural Factors is my favorite brand for supps, and they make quercetin. Their products are made in Canada and they use mass spectrometry to check for contaminants. Can get it at Sprouts Market.

Hi! I have horrible allergies. I discovered Bromelain sinus ease that contains quercetin. I think the combo of quercetin and Bromelain works incredibly well for me. I take 3 pills per day with muscinex 400mg, and I’m cured.

I don’t typically get seasonal allergies but long ago I read that quercetin can be helpful in easing symptoms. I have used it ever since to control the itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing for the occasional bout. It’s been very effective without any side effects. I gave some to a nephew who suffers from allergies regularly, and he also found it to be helpful. I take two 500 mg capsules when symptoms are annoying, 1000 mg of vitamin C, and 100 mg citrus bioflavonoids from citrus.

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