As a long term sufferer of urticaria I’m only too familiar with a large variety of anti-histamine drugs. Recently, I’ve been researching a natural anti-histamine called quercitin and testing it out.
What is quercitin?
Quercitin is a plant-derived ‘flavonol’ – a particular type of flavenoid – which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Flavenoids are what give fruit and vegetables their rich pigment and they have been famed for their anti-oxidant and other health-giving benefits since the 1930s.
Flavenoids such as quercitin have another key benefit which is that they are able to alter, and potentially lessen, the body’s reaction to allergens. Good news for allergy sufferers!
How does it work?
Quercitin works by directly inhibiting the key processes that happen when the body has an allergic reaction. One of the ways it does this is by slowing and reducing both the manufacture and release of histamine.
Histamine is what is released by our mast cells when we come in contact with an allergen – e.g. dust, pollen, food. In the case of urticaria this release of histamine is what produces the raised itchy bumps on the skin.
Over-the-counter anti-histamines don’t block the release of histamine, they merely arrest the action of it. So, it’s a classic case of treating the symptoms of a condition rather than tackling its root cause.
Quercitin works in a different and much better way in that it actually stops the production and release of histamine.
Foods rich in Quercitin include black and green tea, tomatoes, broccoli, apples, citrus fruits, red onions (apparently there are higher concentrations in the outermost rings!) and leafy green vegetables like cabbage and spinach. Alternatively, you can buy Quercitin supplements from most good health food shops.
One thing to stress is that Quercitin doesn’t work instantly like regular anti-histamine pills so it’s not a quick fix. As a nutrient, quercetin needs time to work and should be taken for at least 3-4 weeks before you will see any noticeable improvement.
It’s too early for me to say how effective it is, but I’ll give you an update in a month or so!