Fighting Allergies the Natural Way

By Michael A. Smith, MD

My morning walks with my dog here in sunny South Florida inevitably end with my nose running, eyes watering, and three consecutive sneezes. The latter always causes my dog to look at me funny.

But here’s my problem: I can’t take over-the-counter allergy meds. They either knock me out or space me out, resulting in a very unproductive day. Sound familiar?

Fortunately, my quest to find relief from allergies without feeling drowsy or spacey has actually produced some pretty exciting results. Below are two potential winners in the natural fight against allergies.

Perilla is a Rich Source of Allergy Fighters

Perilla is an herb of the mint family native to East Asia. It’s a traditional crop of China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries. Since perilla was brought to the United States in the late 1800s by Asian immigrants, it has quickly naturalized and become a common plant lining pastures and roadsides in the southeastern US.

Perilla contains high levels of rosmarinic acid, which has been shown to suppress allergic reactions.1 Rosmarinic acid relieves symptoms preventing the activation of immune cells involved in the initial response to an allergen.2 These “first-responders” tend to overreact to the allergen, often resulting in an excessive immune response.

A Japanese scientist at the National Institute for Environmental Studies first uncovered rosmarinic acid’s mechanism of action. His research team found that it actually inhibits allergy-activated “first responders” without affecting other resting or inactivated immune cells. Additionally, in experiments using environmental toxins, rosmarinic acid controlled the immune response by reducing the synthesis of inflammatory proteins.3

Here’s a summary of additional benefits of rosmarinic extracts:

  • Inhibits IL-2, a promoter of immune cell “over-activation” to allergens.4
  • In animal models, it decreases allergic asthma caused by dust mites.5
  • Inhibits eye-related allergy symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.6

Quercetin Safely Relieves Allergy Symptoms

Quercetin is one of a thousand or so members of the bioflavonoid family. It’s a colored pigment found throughout the plant kingdom, where it provides plants with antioxidant protection against environmental stresses.

Here are some of its anti-allergy properties:

  • When used in nasal sprays with other herbal preparations, quercetin significantly reduces nasal symptoms, comparable to antihistamine sprays.7
  • Quercetin safely and effectively relieved nasal symptoms in fast developing IgE-mediated allergies.8
  • In laboratory studies, quercetin inhibits histamine release.9
Quercetin is available as a supplement in pill or capsule form. In the past, quercetin was combined with bromelain (an enzyme found in pineapple) to aid absorption. However, more advanced formulations today derive quercetin from a food-source blend, ensuring high rates of absorption without bromelain.

Allergy Relief without Drugs

When you’re ready to try some alternative methods to relieve your own allergies, remember it’s best to start taking supplements before your allergy symptoms start.

Since my quest for drug-free allergy relief was such a success, I may as well share the specifics. Here are the dosages of quercetin and rosmarinic acid that have been keeping my allergies at bay:

  • Quercetin Extract – 250mg/day
  • Rosmarinic Acid Extract – 100 to 200 mg/day
Let us know if they work for you too!

Have you tried any natural supplements to help relieve your own allergies? What’s worked best for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Jun;34(6):971-7.
  2. J Immunol. 2004 Jan 1;172(1):79-87.
  3. Free Radic Biol Med. 2003 Apr 15;34(8):1060-9.
  4. Eur J Immunol. 2003 Apr;33(4):870-9.
  5. Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Jun;34(6):971-7.
  6. Biofactors. 2004;21(1-4):127-31.
  7. Phytomedicine. 2004 Jan;11(1):36-42.
  8. Altern Med Rev. 2000 Oct;5(5):448-54.
  9. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1990 May;11(3):285-8.


Anonymous said...

I increased my Vitamin C intake to 3,000 mg per day (1,000 mg thre times a day) and include MSM (4,500 mg per day, 1,500 mg 3 times per day). It took a while, but I no longer take my allergy medicine. I took a lot of Pantothenic acid for a while too. I also keep my immune system strong with protease enzymes and green tee extract.

Life Extension said...

Excellent job! Looks like you did your research and found the right supplements. Thanks for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

I have been taking NAC (N Acetyl Cysteine) 600mg twice a day (morning and before bed) and I have barely used any allergy medicine since. In fact when I feel any allergy symptoms it reminds me that I need to take NAC and within a short time the symptoms are gone.

opcon-A eye drops said...

I will try Quercetin Extract – 250mg/day as well as the Quercetin that will safely relieves allergy symptoms. Very informative blog.. I really appreciate for sharing this to us

Life Extension said...

It's our pleasure, and thank you for reading our posts.

Anonymous said...

What about the chronic sinusitis sufferers? What should we take?

LifeExtension said...

Anonymous - Give this link a look:

Roman lesnar said...

I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post. products

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