Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spring Blooms Bring Sniffles & Sneezes

Allergy season is upon us. How can we cope with the runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat and persistent cough?

If you have ever seen a photo of pollen under a microscope you may have recognized the shape. Some pollen grains look much like a chestnut in its hull. The exterior of the pollen grain is covered with spikes. Those spikes give the pollen the ability to stick to bees or birds, get caught by wind and blown through the air to pollinate other flowers - and, by the way, stick in your nose.

Pollen causes a histamine response (allergies) within the body. That is how the body protects itself from invasion. Not all foreign bodies that enter a human body are as innocuous as pollen. Some are much worse, like the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu). The histamine response allows the body to produce cells that attack and eliminate the source of the invasion. Depending on how much of a response we have determines our level of allergy.

Quercitin is a compound known as a flavinoid. It is a naturally occurring substance found in foods that humans consume without side effect on a continuous basis. Quercitin has been shown effective in diminishing the allergic response. Taken on a continuous basis throughout the year Quercitin may help allergy sufferers by lessening symptoms. For those of us with severe allergies, Quercitin alone may be insufficient and a visit to an allergist may be in order. But for minor symptoms, Quercitin may provide sufficient relief to allow the spring blooms to once again be an enjoyment rather than a source of the sniffles.

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