In chronic Lyme and associated diseases Quercetin is an herbal medicine that
- decreases pain,
- limits and improves Herxheimer die-off reactions,
- improves bladder inflammation and irritation in interstitial cystitis, and
- decreases allergic reactions.
Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant
Through a variety of mechanisms quercetin lowers inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins. Cytokines are made by the immune system in response to chronic infections and the killing of Lyme germs. Cytokines treat infections by turning on various white blood cells, but also cause pain, achiness, fatigue, hormonal dysregulation, and poor sleep. In chronic Lyme and associated diseases the immune system makes too many cytokines. In a sense, Lyme disease is a syndrome of cytokine dysregulation and excess. As a I tell my patients, in some ways it is a misnomer to say someone has Lyme disease symptoms. In fact what they really have are excess cytokine symptoms and other symptoms of organ or tissue injury.
A Herxheimer Die-off reaction is the result of a cytokine flare (increased cytokine production by the immune system) in response to antibiotics killing germs. In a Herxheimer die-off reaction, Lyme symptoms worsen significantly when antimicrobials are started or changed.
Pharmaceutical medicine does not have effective anti-cytokine agents that are safe to use in chronic Lyme and associated diseases. Steroids can lower but suppress the immune system making it hard to treat the Lyme infection. Others like Remicaide also suppress the immune system in harmful ways.
Regarding inflammatory prostaglandins, there are pharmaceutical treatments like ibuprofen and aspirin. However these medicines do not lower cytokines. They also injure the lining of the stomach which can lead to stomach pain and even bleeding. I do not recommend medicines like ibuprofen, naprosyn, or aspirin in Lyme disease but prefer to work with quercetin and other herbal anti-inflammatories instead. Based on my observations, quercetin is as effective at lowering pain from prostaglandins, but it does not carry any of the risks and therefore is a better medicine.
Interstitial cystitis is a condition with symptoms similar to bladder infections. Lyme and/or bartonella coinfections cause inflammation of the bladder lining. This leads to increase urination urges, frequency of urination and sometimes burning with urination.
I also use quercetin to treat my patients who have allergies