There are various bioflavonoids at our disposal that can be used to heal parts of the brain (limbic system, hippocampus, amygdala, etc.) involved in the stress response. Bioflavonoids are naturally-occurring chemicals in fruits and vegetables that not only give the food color, but have various medicinal and health properties. One of these bioflavonoids is Quercetin.
Quercetin has been shown to be one of the best natural antihistamines. Since both the histamine-producing side of our immune system and the limbic side are damaged and dysfunctional due to chronic stress, Quercetin is a great natural, gentle, and safe remedy to use.
My research on the stress response system has led me more deeply into studies of the brain and hypothalamic neurohormonal chemicals that ultimately control the adrenal output. There are many troublemakers in this group, but I looked primarily at Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH), which is from the hypothalamus at the head of the HPA axis, and histamine and their relationship to the stress response. CRH and histamine are tangled with one another, perpetually triggering the stress response in the brain; they contribute to hypersensitizing the entire body to stress, our environment, and life itself. This process is referred to as “central sensitization.”
Central sensitization is the process in which our body over-interprets various stimuli as dangerous and thus stress-response inducing. This not only triggers cortisol and adrenaline, but inflammation everywhere, including in the brain—all of which perpetuate the cycle. This cycle starts in the limbic system in the brain, just above the downline pathway toward the HPA axis. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that controls histamine, thus having a calming and anti-inflammatory effect on the HPA axis, the adrenals, the limbic system, and on your "nerves" in general.
For my patients who have a stress response system wound too tight (anxiety, insomnia, ADHD-symptoms, palpitations, etc.), Quercetin is one of my favorite bioflavonoids to use. It is one of the best natural antihistamines that we have.
Histamine is an issue for many of my patients with Adrenal Dysfunction because of the stress-induced allergic tendency. While histamine is certainly uncomfortable because of the allergic gut reactions, and skin reactions like hives, it also, and maybe more importantly, has a chemical effect in the brain. Too much histamine in the brain perpetually triggers the HPA axis (by triggering the Hypothalamus and Pituitary in the brain) and drives the stress response (cortisol and adrenaline), thus promoting the cycle of stress that so many people get stuck in.
A sensitized nervous system can show up in the body as lowered stress tolerance, anxiety, and depression, insomnia, pain, as well as heightened sensory nerves: light, sound, smell/chemical, and even a heightened startle response. Over time, Quercetin can assist in settling down and quieting your system and can improve these symptoms.