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Rosmarinic Acid Provides Natural Allergy Relief

November 2004

By John Colman

LE Magazine November 2004
Rosmarinic Acid Provides Natural Allergy Relief
By John Colman

Asthma and Allergies
Asthma historically has been considered a lower-airway disease, while allergic rhinitis is considered an upper-airway disorder. New associations are being found between asthma and allergies, and a new integrated theory called the “united airway” theory has been proposed.23 Allergies of the upper airway are now considered a risk factor for asthma development, and it is now clear that high eosinophil count in the nasal mucous is one common link between the two disorders.24 Many people suffer from both seasonal allergies and asthma, and nasal eosinophils can be regarded as the most important predictor of upper- and lower-airway functions in patients with both seasonal allergic rhinitis and asthma, as demonstrated in a June 2004 study.25

In fact, the toughening and thickening of lung tissue seen in the lower airway in asthmatics has been connected with repeated bouts of allergies in the upper airways. The tissue changes are probably due to free radical scarring caused by the responder cells—neutrophils, T cells, and other leukocytes drawn to the inflamed site by histamines and other chemoattractants.26

In February 2004, researchers duplicated the characteristic smooth muscle thickening in asthmatic airways by repeatedly exposing rats to allergens and noting the changes in lung architecture. T cells, macrophages, eosinophils, lymphocytes, and neutrophils in lung fluid increased dramatically, resulting in the characteristic changes seen in the airway walls of asthmatics.26 New studies such as this reinforce the importance of controlling seasonal and year-round allergies; failure to control these conditions presents the very real danger of causing permanent structural changes to lung tissue.

Among natural compounds, rosmarinic acid and luteolin are the best choices for treating seasonal allergies, perennial allergies, and asthma. Rosmarinic acid is the only nutraceutical shown to be effective in treating seasonal rhinitis in humans. In numerous animal and human cell studies, luteolin has been shown to be effective in suppressing allergic inflammation. At least one natural source—perilla leaf extract—contains significant amounts of both compounds. This holds great promise for allergy sufferers around the world, as these products have been demonstrated to act as antihistamines while killing off excess allergy-activated responder cells, the real root cause of suffering in allergic conditions.


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9. Takano H, Osakabe N, Sanbongi C, et al. Extract of Perilla frutescens enriched for rosmarinic acid inhibits seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in humans. Exp Biol Med. 2004 Mar;229(3):247-54.

10. Hur YG, Yun Y, Won J. Rosmarinic acid induces p561ck-dependent apoptosis in jurkat and peripheral T cells via mitochondrial pathway independent from fas/fas ligand interaction. J Immunol. 2004 Jan 1;172(1):79-87.

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26. Leung SY, Eynott P, Noble A, Nath P, Chung KF. Resolution of allergic airways inflammation but persistence of airway smooth muscle proliferation after repeated allergen exposures. Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Feb;34(2):213-20.