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Lemon and Quince- a natural treatment to reverse asthma and allergies

I stumbled across some interesting scientific studies on using lemon and quince as a medicine to address allergies and asthma. These remedies are some of the older Anthroposophic formulations- formulated by Rudolf Steiner out of his spiritual scientific approach (similar to his approach to mistletoe). These two fruits can first be observed in their strong form that is directed inwards. The lemon has a thick leathery rind- technically the exocarp is the yellow zesty part with oil pits located in its exterior. Next is the white pithy mesocarp and then the familiar inside is composed of organized carpals- these have chambers called locules that are in fact filled with juice-filled hairs. The entire structure is botanically known as a hesperidium- this is actually a berry with a leathery rind. This highly organized structure is notable for hairs and membranes which are indicative of what in Anthroposophic medicine is termed the silica forces. Note that silica forces are not identical to silica content itself.

The quince is a pear and apple like fruit in the rose family. It has a notably hard exterior with an aromatic smell when ripe. Both quince and lemon are distinctly sour.

The healing process must come to the assistance of the astral body, helping it enter in and take proper hold of the etheric. This can be achieved with the juice of fruits containing a leathery protective skin or rind. Observation of these fruits (lemon and quince) shows how strongly they are subject to form-creating forces working inwards. By applying a remedy of such juices externally and internally we can stimulate the astral body and urge it in the direction of the etheric. The juices’ mineral constituents (potassium, calcium and silica) enhance this stimulation from the side of the ego organization. Thus a real cure for hay fever is effected.

-Rudolf Steiner

Lemon quince formulations have long been used in Anthroposophic medicine as citrus cydonia and gencydo. These formulations can be nebulized into the lungs in a breathing treatment, they are sprayed in the nose, they are injected- often in the area of the kidney region as a subcutaneous injection, and they are taken orally. My typical use of these medicines are as a complementary treatment of asthma, allergic sinusitis (hayfever), and to help with sinusitis.

Baars and Savelkoul remark that patients receiving the subcutaneous injections will often note a permanent effect from citrus cydonia (lemon quince) injections. This is usually noted in the first 2 weeks.1 They studied the effects on immune cells of the formulation and found that the immune cell composition in patients treated with lemon quince was shifted in a way that decreased allergic susceptibility. Specifically T cells had more differentiation to IL-10 (which decreases allergy) and restores the balance of the immune system from Th2 to Th1 (allergic to non-allergic).

Baars et al. also studied the relative efficacy of the route of administration. The below graph depicts symptom scores in patients with hayfever. The blue shows the scores of those using the nasal spray while the red shows the scores of those receiving the subcutaneous injections. The subcutaneous injections of lemon quince were the most efficacious. Lemon quince therapy is a novel approach of shifting the immune balance away from an overly allergic immune system.2

This differs from the use of steroids and antihistamines which address the problem purely symptomatically. It also differs from sensitization protocols commonly used by allergists.

Baars et al. also studied the relative effect of both the lemon and the quince on countering the tendency toward hayfever.3

Citrus and Cydonia have different working mechanisms in the treatment of SAR (Hayfever) in vitro. Citrus mainly inhibits the chronic inflammatory activity and the SAR-related Th2 pathway activity whereas Cydonia mainly promotes the SAR-related Th1 pathway activity.
Basically, the lemon counters the allergic part of our immune system, while the quince promotes the other active arm of our immune system.
Grundmann et al. found that lemon quince preparations decreased the histamine output of mast cells and basophilic cells (histamine is typically a mediator of allergic symptoms). Eotaxin (a compound that attracts other allergy cells in the lungs and is strongly linked to asthma) was reduced by lemon quince preparations.4
In summary there is exciting evidence that both allergy and asthma can be treated with lemon and quince preparations. These have a tuning effect on the two arms of the immune system- down-regulating the allergic arm and up-regulating the active arm. The lemon quince preparations are a good example of how a humanized way of looking at the world and the human being leads to results that actually address underlying tendencies instead of simply covering up symptoms.
Two pharmacies in the US carry these products. Weleda has both the injections and the nasal spray. Uriel pharmacy carries them both as well- the nasal spray here, and the ampules here.
1.
Baars E, Savelkoul H. Citrus/Cydonia Comp. Can Restore the Immunological Balance in Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis-Related Immunological Parameters In Vitro. Mediators Inflamm. 2008;2008:496467. [PMC]
2.
Baars EW, Jong M, Nierop AFM, Boers I, Savelkoul HFJ. Citrus/Cydonia Compositum Subcutaneous Injections versus Nasal Spray for Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial on Efficacy and Safety. I. 2011;2011:1-11. doi: 10.5402/2011/836051
3.
Baars EW, Jong MC, Boers I, Nierop AFM, Savelkoul HFJ. A ComparativeIn VitroStudy of the Effects of Separate and Combined Products ofCitrus e fructibusandCydonia e fructibuson Immunological Parameters of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. M. 2012;2012:1-10. doi: 10.1155/2012/109829
4.
Gründemann C, Papagiannopoulos M, Lamy E, Mersch-Sundermann V, Huber R. Immunomodulatory properties of a lemon-quince preparation (Gencydo®) as an indicator of anti-allergic potency. P. 2011;18(8-9):760-768. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.11.016
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Mark Hancock MD MPH

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