Allergies and Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine, allergic rhinitis as related to “Wind” noting that symptoms come and go rapidly, cause congestion, and make the person want to avoid windy situations. This Wind often coexists with a deficiency of the Defensive or Wei Qi. People with Wei Qi deficiency catch colds easily, and allergy symptoms may be particularly bad in the spring or fall, seasons which are generally windy.

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The acupuncturist also looks for constitutional or more deeply-rooted signs in each person who presents with allergies. The principle here is treating the whole person. Often people with chronic allergies show signs of Spleen or Kidney Deficiency as well as Lung signs. The goal of the acupuncturist is to develop a plan which addresses the person’s acute symptoms and provides relief, while addressing the underlying immune system imbalance which is thought to be at the root of the person’s allergies.

When treated with acupuncture for allergies, there is often a quick response. Often patients get some relief during the first visit while lying on the exam table with their acupuncture needles in place. After an initial series of treatments, patients come in for further treatments on an as needed basis. Some patients come back in once or twice a year for a booster while others may come more often.

In general, patients do better if they avoid sugar and milk in their diets. They have better and longer lasting responses. Patients continue with whatever standard treatments they are currently undergoing while getting acupuncture treatments. Most patients end up significantly reducing or eliminating their dependence on allergy medications.

Treatments often include dietary modification, the use of nutritional supplements, and acupuncture.

It’s Already Allergy Alert Season!

Symptoms of runny nose, sneezing, and watery itchy eyes that recur certain time of the year cause a great deal of suffering among a large segment of the U.S. population. The worst offender of all is tree pollen which is most prevalent in the spring; grass and weed pollens follow in late spring and summer.

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While many over-the-counter remedies promise symptomatic relief, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine offer healthier and more balanced solutions by addressing the underlying causes of symptoms, and treating the whole body instead of focusing only on the respiratory-related issues.

What are allergies?

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an example of misplaced immunity. It is a learned response by the immune system wherein rapid physiological changes resulting in itchy eyes and throat, sinus congestion and sneezing, asthma, and even diarrhea are produced. Typically, exposure to an allergen such as tree pollen elicits a massive release of IgE antibodies which attach to white blood cells known as mast cells. These cells are mostly located in the lungs and upper respiratory tract, the lining of the stomach and the skin. When these cells are stimulated, they release a number of chemicals including histamine which produce the allergic symptoms.

Allopathic Treatment of Allergies

Basic allopathic [western] medical therapies often rely on inhibiting the allergic response; antihistamines (Chlor-trimetron, Benadryl, etc.) are a good example. Other types of drugs used to treat allergic rhinitis or asthma include ones which act on the nervous system (Albuterol, epinephrine), cortico-steroids (prednisone), and decongestants.

Western medicine also emphasizes the importance of avoiding the allergen if possible, and the use of air filters to decrease exposure. When avoidance or elimination is impossible or impractical, the next level of treatment may be desensitization, the injection of small amounts of the allergen in gradually increasing doses in order to neutralize over time the number of antibodies present.

Nutritional Support During Allergy Season

Here are inexpensive, effective, and easy ideas in alleviating allergy symptoms.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar has long been used to treat many respiratory diseases including allergies and asthma. Depending on the severity of symptoms, the dosage will vary. The best way to use apple cider vinegar for your allergies is on a consistent basis. Mix 1 tablespoon ACV with 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon of raw bees honey and drink three times a day.

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey produced in New Zealand has been used to treat many conditions ranging from stomach ulcers to tinnitus (ringing in the ear). Manuka honey is a strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. Since most of allergy symptoms are caused by bacteria, mold and yeast, and parasites, using Manuka honey makes a perfect sense. Some claim that locally-grown honey is a good alternative, however Manuka honey is known to be far more potent than any other honey brands.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that belongs to the ginger family. It is a natural nutritional supplement that helps to cure many health problems, including allergies, because it contains curcumin, a compound that acts as a decongestant. Tumeric also acts as anti-histamine in reducing the mast cell de-granulation or histamine release.

Dandelion Tea

Dandelion root and leaves are natural detoxifiers and blood cleansers. The Chinese use the greens and roots of dandelions to “cool the blood.” Drinking the tea on a daily basis in the springtime can help to detox the body, purify the blood and is helpful for allergy-prone people.

Vitamin D

Optimizing your vitamin D levels is absolutely crucial in dealing with allergies. In fact, research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may be a primary underlying cause of asthma. 1000-2000 iu of Vitamin D is recommended, however during high pollen counts season, it can go up to 5000 iu per day.

Eucalyptus oil

This pure essential oil can be healing to mucus membranes. You can apply a drop on a cotton ball and sniff it several times a day, add a few drops to water for a steam treatment, or use a few drops in your bath water.

Avoid pasteurized milk products, all forms of sugar, and wheat

Dairy products are notorious for increasing phlegm and making allergies and asthma worse.  Sugar and wheat products tend to cause inflammations within the body and to reduce body’s natural immune capabilities.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise regularly, especially out in fresh air, as it helps to boost your overall immune functions.

Detox for Seasonal Allergies

Latest statistics show that more than half of the US population suffers from seasonal allergies. With the rapidly declining immune functions of the majority, this number is likely to increase.  Please refer to an earlier article (Nutrition for maximum health) for the major reasons why our immune functions have deteriorated. Over-the-counter and prescription medications provide temporary relief for typical symptoms of seasonal allergies, but they cannot address the deeper  causes for incessant sneezing, inflammation of sinus cavities, itchy and red eyes, headaches and brain fog. What can we do to combat seasonal allergies?

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Before we jump into this topic, here are some interesting perspectives in Chinese medical theories on seasonal allergies: Spring is associated with the liver, meaning the liver is most vulnerable during spring. The liver is also responsible for emotions such as frustration, anxiety, and anger. The relative health of the liver shows up in the eyes—can you see a connection between conjunctivitis (itchy, red, crusty eyes) and the liver? The taste associated with the liver is “sour and the color is “green which means we need to take a lot of green/sour foods during springtime.  The liver is also connected to the gallbladder as a yin-yang pair, which means one cannot have a perfectly healthy liver and a weak gallbladder because they are mirror images of each other.

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Liver/Gallbladder cleansing

Arguably, the most effective measure to combat seasonal allergies is Liver/Gallbladder Cleansing.

Dr. Hilda Clark’s Liver/Gallbladder cleansing protocol

This cleansing method surpasses any other widely-known allergy elimination protocol because it addresses the root cause of all allergies, including environmental, seasonal, food-related (gluten included), and chemical- or metal-related allergies. Commonly known as the Liver/Gallbladder Flush, this protocol is designed to remove calcified (gallstones) and non-calcified fat deposits from the liver and gallbladder.

Suggested to be repeated as many as 20 times every 2-3 weeks, this protocol will restore healthy functions of the liver and gallbladder. For those who removed their gallbladders, it is even more critical to adopt this approach in order to reduce the extra burdens placed on their liver and pancreas.

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When one’s liver is completely clean, not only allergies but other diseases are likely to disappear because a healthy liver produces clean blood, which is the single most important factor in maintaining optimum health.

(Personal note: During the 3rd liver/gallbladder flush, I removed more than an inch-long, bright green, non-calcified gallstone along with thousands of smaller fat deposits stuck in my liver and gallbladder.)