Sneezing, runny nose, watery and/or itchy eyes, itchy throat, headache, hives, heaviness in the head are symptoms related to seasonal allergies. Allergies, more specifically allergic rhinitis, are in simple terms the body’s inability to adapt to an aspect of its environment that is generally considered harmless. In Western Medicine we manage allergies by suppressing the excessive immune response to minimize symptoms.
In Chinese Medicine we attribute allergy symptoms to a couple general patterns. ‘Attack of Wind’ being the main pattern causing itchy eyes, sneezing and the sudden onset. As well as ‘Dampness’ that is responsible for mucous and nasal congestion. We often see these patterns occurring on top of a deficiency of the Lu and Kidney Qi.
Seasonal allergies are generally set into 3 main categories:
A fourth category could be listed as Ongoing. This including year round allergens such as animal dander, dust with insect feces or fungus type allergens.
Chinese Medicine Recommends the following to help alleviate these symptoms:
A licensed Acupuncturist/Doctor of TCM will evaluate your pulse/tongue and symptoms to establish a treatment protocol to resolve the allergy related symptoms. Points used are generally along the Lung, Kidney, Bladder, Du channels. It is also very common to use Auricular acupuncture points as they are highly effective.
2. Chinese Herbs:
Chinese herbs are also very effective at alleviating allergic rhinitis symptoms. For clearing wind, herbs such as Jing Jie and Fang Feng are excellent. To resolve dampness effective herbs are xin yi hua, bai zhi and cang er zi. There are formulas prepared in pill form to make taking these herbs easy and convenient.
When it comes to all aspects of your health, what you eat matters. With allergies we are seeing an increase in dampness in the body. Certain foods exacerbate this condition. Some foods to avoid or limit are: sweets, dairy products and cold foods. These types of food tax the spleen further and make the dampness and mucus worse. Try incorporating some of the following foods to help clear the damp: soups, steamed vegetables, and boiled grains like barley. Consuming Green Tea is also recommended as it has catechins in it that have an antihistamine effect as well.
4. Reduce Stress!
The effects of stress are endless! It is another thing that can contribute to or exacerbate allergies. Try to participate in activities to help mediate stress you may have.
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