Chinese Herbal Medicine Soothes Allergy Discomfort
If you’re allergic to tree or grass pollen, your eyes, nose and
throat have already sounded the alarm: allergy season is upon
us. For the typical mild allergy sufferer trying to survive the
season, antihistamines might do enough. For others with more
severe allergies or symptoms, conventional pills, nasal sprays and
eye drops may not be successful. Chinese herbal medicine may
just be the path to relief.
What is Chinese herbal medicine (CHM)?
In China, herbal medicine is considered a powerful form of
therapy used to treat most health conditions, including allergies.
Herbal formulas are customized to each individual patient and
can be taken as a tea, a capsule, or a powder dissolved into
water. Due to their long history, the workings of the classical
herbal formulas are extremely well understood by practitioners.
Is CHM right for me?
If your allergies persist despite conventional treatment, if you
experience any negative side effects (drowsiness, dizziness,
restlessness) from your antihistamines or if you have chronic sinus
problems or other lingering allergy-related issues, Chinese herbal
medicine can offer help. Weiyi Ding, MD (China), MS, RN, LAc, a
clinical faculty member at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health,
notes, “I see many patients who are simply not responding well
to Western medical treatment for their allergies, and they come
to us for help. They find that CHM and acupuncture treatments
can help clear up that chronically runny nose or those constant
sinus headaches without side effects.”
How does CHM work?
“We don’t talk about allergens. We talk about four elements
– ‘wind’, ‘cold’, ‘heat’ and ‘dryness’ – that can invade the
body,” says Allen Sayigh, (MAc, LAc), Bastyr Center CHM
Dispensary manager, of how traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
practitioners approach allergy treatment. “The goal of treatment
is to expel those factors through the use of herbs.” Sayigh
says TCM practitioners prescribe herbal formulas based on the
patient’s unique “presentation.” That means a dozen patients
might be prescribed any of a dozen different variations of herbs.
Sayigh says those who come in before or at the outset of
allergy season receive treatment that goes to the root of the
problem so allergies don’t recur or decrease in severity. “If we
treat the person in advance, we’re attempting to regulate their
qi (or life force) and strengthen their ability to ward off those
environmental influences,” he says. “CHM can have a regulating
effect on the body, promoting harmony and balance in the
Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Healthy and Wise, the Bastyr Center newsletter.
Bastyr Center's Jamey Wallace, ND, recently discussed allergy relief from a naturopath's point of view on Seattle's Q13 newscast. Watch the video segment.
For more information about how Chinese herbal medicine or naturopathic medicine can
help your allergy-related health concerns make an appointment at Bastyr Center today.