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Allergies | Chinese Herbal Medicine Soothes Allergy Discomfort

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 individual’s qi.”


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.

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The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.

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