Treating Allergies and Hay Fever with Chinese Medicine
It is well known that Sonoma County is an especially bad area
for people who suffer from hay fever and allergies. Many people who have never
suffered from this condition find that they start to have allergies when they
move into the county. Common causes for hay fever are plant pollens, household
dust, molds and animal dander.
Hay fever varies a great deal from one person to another. The most common
symptoms are sneezing, itching eyes and nose, and a watery nasal discharge.
For many people symptoms are worse in the spring, while others are plagued
during the summer or autumn months. It is a debilitating and exhausting illness
and can make life miserable for many months of the year. Fortunately, hay
fever can be treated effectively with Chinese Medicine. A combination of
acupuncture and Chinese herbs can either greatly reduce or completely resolve
Causes of Hay Fever
From the perspective of acupuncture and Chinese herbs there can be several
underlying reasons why hay fever occurs. In Chinese medicine the diagnosis
is made according to a number of distinguishing features such as whether
the patient's condition is predominantly hot or cold. A hot type of hay fever
includes symptoms of red and inflamed eyes and a colored mucus discharge.
Conversely, a cold condition includes symptoms of a clear nasal discharge
and a sensitivity to cold. Different herbs and acupuncture treatment are
given according to which category of hay fever the patient's symptoms fit.
Initially in treatment local acupuncture points may be used to help reestablish
the flow of the vital life force or chi. Points may be used where there is
the greatest discomfort. The treatment principle is to open the congested
area to enable the chi to flow easily. Sometimes there may be an energetic
block between two meridians. Several meridians either start or end around
the sinuses. Inserting very fine needles into these points helps to ensure
that the chi can flow easily between the meridians.
There are many different herbal remedies that can be used to alleviate hay
fever. One formula that can be very helpful is Bi Yan Pien. This formula
contains herbs that are effective in clearing either hot or cold conditions.
One of the herbs in this formula, Xanthuim, is especially effective in
opening the nasal passages. Another herb included is Forysthia, which has
a cooling effect and contributes to clearing heat from the sinuses and
Treating the Cause of Allergies
Chinese medicine also examines the underlying nature of the patient's condition
and aims to treat the fundamental cause of the illness rather than simply
alleviating the symptoms. Whether the allergy is hot or cold in nature,
it can arise simply because the patient's vital life energy or chi has
become depleted or out of balance in some way. Long term treatment would
be directed towards discovering the underlying cause and rebalancing and
strengthening the chi.
A home remedy which complements acupuncture treatment and herbs is to irrigate
the sinuses with a saline solution to help keep the sinuses clear and to