ACHOO! Allergies!

Jenny Crissman MS L. Ac

Winter and fall allergies can cause a great deal of discomfort in many people, young or old. An allergy results then your body's immune system identifies a normally harmless substance as a threat to the body. The inflammatory response takes place to try and “eject” this substance from your system resulting in a variety of unwanted symptoms:  sneezing, congestion, runny nose and red, itchy eyes, hives and possibly digestive discomfort.

Whether you suffer from seasonal, occasional or chronic allergies- help is on the way!

Western medicine typically prescribes antihistamines, decongestants, or drugs that act on the nervous system. While these may be effective in treating the allergic response, they often have undesirable side effects, such as drowsiness, immune system suppression or over-reliance on medications with no long term resolution.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can offer an alternative to these Western approaches, treating the whole person and recognizing that people with chronic allergies often show signs of disharmony and deficiency, in Defensive Lung Qi, Digestive Spleen Qi and even possibly the Kidney Qi. TCM considers allergies or hay fever a manifestation of Wind invading the upper body. The Wind in combination with heat, cold or damp create the unpleasant symptoms that cause allergy sufferers to seek relief.

The goal is not only to treat one's acute symptoms and provide immediate relief, but to treat any underlying immune system imbalances, which may be the real cause of one's allergy problems. Such treatments may take the form of acupuncture and revising one's diet, specific herbal formulas or supplements to stimulate immunity and diminish histamine response.

There a many herbal remedies that address the allergies each specific to an individuals constitutional diagnosis and symptom. Some examples:

Bi Yan Tang, to clear nasal congestion and stop sneezing. Xiao Qing Long Wan or Minor Blue Dragon, literally "Minor Blue Dragon Pills" in Chinese, relieves superficies with diaphoresis to resolve water retention and arrests cough and asthma.

Fang Feng Tong, it removes heat from the body surface and the internal heat manifested by chills, high fevers, headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, sore throat, coughing, and vomiting. It is also a very good herbal remedy for eczema, dermatitis, and asthma.

Dietary recommendations are surely included – even the simple radish has medicinal value to treat dry itchy eyes and they can help clear the sinuses, drain mucus and ease sore throats!

I also like to include additional supplements to lower histamine response, ease inflammation in the nasal and digestive tissue and to boost underlying immune issues. They might include any offollowing or other supplemental combinations.

-Quercetin, a bioflavonoid, which has been shown to stabilize mast cells (this slows down the body's release of histamine and other chemicals related to allergic symptoms).

-NAC, N- Acytle Cysteine to help stimulate immune function, clear phlegm and heal lung tissue.

-Boswellia Complex to help inflamed tissues of lungs and the colon.

-X Clear Nasal Spray

I encourage anyone suffering from allergies of any variety, even if they are currently asymptomatic to visit for some preventative and acute care to break the cycle of current or future allergic reactions!