According to TCM the cause of allergies is patterns of disharmony, typically involving wind dampness, wind cold, or wind heat. For example the diagnosis for hay fever is commonly wind and dampness. This combination causes symptoms such as sneezing, itching eyes and throat and a feeling of heavy congestion in the head. It is also believed that a deficiency of the lung and spleen qi makes a person susceptible to allergic reactions. Lung qi controls the respiratory tract and Spleen qi controls the the transporting of fluids. An impaired spleen qi weakens the digestive function leading to the overproduction of mucus.
When you consult with a TCM practitioner, you can be given a personalized diagnosis and be prescribed herbs to treat your condition. It will be a combination that addresses the cause for your particular allergy suffering. Herbs such as Japanese catnip or other herbs that are dispersing in nature are used to repel the wind. To clear congestion in the nasal passages and sinuses magnolia flower buds, Angelica dahurica or other herbs to drain dampness are also used. Weakness of the qi is treated with tonifying herbs that can boost lung and spleen function. This can include Condonopsis, Atractylodes, and others. There are herbal mixes more widely available but consulting with an experienced herbalist will help you get a more individualized treatment.
Most TCM practitioners will also recommend dietary changes that can help provide relief from allergy symptoms. Dairy products, sweets and cold foods usually increase mucus buildup. The biggest culprits being ice cream and yogurt. Avoiding these foods is usually a good idea as the increase in mucus could lead to a stronger allergic reaction. You may want to add in more soups, salads, vegetables, and boiled grains during the allergy season. These are easy for the body to digest and there is less chance of mucus build up when digestion is efficient.
Lastly acupuncture treatments for allergies is on the rise and some believe scientific evidence proves its effectiveness. Recent studies have shown that people who were given acupuncture treatments reported less severe symptoms and less use of medication. It’s possible that these were simply a placebo effect and retention surveys resulted in lower scores for improved quality of life months after the treatments. However, there are many that rely on acupuncture for relief of their allergies. Treatments can vary but usually relief is immediate and results can range from temporary to complete remission. Recently developed the Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique involves a patient being exposed to the allergen while undergoing acupressure and acupuncture to clear the allergen. This should reprogram the body to no longer react to the allergen.