Several Chinese patterns of disharmony may be involved in cases of allergies. In all cases, however, wind is part of the diagnosis, usually combining with another pathogenic influence in wind dampness, wind cold, or wind heat. Typical of patterns involving wind, allergy symptoms often occur without warning. In seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, the most common diagnosis is wind and dampness. This combination produces a sudden onset of symptoms: sneezing, itching eyes and throat, and a heavy sensation in the head with copious mucus.
Treatment with Herbs
The treatment strategy is to repel the wind with herbs that are dispersing in nature. Herbs that drain dampness are also employed in order to clear the nasal passages and sinuses; Typically, an underlying weakness, often a deficiency of lung and spleen qi, makes persons with allergies susceptible to allergic reactions. Lung qi is responsible for the proper function of the entire respiratory tract, including the nasal passages. Spleen qi controls the transport of fluids; when spleen qi is impaired, weakening digestive function, it can lead to an overproduction of mucus, which tends to collect in the lungs. This weakness of qi is treated with tonifying herbs that bolster lung, spleen function and clear mucus and dry dampness. A traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician may customize the formula to meet a patient’s individual needs.
Treatment with Diet
Diet plays an important part in controlling seasonal allergies. Sweets, dairy products, and cold foods all tend to increase mucus buildup, putting ice cream and yogurt at the top of the list of foods to avoid during allergy season. When excessive mucus accumulates in the system, allergens stimulate a much stronger allergic reaction. Soups, salads(in warm weather), vegetables, and boiled grains are all easy for the body to digest. When digestion is efficient, there is less of a tendency for mucus to build up.
Food sensitivities can aggravate the immune system and lower tolerances to physical, chemical and emotional influences. Symptoms of food sensitivity are varied and may include constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, headache, skin inflammation, mood swings, fatigue, sinus/lung congestion vague and seemingly unrelated symptoms. Long term dietary habits may lead to more serious symptoms and illness.
Treatment with Acupuncture
Treatment plans for allergies vary greatly, depending on the overall health of the individual, and the possible results range from temporary relief to complete remission. Acupuncture frequently relieves allergy symptoms immediately.