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  Chinese Herbs for Allergies

By Dr. Hong Chen (over 20 yrs experienced)

  A stuffy nose is a major symptom of allergic reaction. Sufferers are usually allergic to flowers, dust, and cold air stimulation when temperature suddenly is changed. For allergy sufferers, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, nose, or throat can occur only in a certain season of the year, or all year round for others.


  Mr. Smith works in the CIBC bank and had suffered from allergies for five years. His symptoms included sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat, stress, fatigue and chest pain. Although he was using anti-histamine nose drops twice daily, his symptoms were not improving at all.

   Finally, he came to my clinic to try Chinese herbs. I consulted and then prescribed about 16 different herbs to treat his allergy of nose. Allergies often arise from excess "heat" in the body, so herbs are selected which will cool the symptoms, and clear toxins from the organs and bloodstream. The herbs will also remove stagnant "Chi", helping to restore the flow of energy in meridians.

  However, the most effective method should be the customized blend method that can fit individual's specific symptoms, puls, tongue and constitution better. This is the method I usually use.

   The herbs which I prescribed for Mr.Smith were a customized blend suited for his specific constitution. They function as powerful immune boosters and cleansing agents.

  After he took the herbs for the prescribed period of time, his sneezing, runny nose, and itchy throat disappeared. He is not tired any more and feels a lot more energy. In addition, he is surprised by the fact that his chest pain disappeared, too. He is very happy. This is one of the examples of superiority of Chinese medicine. which can look after whole body health of people, without side effects.


  Accorking to the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), allergies can be divided into two types: "wind heat" and "wind cold". We usually see more wind heat type in this country because of the North American lifestyle and envirionment. People who have a "hot" body constitution are prone to allergies. Causes of body constitutions include the following:

  1. Excessive amounts of high-energy food intake such as curry, chocolate, dairy products, and chili. Also people are prone to drink alcohol and smoke a lot. These things all create heat in the blood.
  2. Too much stress: Modern North Americans tend to work too hard and too long. Work can be a chronic source of stress, especially when it involves long work hours, tight deadlines, and long driving distances. Men and women in high-pressure occupations often fail to eat properly, consume lots of junk food, and lack a high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Again, this is will cause and accumulation of toxic "heat" in the body.
  3. Big temperature difference between inside and outside of house: Canadian homes, cars, and places of work are well-equipped with efficient central heating systems which often keep these interiors as warm as possible, especially if the weather is cold and damp outside. Therefore, in the winter when people go to the very cold outside from warm inside, the suddenly changed temperature and cold air can stimulate nasal mucosa to cause sneezing, with runny nose, itchy eyes, nose or throat etc. On the other hand, in the summer when people come in clod air-conditioned inside from hot outside, a similar allergic reaction of the respiratory system will also occur.
  4. High pollution environment: There are too many cars and factories in and around cities. High pollution easily invades the human body that already suffers from high body heat.

  In terms of western medicine, the allergens such as flowers, dust and temperature changes between indoors and outdoors will stimulate nasal mucosa. The mucosa around this area secretes a lot of histamine to resist these allergens, but over- secreted histamine can lead to allergic reaction of nose.

  But if we have a method to control the histamine so that it does not secrete too much, then our nasal mucosa, edema, and congestion could be alleviated. Which medicine can control the histamine not to overreact? Chinese herbs has this function. It is, of course, essential that in Chinese medicine only experienced practitioners with advanced knowledge can give a suitable herbs prescription.


  1. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Usually we prescribe a combination of different functional herbs. Some herbs that are cool in nature are used to clear away the heat and expel the wind from the suffering body. The anti-allergy herbs are employed to fight allergic reaction. Tonic herbs are used to enhance the lungs' function. These herbs are scientifically combined to reach ideal treatment effects. As a result, it usually take 3-6 days to see a big improvement for your symptoms.
  2. Acupuncture: Acupuncture can adjust the body's mechanism and balance the energy flow within the meridians, so as to enhance your resistance ability and promote recovery of health. For the allergy of nose, it can relieve or eliminate the symptoms, especially headaches and stress.


  1. If you are allergic to flowers, it is wise to drink some Chinese herbs to cool the body constitution before the flower season starts in April. In Asian Health Secrets, a tea made of cumin, coriander, and fennel is suggested, as each of these herbs is an anti-inflammatory cleanser. Eating spring greens and dandelions will also help to clear stagnant Chi from the blood.
  2. An acupuncture treatment once a week can balance the body energy and temperature to prevent allergy symptoms from appearing.
  3. Eat the right food, such as more fresh vegetable and fruit including celery, cucumber, apples, and pears, etc. These are cool in nature and hence good for allergy sufferers. It is best to avoid hot and spicy food such as chili and curry, chocolate, cheese, milk, lamb, as well as alcohol and cigarettes.
  4. Avoid temperature extremes, dust, and high pollution areas.

Note: this article has been published on July/Augest 1998, issue of Vitality magazine. For more information please contact Dr. Hong Chen at Chen Acupuncture Herbs Shiatsu Centre, 33 Lowbank (Steeles. E/ Bestview(between Bayview and Leslie) /Harrington/Lowbank). Tel: 416 221-9074

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