I see many patients in my practice who have allergic responses to environmental substances such as pollen, grasses and dust. Symptoms can present as sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and itchy eyes, ears and throat. Allergies can also lead to asthma conditions where the lungs increase production of phlegm and the airways constrict.

Typical recommendations for dealing with offending substances is to close the windows, buy and air purification system and frequently wash bedding. This may help limit exposure but Chinese medicine approaches the problem in a different way. It believes that if the immunes system is strong and balanced, a person should be able to withstand any number environmental components, including pathogens such as bacteria or viruses.

According to Chinese medicine, there is a layer of energy (qi) located between the skin and the muscles that serves as a protective shield between the person and the outside world. It is called the defensive (or wei) qi system. Its functioning is equivalent to what’s known as the immune system in Western medicine.

Fortunately, Chinese medicine has been successfully treating allergies and asthma for centuries. In modern times, a German study conducted on allergic rhinitis sufferers documented that patients receiving routine acupuncture care had significant clinical and lasting improvements after three and six months.  European J. of Int. Med., 2008 Nov.; 10(5): 535-43.

And one of my favorite Chinese herbal formulas, Jade Windscreen, was proven to increase immunity when used alone or in conjunction with Western medicine in five randomized controlled studies of respiratory diseases including, allergic rhinitis, asthma and bronchitis. American Acupuncturist, 2009 Summer; 48:18.

To Your Best Health,
Sydney Cooley L. Ac., Dipl OM