As we move through the various seasons, weird and wonderful allergies seem to pop up, totally unannounced but normally due to sensitivities in the environment triggering an allergic response. Truth be told, nobody likes to feel uncomfortable and for the most part, all allergic reactions can leave us down and out. Whether it’s red, blotchy skin or a runny nose and sneezing, let’s face it, they aren’t attractive and can leave us looking far worse than we might feel. The trick is to understand why these may present for you. After all, you aren’t a carbon copy of your neighbour, and what works for her may be worlds apart from what works for you.
Chinese Medicine offers amazing relief and treatment for allergies no matter where they occur or what season they occur in, often offering an alternative approach to mainstream medicine which often treats the symptoms only. Chinese Medicine’s effectiveness lies in the ability to treat the person as a whole rather than just treating these symptoms alone. Addressing the root cause of any condition is truly at the crux of its treatment abilities. People with allergies often show up with some type of deficiency, most commonly Spleen (gut), Kidney (adrenals), and even Lung (immune) problems.
Typically, Chinese Medicine places allergies in a category of being caused by the pathogenic influence of wind in the body. This can happen when our Wei Qi (immune system, aka protective Qi) has been damaged or weakened, and naturally, treatment then aims to build this back to its best state to treat the illness. The Spleen also plays a big role as it is considered the pivot of health.
If the spleen is deficient it cannot assimilate nutrients adequately, meaning we don’t get the benefits of our food or drink, since they are our source of nourishment and fuel. It’s important to remind ourselves that what we consume can either support health or place extra stress on the digestive system. You might begin to understand if the nutrients aren’t able to be utilised, even if you are eating amazing food, illness may follow because your body may not be absorbing them well. On the other side of the coin, we may not be supplying our bodies with good nutrients either which also adds to the deficit.
The nature of your allergy can tell you about what organs may be involved. For example, from a TCM point of view, the Lung and Skin are closely related, meaning most skin conditions may be related back to poor lung function. In fact, it is said that the lung governs skin, just like the eyes are the window to the liver or our hair and nails reflect our kidney health. Some skin conditions may be red and itchy leading us to see, in TCM, that the condition is from excess heat and wind in the body (wind will always come with the symptom of itching). Others may be weepy and sore, telling us that potentially there is too much damp in the body. Whatever the symptom, it is always a clue to the bigger issues at hand.
Chinese Medicine does a wonderful job in treating these conditions, it profiles not only the symptoms but the organs involved, addressing both leads to long lasting results. Whilst a trip to your local acupuncturist may be a wonderful way to start your treatment in overcoming your allergies, there are some key things you can begin to do in your own home that can make the world of difference. In most instances, your Chinese Medicine practitioner will tell you to do these as well as your specific treatment.
In any case, just adding one new thing to your regime can see marked changes.
Leave coffee for another day
Switch for tea. Many teas contain ingredients that contain anti-allergy ingredients. Take Green tea for example. Rich in catechin, it provides the benefits of being cooling as well as moving. You might wonder why ‘moving’ is important. Moving out heat or damp or any pathogenic factor from the body is always important when treating any health condition. Chrysanthemum tea is also another useful ingredient that helps to clear heat and eliminate wind from the body. Chrysanthemum tea is also wonderful topically, to help to address skin issues as well as itchy eyes.
Make your fork count
Foods are either of benefit or deficit. Meaning they either support your health or they can be taxing. Any food that places strain on your body will begin to impact your health over time. Switching to nourishing foods can very quickly show excellent results.
Foods that contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid which has been show to balance mast cells (to slow down the body’s release of histamine and other chemical reactors related to allergies) are an amazing inclusion. Such foods include red peppers, green leafy veggies such as kale and broccoli, blueberries and peppers to name a few. Especially excellent for those allergies like hay fever and hives.
Radish can be wonderful to cool and moisten skin conditions, again amazing for itchy eyes.
Do the work early
Rather than wait until symptoms arrive, allergies are best treated when they are not in full swing. This means that before the season begins, it’s time to start implementing change. Waiting for symptoms to pop up only means you have to treat them first before you can treat the crux of the problem.
Start early and in doing so, you can hope to see less symptoms (if any at all!).
From a TCM Practitioner.
Yours in all seasons,