Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can effectively treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies
Allergies are overreactions of the immune system to things in the environment, such as dust, pollen, animal dander, and foods. When an allergic person’s immune system is triggered by an allergen, it causes some degree of inflammation. The severity of an allergic reaction can take the form of simple itching eyes, sneezing, and runny nose (rhinitis); skin reactions such as eczema or hives; and even life-threatening constriction of the airways.
Increasing numbers of people suffer from allergies. The prevalence of allergic rhinitis, for example, is now estimated to be between 10 and 20% of the population in developed countries. Allergic rhinitis and mild allergy symptoms are usually treated with antihistamine or decongestant medicines and sometimes with steroid medicines, but these often cause unwanted and even harmful side effects.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) includes Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. TCM has been used to treat allergies for hundreds of years, and the results of several studies suggest that TCM therapies can be helpful for allergic conditions such as asthma, eczema, and food allergies. Both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been shown to help people with allergic rhinitis. Although these therapies are traditionally used together, their combined effect has not been studied scientifically.