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Oriental Medicine and Autumn Allergies

Oriental medicine has been used to treat allergies for hundreds of years. Several studies have confirmed that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be helpful for allergic conditions such as asthma, eczema, and food allergies.

Some foods contain the flavanoid, quersetin that can cross-react with tree pollen. Quercetin can reduce allergic reactions by having an antihistamine effect. It also decreases inflammation.  Quercetin is found in certain foods, such as apples (with the skin), berries, red grapes, red onions, capers, and black tea.

In a study published in Allergy, 52 people with allergic rhinitis were randomly assigned acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbal tea or sham acupuncture and herbs for six weeks. Nearly 85 percent or the people receiving the real acupuncture and herbs had 100 percent or significant improvement of their symptoms, versus 40 percent of those getting the placebo treatment.

Spice up your menu! Remember to use plenty of spicy additions to raise your body temperature, which ultimately draws heat OUT to the surface where it’s released as perspiration, eliminating toxins and impurities.  Try adding spices that range from mild to hot (fresh ginger to cayenne pepper) and use in menus as well as summertime beverages.  Spicy dishes can thin mucus secretions and clear nasal passages.  Ginger is a natural antihistamine and decongestant. It may provide some relief from allergy symptoms by dilating constricted bronchial tubes.

Food intolerances also seem to be connected with seasonal allergies. A healthy colon can decrease food sensitivity, which can, in turn, lighten the burden on your immune system. To support your colon health, increase fiber and add active probiotics that can restore the balance between good and bad bacteria in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  

If you suffer from allergies and are interested in using acupuncture and/or are curious to learn about eating the right nutrition to best support your individual health, contact the Acupuncture Clinic of Richmond at 804.288.3927.

Deborah Farley is a licensed acupuncturist, naturopath and owner of the Acupuncture Clinic of Richmond, in Richmond, Virginia. She’s a leading authority on using nutrition and Chinese medicine for treating symptoms and root causes of illness.  For additional resources to improve your health and wellness, visit or call 804.288.3927.
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