Try Chinese Medicine for Allergies
For anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies, late summer and early fall mean only one thing: Hay fever season.
Just lately, the golden-yellow spikes of ragweed have been adding color to our summer landscape.
As beautiful as ragweed is to the local scenery, it’s the cause of misery for millions of people who are allergic to its pollen.
What Causes Allergies?
Allergies are essentially an immune response to airborne particles that normally don’t cause your body any trouble.
These particles can be anything from plant pollen to animal dander, dust, mold, and even insects and their feces. For most people inhaling these particles aren’t a problem.
For people with allergies, however, their bodies react as though they were being invaded by pathogens. The results can include a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, headaches, and in some people, asthma.
Chinese Medicine and Allergies
Whether from pollen or pet dander, practitioners of Chinese medicine consider allergens external pathogens — invaders from the outside that can make you sick, especially if you’re susceptible to them.
You do have a defense system however, called Wei Qi that guards the exterior of your body like a protective bubble or shield.
When your Wei Qi is weak, all kinds of pathogens can get into your body and cause colds, flu, and allergies.
Usually, the first organ affected when outside pathogens attack are your lungs. You may have a cough, sore throat, or a runny nose — all associated with your lung organ system in Chinese medicine.
Your lungs are your most exterior organ because they are constantly in contact with the outside world through the air you breathe.
As your most exterior organ, your lungs also guard the exterior of your body, but weak lungs are not necessarily the cause of weak Wei Qi.
Qi, or energy in general, is made through the air you breathe, but also by eating good food and digesting it well.
Your spleen organ system is responsible for turning food into energy, nutrients, and blood. If you’re not eating well, have digestive problems, are stressed out, or just plain run down, chances are your energy (Qi) is weak, including your Wei Qi.
Do you suffer from allergies or seem to catch every cold that’s going around? That’s weak Wei Qi, which means your defense from all those external pathogens is not very strong.
Other Steps for Dealing with Allergies
The solution to dealing with allergies is two-fold.
On the superficial level, it’s important to deal with the pathogens (allergens) that are causing current symptoms. In the case of seasonal allergies, plant pollen is like a toxic dust that settles on your clothes, hair, carpet, and even your pets.
Some simple steps to reduce your exposure include:
- Change your clothes after you’ve been working or exercising outdoors.
- Shower in the evening to get the day’s pollen off your skin and out of your hair.Close your windows when the weather is especially dry and windy.
- Wash your hands after handling a pet that’s been outside.
- Get a really good vacuum, as pollen is extremely fine and will settle on your floors.
- Dust your home regularly.
- Get a Neti Pot and use it. It’s a small pot to help you cleanse your nasal passages, and can be found at most drug stores.
At the deeper level, strengthening your Wei Qi can help you avoid allergy meltdowns in the future.
You can do so by choosing and preparing foods that are healthy and easy to digest, getting enough restful sleep, and avoiding both physical and emotional stress.
A practitioner of Chinese medicine can help you build up your Wei Qi as an effective way to deal with your allergies.
You practitioner would likely combine acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and food therapy to help strengthen your spleen system, boost Wei Qi, and alleviate your current symptoms.
The best way to do this is to work with your acupuncturist before your allergies act up, if possible. By doing so, you can face the assault of allergy season armed with a stronger defense system.