General Approach

The most effective thing a practitioner can do to help a person who is suffering from allergies is to address the underlying imbalance.  In Chinese Medicine, to simplify, I have chosen 5 formulas to exemplify the most common underlying imbalances when allergies are present.  You can choose variations of the formulas if they are more appropriate for your patient, but these are effective and help distinguish common patterns.


The 3 Components to Treatment

1. Branch
I use Lucidia as appropriate to address symptoms, give relief, and remove allergy medications. It is indicated when symptoms are wet, itchy, sneezy.  Not indicated for very dry sinus passages or very thick congestion in face as it is an antihistamine. It will stop itching, sneezing, and dry the passages.  Thick mucous in the lungs will be broken down with Lucidia.  In very dry or painful cases, another formula is appropriate, examples listed below.  Lucidia treats lungs and liver, and focuses on symptomatic relief for the patient and to start to clean up debris in the blood and lymph. If the patient gets relief, the benefit of this formula is that it also builds immune and cleans up.

2. Spleen
I address the Spleen with the dietary guidelines (guidelines to strengthen the spleen, what to eat, what not to eat, how to eat), specific diets (such as wheat or grain free), acupuncture treatment, moxa, qi gong, gallbladder cleanse, probiotics, digestive enzymes as appropriate per patient. I often add an herbal Spleen tonic in addition to one of the other 5 underlying formulas. This is especially important in obvious cases of Spleen deficiency, such as in long term poor lifestyle habits, cases of crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, under chemo or radiation treatment, long term antibiotics, or extreme dampness in the muscle or organ tissue. It is most important to emphasize the dietary guidelines, as the spleen cannot recover if poor habits continue.  The guidelines recommended here are purposely gentle, as I believe radical diets further weaken the Spleen.  I guess radical is subjective, as I have had a patient gasp at the radical idea to not eat while watching television.

3. Root:
Liver, Kidney, Blood See if any of these underlying patterns are present (these are most common) and if a formula could benefit the patient:

Blood Deficiency–Si Wu Wan – if it is this simple everyone is lucky and very high chances that allergies will resolve completely with treatment and herbs.  Tongue and skin are pale and they simply need to fill the vessels with clean, rich blood so that allergens don’t overrun the vessels.  If there are emotional causes of blood deficiency, acupuncture treatment and Si Wu Tang can help plug the hole in the bucket.  Si Wu Tang is heaven-sent.

Blood Deficiency with Liver qi stagnation and Spleen qi deficiency–Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan  – stress, PMS, liver toxicity, depression, abdominal bloating, irritability.  Liver congestion is very common with allergies because of emotional and lifestyle stress, diet, alcohol, and not enough rest or personal downtime.  These lifestyle guidelines are very important if the person’s goal is to resolve their allergies.  They will get relief for sure with treatment and herbs even if nothing else changes.  Gallbladder cleanse works wonders to reduce severity of allergies for long term effect.

Liver yang rising with Kidney yin deficiency– Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin  – if the energy is prone to going up, weakening the low back and adrenals, this will help with allergies by strengthening adrenals and calming inflammatory response.  Patient will be prone to upward rising energy–temper, blood sugar, blood pressure,  hot flashes, migraines/headaches, neck and shoulder tension, irritability, anxiety, red face, sinus pain.  This formula calms the vascular system in the face and neck for free lymphatic flow and drainage, and anchors energy so it is not wasted by blowing out the top of the head.

Higher liver toxicity and heat–Long Dan Xie Gan Wan – if there is less deficiency showing and more heat–redness, irritability, anxiety, over appetite, red oozing itching skin, very red agitated pointy  tongue with strong raging pulse and insomnia then this formula is appropriate before the tonics or during times of liver heat.  Liver  and gallbladder cleansing are helpful, such as Dr. Hulda Clark’s gallbladder cleanse.

Kidney Yin Deficiency–Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan – I chose Tian Wang here because allergies so often have emotional components, but this category is to exemplify kidney yin deficiency.  Therefore, choose the appropriate formula–Zhi Bai Di Huang, Qi Ju Di Huang, or even Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan.  If the person shows signs of yin deficiency and you address with herbs and lifestyle, they have a good chance to recover from allergies.


Seasonal Allergies–

Hay fever, pet, dust, grasses, trees, mold

Typical symptoms: runny nose, congestion, sneezing, itchy water eyes, itchy skin, scratchy throat, postnasal drip

Lucidia is formulated to treat seasonal and yearlong allergies.  It is especially effective in cases of watery congestion, lots of mucous, itching, and sneezing. Follow the above guidelines for this kind of allergy presentation.  If patient is pregnant, she may be better off with just Freeze dried stinging nettles for relief as these are very nutritious for her and the baby and they are used traditionally during pregnancy.  Oregon’s Wild Harvest is recommended.

f Lucidia is not moving enough for the branch part of the treatment, consider the Chinese herbs below:

Cang Er Zi Wan-maybe thick green mucous, or bacterial infection. Tea is best (powder or cooked) because the volatile oils can go right into the sinus cavity as they drink it.

Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan–if there is a lot of pain in the sinuses or head, or inflammation (patient sounds congested but there is actually no mucous), or they have a sinus headache.  This is a very effective formula, but can be too strong for yin deficient patients.

Pe Min Gan Wan–more stimulating than Lucidia, spicy, less for mucous, more for kicking out.

Xin Yi San–If there is a viral component and the congestion is clear and watery with sinus pain. Also, use the beneficial volatile oils of this formula by drinking the tea. Usually Lucidia will address the viral component and is very good for this watery presentation, but see what works best for your patient.

It may be necessary to insist on a gallbladder cleanse when the patient is comfortable and ready to do this.


Skin Allergies

Rashes, reactions, hives, dry itchy skin, moderate cases of eczema:

  • In cases of skin rash and eczema, always test first with only 1 capsule of Lucidia to make sure there is no reaction to stinging nettle or Reishi mushroom. Red itchy rash with raised bumps:
  • Branch Options:  Lucidia for relief and cleansing
  • Xiao Feng San -if you need more spicy and moving
  • Long Dan Xie Gan Wan–if lots of liver heat and dampness–raging itchiness with moisture and heat coming off or oozing
  • Dan Shen Huo Xue Wan–if the rash is red but not as damp, and on the upper part of the body such as the chest.  This is heat rising or heart heat.  This formula will clear it
  • Dang Gui Yin Zi wan-  if skin is red and itchy from blood deficiency and dryness
  • Dr. Kang’s cream- I do not like that they will not tell us what is in this cream other than bitter melon and that it is all natural, but I have to include it because I have never had a patient on whom it did not work and clear up persistent eczema, poison oak, and skin rash.  It is expensive and must be ordered by practitioner for the patient.