People who suffer from allergies know that hay fever season has arrived. If your nose has gotten stuffy or runny and your eyes are itchy and watery, you are likely having an overreaction to the pollen in the air. Allergies are a response by the body’s immune system to antigens in the environment. The body responds too well causing all that chronic congestion and itching. There are two main types of non-food allergies; Seasonal and Perennial. Seasonal allergies, often called hay fever tend to occur in Spring and Summer and are a reaction to pollen and grasses. Perennial allergies occur all year and are a reaction to animal dander, dust or dust mites, molds, smoke or perfume. Both cause much suffering.
The Cause of Allergies
In Chinese Medicine the reason for both types of allergies is a deficiency in the body’s Wei Qi, also called Defensive Qi. This qi is a protective layer at the surface of the body that keeps things from getting deep into the body, such as virus’s, bacteria and allergens. It mounts a defense against these things to prevent us from getting sick. In order to treat allergies with Chinese Medicine, we must supplement the Wei Qi as well as treat the symptoms that allergy sufferers know too well.
When to Treat Allergies
For Seasonal Allergies, the best time to build the Wei Qi is at the end of the allergy season, in the fall. If you are suffering from allergies this Spring, see your practitioner now to alleviate the symptoms and then again in the fall, even though you may be feeling better, to prevent a reoccurrence next year. Perennial allergies can be treated at any time.
Herbs to Treat Allergies
In addition to acupuncture, there are a number of Chinese Herbal formulas which allergy sufferers can rely on. Most likely, your practitioner will give you one formula for the symptoms you are experiencing now, and then change that formula to treat the root of the problem once those symptoms subside. If you have been experiencing allergies for many years it can take more than one allergy season to be completely symptom free.
Sinus Rinsing for Relief from Nasal Congestion
A Neti Pot or a modern sinus rinse can also be helpful to clear nasal congestion. Used once a day these tools open the nasal passages by clearing out bacteria and allergens and calming inflammation in the tissues. Using a Neti Pot takes practice, but once mastered, allergy sufferers swear by it. It involves irrigating the nose with a salt water mixture using a pot with a spout not unlike a watering can. It has a long history of use in Asia, although modern plastic squeeze bottles may be easier to use and just as effective.