Spring is here! Flowers are beautiful and the sunshine is lovely! However, some people don’t enjoy this season because they have to stay indoors to avoid the tree pollen, which can cause hay fever. Some people just have mild symptoms for several days, but for many, the symptoms can last for weeks or several months. Commonly, hay fever occurs in spring and summer due to the high pollen levels in the air, however, having hay fever in autumn or even winter isn’t unheard of.
Causes of Hay fever
An allergic reaction is the main cause of hay fever, and it can be easily triggered by outside substances such as trees, flower and grass, or it also may be triggered by indoor allergens such as pet’s skin or dust mites which live in carpets or curtains.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), hay fever belongs to lung disease because most of the symptoms are related to the breathing system. Symptoms include clear running nose, sneezing and itchy throat. Furthermore, skin is the external organ corresponding to lung, so patients are likely to have itchy eyes, or itchy skin. Wind is a main trigger hay fever in TCM, because it can easily bring pollen and other allergens through the whole streets.
Symptoms of hay fever
Sneezing, clear running nose, itchy throat and watery eyes are the most common symptoms in hay fever.
Sometimes especially in the beginning of the hay fever, the symptoms are familiar with common colds. Compared to itchy throat and clear running nose, colds usually have pain throat and thick yellow running nose, and without itchy eyes.
How TCM treats hay fever
It is very important and necessary to tell the difference between hay fever and common colds, although they are both in lung disease in TCM. However, hay fever is more often due to wind-evil and allergies, whereas colds are related to wind and cold. TCM has several useful options to treat hay fever as followed:
1. Chinese Medicine
In TCM it is often considered that hay fever is caused by wind and insufficiency of the lung-qi. As a result, many formulas treat hay fever with expelling wind-evil and tonifying Qi. Formulas as Yu Pin Fen San, Si Jun Zi Tang and Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang are very classic Formaulas. I may also add some herbs into these formulas to treat you individually. For example, add Xin Yi, or Cang Er Zi to relieve allergy symptoms, or add Chuan Xiong, or Man Jin Zi to treat dizziness, and add some Mint grass to cheer up.
To gain optimal results, you may be asked to drink formula twice per day, and 2 weeks will be a course of treatment.
2. Herb Pack
Herb pack is another traditional way in TCM. In China, it is very common using different herb packs to treat different diseases, even in babies! The packs have various sizes depending on which part of body you want to use. Different herbs or formulas can be granted to powder to make pills, then they can be put into packs. Acupoints on back and beneath foot are the best 2 options. Usually, I use 3-4 small herb packs (5cm*5cm) on back, or 1 pack (6cm*7cm) beneath foot. The packs need to be changed every day, at that time you may find the pack colour is different to last day. It is because the herbs can help detox and cleanse away some evils from body, such as humidity, wind and colds. 1 week treatment is a session, then we may need change the formula, usually after 2-3 weeks treatment you will find you are so fresh!
3. Acupuncture and cupping
Acupuncture is widely used to relieve running nose and low energy, so I very often choose the acupoints in the Lung Meridian to treat hay fever and it always works! Cupping can also help push Qi through your body and channels, which will relax nerves and stimulate circulation, that’s why people feel very relaxed after cupping.
4. Head massage
Compared to the three options above, head massage focuses on treating hay fever as an overall treatment. Head massage can help relieve some particular symptoms very fast, such as dizziness, headache, or blocked nose.
Jessie Zhu has had 15 years experience in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. She grew up and studied in Shanghai. In 2012 she was awarded the prestigious National Traditional Chinese Medicine award in Shanghai. She has worked in hospitals as well as private practice and has a keen interest in helping people to get pain relief as well as supporting them through headaches, hormonal imbalances and hayfever. For a free 10 minute phone briefing or to book an appointment with Jessie, please call 1300 21 44 25.
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