The Asian medicine view of allergies is related to a syndrome called Wei Qi deficiency. The Wei Qi is said to create a boundary between the individual and their environment. When the Wei qi is sufficient, a person will have a resistance to external pathogens, aiding in the prevention of common colds and allergies. A person will not be affected by irritants in the air, such as pollen, dust mites, cat or dog hair (etc.), when the defensive Wei Qi is healthy. There can also be other underlying syndromes and deficiencies that cause a person to be prone to allergies that are more specific.
It is ideal to begin the treatments with acupuncture and herbal medicine a season ahead of time. These treatments are also helpful during an acute onset or have allergies all year round, so it is acceptable to begin treatments during the acute onset. However, if it is the summer and you usually have allergies in the fall, or if it is the fall and you usually have allergies in the spring, don’t wait until the season that your allergies begin to start treatment. The treatment of allergies the season before the usual onset can prevent and or minimize the occurrence of allergies for that year. The level of effectiveness can depend on the severity and the length of time that a person has had allergies. It may take longer than one cycle of preventative treatments for individuals with severe allergies to obtain the desired results. It is easier to prevent the occurrence of allergies than it is to treat in the acute stage. The unchecked acute onset of allergies can create further weakness in the Wei Qi and cause local tissue damage, creating a vicious cycle that makes a person prone to prolonged and reoccur attacks. Acupuncture and herbal medicine offer effective preventative treatments.
A Western herbal medicine that is an ally for seasonal allergies is Nettles in the extract, fluid extract, and freeze-dried forms. Take Nettles for prevention as well as during the acute phases of allergies. Some individuals have also found benefit from consuming Wild Flower Honey as a seasonal allergy preventative. If you have any adverse reaction to Nettles or Wild Flower Honey and or feel worse after taking, then please avoid these substances. Nettles and honey are nourishing, supportive, and safe, so adverse reactions are rare. Also, eating warm cooked foods and avoiding raw/cold/and frozen foods will help to build and support immunity.
Also, doing a neti pot or other nasal rinse can help to minimize and or prevent allergies. In general, it is best to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (NOT powder) to 1 cup of pre-boiled water. Add baking soda to protect the tissues from the salt’s abrasive effect on the tissues. If you are sensitive to the salt, you can add additional baking soda (not too much). Do the nasal flush when the water is still warm, but not too hot. If it feels comfortable to keep your finger in the water, then it is probably the right temperature. The temperature of the water mustn’t be too hot, so as not to damage the tissues. Do not use cold water because it will not effectively cleanse the nasal passages. The goal, when doing this flush, is for the water to go in one nostril and out the other one. Be sure to change the angle of your head if the water runs down the back of your throat, etc. If your nasal passages are already clogged, do not do a nasal rinse. If doing the nasal flush doesn’t feel right or flows down the back of your throat, it is probably best to ask a health care practitioner for assistance on how to apply correctly.
Another component to minimizing and or preventing the onset of allergies is to identify which allergen aggravates you. If you are aware that there is more pollen in the air on certain days or that a potential allergen is beginning to bloom, it can be essential to take preventative measures by avoiding exposure. It can be helpful to close the windows in your room so that the pollen doesn’t blow into your room, onto your bed and pillow. You can place a protective cloth on the furniture if the windows must be left open. On days of exposure, washing your face or taking a shower immediately upon coming inside can help to minimize the allergic response.