Hay fever or Allergic Rhinitis  

Right now we are getting a lot of people complaining about hayfever.  Most people are surprised when I offer acupuncture or herbal medicine as an option to relieve symptoms.  The benefit of Chinese medicine is that it not only treats acute signs and symptoms but it also strengthens the individual’s immune system to minimise or prevent further occurrences.

Hayfever is something I am very familiar with since it is an issue in my household.  Happily, it’s a condition that responds really well to Chinese medicine.  However, if you would like to see what research has shown, here are two interesting studies:

In a 2004 study published in Allergy, 52 patients suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) were assigned to either an active treatment group or a control group.  The active group received acupuncture treatment, once a week and Chinese herbal medicine three times daily for six weeks.  The control group received acupuncture on non  acupuncture points and a “non specific” herbal medicine formula.  The results showed significant after treatment improvement in 85% of patients in the active group compared to 40% of the control group.

In another study, using just acupuncture, researchers showed a decrease of Interleukin10 (a cytokin which effects immunoregulation and inflammation) after acupuncture therapy while levels remained high in both control groups which included a non treated group and a group treated with ‘sham’ acupuncture.   The researchers concluded that acupuncture can reduce levels of Interleukin10 in chronic rhinitis.

Tips for reducing hayfever

  • The home should be cleaned regularly, especially areas with carpet and cloth curtains where dust and pollen collect.
  • Tree and grass pollens can easily enter the home through open windows.  Placing a clean sheet over the bed during the day that is removed at night can significantly reduce evening symptoms.
  • Avoid leaving laundry outside to dry for excessive lengths of time to collect pollen.
  • Wearing sunglasses can help prevent pollen from flying into the eyes.
  • Vaseline on the rim of the nose can reduce the level of pollen spores before they enter into the body.
  • Moderate and regular exercise will help strengthen the body’s resistance.
  • Children with allergies should avoid sugar, raw foods, and fruit juices.
  • During attacks of allergic rhinitis foods that promote sweating such as spring onions, ginger or fresh coriander can help alleviate symptoms.