Understanding Allergies and Allergic Reactions

An allergen is a foreign substance that causes your immune system to react. Dr. Devi Numbudripaud, the creator of NAET Allergy Elimination, has expanded on the definition of an allergen to include “anything that causes an adverse reaction in an individual, that does not cause a reaction in a healthy individual”. Generally, Western medicine categorizes allergic reaction symptoms to: sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, a runny nose, sore throat and rashes.

In severe cases, allergic reactions can also cause anaphylactic shock. This is a reaction that causes the coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, fainting, throat/lip swelling, and itchiness. Anaphylactic patients must carry epinephrine (EpiPen) because these severe symptoms can escalate and become life threatening very quickly. Anaphylactic reactions can be triggered by medications, food, insect stings, and inhalants. Pharmaceuticals are the leading cause of allergy related deaths.

50 Million Americans are Affected by Nasal Allergies: Allergies are Big Business

The number of Americans that suffer from nasal symptoms due to allergies are continuously rising. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, nearly 50 million Americans are affected by nasal allergies. Shockingly, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, and it is a multibillion dollar industry that exceeds $18 billion per year.

Traditional Chinese Medicine: an Alternative and Supplemental Treatment for Allergies

It is no wonder that people are scrambling to find natural alternatives to alleviate their allergies. When it comes to anaphylaxis the most important thing is to know what your allergies are, avoid those substances, carry an EpiPen at all times, and train friends and family members on what to do in an emergency. For those that only deal with mild seasonal allergies, there are a number of natural remedies to alleviate those symptoms. Those include: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Acupuncture, NAET Allergy Elimination, Chinese Herbal Medicine, & Essential Oils

TCM has been practiced for thousands of years and is still one of the primary medical systems in China. It looks at the body as a whole taking into account all aspects of the patient’s symptoms and categorizing them into patterns. Although, many people may be treated for allergies each one may be treated slightly differently depending upon each individual’s needs.

TCM is now starting to be referred to as TEAM or Traditional East Asian Medicine, and it includes modalities such as acupuncture, acupressure, herbs/formulas, cupping, and nutrition. Herbal medicine is a wonderful adjunct therapy to help continue treatments at home.

What you need to know about Herbal Remedies: Find a Trained Herbalist

It is important that you work with a well-trained herbalist to ensure that you are on the best formula for your system, and to prevent any kind of herb drug interaction. The herbalist can also ensure that you are receiving the highest quality product. Some common herbal medicines are:

herbal medicince at Calandra Acupuncture Chicago
Herbal Medicine
  1. Reishi or Medicinal Mushrooms: Medicinal mushrooms have a variety of indications ranging from balancing blood sugar to decreasing inflammation. They are most commonly used for their immune-boosting properties. Reishi have been used for centuries, but they are just now being recognized for their adaptogenic and stress regulating properties. Assuming you are not allergic to fungus, Reishi Mushrooms could help boost your immune system and calm the mind.
  2. Scutellaria Radix or Huang Qin: Frequently used in Chinese herbal formulas to clear heat in the lungs associated with acute respiratory infections and bronchitis. This herb could help to prevent allergic asthma attacks by keeping inflammation in the lungs down.
  3. Saposhnikovia Radix or Fang Feng: Releases the exterior and expels wind. This is a great herb for headaches and nasal symptoms that are brought on by allergies or the common cold.
  4. Magnolia Flower or Xin Yi Hua: Flowers are used a lot in TCM due to their aromatic nature. Xin Yi Hua is another great herb that might show up in your formula for when seasonal allergies flare up. This herb is great at relieving nasal congestion, sinus headaches and the runny nose that frequently accompanies allergies.
  5. Cang Er Zi San: This particular herbal formula is most frequently recommended for people that have the “clogged head” due to allergies. However, it treats a very specific pattern. In order for this formula to be applicable the nasal mucus must be thick and possibly yellow, with a frontal headache. It helps to open up the nasal passageways, expel congested mucus, decrease sneezing, and alleviate red itchy eyes.

There are a many Essential Oils that can help with the symptoms of allergies, but do not really treat the reason why they are occurring in the first place. Caution: Some people are allergic to the essential oil itself. Obviously, if you have sensitivities to essential oils they would not be suitable to help treat your allergies. Some of the most common oils we use at CCHW are:

  1. Peppermint
  2. Eucalyptus
  3. Breathe (doTERRA)

Ask us to find out more about these herbs and oils, we can help you navigate the world of medicinal herbs and find the exact combination right for you. Contact Calandra Center for Health and Wellness.

Teri Calandra Dipl.Acu, MSTOM, L.Ac., LMT, RMT

Teri began her studies in energy medicine as part of her own personal development journey, and continues to to learn and integrate that knowledge into her practice. Teri is the founding practitioner of Calandra Center for Health and Wellness in Chicago, Illinois. She is licensed by the State of Illinois in acupuncture (L.Ac.), and board certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).