Do you suffer from allergies? From itchy eyes to asthma, acupuncture can help! Acupuncture decreases pain and inflammation, supports the immune system, and regulates the body’s histamine response to its various offenders. Herbal formulas and essential oils can enhance the effects of your treatment and provide as-needed relief from your sniffles and sneezes.

Away With the A-Choo’s! A Chinese Medicine Toolkit for Allergies

One of the many strengths of Chinese Medicine is that it can be used as preventative medicine to stop allergies before they start. If you are a seasonal allergy sufferer, you may find relief with these natural healing remedies:

*Essential oil: Niaouli MQV – An oil extracted from the Melaleuca plant, niaouli is related to Tea Tree and has an aroma similar to Eucalyptus. This is an excellent oil for treating Wind-Heat viral conditions (such as the common cold with a fever and sore throat) and is especially useful for allergies.  Niaouli decreases your histamine response and is most effective when used preventatively – that is, before you anticipate an allergy attack. Use a chest rub, steam inhale, or just hold a bottle up to your nose for a quick sniff during allergy season to help keep symptoms at bay.

*Herbal Formula: Bi Yan Pian Often used to treat sinusitis, rhinitis, and nasal allergies, this formula helps stop a runny nose and opens stuffy sinuses. The formula contains herbs that clear heat and reduce toxicity, so it is best for nasal allergies that present with inflammation, infection, yellow phlegm, and heat in the face.

*Herbal formula: Yu PIng Feng San – “Jade Windscreen” tonifies the Lung and Spleen Qi and resolves dampness. It also protects the exterior from “wind invasions”, meaning things that we can catch: colds, flus, and viruses. This three-herb formula includes the adaptogen astragalus and is taken preventatively to boost the immune system. Taken as an herbal tea or pill, Yu Ping Feng San is great for teachers and students who need to keep their immune systems strong, and for those who anticipate an allergy season coming up.

*Single Herb: Ju Hua (Chrysanthemum) – This bright yellow herb is used to clear heat, disperse wind, and clear the liver and eyes. The herb is cooling and enters the Lung channel which opens into the nose, and Liver channel, which goes to the head and opens into the eyes. “Wind” refers to sensations (like pain or itchiness) or maladies of the body that appear quickly and are constantly changing. Allergies can come on suddenly and may present with sneezing, head aches, and dry, itchy eyes. Ju Hua is a great herb to use as a tea when allergy symptoms hit. Make a compress from the tea and put over the eyes when they feel hot, dry and itchy.

* Supplement: Quercetin – A common flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables, quercetin offers significant antioxidant protection for cells lining the sinuses, reduces allergic responses by stabilizing mast cells (which release histamine and other inflammatory signals), and boosts the immune system. Foods with the highest quercetin content include apples, onions, and green tea.

*Acupressure point: Large Intestine-4 (LI-4) -. Located in the meaty muscle between the thumb and index finger, this point is used to treat all symptoms of the head and face. A popular acupressure point for headaches, this point is used to help alleviate red, itchy eyes, fevers, heat in the face, sinus troubles, toothache, and jaw pain. In combination with other points, LI-4 boosts the body’s defensive Qi and strengthens the immune system, regulates sweating, and moves qi and blood stagnation to stop pain.