Allergies can be extremely frustrating, popping up when you least expect them.
They’re caused by a dysfunctional immune response in which the body responds to a substance that’s usually harmless as though it were an unwanted invader needing to be actively and assertively fought off.
You should always seek urgent medical advice if you experience severe allergies or are concerned that your child may be having an allergic reaction. However, in milder cases, the herbs discussed below may provide symptomatic relief.
Chinese herbs for allergy relief
A herbal formula called Minor Bupleurum Combination (or Minor Bupleurum Decoction) has been used in TCM since at least 220 AD – almost 1800 years.
Today, this ancient combination of the herbs bupleurum, baical skullcap, Korean ginseng, ginger, ziziphus, pinellia and Chinese licorice is found in Oriental Botanicals AllergE, a non-drowsy formula available at pharmacies around Australia, and suitable for use by adults and children (aged 2 years and up).
In TCM, herbs in this formula are used to support specific forms of life force energy or Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) called Defensive Qi and Lung Qi, which are believed to work together to support the body’s immune defences, improve resistance to allergens, and relieve mild allergy symptoms.
Read on to discover more about whether these herbs are suitable for you.
Ease sneezing and other hayfever symptoms
Do high pollen levels or encounters with dogs, cats or horses set your hayfever off? The baical skullcap in Minor Bupleurum Combination is traditionally used to help manage hayfever symptoms in TCM, including:
- Sneezing and runny nose (watery nasal discharge)
- Itchy or dry eyes, nose and throat
- Inflammation of the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose
Calm coughing and mild respiratory irritation
In TCM, Chinese licorice is traditionally used to:
- Relieve mild bronchial irritation
- Soothe coughing
- Promote the expectoration of respiratory mucus (catarrh)
In Oriental Botanicals AllergE, Chinese licorice is teamed with Korean ginseng and baical skullcap (which are traditionally used in TCM to support Lung Qi, the form of life force energy mentioned above that helps boost overall resistance against allergens) and pinellia (which is traditionally used to relieve cough by encouraging Qi to move in a downwards direction).
Soothe itchy skin
Allergies that affect the skin typically cause itching, redness and heat, all of which are classic signs of inflammation. Herbs in Oriental Botanicals AllergE are traditionally used in TCM to:
- Relieve hot, itchy and inflamed skin conditions
- Help manage mild eczema (atopic dermatitis) and hives (urticaria)
- Clear excess Heat from the surface of the body
Manage digestive symptoms
Based on their use in TCM, herbs in Oriental Botanicals AllergE may also help manage certain digestive symptoms, including those that can occur as a result of mild food intolerances and allergies, such as:
- Digestive discomfort
The role of histamine in allergies
Whether your allergies are triggered by exposure to pollen, animal hair, dust mites, certain foods or something altogether different, they tend to have one thing in common: they’re usually initiated by the release of a substance called histamine in your body.
Histamine is released when your body detects the presence of an allergen and has very rapid effects on the immune system that quickly result in allergy symptoms.
In laboratory studies, herbs in Minor Bupleurum Combination have been shown to reduce the release of histamine from mast cells and inhibit its actions. Baical skullcap also demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties in experimental research.