Allergies involve an excessive immune response to normally harmless substances.

Allergies: A Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective

In TCM, there is no overarching disease category for allergies as we understand them in the west. Rather, the clinical manifestations relating to allergies are essentially seen as an imbalance in the body’s energies (qi).

Understanding allergies

Allergies involve an excessive immune response to normally harmless substances such as pollen, dust mites, pet hair, mould and certain food and drugs. Hayfever (allergic rhinitis) is perhaps the best known of these conditions, with around 49% of people in the UK reporting symptoms in a 2020 study. Other allergies include skin allergies, asthma and food allergies. As a disease category, they are the most common chronic disease in Europe and, globally, appear to be on the rise (1).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long history of treating allergic conditions and seeks to both provide symptomatic relief and correct underlying causative factors. 

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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