Hay fever according to Chinese Medicine

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Hay fever can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like hay fever here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here hay fever is often associated with alternating fever and chills, absence of sweating and wheezing in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of hay fever we’ve identified two herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat hay fever.

Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause hay fever

In Chinese Medicine hay fever is a symptom for the pattern "Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

Ephedra (Ma Huang) is the king ingredient for Xiao Qing Long Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm

Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is when, often due to a stagnant Qi, the Body Fluids are retained in the chest and Lungs.

In addition to hay fever, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm include alternating fever and chills, absence of sweating and wheezing.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm is often treated with Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Xiao Qing Long Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear wind-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm here

Two herbal formulas that might help with hay fever

Xiao Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Warms the Lungs. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Xiao Qing Long Tang help with hay fever?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm' of which hay fever is a symptom.

Read more about Xiao Qing Long Tang here

Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Lungs. Transforms congested Fluids.

Why might Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang help with hay fever?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-above-the-diaphragm' of which hay fever is a symptom.

Read more about Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat hay fever

Why might Ephedra (Ma Huang) help with hay fever?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm' (a pattern with hay fever as a symptom)

Ephedra is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Bladder and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Releases the surface through sweating. Promotes the circulation of Lung Qi and stop wheezing. Promotes urination.

Read more about Ephedra here

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with hay fever?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm' (a pattern with hay fever as a symptom)

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here

Why might Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang) help with hay fever?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm' (a pattern with hay fever as a symptom)

Dried Ginger is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and expels Cold. Restores collapse of Yang and expels Interior Cold. Warms the Lungs and assists expectoration of Cold Phlegm. Stops chronic bleeding caused by Cold.

Read more about Dried Ginger here

Why might Wild Ginger (Xi Xin) help with hay fever?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm' (a pattern with hay fever as a symptom)

Wild Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and warms the Yang. Expels Cold and relieves pain. Warms the Lungs and reduces Phlegm. Moves the Qi and disperses Phlegm to open the nasal passages.

Read more about Wild Ginger here

Why might Schisandra Berry (Wu Wei Zi) help with hay fever?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm' (a pattern with hay fever as a symptom)

Schisandra Berries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Kidneys and preserves the Essence. Astringes the Lung Qi and stops coughing. Retains Bodily Fluids and encourages their production. Tonifies the Heart and calms the spirit (Shen).

Read more about Schisandra Berries here