Allergies according to Chinese Medicine

This year the DC region has seen record levels of pollen in the air. Pair that with the high amount of rain we’ve experienced, many people are experiencing a variety of allergy symptoms right now: congestion, dry skin, headaches, itchy/red eyes, frustration, and fatigue. Chinese medicine generally relates springtime allergies to the liver, the organ associated with springtime in acupuncture theory.
When we come out of the depths of winter, it is the energy of the liver that pushes us to make changes, create new plans, and generally be more engaged in the world. If we are in some ways over-engaged, this can contribute to allergic reactions, causing us to be hyper-sensitive to the world around us.

Besides acupuncture, which has been proven to be effective in treating seasonal allergies, other lifestyle shifts can also help relax and cool your senses which may be hot and itchy with activity. Consider trying these tricks:

  • Create an eye compress with green tea and chrysanthemum flowers. This is extremely cooling and soothing to those hot, itchy eyes.
  • Drink “poet’s tea” – a mixture of goji berries and chrsysanthemum flowers. This tea helps bring our attention internally, calm our nerves, and cultivate introspection during the wild months of activity in the Spring.
  • Go swimming. Swimming challenges our lung capacity. By enhancing the strength of our lungs, we also support what is referred to as the “third lung” – our skin. The skin and orifices are usually quite affected with allergies; if we can strengthen our lungs, we can strengthen our entire immune system.
  • Do a Neti pot. It may look scary, but it works.
  • Look at your diet: cut out dairy, and add in foods high in Vitamin-C, D, and anti-inflammatory properties. Think kiwi, carrots, and tumeric!
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