Allergic Rhinitis

A process characterized by vasodilation and edema of the nasal mucosa, runny nose and obstruction. It can be acute or chronic.

Allergic rhinitis is usually a common symptom of an allergic process. It can be accompanied by other symptoms such as tingling in the nose and nasal pruritus in palate, throat and eye regions, there can be also sneezing, discharge, congestion and nasal obstruction, tears and sinusitis. There may also be symptoms of headaches in the frontal region, irritability, decreased appetite and disappearance of sense of smell and insomnia. As the season progresses, coughing and wheezing can develop. Its etiology can be pollen, fungi, domestic dust, animal hair, food, etc.


Conventional Treatment and Prevention of Allergic Rhinitis:

It is difficult to completely avoid potential allergens. But you can take steps to reduce exposure to a specific allergen that you know or suspect is triggering your allergic rhinitis. This will help improve your symptoms. Conventional treatment may involve the prescription of antihistamines, nasal washes, or even nasal spray containing corticosteroids.

If you have allergies to pollen it is advisable to live in areas where there is less exposure to the allergen such as near the sea or high altitude areas where the concentration of pollen is lower.

Allergic Rhinitis and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Immunity and the concept of Protective Chi:

The model of the immune system used in Traditional Chinese Medicine presents a simple view that has shown to be quite functional. Any condition acquired either by contagious or by climatic factors always depends on the responsiveness of the immune system, which in turn is related to the concept of Wei Chi or protective Chi. When Protective Chi is strong, virus diseases and climatic influences that come in contact with the organism are completely repelled; If it is less strong, diseases can enter to an external level and cause flu, constipation or other external condition; If it is deficient, diseases can penetrate to inner levels that affect more deeply the functioning of internal organs.

The Protective Chi is considered the most vigorous type of energy in the body, during the day it is distributed mainly on the skin and muscles, heating and nourishing all the outer tissues, opens and closes the pores and sweat glands to defend the body against any external aggressions , Such as weather and the attacks of pathogenic microorganisms. According to traditional teachings, Protective Chi comes from essential substances like food and inhaled air. The ancient Chi Protective model goes according to our modern concept, since both hold that the ability to absorb nutrients and use oxygen is critical to the function of the immune system.

The therapies

Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine is an excellent treatment method to alleviate more aggressive symptoms of allergic rhinitis and with some courses of treatments it is possible to reduce the intensity of the symptoms. Diet is also very important to strengthen the digestive system which in turn improves the functioning of the immune system and decreases susceptibility to potential allergens.

Some of the recommendations here may help, but if the symptoms are chronic and of some duration, a more appropriate treatment with qualified therapists should be considered.

Elimination of some foods from the diet:

• Gluten
• Dairy Products
• Refined sugar and carbohydrates
• Red meat
• Coffee
• Alcohol

Exclusion diet excluding foods that may cause hypersensitivity and increased mucus in the mucous membranes should be practiced in both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis. These foods may not present a positive reaction in the skin allergy test, but still cause an imbalance which in turn increases allergic susceptibility.

Some important food supplements to include in the diet:

• Bee pollen
• Natural probiotics
• Foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins
• Depending on the needs of the patient

Some Herbs and aspects essential for the treatment of allergic rhinitis

• Herbs that improve the functioning of the immune system such as equinacia root and talus, if the case is Allergic Rhinitis
• Herbs with effects on improving the condition of the upper mucous membranes (eyes, nose, throat), since a good mucosal condition causes allergens not to penetrate so easily and, in turn, improves resistance to Rhinitis. (Eufrásia, Plantago lancelata)
• When treating seasonal allergic rhinitis treatment should begin 6 weeks before the season and continue during the season
• Stress can be a factor that increases the symptoms of rhinitis and so should be considered the use of nerve tonic plants, tranquilizers and adaptogens as appropriate

Article written by Sérgio Caroço, ND, BSc (honors) TCM: Acupuncture.

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