When allergies strike, it can affect almost every activity you do—from your voice and breathing, to headaches, and how you approach your workflow, allergy symptoms can make it difficult to get through the day. One of the most common forms of seasonal allergies is allergic rhinitis, which affects the sinuses. Symptoms include sneezing, congestion, runny nose and red, itchy eyes. Western medicine typically prescribes antihistamines, decongestants, or drugs that act on the nervous system. Steps can also be taken to avoid the allergens altogether. While these prescriptions may be effective in treating the allergic response, they often have undesirable side effects, such as drowsiness, immune system suppression, or over-reliance on medications.
Holistic medicine like traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can offer a natural alternative to these Western approaches, one that doesn’t include side effects. TCM strives to treat the whole person and recognizes that people with chronic allergies often show signs of other health imbalances like what’s known as spleen or kidney deficiency, or even lung problems. TCM considers allergies or hay fever as a manifestation of wind invading the upper body. This occurs because one's qi (or energy source) has been weakened, which explains why a Chinese herbalist may address these allergies by building up the body's immunity and defensive qi.