Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on more than 5,000 years of documented practices using nature’s resources to heal physical ailments in humans and animals. TCM encompasses the practices of acupuncture, utilizing herbs, Tui Na, cupping, moxibustion, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, meditation, and more.
Using TCM techniques and herbs is like conducting an orchestra or commanding an army to win a war. Every individual herb has its own purpose and function within each specific formula. Sometimes it might be the general who leads the fight, other times it might just be a messenger who ensures that all other herbs are aware of one another and able to work together as a team. There are more than 500 identified, documented, and safety-tested medicinal herbs that are frequently used for maintaining daily health. Many of them are already in our own kitchens and gardens, such as ginger, garlic, onion, cinnamon, black pepper, salt, peppermint, and several more. Anyone can benefit from TCM, including children, pregnant women and seniors, as for almost every symptom there is an herb that can help address it.
More than 50 million people suffer from allergy symptoms each year, such as runny nose, sneezing, congestion, coughing, itchy eyes, and more. Allergies are caused by a weakened immune system and imbalanced body. TCM combines the use of herbs, acupuncture, and other techniques to balance internal mechanisms to help treat and relieve symptoms and maintain a strong immune system. With allergy symptoms, the body’s responses can often be narrowed down to an immune deficiency within a specific organ. For example, sneezing and coughing is connected to the nose and throat, which relates to the lungs. Itchy, watery, and red eyes often come from decreased liver function.
Frequently used TCM herbs that help battle seasonal allergy symptoms include immune boosters that often contain cordyceps mushroom extract and reishi mushroom full composition extract, grape seed extract, propolis, and spirulina.
Along with extracts, there are also TCM formulas used to treat specific symptoms, such as:
- Skin rashes, both topically and orally: Fang Feng, Can Tui, Cang Zhu, Di Huang, Di Gu Pi, Dang Gui, Jing Jie, Ya Ma Zi, Shi Gao, Gan Cao and Mu Tong
- Sneezing (itchy nose): Huang Qi, Dang Sheng, Bai Zhi, Yin Hua and Sang Ye
TCM believes the root cause of phlegm is deficiency of the spleen and kidneys. Symptoms such as coughing, vomiting, dizziness, chilling, and bloating occur when phlegm invades organs such as the lungs, stomach, head, spinal cord, and liver. In order to dispel phlegm and relieve coughing, the formula must use herbs that can enhance spleen and kidney functions, as well as promote movement of qi, which is the vital energy circulating throughout the body at all times. For example, Er Chen Tang is an 1,800-year-old formula composed of TCM ingredients including Ban Xia, Ju Hong, Bai Fu Ling and Zhi Gan Cao that has been used for drying dampness and resolving phlegm.
In addition to herbs and formulas, acupuncture can be used to reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system. An acupuncturist can evaluate an individual’s unique symptoms and touch on specific therapeutic acupoints that are known to improve a person’s exact symptoms.
The use of TCM and natural methods to treat allergies and other ailments are on the rise. This spring, consider seeing a TCM practitioner and learn more about how TCM can help you live a healthier and more enjoyable life.