Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Are Your Allergies Raging? Try This Ancient Cure

More Americans (20 to 30 percent) claim some form of allergy -- and a Chinese herbal treatment may offer hope.
... Dr. Xiu-Min Li, the director of Mount Sinai Hospital’s federally funded Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Allergy and Asthma in Manhattan, has had success treating asthma with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) -- using an herbal therapy of her own devising. About 10 years ago, Li began wondering whether TCM might also be applied to food allergies since allergic asthma and allergic reactions to food have similar immunological blueprints. While there’s no actual mention of food allergy in traditional Chinese medicine, a complete medical system in which the taste of an herb helps determine its therapeutic function, there is talk of symptoms like those experienced during an allergic reaction.

"I found information about one formula in particular," says Li. "It dealt with parasites and was used when people got stomach problems, vomited, and lost sensation after eating. It sounded like what we now call anaphylaxis." The formula, called Wu Mei Wan, dates back nearly 2,000 years and was recorded in the Shang Han Lun, one of the classic tomes of traditional Chinese medicine and a basis for all of its future pharmacology. Li and her team of chemists, biologists and researchers modified this original formula by adding to its preexisting mixture of 10 botanical ingredients, an 11th called Ling Zhi, or, "wooden mushroom," so-called for its ligneous appearance. Read more

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