I got my first case of allergies when I was 7 or 8. We were living in Montana at the time and my Dad “hired” me to clear the weeds from a field behind our house. After being assaulting day after day by dust and pollen, my immune system finally had enough, kicked into high gear and I stumbled back to the house with the runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing familiar to all too many people. After that each summer like clockwork my symptoms would start again and I would have to dose myself with the strongest antihistamines I could find or hide inside all summer. Each time we moved to a different area I would have a year or two of relief, but eventually my immune system would decide that something growing outside was evil and trying to kill me.
Fortunately, Chinese Medicine offers some very effective relief for seasonal allergies. The most commonly used formula for this condition and the one I now take myself is called Yu Ping Feng San, which roughly translates as Jade Windscreen Powder. This formula is traditionally used, with various modifications, for a wide variety of immunological disorders. The herbs that comprise this formula seem to help the immune system function at a healthy level. In one study from 2006, researchers compared this formula with Loratadine (10 mg) for ten days. The study found that the formula had the same treatment effectiveness rate as Loratadine, but without the drowsiness and poor concentration reported by some subjects in the Loratadine group. No side effects were reported in the herbal treatment group.
I must say, though, that I have noticed some side effects while on this formula. Since the formula improves the function of the immune system as a whole, I find that I get sick less frequently while on this formula. I also feel more energetic and seem to “bounce back” after workouts better due to the inclusion of Huang Qi (Astragulus), an herb that is also traditionally used to support healing and recovery after an injury or illness.
My bottle of Yu Ping Feng San is in the mail right now. I’m looking forward to getting out and enjoying our beautiful Walla Walla weather this allergy season.