Case: Histamine Intolerance
I started treating CJ in April of 2017 for her histamine intolerance, diagnosed by her naturopath. The whole thing started after she came back from a trip to Mexico in 2010. She developed a severe allergic reaction, mainly triggered by wine, menstruation, physical exertion, mental stress. The reaction occurs at least once a month. One time the allergic reaction was so bad that she couldn’t breath because her throat was blocked, so she had to go to the emergency room in hospital. She was on TAO enzyme suggested by her naturopath.
Treating the cause rather than the symptom. Histamine is not the cause of the allergy. There is something else.
I started with a thorough assessment for her general health.
She often felt bloated; her hands were always cold; she felt thirsty but not always felt like drinking; her PMS was pretty bad with longer cycles (32-32 days) and light menstrual flow; her neck and shoulder were always tight and sore from her occupation as a massage therapist; she felt tired in the morning even after 8 or more hours of sleep; she felt aversion to heat, sweated easily; her throat was often scratchy and felt like to clear it up. Most of the signs directed to the underlying chronic inflammation and unrested immune response state.
When she got the allergic reaction, the skin was red, hot, swollen and itchy. The rashes were on the cheeks, eyelids and wrist of the right side. It happened at least once a month, severe ones every few months. I noticed the redness on her cheeks, she said she often felt the sensation flush up to her face. There were also some visible superficial dark red veins on her thighs, which was an indication of inflammation and blood stagnation.
Then I did the physical check. I palpated her abdomen and around her rib cage area. Upper abdomen and area around the umbilicus were quite uncomfortable when I pressed on. There was strong pain at the left side of the umbilicus. The finding on the abdominal palpation clearly indicated blood stagnation. And there was also some dysregulation of her ANS(Autonomic Nervous System, the auto pilot system of all our involuntary physiological functions).
“ Kampo Medicine believes Blood Stagnation is a common pathological factor that underlies many inflammatory and immune dysfunctional disease. It is often missed or ignored by western medicine, by which will lead to limited success in treating disease. ”
After the assessment, I made a formula composed of three Kampo formulas and few single herbs based on my diagnosis.
A few days after she started the formulas, she gave me a rather interesting feedback. She said in the morning when she did her routine exercise, the soreness from her shoulder disappeared; her hands felt warmer; she slept better and had more energy in the morning; her body feels lighter. She was surprised and happy.
On April 18th, two weeks after the first batch, we had a follow-up session.
She got her period when she was on the herbs. This time was right on 28th day. There was more blood flow, which is also a good sign. She felt less flush to her face in general. She was happy about the treatment, we continued.
Short after this follow-up visit, she caught a cold. Her nose was congested. She sneezed a lot with clear discharge. She also had diarrhea and a few skin rashes.
In Kampo medicine, one of the principles is: when there is a new disease while treating an old disease, the new one should be treated first before returning back to treat the old one. So I gave her a new formula that was focusing on her immune system to address the current situation. She really liked the new formulas. It helped her feel so much better. I kept that batch for three weeks until she felt completely recovered.
Follow-up on 16th of May, 2017
It’s been six weeks, the allergic reaction hasn't occurred once since the beginning. She even tested it with wine and it was totally fine. She was happy that she can enjoy some occasional drinking events without undesired consequences. Her last two menstrual cycles were 28 and 30 days, more regular than usual with less PMS. The body aches, cold hands are mostly gone as well.
We were on the right track. Treatment continued with the original formulas with some minor tweaks.
CJ’s last visit was on 9th of June. I made the same batch for a month.
Next day she texted me that her period just came on the 28th day with very mild discomfort. Still no allergy reaction. In Kampo, menstruation is one of the most important markers for women’s health, not just fertility health. CJ”s period seemed to be better regulated. With the absence of any allergic reaction. I felt the treatment was close to the end. So I told her to cut the dosage in half and update me if there is any problem after finishing the herbs.
On Oct 28, I got the newest feedback from CJ. It has been two month since she was off the treatment. She has been enjoying everything of the summer, the food and drinks, family and friends. There was only one slight reaction and it disappeared very quickly. Her period has been regular and not much discomfort.
She said: " I think you cured me.
” Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. “ Matthew 7:17
In CJ”s case, most of her secondary discomforts started to get better. This is a common scene in Chinese Medicine treatment. You could call it “hit two birds with one stone.” But what this phenomenon means is much much deeper.
I believe the true result from any medicine has to manifest in the quality of life, not just in numbers and images from the medical tests. Discomforts or restrictions represent reduced quality of life, even though the numbers of blood test may still be within the normal range, yet. This is the fundamental difference between health-centered medicine and disease-centered medicine.
The improvement of any discomforts and symptoms, regardless primary or secondary, can be seen as the indication of improvement of quality of life. In a health-centered medicine point of view, this means the treatment is in the right direction. For CJ, I didn’t put anything specific for histamine in the formulas, but the treatment still resulted in success. This is the true wisdom from our ancient ancestors.
Judge the tree by its fruit.