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How to Treat Allergic Rhinitis and Herpes Simultaneously?


These two conditions are so far away from each other, whether the locations or symptoms. You would need at least two different specialists in Western medicine to address these problems. But in Chinese medicine, these two can be treated effectively, and safely within one treatment. I just treated a patient who presented these two conditions with Chinese medicine a few weeks ago. If you just want to read the case, you can jump right to the Case Study part of this post.

What is Allergic Rhinitis? And what are the symptoms and treatment?

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is an allergic reaction that occurs when the immune system overreacts to an allergen, such as pollen, dust, animal dander, or mold spores. This reaction causes inflammation of the lining of the nose and eyes, leading to a range of symptoms, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy nose, eyes, throat, or ears
  • Watery or red eyes
  • Postnasal drip
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

Symptoms can be mild to severe and may vary depending on the type of allergen and the individual’s sensitivity to it. Allergic rhinitis can also trigger asthma symptoms in some people, including wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

Conventional treatment for allergic rhinitis involves managing symptoms and reducing exposure to allergens. Here are some ways to treat hay fever:

  1. Avoid allergens: Stay indoors on days with high pollen counts and keep windows closed. Use air conditioning instead of opening windows. When you go outside, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen.
  2. Take medications: Over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays can help relieve hay fever symptoms. Prescription nasal corticosteroids and immunotherapy shots may also be recommended by a healthcare provider.
  3. Use nasal saline rinses: These rinses can help clear nasal passages and reduce congestion by flushing
    out mucus and irritants.
  4. Try natural remedies: Certain natural remedies may help relieve hay fever symptoms. For example, Butterbur extract has been shown to have a similar effect to antihistamines, and some studies suggest that probiotics may help reduce symptoms. Quercetin, a natural compound found in apple skin, is also an effective allergy prophylactic and works similarly to Chromolyn medications. Chinese medicine and acupuncture can also be your options to manage your symptoms.

What is Herpes, its symptoms, and treatment?

Herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV-1, which primarily causes oral herpes (cold sores), and HSV-2, which primarily causes genital herpes. However, both types of HSV can cause either oral or genital herpes.

The symptoms of herpes can vary depending on the location of the infection and the individual’s immune system. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Painful sores or blisters: These can appear on or around the mouth, genitals, or rectum.
  • Itching or tingling: This often occurs before the sores appear.
  • Flu-like symptoms: This includes fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes.
  • Painful urination: This is a common symptom of genital herpes.
  • Body aches: This can occur with both oral and genital herpes.

Symptoms of herpes can be mild or severe and may last for a few weeks. In some cases, people with herpes may have no symptoms at all. Herpes is a highly contagious infection and can be spread through direct contact with a herpes sore or the fluid that comes from the sore. If you suspect you have herpes, it is best to consult a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

According to Western medicine, there is no cure for herpes, but antiviral medications can help manage symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks. Here are some ways to treat herpes:

  1. Antiviral medications: These medications can help reduce the severity and duration of outbreaks, as well as reduce the risk of transmission to others. Examples of antiviral medications include acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir.
  2. Pain relief: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help relieve pain associated with herpes outbreaks.
  3. Keeping the affected area clean: Keeping the affected area clean and dry can help prevent bacterial infections.
  4. Avoiding triggers: Certain factors, such as stress, illness, and exposure to sunlight, can trigger herpes outbreaks. Avoiding these triggers can help prevent outbreaks.

It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider about your herpes symptoms and treatment options. They can help you develop a personalized treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms and your medical history.


Case study of Chinese medicine treatment for Herpes and Hay fever in Toronto, ON

On April 11, 2023, Mike, a man in his 30s, visited my Toronto office seeking help from Chinese medicine for his condition. For the past six years, he had experienced flare-ups of Allergic Rhinitis every April, and during the same period, he had also suffered from Herpes outbreaks that could be triggered by weather changes
or stress. Despite trying Western medicine, he hadn’t had much success, and he was concerned about the side effects. He was now ready to explore the benefits of alternative medicine.

His symptoms of allergic rhinitis were sinus congestion, headaches, post-nasal drip, and brain fog. Herpes usually started with a tingling sensation in his thigh and low back a week before blisters appeared on his genitals, which lasted about 2 weeks. Besides these two primary complaints, he also developed some digestive issues after the second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021. He started to have loose stool or diarrhea after eating oily or spicy food which he had always enjoyed with no problems prior to the vaccine.

Kampo Chinese medicine takes a holistic approach to the body, and we do not generate treatment only by the name of the conditions, symptoms, or blood test results. We evaluate the patients’ whole health conditions and create a treatment to address the condition from a wider, more holistic perspective.

After the history intake, I did a typical Kampo assessment including the tongue, pulse, and abdominal examinations aka Fukushin. His tongue was large with a thin coating, his pulse was slippery and forceful, his abdomen was full and tight, and I found there was mild discomfort at the right lower abdomen area when I pressed deeply. He was otherwise rather healthy. I concluded that this was an excessive type with heat and toxicity patterns. Based on this hypothesis, I created a complex herbal formula composed of 17 botanical herbs and one mineral and explained to Mike to take this formula twice a day.

Two weeks later, Mike came back for a follow-up. He was pleased with the treatment. His headaches were gone, blisters had disappeared soon after he took the herbs, and he felt great overall. To his surprise, he did have diarrhea after he ate his favorite spicy food! He told me there was one strange reaction after he started the herbs: he blew his nose a lot. He took another batch of the same formula after the session, and I will see him soon for another follow-up.

What herbs can treat allergic rhinitis and seasonal allergy?

There are hundreds of herbs in Chinese medicine that can be helpful for allergies, but determining which ones are best suited for a patient is a challenging (and fun) aspect of Chinese herbal medicine. In Mike’s case, I chose to use the Da Chai Hu Tang formula from the Chai Hu (Bupleurum) family to regulate his immune system and reduce his immune response. I also added a few specific herbs to this formula to target the sinus and head area, reduce tissue swelling, and improve circulation.

Although the Ma Huang (Ephedra) family of formulas is typically used in Kampo medicine to treat allergy-related conditions such as rhinitis and sinusitis, I did not use any formula that has Ma Huang in it for Mike. This was because, during my assessment, I did not find indications to suggest the use of Ma Huang, but instead noticed findings that indicated the use of the Chai Hu formula. Chai Hu is one of the top choices for immune diseases, especially chronic ones.

What herbs can treat Herpes?

Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years to effectively treat Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) such as Chlamydia, Genital herpes, and Gonorrhea. Numerous herbs have been utilized to treat STDs and detoxify the body with great success. In Mike’s case, I used a powerful detox formula along with herbs such as Tu Fu Ling and Lian Qiao that specifically target the herpes simplex virus (HSV).

In addition to the detox component, herpes is an immune disease that is triggered by stress and weather changes. These factors can put pressure on the immune system, making it difficult to control the behavior of the virus in the body. Therefore, the first formula “Da Chai Hu Tang” was also used to help Mike’s immune system regain control of the internal environment and restore balance or homeostasis to a normal state.

The role of acupuncture in the treatment of seasonal allergy

Acupuncture is a time-tested technique that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of internal and external conditions. While it can be helpful for regulating the immune system and managing seasonal allergies, I did not use acupuncture for Mike to address his immediate concerns. However, once his flare-ups were under control, acupuncture could be a valuable tool for maintaining his immune function and overall health.

Holistic treatment for immune health, seasonal allergy in Toronto, ON

The holistic approach of Chinese medicine allows for the treatment of various seemingly distinct conditions in a comprehensive manner. Seasonal allergies, which are considered incurable in Western medicine, may be potentially cured with Chinese medicine. Mike’s case is just one of many instances where TCM practitioners and acupuncturists have provided assistance. At Kampo Health, an authentic acupuncture and Chinese medicine clinic in Toronto, we are delighted to aid anyone searching for alternative medicine to enhance their health and improve their quality of life. Feel free to contact us if you have any concerns about your health or book an appointment with a licensed Chinese medicine practitioner here.

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