16 Aug Spring the season of Wind & Allergies in Chinese Medicine
As we start to welcome Spring to Melbourne, we hope for warmer and sunnier days. However it comes at a price, with those dreaded spring winds bringing pollens to your nose, eyes and throat.
Spring in Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine the 5 elements outlines the relationship of nature and our environment with our physiology. How what is around us can influence our health and emotions. Spring is a ripe example with the manifestations of Spring allergies how the changes in the environment can affect us so strongly even in the modern era.
Spring in Chinese Medicine is the season of the Wood element and the Liver organ system. Both Spring and the Wood element are associated with rejuvenation and new growth. Just as you can see new growth appearing on trees and plants after going into a dormant state over winter, this is also a time for us to start getting back out into the world after hibernating through the cold months. It is therefore a great time to “spring clean” in your life, and get rid of the old habits that haven’t been working for you, and start with new healthy ones.
Chinese Medicine understanding of Hay Fever during Spring
In Chinese Medicine, WIND is considered one of the major contributors of illness. It is understood to disrupt the circulation of our defensive or protective mechanisms and is involved in conditions such as hay fever, the common cold, headaches and stiff necks amongst others.
Wind obstructs the nose and it impairs the diffusing and descending of Lung-Qi: this causes sneezing and a congested nasal mucosa. The sensitive mucus membranes of the nose become inflamed, which causes swelling so the phlegm and mucus created can become harder and harder to expel.
Chinese Medicine understanding of emotions during Spring
The spring winds can make us feel irritable, irrational and downright annoyed, especially when our protective mechanisms are weak or we are easily effected by environmental changes.
How to survive the spring
- Try to stay out of the wind or at least keep your neck and shoulders covered with a scarf when it’s windy, even a light one if it’s warm. This protects the vulnerable meridians that lie on the neck and shoulders from “invading wind”.
- On high pollen count days, wear wrap around sunglasses, avoid hanging washing on the line and shower after being outside if possible.
- Using a saline nasal spray such as Fess or a Neti pot to rinse the pollen particles out of your nasal passages can help. Those little hairs in our nostrils are there for a reason. Truly. They trap foreign particles like pollens. If you’re allergic to pollens, and they stay in your nose for hours on end, your immune system will start fighting them. Firstly by producing more mucous to flush them out. So give your immune system a helping hand and flush them out without having to go to the mucous party.
- Keep adding warm, cooked foods into your diet and keep cold and raw foods to a minimum. In Chinese Medicine the digestion loves to be warm and too many cold and raw foods can damage the digestive organs, impacting on many areas of our health from energy, digestion, fertility and sleep.
- Limit dairy foods if you get nasal congestion or runny noses as these foods increase mucous production in the body. Reducing sugar, caffeine, red wine and wheat products can also be useful as these foods can trigger histamine release and inflammatory responses in the body. Tomatoes, oranges, cheese and chocolate (unfortunately!) are other culprits often associated with allergies.
- Increase foods high in the natural anti-histamine Vitamin C.
- Don’t trust the weather! It is still going to cool down in the evenings for some time yet here in Melbourne. So not the time to leave your coat behind.
- Get some Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce hay fever symptoms, inflammation and immune responses. Find our more Here.
Chinese Herbs for Hay fever
Many of the Chinese Herbs can aid in reducing hay fever symptoms such as itchy eyes & throat, sneezing and sinus congestion. Even better when combined in a formula, they modulate the immune system so that they are also treating the cause not just masking the symptoms. Examples include;
Cang Er Zi Tang – In Chinese medicine this formula disperses wind, unblocks the nose, and alleviates pain. When Wind lingers in the nasal passages causing congealing of nasal fluids causing phlegm and blockage as well as inflammation and swelling of the mucus membranes this formula is prescribed.
Yu Ping Feng San – In Chinese Medicine this formula strengthen the defensive Qi, stabilised the exterior making it less prone to pathogenic influences such as pollens, bacteria and viruses. It also expels wind making it a fantastic adjunct to the above formula to strengthen the defensive system.
Hay Fever Drops – At Balanced Life Health Care our amazing herbal team has created a unique formula which combines the best of the above formulas to not only relieve hay fever symptoms but also strengthen the bodies own protective mechanisms so that it becomes less and less prone to hay fever.