Podcast: Treating Allergies with Nutrition & Acupuncture

Nutrition PodcastAs we head into the spring season, this episode focuses on the treatment of allergies. I’m joined on the show by Tsao-Lin Moy, a licensed acupuncturist also specializing in Chinese Herbal Medicine. Among other styles, Tsao-Lin uses Japanese style acupuncture and is strongly influenced by the teachings of Kiiko Matsumoto. Japanese acupuncture focuses on Hara diagnosis (palpation of the abdomen) and palpation of the meridians to determine what is happening internally with the patient and which acupuncture points to needle.

Tsao-Lin explains what acupuncture is and how it works to balance the body and prevent illness. In a person with allergy complaints, she is mainly looking for lung, immune, spleen and adrenal reflexes and the behavioral energies (Qi) that allergies manifest; sneezing, runny nose, headache, small fever etc. These symptons are similar to those of a common cold, but in someone with allergies they persist beyond a typical week and may progressively get worse. Also considered in Chinese medicine is the nutritive aspect of the body. I talk about how digestion and what you eat plays a role in allergies, and ask Tsao-Lin about the yin yang connection between the lungs and the intestine. Are there symptoms developing gastrointestinally that could be indicators of what is happening in the lungs?

Tsao-Lin also talks about the herb Ma Huang (Ephedra), which has been proven for centuries as an effective and safe treatment for allergies when used correctly. We discuss the controversy surrounding it’s removal from the market several years ago due to the abuse of ephedra-containing products as a stimulant. The actual herb Ma Huang has been deemed by the FDA as safe for use by qualified Chinese Medicine practitioners, but there is a stigma attached to it due to the confusion surrounding the difference between the traditional use and form, and concerns over side-effects relating to diet and weight loss aids containing Ephedra. Psuedoephedrine and Ephedrine in the synthetic forms is used for sinus, cold and allergy medication such as “Sudafed” and cough medicines. (Original air date: 2008)

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