Food Allergies and Chinese Medicine

According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), 32 million Americans are affected by food allergies. One in 10 adults and one in every 13 children are severely affected, while roughly two children in every classroom suffer from food allergies that are troubling and stressful to teachers, parents, and children alike.A food allergy is an overreaction of the body’s immune system to ordinary substances that are found in food. Food allergies can affect many different organs in the body, but they are especially pronounced in the lungs, skin, and digestive tract. While most reactions are mild, a severe hyper-reaction to food by the immune system can result in life-threatening, anaphylaxis in which symptoms like rash, low pulse, and shock quickly evolve following exposure to the allergen.Severe food allergies are different from food intolerances or sensitivities, which do not necessarily involve the immune system and may not cause a noticeable short-term reaction. In food intolerances, the body cannot properly digest the food that was consumed or the food may irritate the digestive system, but since reactions are not as acute and can mimic other causes, sensitivities to foods can be difficult to pinpoint.The most common causes of food allergies are shellfish, cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, tree nuts, soy, wheat, and fish. For example, the lactose in cow’s milk is a very common cause of food intolerance. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye can aggravate celiac disease or trigger gluten sensitivity. Intolerance symptoms can include nausea, gas, cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritability, nervousness, headaches, fatigue, or brain fog.Food sensitivities are an indication that our digestive system is not working properly, and our body is not able to correctly assimilate the foods that we consume. The key to solving the problem is to work toward improving absorption and assimilation in the digestive tract so the gut has the opportunity to break down allergenic proteins before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream.In Chinese medicine, we would say that having a food allergy means having a malfunction in the Spleen and Stomach organ systems. These organs are in charge of transporting and transforming the food that we eat into vital nutrients that will supply us with the energy we need to fuel our life force, our Qi.Eating a balanced diet is important. Vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash, onions, and leafy greens can help nourish the digestive system. If our diet is varied rather than eating the same foods every day, it becomes more difficult for food sensitivities to establish themselves in our body.It is important not to allow stress to consume us. We need to keep up with meditation and move our bodies every day in order to protect ourselves from physical and emotional constraints. With improved awareness, we are better able to observe any sensitivities that may begin to manifest themselves in our bodies.Chinese medicine has a long history of successfully treating allergic reactions and food sensitivities. There are many herbs that can help reduce symptoms as well as modulate the response of the immune or digestive systems. Based on your own unique presentation, a customized herbal combination can help ease your symptoms as well as address any other health issues that may be worsening your allergic response.If you have any concerns about food allergies, please do not hesitate to contact your local Tao of Wellness office for assistance.

Food Allergies and Chinese Medicine

According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), 32 million Americans are affected by food allergies. One in 10 adults and one in every 13 children are severely affected, while roughly two children in every classroom suffer from food allergies that are troubling and stressful to teachers, parents, and children alike.


A food allergy is an overreaction of the body’s immune system to ordinary substances that are found in food. Food allergies can affect many different organs in the body, but they are especially pronounced in the lungs, skin, and digestive tract. While most reactions are mild, a severe hyper-reaction to food by the immune system can result in life-threatening, anaphylaxis in which symptoms like rash, low pulse, and shock quickly evolve following exposure to the allergen.


Severe food allergies are different from food intolerances or sensitivities, which do not necessarily involve the immune system and may not cause a noticeable short-term reaction. In food intolerances, the body cannot properly digest the food that was consumed or the food may irritate the digestive system, but since reactions are not as acute and can mimic other causes, sensitivities to foods can be difficult to pinpoint.


The most common causes of food allergies are shellfish, cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, tree nuts, soy, wheat, and fish. For example, the lactose in cow’s milk is a very common cause of food intolerance. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye can aggravate celiac disease or trigger gluten sensitivity. Intolerance symptoms can include nausea, gas, cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritability, nervousness, headaches, fatigue, or brain fog.


Food sensitivities are an indication that our digestive system is not working properly, and our body is not able to correctly assimilate the foods that we consume. The key to solving the problem is to work toward improving absorption and assimilation in the digestive tract so the gut has the opportunity to break down allergenic proteins before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream.


In Chinese medicine, we would say that having a food allergy means having a malfunction in the Spleen and Stomach organ systems. These organs are in charge of transporting and transforming the food that we eat into vital nutrients that will supply us with the energy we need to fuel our life force, our Qi.


Eating a balanced diet is important. Vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash, onions, and leafy greens can help nourish the digestive system. If our diet is varied rather than eating the same foods every day, it becomes more difficult for food sensitivities to establish themselves in our body.


It is important not to allow stress to consume us. We need to keep up with meditation and move our bodies every day in order to protect ourselves from physical and emotional constraints. With improved awareness, we are better able to observe any sensitivities that may begin to manifest themselves in our bodies.


Chinese medicine has a long history of successfully treating allergic reactions and food sensitivities. There are many herbs that can help reduce symptoms as well as modulate the response of the immune or digestive systems. Based on your own unique presentation, a customized herbal combination can help ease your symptoms as well as address any other health issues that may be worsening your allergic response.


If you have any concerns about food allergies, please do not hesitate to contact your local Tao of Wellness office for assistance.