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Allergies and Chinese Medicine

According to traditional Chinese medicine, defense (wei) qi is located at the exterior surface of the body and offers initial protection against foreign or pathogenic factors. When wei qi is strong, pathogenic factors cannot penetrate the body. When it is weak, a variety of infections can occur.

Prevention of infections relies on normal function of wei qi. From the Western perspective, many herbs that tonify qi enhance the immune system. Herbs that perform such functions include astragalus (huang qi), ganoderma (ling zhi) and cordyceps (dong chong xia cao).

Astragalus (huang qi) is one of the most frequently used Chinese herbs and has historically been used to tonify wei qi. It fortifies the lungs, strengthens the wei qi and indirectly protects against external pathogenic factors.



In terms of Western medicine, modern research has confirmed repeatedly that astragalus increases both specific and non-specific immunity.1,2,3 In a clinical trial of 115 leucopenic patients, astragalus was found to be associated with an "obvious rise of the white blood cell (WBC) count" with a dose-dependent relationship.4 In addition, astragalus works well with concurrent drug therapy in enhancing the overall effectiveness of the treatment. It also potentiates the anti-tumor effect of chemotherapy drugs5 while reversing drug-induced immune suppression.6 Lastly, astragalus demonstrates anti-cancer activity by increasing the content of camp and inhibiting the growth of tumor cells.



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