Traditional Chinese medicines may be effective for treating asthma and allergy

Corticosteroids and beta(2)-agonists are effective in managing asthma symptoms but a curative therapy for asthma is lacking. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), used in Asia for centuries, may have a role in Western health care for asthma treatment.

Possible mechanisms include anti-inflammation, inhibition of airway smooth muscle contraction, and immunomodulation.

Evidence from clinical studies supports beneficial effects of TCM herbal therapy on asthma.

Data suggest the potential efficacy of food allergy herbal formula-2 for food allergy.

In a review of the current experimental therapies for food allergy, Nature claims that the Mount Sinai research group hopes to bring Chinese herbal formula to the market in 2013, bypassing the FDA approval process (

However, I ran a search for "Chinese formula for food allergy" and there is not much new in Pubmed, apart from a review in the Mount Sinai's own journal, Mt Sinai J Med. 2011 Sep-Oct;78(5):697-716.

The search for "herbal formula food allergy" brings better results, including a small phase I study, again by the Mount Sinai group, that did not evaluate clinical efficacy, which is typical of the phase I trials.

The use of parasitic worms for treating allergic diseases was also disappointing in a recent study.


Efficacy and mechanisms of action of traditional Chinese medicines for treating asthma and allergy. Li XM, Brown L. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Feb;123(2):297-306.
Chinese herbs for treatment of asthma and food allergy
Acupuncture for treatment of allergic rhinitis
Food Allergy Herbal Formula-2 silences peanut-induced anaphylaxis for a prolonged posttreatment period via IFN-gamma-producing CD8+ T cells. Srivastava KD, Qu C, Zhang T, Goldfarb J, Sampson HA, Li XM. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Feb;123(2):443-51.
"Don't knock Chinese medicine. It's been around for more than 3,000 years and there's a lot we don't understand yet."
No Chinese manufacturer has successfully registered herbal medicinal products in the EU - all will be banned in May. The Lancet, 2011.
The quest to find the "magic" Chinese herbal formula continues: Danggui Buxue Tang helps asthmatic MICE
"Traditional Chinese herbal remedy kampo relieved asthma symptoms in nearly all patients in Japanese study". WebMD, 2012.
Chinese herbal medicine for treatment of allergic rhinitis: efficacy studies are too small to draw conclusions
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