Why are people more vulnerable to hayfever attacks in spring?
In Chinese medicine hayfever results from two simultaneous conditions usually caused by a lack of energy in the Kidney and Lung organs (deficiency), and an external pathogenic attack (wind, cold, heat). Organ deficiencies can lower the immune system and make a person more vulnerable to pollens and external pathogens.
In Western Australia, springtime can often be a windy and dry season with a major increase in the pollen count. Therefore, people with an energy deficiency in the Lung organ are more open to hayfever attacks. In Chinese medicine the Lung organs and energy are in charge of the defensive aspect of the immune system, they are in charge of inhaling air. It is the intermediary organ between the person and the environment, via the nose and throat. For this reason, the Lungs are easily attacked by exterior pathogenic factors (wind, heat, and cold) and are sometimes referred to as the “tender” organ delicate and vulnerable to invasion by climatic factors. In Chinese Medicine, heat or toxins in the Large Intestine organ can also cause susceptibility to hayfever. This is because the Large Intestine and Lung organs are paired and directly affect each other.
Hayfever symptoms manifest clinically as nasal congestion, a watery nasal discharge, sneezing and itchiness. In a few cases it affects the eyes and the conductive may become red and itchy.
It is essential to get a clear diagnosis to identify the cause of the hayfever before commencing treatment. Treatment consists of tonifying and balancing the deficient organs of the body and expelling any exterior pathogen, toxin or heat that is present. Strengthening the immune system i.e. strengthen and increase moisture in the Lung to improve defense against pathogens prior to the season may help reduce the hayfever symptoms.