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Could Chinese herbs be used to treat asthma and food allergy?

Posted on February 24th, 2009 by Alison Read 8 Comments - Add Your Own »

One of the most difficult things about food allergies is that there is no sure treatment and the only way to avoid a reaction is to avoid the food that causes it. As a parent of a child with severe food allergies, I can only hope that a cure will be found so that I don’t have to worry for the rest of her life about what would happen if she ate the wrong thing. Ah, the freedom that would bring.

The good news is that there is progress being made in the current research that is being conducted on food allergy. There has been some progress made in using desensitization to treat peanut allergy. This means that peanut-allergic kids were given little doses of peanut to increase their tolerance to it. All the kids were eventually able to tolerate at least 10 peanuts! This is indeed progress and larger studies will now be conducted.

chinesemedicineI was especially intrigued by an entirely different approach to treating asthma and food allergy — one that uses Chinese herbs to prevent a food allergy reaction. Researchers led by Dr. Xiu-Min Li,  Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Allergy and Asthma at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, developed two different herbal formulas.

One is called Anti-Asthma Herbal Medicine Intervention (ASHMI). In the first studies, it was found that patients showed improved lung function after taking the formula. They also found that the herbs proved safe for those taking the formula. Longer-term studies need to be conducted still.

The other herbal formula is called Food Allergy Herbal Formula 2 (FAHF-2) and is made up of 9 herbal extracts. When used on mice allergic to peanuts, this formula completely blocked peanut-induced anaphylaxis, and protected the mice from having a reaction for 9 months after the treatment (a quarter of their lifetime)! Studies using the formula are now being conducted on humans.

Dr. Xiu-Min Li points out in a news article about her that food allergy is rare in China and that asthma is far less common than in the United States, and perhaps that is due to the fact that China has used plants, which may be more effective than the drugs used here, to promote health for thousands of years. I hope her work proves she is right! You can read more about how the Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy.

Related reading:
How many outgrow nut allergies?

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  1. This is very intriguing and hopeful. It would sure be nice if my daughter could eat wheat, egg, dairy. But, it would be positively life changing if we didn’t have to worry about peanuts killing her on a daily basis. I wonder if this FAHF-2 would be someday formulated for pet dander allergies? It seems like all our friends have dogs and cats, so the only sleepovers are at my house … like tonight for instance.

  2. Alison – Thanks for taking the time to find this and write about it. It is very interesting. I am going to pass this along to Tom to check out also.

    Thanks! -Ali 🙂

  3. I am a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese medicine herbalist
    in Oregon. I am interested in knowing the herbal ingredients in FAHF-2. And,if it is available for purchase.
    I have several patients with severe food allergies and would like as much info as I can get. Please advise at your earliest convenience. Thanking you in advance for your attention, I am
    yours truly,
    Janet Moret. LAc
    License #AC503
    River of Wellness Acupuntcure & Chinese Medicine
    1690 NE Lynda Ln
    Grants Pass, OR 97526
    541-956-9595; Fax 541-956-9594

  4. NAET

    All allergies can be eliminated with acupuncture.

    I used to not be able to be around a cat for five minutes – now I can live with one!

    Check out the simple treatment and find a practitioner at

  5. Hi All,

    Has anyone tried or heard of homeopathy treatment for food allergy?


  6. We have a 4.5 year old w milk, soy and egg intolerances. Never shows up on IGE allergy tests. We are now trying accuPRESSURE as he won’t have anything to do with the needles and we are trying chinese herbs with a local accupuncturist, Randy Smith. I will let you know how it goes!

  7. Hi,
    I am a professor of pulmonary madicine. I have a friend who is an adult female, 40 years old. She has egg allergy for 10 years. How can I buy Food Allergy Herbal Formula 2 (FAHF-2 ? Thank you

  8. Serhat,
    I don’t think the FAHF-2 is available yet. I would contact the doctor I mentioned in the article.

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