Did you know acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can treat allergies?  

The sun will be out in full force this week, and after so much rain, anyone with allergies will surely be feeling the effects. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, up to 30% of adults and 40% of children in the US have allergies. Allergic rhinitis (AR), otherwise known as “allergies” or “hay fever” may include symptoms such as sneezing, a runny, stuffy or itchy nose, coughing, sore scratchy throat and itchy or watery eyes, as well as other symptoms. The substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. When someone has allergies, their immune system makes an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) in reaction to these substances. These antibodies respond to allergens and the resulting symptoms are the allergic reaction.1  

Treatment strategies often include the following:

  • Avoid the allergen (difficult to due during springtime in Oregon)
  • Treat the symptoms and/or work on the vital system to help your body be less reactive to the allergen.  

Acupuncture and herbs can be very helpful in facilitating the last point through both symptomatic and root treatment for both children and adults.   In terms of research on acupuncture and allergies, this 2022 Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis2 reviewed thirty trials with 4413 participants to assess the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for allergic rhinitis (AR). The study results showed that acupuncture may have an advantage over no treatment in improving nasal symptoms and quality of life for adults with AR. The study also showed that there may be similar effects between acupuncture and common allergy medications such as cetirizine or loratadine.  

In researching the impact of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) on allergy treatment, this 2018 Meta-Analysis3 investigated 19 randomized controlled trials on the efficacy of Chinese CHM in the treatment of AR in children. The evidence suggests that CHM is more effective in treating AR in children compared with controls. CHM may also decrease the recurrence and level of immunoglobulin E, and improve symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion.  

Our Acupuncturists are well-versed in using acupuncture and herbs for allergies. Don’t suffer this Spring, come in and see us!  


Dr. Annabelle Snow, DAOM, LAc is a Portland, OR holistic family Acupuncturist and Co-owner of the North Portland Wellness Center. She is co-mom to 3 beautiful children who are her teachers every day. When she’s not parenting, treating, researching/learning or writing she loves to travel, garden, cook and do photography. You can find Dr. Annabelle on Social @annabellesnow.lac and at the Clinic @northportlandwellness.


1. Allergies. Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://aafa.org/allergies/

2. He M, Qin W, Qin Z, Zhao C. Acupuncture for allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Med Res. 2022;27(1):58. doi:10.1186/s40001-022-00682-3

3. Zheng Z, Sun Z, Zhou X, Zhou Z. Efficacy of Chinese herbal medicine in treatment of allergic rhinitis in children: a meta-analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials. J Int Med Res. 2018;46(10):4006-4018. doi:10.1177/0300060518786905    

Dr. Annabelle Snow, LAc

Dr. Annabelle Snow, LAc

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