Complementary and alternative medicine may give allergy and asthma sufferers new options for treating symptoms, according to allergists at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Phoenix, Nov. 11-16. Allergists discussed how herbal treatments may be integrated into conventional allergy treatments, including a novel Chinese herbal formula for treating all types of food allergies.
"Integrative therapies blend the art and science of medicine," said allergist William Silvers, MD, of the ACAAI Integrative Medicine Committee. "This exciting area of medicine offers a variety of complementary approaches, so each patient receives truly individualized care."
One promising remedy is the Food Allergy Herbal Formula (FAHF-2), a Chinese herbal formula currently being tested for use to treat food allergies. Early research showed significant reduction in peanut-induced anaphylaxis in mice. Phase I clinical studies have shown that FAHF-2 is safe in humans.
"FAHF-2 has been shown to have a prolonged preventive effect up to 40 weeks," said allergist Helen Chan, MD, of Hong Kong, vice chair of the ACAAI Integrative Medicine Committee. "It has also been shown to be safe, with very few side effects, and is a one-course treatment for all allergens."
"The use of substances found in nature, such as herbs, foods and vitamins, can be helpful in treating various allergies when combined with traditional therapies," said Dr. Silvers. "It is very important that patients consult their allergist before adding complementary modalities to their treatment plan."
ACAAI Integrative Medicine