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Does Traditional Chinese Medicine Help With Skin Allergies?

Understanding the principles behind TCM’s holistic treatment methods can be helpful in managing skin allergies. Whether you're seeking alternative treatments or curious about the effectiveness of TCM for skin conditions, this article sheds light on the potential of TCM in treating skin allergies.

Tcm help with skin allergies 2

For individuals who have been grappling with skin allergies for the longest time, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) presents a compelling alternative for alleviating troublesome symptoms, or even potentially resolving the condition altogether. This raises a pivotal question: ‘Does TCM help with skin allergies?’ The answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’

In this article, we will delve into the TCM approach to treating skin allergies, as well as the widely adopted treatment methods used in such skin conditions.

Western Research on TCM and Skin Allergies

A recent study on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and eczema looked into a special herbal mix called Food Allergy Herbal Formula 2 (FAHF-2), which comes from an ancient herbal recipe known as Wu Mei Wan. The study found that this herbal mix can stop severe allergic reactions and has initial positive effects on the immune system, specifically on certain white blood cells and allergy-related cells. 

Another approach is the Triple TCM Therapy which typically combines three specific TCM approaches to alleviate symptoms, reduce flare-ups, and address the root causes of the condition. A common triple therapy strategy includes: Herbal medicine, acupuncture, and dietary and lifestyle modifications.

Xiao Feng San (消风散) is also another traditional Chinese herbal formula that is used in treating skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and urticaria (hives). 

TCM herbs can be a good alternative to soothe allergy symptoms 

What are Skin Allergies According to TCM

In TCM, the signs and symptoms of skin allergies are manifestations of an imbalance in the body’s vital energies, or Wei Qi. The leading TCM allergy pattern is that of a deficient defensive qi (wei qi). The defensive qi circulates beneath the skin and serves to give immunity from the external environment. Wei qi originates from a combination of the Lung Qi (respiration energy), Spleen Qi (digestive energy), and Kidney Qi (constitutional energy). Weakness in any of these pivotal energies weakens wei qi, making it unable to provide the external defense needed to attack and repel pathogens (allergens).

Allergens are categorized as external wind, the external pathogen that readily enters the body. They are most prevalent during spring. Like the wind during springtime, it is always moving and changeable in nature, often appearing fast.

A good example of the wind nature of skin allergies is hives (urticaria). A deficiency in wei qi and the penetration of wind leads to the sudden development of raised, itchy welts on the skin. Its name “feng zhen” (wind rash) also reflects this nature,

Aside from these deficiencies, there are also pre-existing excesses in the body, which make these conditions more likely and severe. These “internal excesses” are termed as “pathogenic factors” in TCM. The factors that are commonly seen in allergies in general are wind, heat, dampness, phlegm, and dryness.

Allergic skin reactions, including eczema, contact dermatitis, and hives cause itching, redness, burning, bumps, and swelling. In terms of TCM, heat relates to the degree of inflammation and redness, dampness to swelling and oozing, wind to itching, and dryness to skin dryness and scaling.

TCM Treatment Methods for Skin Allergies

Let us now dive into the different methods in TCM that are used in treating skin allergies.

Herbal Remedies

TCM treatment strategies seek to clear away heat, damp, and wind using herbal formulas. Such herbal formulas include the following:

Chronic allergies require nourishment of the Blood and dryness with herbs, such as Dang Gui ( 当归, Angelica sinensis, Chinese angelica root).

Topical application of herbs is also called for in TCM. San Huang Xi Ji (Three Yellow Wash) – a type of wash that is applied to the skin until symptoms subside. This wash is noted for its three huang content, which includes da huang (Rheum palmatum, Rhubarb), huang bai (Phellodendron amurense, Phellodendron) and huang qin (Scutellaria baicalensis, Scutellaria root).


According to TCM, acupuncture involves the insertion of fine, thin needles along acupoints. Good health is associated with a balanced yin and yang, with allergies causing imbalances in the qi energy. In allergies, the flow of qi is blocked or it flows in the wrong meridians. The result is that you have an excess of qi in some organs while there are deficiencies in others.

Acupuncture seeks to treat allergies by eliminating obstructions along the qi pathways, remove deficiencies, and eliminate the excess.

Nutritional Therapy

The nutritional therapy for allergies is simple: do not eat foods that you are allergic to. There are certain foods that help relieve allergy. One of them is ginger, which has been used for centuries in the treatment of allergy symptoms by minimizing the production of pro-inflammatory proteins. 

Another food that relieves allergy is turmeric. Its active component, cumin, like ginger, has anti-inflammatory properties to get rid of allergy symptoms.

As you can see, Traditional Chinese Medicine is effective in treating skin allergies. Set up a consultation with a TCM practitioner so that he/she can determine the cause of your skin allergies and develop the best treatment plan for your condition.


  1. Herbal Reality. Allergies: A traditional Chinese Medicine perspective. [Last accessed March 12, 2024]
  2. NCBI. Traditional Chinese medicine for food allergy and eczema. [Last accessed March 12, 2024]
  3. National Eczema. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Eczema: An Interview with Xiu-Min Li, M.D. [Last accessed March 12, 2024]

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