I had to share this article with you because it’s exciting to finally see studies looking at the wisdom of herbal medicine for common health issues, and this article looks at food allergy relief, one of my favourite topics in treatment in my office!
Food allergies (particularly allergies that are directed by a specific protein called IgE or immunoglobulin E) are not only inconvenient, but they can be scary, especially when they involve hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. Our current treatment is mainly avoidance, with the obvious treatments of antihistamines like Benadryl or even adrenaline through an EpiPen if the food allergen exposure causes anaphylaxis.
As a naturopathic doctor, part of my work involves prevention, calming immunity and reactivity over time. For food allergies, decreasing the reactivity of the immune system could ultimately not only prevent discomfort, but add life-saving minutes onto a life on exposure to an allergen.
This article looks at a herb that I regularly include in my allergy formulas that I make for my clients called Chinese Skullcap, or in its latin name, Scutellaria baicalensis.
Chinese Skullcap is widely known to dampen allergic responses within herbal medical circles as a potent anti-inflammatory, having the ability to down regulate (decrease the production) of specific cells involved in the IgE-type allergy as I mentioned above. I often use it also in my formulas for my allergic patients with eczema because it is so fabulous at decreasing allergic reactivity. It’s also safe for children, which is fabulous, because prevention in children is even more exciting
Article Summary: Chinese Skullcap improves food allergy response
Please see the link for this article. To summarize for those interested in the Coles’ notes version, it basically says that when mice were given Chinese Skullcap, their overall reactivity decreased significantly including a suppressed anaphylactic reaction, decreased production of cells that induce allergy (including IgE and other chemical mediators), and decreased body temperature (which is associated with inflammation). Pretty cool huh? I’m a geek, so I was excited.
There are lots of cool things in herbal medicine to support immunity. I’m living proof! I’m looking forward to seeing more of these studies coming to light.
Bone K and Mills S. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. 2013 pp
Muluye RA, Bian Y, Alemu PN. Anti-inflammatory and Antimicrovial Effects of Heat-Clearing Chinese Herbs: A Current Review. J Tradit Complement Med. 2014 Apr;4(2):93-8. doi: 10.4103/2225-4110.126635.
Shin HS, Bae MJ, Jung SY, Shon DH. Preventative effects of skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) extract in a mouse model of food allergy. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 May 14;153(3):667-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.03.018. Epub 2014 Mar 15