Traditional Chinese Medicine for Treating Food Allergy and Associated Eczema: From Research to Practice Perspective

  • Xiu-Min Li
Part of the Advanced Topics in Science and Technology in China book series (ATSTC)


Food allergy is a growing problem in modern society that deserves an ongoing effort to develop safe and effective treatment. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a long human use history and is beginning to play a role in health care in the US, mainly via licensed practitioners. There is also increasing scientific evidence demonstrating the safety and efficacy of TCM for allergic diseases. We developed a herbal formula named food allergy herbal formula-2 (FAHF-2) derived from a classical herbal formula Wu-Mei-Wan that has been used in TCM to treat intestinal parasite infections and food allergy-like symptoms. Over the past years, we have generated a number of publications showing that FAHF-2 can prevent and reverse established peanut allergies in an animal model of peanut anaphylaxis, and that the effect is long lasting. These studies suggest that FAHF-2, and perhaps other Chinese herbal medicines, may have a potential for treating food allergies. FAHF-2 is the first botanical drug that has entered clinical trials as a United States Food and Drug Administration Investigational New Drug. Our phase I studies showed that FAHF-2 is safe and well-tolerated. Food allergies are often associated with other allergic conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), particularly recalcitrant eczema. Given the growing interest in alternative and complementary medicine (CAM) therapies from both families and physicians, we have established a TCM/integrative medicine clinical program to help children and adults with recalcitrant eczema associated with food allergies. The clinical outcomes have been well received. TCM treatment improved quality of life, reduced food (including peanut) specific IgE levels, can be used long term, and no side effects were observed. TCM as monotherapy or integrative medicine may be an important approach for treating food allergies and associated eczema. It is possible that some of these herbal remedies will progress from dietary supplements to prescription drugs via clinical studies.


Traditional Chinese Medicine Food Allergy Treating Food Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment Treat Food Allergy 
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Copyright information

© Zhejiang University Press, Hangzhou and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiu-Min Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Allergy and Immunology, Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Asthma and Allergythe Mount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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