Mechanism of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of allergic rhinitis

Chin Med J (Engl). 2013 Feb;126(4):756-60.


Objective: To review the major progress in mechanism of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the treatment of allergic rhinitis (AR).

Methods: Contents about the treatment mechanism of TCM in the therapy of AR in this article were obtained from 22 original articles and reviews published in Chinese- and English-language journals. All of the references were searched by use of Pubmed (1997 - 2012).

Results: AR is one of the most common and most serious public health problems in children and young people. Many AR patients were worried about the possible adverse effects of synthetic drugs they were taking. Thus, they seek complementary and alternative therapy, such as TCM. TCM emphasized on the importance of holistic convalescence, not just the disease itself. The favorable safety profile of TCM makes well-acceptance by the general population. In the recent decade, more and more studies of TCM for AR are developed. These studies indicated that the treatment of allergic disorders with TCM therapy including herbal medicines and acupuncture are of safety and efficacy. The mechanism of TCM in the treatment of AR has been discussed. It has been reported that a number of the herbs in the Chinese herbal formulae used in the treatment possess anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory or immune modulation activity. Such function include the inhibition of the release or the activity of mast cell mediators (such as histamine), inhibition the induction of inflammation reaction by chemical agents, and down regulation of serum (immunoglobulin E) IgE levels or the activity of lymphocyte and/or macrophage.

Conclusions: TCM are frequently used concurrently to improve the clinical efficacy. This review is focuses on the description of the actions mechanism of Chinese medicine's approach relevant to the treatment of AR.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / methods*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / drug therapy*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal