Complementary medicine along with traditional therapies would give allergy and asthma patients new treatment options, claim allergists.
They discussed how herbal treatments might 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.
"This exciting area of medicine offers a variety of complementary approaches, so each patient receives truly individualized care," Silvers said.
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.
"It has also been shown to be safe, with very few side effects, and is a one-course treatment for all allergens," Chan said.
"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," Dr. Silvers added.
The findings were announced at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Phoenix, Nov.