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About Rhinitis

The main symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis are nasal congestion, watery nasal discharge and sneezing. Sometimes the eyes are also affected and become red and itchy.

Possible Symptoms

  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Red, itchy eyes

Western Medical View

Allergic rhinitis is a condition whereby the immune system produces antigen-antibodies (an antigen is a substance foreign to the body, such as bacteria or pollen) and manifests as an allergic reaction in the lining of the inside of the nose.

Hay fever is when the antigens are only pollen.

Perennial allergic rhinitis is when the antigens are dust, fungal spores, animal skin, hair and feathers. It is treated by antihistamines or steroids.

Chinese Medical View

Acupuncture has been proved – through controlled trials – to be an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis*.

The condition (known as Bi Yuan) is due to Wind-Cold in the Lungs. Cold turns into Heat and the lungs cannot move Qi (Qi is the essential energy needed by each organ and either too much or too little Qi will have a negative effect on health). Hence Qi stagnates and blood develops in the nose (resulting in nasal discharge).

There are five patterns of this condition: Lungs affected by Wind-Cold, Lungs affected by Wind-Heat, Liver and Gall-Bladder Heat, Lung-Heat and Spleen-Heat.

According to Chinese medical theory acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be prescribed to treat rhinits. A distinction is made between the seasonal type (hayfever) and perennial type. Both of which can be treated with Chinese medicine according to CM theory.

Lifestyle Advice

Work on ways to reduce allergens in your lifestyle. This may be done be changing your home/work environment.

For expert advice on rhinitis and how Chinese Medicine can help please refer to our Relieve Your Allergies clinical guide.

For personalised advice on diet and lifestyle, please ask the doctor during your consultation. Please be reminded that we offer free online health advice.


Huang YQ. [Therapeutic effect of acupuncture treatment in 128 cases of hay fever.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1990, 10(6):296-297 [in Chinese].

Chari P et al. Acupuncture therapy in allergic rhinitis. American Journal of Acupuncture, 1988, 16(2):143-147.

Jin R et al. [Clinical observation of 100 cases with allergic rhinitis treated by acupuncture.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1989, 9(4):185-186 [in Chinese].

Yu JL et al. [Effect of acupuncture treatment in 230 cases of allergic rhinitis.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1994, 14(5):241-242 [in Chinese].

Liu DX. [Acupuncture at biqiu in the treatment of allergic rhinitis.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1995, 15(6):293 [in Chinese].