Chinese Medicine Treats Peanut Allergies
Anaphylactic shock caused by peanuts accounts for the highest number of food-induced allergy fatalities. The prevalence of this allergy in the US doubled between 1997 and 2002. At present, the only way to manage a severe peanut allergy is strict avoidance.
Currently, a Chinese herbal medicine is being examined for it potential value in blocking peanut allergic reactions. During a study conducted at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, researchers reported that treatment with a specific Chinese herbal formula completely prevented allergic reactions in peanut allergic mice.
The beneficial effects of the treatment were attributed to the suppression of the response of specialized white blood cell Th2 lymphocytes to peanut proteins, as well as to the reduced amounts of anti-peanut IgE antibody in the blood.
Researchers are now conducting more studies on mice to test for protection against longer-standing hypersensitivity and to investigate effects of individual ingredients in the formula.
No. 20, 2005