We are always on the lookout for emerging allergy treatments, especially alternative, natural allergy cures. In a past article called BPA, Allergies, and Asthma, we explored the issues of possible contributors to allergic disease. In addition, we have highlighted practices, like supplementing with probiotics, that may help prevent the onset of allergies.
However, once an allergy exists, especially a life-threatening food allergy, a cure is the only way to achieve actual safety and the peace of mind that comes with it. When possibilities of cures come along, such as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), this makes us, and allergy sufferers the world over, very hopeful.
One such allergy cure is a Chinese herbal remedy called Food Allergy Herbal Formula-2 (FAHF-2). This herbal drug is currently being studied in human clinical trials. Here is some information about the history of this herbal allergy treatment.
FAFH-2 as a Peanut Allergy Cure
"According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), food allergic reactions are responsible for 30 to 50 percent of anaphylaxis cases in emergency rooms in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Approximately 80 percent of fatal or near-fatal cases are due to peanut allergy. And the rise in cases of peanut allergy is alarming.
In the last few years, herbal formula FAHF-2 has entered the arena as a leading contender for future allergy cures. The formula consists of a combination of nine different herbs that work together to have an overall effect on peanut allergies. A study that tested the herbs that make up FAHF-2 individually showed only partial efficacy of each herb alone.
A February 2009 article in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported that FAHF-2 protects peanut allergic mice against anaphylactic reactions for up to four weeks after treatment. An additional study set out to see if this protection could be prolonged. Results showed that mice who received FAHF-2 daily for seven weeks, and then were tested for 36 weeks for reactions to peanuts, were protected for more than six months.
Though herbal remedies are not known for receiving attention from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), after these successful trials, FAHF-2 received approval from the FDA for testing on humans.
FAFH-2 Human Clinical Trials and FDA Approval
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given FAHF-2 investigational new drug approval, allowing the drug to be tested on humans. The drug is currently in human clinical trials. See Therapeutic Effect of Chinese Herbal Medicine on Food Allergy (FAHF-2) for more details about the study, which is currently recruiting participants.
Studies on FAHF-2 have been and continue to be conducted by Xiu-Min Li, MD, director of the Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy for Allergy and Asthma at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and Dr. Li's team of researchers.
The mouse trials involved testing FAHF-2 on mice who were allergic to peanuts. They were given FAHF-2 every day for seven weeks and then underwent seven oral peanut "challenges" over the subsequent 36 weeks. All of the control group mice developed anaphylaxis, but not a single one of the mice in the treated group did.
The same researchers are now conducting research on humans. Early findings of the human trial show that the herbal remedy is safe and tolerated well. Patients take the remedy in pill form twice a day. Dr. Li says of the human trials, "We're starting to see a good immune response. We will finish the safety trial and begin the efficacy trial soon."
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Asthma
For example, between 2005 and 2007, four trials of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) published in the February 2009 edition of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunologysuggested that herbal remedies could help treat asthma symptoms. According to an article entitled Chinese Herbal Remedy Can Cure Asthma, in center for natural health Align Life, TCM reduced asthma symptoms by reducing inflammation of the airways, inhibiting smooth airway muscle contraction, and stimulating the body's immune system.
While research in the area of herbal remedies is still ongoing, early trials have shown this new avenue as a good reason for hope among allergy sufferers everywhere.