21 October 2016
People who are susceptible to allergies should cut on certain food items such as crayfish. Photo: Xinhua
People who are susceptible to allergies should cut on certain food items such as crayfish. Photo: Xinhua

TCM advice for people prone to allergies

In traditional Chinese medicine, there are eight typical types of body constitution, but some people don’t belong to any of these and are considered to have a special constitution (異稟體質).

This doesn’t mean that they are not healthy, but their body are too reactive to certain substances or external influences, resulting in allergic reactions such as blushing, red and itchy rashes, itchy skin, hives (also known as urticaria) or eczema.

If they belong to this group, they should first and foremost protect their sensitive skin from irritations by using only quality natural skincare products with little or no artificial additives or preservatives.

Alternatively, they should consider making their own skincare products to best suit their individual needs.

In terms of diet, individuals should always opt for seasonal, fresh and natural ingredients and avoid items that are known to cause allergies.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, bamboo shoots, straw mushrooms, shrimps, prawns, crabs, oysters, peanuts and geese are risky items that could trigger allergies.

They should only be taken in minimal amounts.

It is also important to cut back on hot and spicy food. Frozen and raw food and drinks such as beer are not recommended either.

Here’s the recipe for a nourishing soup that helps build up body strength and rejuvenate and soothe skin. It could be taken once or twice a week.

Sea cucumber, snow fungus, fig and Hami melon soup (海參雪耳無花果哈蜜瓜湯)

0.5 catty (302g) frozen sea cucumber
1 catty (604g) fresh lean pork
1 tael (37.8g) snow fungus
5 dried figs
1 catty (604g) Hami melon
A piece of chenpi, also known as sun-dried tangerine peel
2,500mL water


1. Thaw the sea cucumber and remove the internal organs. Wash them over cold running water until water runs clear.

2. Cut the lean pork into smaller pieces and cook in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Wash them over cold running water thoroughly.

3. Wash the snow fungus and dice the Hami melon.

4. Add all the ingredients into a pot of water and heat the soup until it boils. Turn stove to medium-low fire for another 1.5 hours. Season the soup with salt.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 8.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Registered traditional Chinese medicine practitioner

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