It was previously shown that a Chinese herbal formula, Food Allergy Herbal Formula 2 (FAHF-2) composed of nine herbs, blocked peanut-induced anaphylaxis in a murine model. The current study was designed to investigate the pharmacological actions of individual herbs comprising FAHF-2 on peanut-induced anaphylactic reactions in a murine model of peanut allergy and to determine if all nine herbs are necessary to prevent an anaphylactic reaction, or if a simplified formula containing fewer herbs would be equally effective. Some individual herbs reduced peanut-induced anaphylactic symptoms but no single herb offered full protection from anaphylactic symptoms equivalent to FAHF-2. The herbs had highly variable effects on histamine release, as well as peanut-specific serum IgE and IgG2a levels. The herbs also had variable effects on IL-4, IL-5 and IFN-γ levels. A simplified formula comprising the most efficacious tested individual herbs showed only partial efficacy and was not able to reproduce comparably the effects of FAHF-2, suggesting that component herbs of FAHF-2 may work synergistically to produce the curative therapeutic effects produced by the whole formula, which appears to be the best option for future clinical trials.
- Peanut allergy
- Traditional Chinese medicine