Successful prevention of extremely frequent and severe food anaphylaxis in three children by combined traditional Chinese medicine therapy

Lauren Lisann, Ying Song, Julie Wang, Paul Ehrlich, Anne Maitland, Xiu Min Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Despite strict avoidance, severely food-allergic children experience frequent and potentially severe food-induced anaphylaxis (FSFA). There are no accepted preventive interventions for FSFA. A Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formula prevents anaphylaxis in murine food allergy models, and has immunomodulatory effects in humans. We analyzed the effects of TCM treatment on three pediatric patients with FSFA. Case description: Three FSFA patients (P) ages 9-16 years (P1 allergic to milk; P2 and P3 to tree nuts) qualified for case analysis. All experienced numerous reactions requiring administration of rescue medications and emergency room (ER) visits during the 2 years prior to starting TCM. P1 experienced approximately 100 reactions, 50 epinephrine administrations, 40 ER visits, and 3 admissions to intensive care units. P2 experienced 30 reactions, all requiring epinephrine administration, as well as 10 emergency hospitalizations. P3 experienced 400 reactions, five of which required epinephrine administration and ER visits. TCM treatment markedly reduced or eliminated reactions in all. P1 experienced no reactions after 2.5 years of TCM. P2 experienced no reactions after 1 year of TCM treatment, at which time she passed an oral almond food challenge. She continues to be reaction-free 6 months off TCM while consuming nuts. P3 has achieved a 94% reduction in reaction frequency following 7 months of TCM, has discontinued daily antihistamine use, and has required no epinephrine administrations or ER visits. Conclusions: Three children treated with TCM experienced dramatic reductions or elimination of FSFA. This regimen appears to present a potential option for FSFA, and warrants further investigation in controlled clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
JournalAllergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2014


  • Food allergy
  • Food induced anaphylaxis
  • Traditional Chinese medicine


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