Some time ago, a colleague of mine recommended a wonderful book by Dr. Daniel Keown, entitled “The Spark in the Machine”. Dr. Keown is both an MD and Acupuncturist.  The premise of his book is that human embryological development explains the creation and architecture behind Qi and the acupuncture channels of energy. For a practitioner integrating traditional Chinese medicine with functional western medicine, Dr. Keown’s book is extremely satisfying and reaffirming.

One example I love is Dr. Keown’s explanation of the Liver organ and channel system in Chinese medicine. According to Dr. Keown, the Liver is intimately tied in with the hormone Histamine.

If there is one hormone associated with the Liver, it is histamine. The Liver is the primary organ for breaking histamine down: histamine is raised in liver disease and using antihistamines helps treat the symptoms of liver failure. Histamine makes you irritable- allergies, rashes, hives and bites are all made itchy and irritable by histamine.” Spark in the Machine., Keown, Daniel.MD. page 220. 

The epiphany I had while studying Dr. Keown’s book was that histamine is also closely related to signs and symptoms of menstrual dysfunction and PMS. I know that Acupuncturists commonly access the Liver organ and channel when trying to regulate the menstrual cycle and mitigate PMS. Any patient who has had the Liver point “Taichong” needled between the webbing of the big and second toes, knows the relief it can create. What I didn’t realize was that the “Histacare” product that we sell at SOPHIA primarily for Sinusitis could also help menstrual discomfort and PMS! 

I looked at the main ingredients in “Histacare”: Vitamin C, Quercetin, Stinging Nettle Leaves & Bromelain. All it took was a brief Google search about these components to reaffirm that they all have applications in dysmenorrhea.  

Our approach at SOPHIA is to treat, cure and/or eliminate the root of one’s disease. Regulating the ratios and proper cycling of Estrogen and Progesterone is still the primary focus of our treatment protocols for menstrual disharmony. However, I am excited to consider the overlap of applications between Chinese & functional medicine when finding the best approach for our patients. I will consider “Histacare” for my patients with cramps, headache, nausea and fatigue; all signs of histamine intolerance. Conversely, I may access the Liver channel more frequently when treating sinus conditions.

If you are interested in controlling your histamine levels or taking advantage of the wonderful combination of Chinese & functional medicine, please call SOPHIA Integrative Natural Medicine Center at 203-740-9300.

Jim Fitzpatrick, L.Ac.
Resident Acupuncturist

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