Herbs and OIT Prove an Effective Food Allergy Combo

in Food Allergy
Published: March 18, 2014

Dr. Xiu-Min Li at the AAAAI conference.

Dr. Xiu-Min Li, the inventor of a Chinese herbal formula to treat food allergy, is finding more success, at least in mice, with the latest iteration of her formula.

Speaking at the AAAAI 2014 meeting in early March, Li noted the concern of researchers over the widespread side effects with oral immunotherapy, in which an allergic patient in a clinical trial is fed minuscule and then increasing amounts of an allergen, with the goal of reaching desensitization to that food. Given this issue, she decided to study in mice whether pre-treatment with her formula, now called B-FAHF-2, would lessen symptoms during and following OIT.

The results are highly encouraging. Li said the combination of the two therapies “resulted in significantly fewer adverse reactions related to OIT.” But further, she and her colleagues even found that B-FAHF-2 “enhanced the OIT desensitization, and it induced more persistent protection and greater immunomodulating effects.”

For the study, mice were made allergic to peanut, cashew and walnut, and 16 of the rodents were given twice daily doses of B-FAHF-2 for three weeks, while 16 others had a placebo. Both groups then underwent OIT treatment for three weeks with a peanut-nut mixture. After completing the therapy, the mice had oral food challenges (just as humans are given) to test their ability to consume the individual foods they had been allergic to. Mice in the Chinese formula group had fewer and milder reactions, lower IgE antibody levels and lower histamine.

200221064-001Barry Austin/Photodisc/Thinkstock
In the OIT-only group, seven of 16 had moderate to severe reactions during the challenges compared to two mice in the herb-OIT group having only mild reactions.

Li looks forward to moving the research forward on the new formula. One drawback to the Chinese herb formula had been the large numbers of pills it required taking a day. But Li explained to her allergist colleagues – and large number came for this session – that this new version of the formula is more potent and concentrated.

She says the required daily dose has been reduced by 80 percent – down to six to eight pills in adults (and fewer in children) from the older FAHF formula which required an adult to take more than 30 pills a day.

See Also:

• Gina Clowes interviews Dr. Li about Patient Success Stories.
Book review of Dr. Li’s book, Food Allergies: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Science and the Search for a Cure.