Gesundheit! Relief for Hay Fever with Homeopathy
Summer is here – and so are seasonal allergies or hay fever, as it is more commonly called in the UK. The common symptoms are runny, itchy eyes, a runny and/or stuffed up nose – and sneezing. Homeopathy can help.
I adore sneezing. It is a thrilling experience for the body but as a child I puzzled over why I had to say “bless you” when someone sneezed and was tickled to discover that it came out of the notion that your soul escapes when you sneeze, which is how the custom to say “bless you” apparently developed … to bring your soul back of course!
In this country it is also common to hear “gesundheit,” the German equivalent of “bless you.” Gesundheit means, literally, “to your health” – a more sensible response to a sneeze, wishing the “sneezer” to stay healthy, and acknowledging a sneeze’s potential to develop into an illness like a cold or flu.
The trouble with hay fever is this … if you are sneezing 10, 15, 20 or even 30 times in a row, it isn’t fun anymore. If your sneezes are violent they become downright unpleasant and can even be painful.
In the US allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness with more than 50 million Americans suffering from seasonal or perennial (year round) allergies each year.
Here are a few common sense suggestions to keep your mucous membranes free of extra allergens during the hay fever season:
- where possible avoid pollen: don’t do unnecessary gardening/go for long (or even short) walks in flower gardens or meadows, etc.
- keep dust levels low in the home: you might want to invest in a vacuum cleaner with a special filter for allergy sufferers. 5 Top Vacuum Cleaners for Allergy Sufferers.
- use pillows and duvets filled with synthetic fibers and clean them regularly.
- don’t cycle or take long walks in busy streets, or in the country where crops have been recently sprayed.
- avoid all household or garden sprays for anything, including cleaners, cosmetics, hair sprays, perfumes, antiperspirants, etc. because the particles will irritate your inflamed nasal tissues further.
- avoid nasal decongestant sprays unless really necessary (a job interview or a flight) as they suppress the body’s natural defenses and commonly cause a rebound effect so that the symptoms return more fiercely once you stop taking them.
- consider investing in an air purifier. Air Purifier Buying Guide
Homeopathy has a proven track record with seasonal allergies. There are a number of studies demonstrating their efficacy. There are a number of remedies for acute hay fever which can alleviate symptoms. Homeopathic remedies are safe for anyone to take, including children and pregnant women and they do not have the side effects that some antihistamines are famous for.
If you recognize your particular collection of symptoms (or those of someone close to you) in one of the descriptions below then you can use the remedy, providing you follow the general dosage guidelines.
remedies for hay fever
Allium cepa. Eyes and nose stream. Eyes stream with watery, non-irritating discharge. Nose streams with a discharge that burns. Frequent, violent sneezing. Throat may be sore. Hay fever typically aggravated by flower pollen and during the month of August. Symptoms are worse in a stuffy room and better for fresh air.
Arsenicum. Eyes are dry and burn. Nose streams, nasal discharge burns and makes the area under the nostrils red and sore. Frequent, violent sneezing. Lips are cracked. Feels thirsty but only for sips of warm drinks. Generally restless and anxious.
Arundo. Sneezing without a discharge. Everything itches – the roof of mouth, especially the soft palate, the ears, the Eustachian tubes, and the nostrils. Sense of smell is lost. Hay fever typically comes on early in the spring.
Euphrasia. Eyes and nose stream (like Allium cepa) but nasal catarrh is non-irritating and discharge from eyes burns (opposite of Allium cepa) and leaves marks on the face. Eyes are sore, red and very sensitive to light, especially sunlight. Compelled to blink eyes constantly.
Natrum muriaticum. Eyes and nose stream after sneezing. Discharge from the eyes is watery and profuse. Eyes itch and burn. Nasal discharge is profuse and resembles raw egg white and alternates with a blocked up nose. Sense of smell and taste are both lost. Hay fever which is generally worse for the hot weather and often accompanied by cold sores around the mouth and/or nose.
Nux vomica. Eyes water. Nose runs in the day (with burning, watery catarrh) and is blocked at night – on the side lain on. Frequent violent sneezing. Hay fever is often accompanied by a sore throat and/or headache. Generally irritable.
Pulsatilla. Nasal discharge is thick, yellow-green and bland (non-irritating) and watery in the fresh air. Sense of smell and taste are lost. Generally worse in stuffy hot atmospheres and better for fresh (cool) air.
Sabadilla. Persistent, violent sneezing with great itching in nose. Eyes are red, and they water and burn. Hay fever which is greatly aggravated by flower pollen.
Sulphur. Nose is dry and itchy. Frequent sneezing. Eyes itch and burn, are sensitive to light, and feel gritty. Eyelids are red and itchy; they water (mostly in the daytime) and are glued together in the morning. Generally thirsty and worse in the hot weather.
Take your chosen remedy in a low potency: 6X, 6C or 12X ideally.
Take it according to the severity of your symptoms: every 2-3 hours for the first day or two.
As improvement begins, reduce the frequency to every 4-8 times daily.
Stop once you are feeling much better. People typically forget to take a remedy that has helped and that’s the right thing to do!
If the symptoms return, you can repeat the same remedy, stopping and starting as long as it helps each time.
If you are no better after a week it’s likely that the remedy is incorrect. Choose another one or seek professional advice. If self-prescribing doesn’t help you or if your symptoms are severe, then do seek the advice of a homeopath.
The presence of allergies indicates an underlying weakness that ideally needs constitutional treatment from a homeopathic practitioner. There is often a family history of allergies … a parent or grandparent with asthma, eczema or hay fever. Homeopaths prefer to treat a hay fever sufferer through the winter months to strengthen their resistance to pollen and other allergens and deal with the underlying allergic disposition, and find that it takes several years for symptoms of allergy to gradually abate.
Dana Ullman has a helpful article describing a range of studies focusing on homeopathy in the treatment of allergies including two by the Scottish researcher David Reilly. He conducted a double blind clinical trial on the use of a homeopathic preparation of mixed grasses pollen on patients with active hay fever (The Lancet, October 18, 1986, entitled, “Is homoeopathy a placebo response?”). It showed a statistically significant reduction in hay fever symptoms in patients who received a homeopathic preparation of mixed pollen versus patients who received only placebo. In another trial, Reilly replicated these results using a homeopathic preparation of house-dust mite for patients with allergic asthma (published in The Lancet, December 10, 1994, “Is evidence for homoeopathy reproducible?”). Both these remedies are known as isopathics.
An isopathic remedy is made from the substance or chemical or pollen that is known to cause symptoms, and it is prepared by homeopathic methods, i.e., diluted and succussed (shaken vigorously) to a certain strength (usually the 30C potency). Since most of these substances have not been tested on healthy people as all is the practice with all other remedies, they cannot be prescribed according to the homeopathic Law of Similars because there is no symptom picture against which they can be matched. Their use is more haphazard and less individualized than homeopathy’s matching of symptoms from the testing with those experienced by the patient.
Mixed Pollen or Mixed Grasses are combination remedies that have been formulated from the most common allergens (substances that cause an allergic response). Some people have found them to be helpful, either on their own or in alternation with a well-indicated homeopathic remedy. Take the one that affects you – if it is the flower and/or tree pollen then take Mixed Pollen; if it is grasses then take Mixed Grasses. Early spring hay fever is often due to pollen from trees while the later spring and summer hay fevers are from flower pollen. The later summer and early fall hay fevers are usually caused by ragweed pollen and molds.
If you know which tree or flower or grass to which you are susceptible you can ask a homeopathic pharmacy if they have that particular substance in potency. Those who live in New Mexico, for example, find their allergies becoming severe once the Chamisa, the Juniper, or the Russian Olive flowers bloom and that these remedies in potency can help to keep the worst of their symptoms under control.
A combination remedy remedy uses a scattergun approach to the problem of remedy selection – throwing 3 or more typical or well-indicated remedies into one preparation. There are many such preparations for hay fever each containing different remedies which can make it confusing to know which one to purchase.
Check the ingredients against those in this article (and any homeopathic books you happen to have at home or on line) to make sure that at least one or two are a good match for your symptoms because it is generally wise to select a combination that contains remedies with an affinity with your own symptoms.
I also suggest that people choose a combination with all remedies in a low potency (6X or 6C or 12X). The low potencies are nice and safe.
I am not alone in thinking sneezing is fun. The Gesundheit! Institute, a non-profit, visionary medical project founded on the belief that one cannot separate the health of the individual from the health of the family with that of the community, the society, and the world. Their mission is to reframe and reclaim the concept of ‘hospital.’ You may have heard of Patch Adams, one of the founding doctors whose skills as a doctor/clown are well-known. Those who volunteer at the Gesundheit! Institute recognize the healing effects of fun and use it to raise funds in a variety of creative ways. Their mission is “to inspire people to change the world through relentless, joyful, sustaining service” because they believe that hard work is not so intimidating when humor and play and joy are mixed in. Now that sounds like a wonderful and potent healing combination to me.
© Miranda Castro | August 9th, 2016