Treating Allergic Reactions – in particular, Hay Fever – Homeopathically
Allergic reactions, also called hypersensitivity reactions, are reactions of the immune system in which normal body tissue is injured. When people use the term “allergic reaction”, they are referring to processes which involve antibodies of the immunoglobulin class, which is an immune system response to allergens. An allergen can be a dust particle, plant pollen, a drug, or food. However, because some allergens, such as airborne allergens cannot be avoided, doctors often use methods to block the allergic response and prescribe drugs to relieve the symptoms. The most commonly prescribed drugs are antihistamines. These tend to cause drowsiness. They may also lead to confused states, light-headedness, a dry mouth, constipation, difficulty urinating, and blurred vision.
Hay fever is a severe temporary catarrhal condition of the mucous membranes, especially of the nose, throat and eyes due to sensitivity to pollen. In the UK, the most common allergen is to a type of grass known as Timothy Grass (Phleum Praetens). Timothy Grass pollinates between May and July each year. Other causative factors are moulds on trees and tree pollens, especially lime.
Amongst homeopaths it is widely acknowledged that a person with an allergic constitution is best treated during the winter months in order to strengthen them against any acute symptoms which they would probably experience between April and July/August each year. However, there are various over-the-counter remedies available to address the acute symptoms of hay fever. A few of these are described below:
A combination by Nelsons called ‘Pollenna’ includes Allium Cepa (Red Onion), Euphrasia (Eyebright) & Sabadilla (Cevadilla Seed) in the 6th potency. People needing Allium Cepa have strong nasal symptoms, such as streaming and burning nasal discharges. The upper lip may be excoriated from this discharge. They may have a pain in the forehead, streaming eyes with bland watery secretion; symptoms could be worse if indoors; worse from warm foods and drinks and worse from the smell of flowers. The light hurts their eyes and they tend to wear sunglasses.
Euphrasis, as the English translation suggests, has many eye symptoms. There is a strong sensitivity to light with a thick, burning discharge from the conjunctiva which irritates the skin underneath the eyes. There is a bland nasal discharge with a post-nasal drip. People needing this remedy feel better lying down in a dark room; are better for drinking coffee and worse if too warm, in warm windy weather and worse for bright light. This remedy is available in liquid form and can be used to bathe the eyes.
Sabadilla has a lot of itching. The throat, roof of mouth and nose may be itchy. Patients have spasmodic and violent sneezing and a streaming nose. They may be very sensitive to the smell of garlic.
Another over-the-counter remedy available for hay fever is by New Era and consists of the remedies called Magnesium Phosphate, Natrum Muriaticum and Silica in the 6x potency.
People requiring Magnesium Phosphate may have hot, aching, tired eyes with a sensitivity to light. The nasal symptoms are alternately stuffing and profuse gushing of a white, thin substance.
Silica patients have itching and tingling in the nose. They may have violent sneezing and burning discharge. They may have itching in the nostrils and in the Eustachian tubes of the ear.
Hay fever patients requiring Natrum Muriaticum would probably have itching in the nostrils and a watery discharge from the eyes and nose. There could be a profuse nasal discharge and a headache. They would have burning tears with red and sore eyes. Natrum Muriaticum patients feel worse from the heat of the sun, they desire salt, and feel better at the seaside!
The above remedies give an overview of some of the many remedies available to treat the unpleasant symptoms of hay fever. However, one should remember that these (and other) remedies may only palliate the symptoms temporarily and it is the underlying weakness which needs to be treated homeopathically during the winter months.
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