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 Herbal Medicine : Hay Fever - Allergic Rhinitis 
 
A symptom complex including hay fever and perennial allergic rhinitis, characterized by seasonal or perennial sneezing, rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, pruritus and often conjunctivitis and pharyngitis.

Hay fever is a form of allergy affecting the lining of the nose, & often the eyes and throat too. As the name implies, it is an allergic response to the pollen of certain grasses, but is used to describe similar reactions to a wide range of pollens & the spores of some fungi.


Actions Indicated for the Processes Behind this Disease

Anti-catarrhals will ease the symptomatic discomfort that often characteristic of this problem. Again, avoid trying to `dry up' the overproduction with herbal de-congestants as in allergic rhinitis it can end up being quite painful .
Expectorants are needed if wheezing or pulmonary congestion ensue. Consider relaxing expectorants primarily.
Anti-spasmodics are essential for any marked difficulty with breathing.
Bitters help tone the whole body in the face of the immune systems response.
Anti-inflammatories will help with the various symptoms as and when they arise.
Astringents will often ease the symptom picture.
Adaptogens and Immune support may help long term. This `catch-all' covers any need to support liver, kidney etc. etc.. Please refer to that section if this is not clear.

System Support
The immune system needs support in the face of its response, often highlighting stress as an issue. The upper and lower respiratory systems should be aided.

Specific Remedies
Individuals may find certain herbs that suit them well, but otherwise there is no specific as such. A plant that has much to offer as a broncho-dilator and reducer of allergy reactions is the well known TCM remedy Ephedra sinica, Ma Huang. Ayurveda and Unani medicine use a plant with a similar biochemical impact, Ammi visnaga, that is being introduced into the west.

In addition to such alkaloid rich plants, certain herbs might be considered specific for the various types and sites of symptom that arise. For example Eyebright (Euphrasia spp.), will ease distress that occurs in the eyes.

One possible prescription:
Ephedra sinica --- --- --- 1 part
Hydrastis canadensis --- --- --- 1 part
Euphrasia spp. --- --- --- 1 part
Urtica dioica --- --- --- 2 parts
Solidago virgaurea --- --- --- 2 parts 5 ml. taken three times a day

Ideally start the treatment 2 months before the `hay fever season' is thought to be due. Start the following dosage regime:
Weeks 1 - 2 --- --- --- 2.5 ml. once a day
Weeks 3 - 4 --- --- --- 5 ml. once a day
Weeks 5 - 6 --- --- --- 5 ml. twice a day
Weeks 7 - 8 --- --- --- 5 ml. three times a day

If this treatment cannot be started before the allergy re-appears then start on full dose immediately and possibly increase to 5 ml. four or five times a day (for adults only).

These herbs supply the following actions:
Anti-spasmodics (Ephedra sinica)
Anti-catarrhals (Hydrastis canadensis, Solidago virgaurea, Euphrasia spp., Ephedra sinica)
Anti-inflammatories (Hydrastis canadensis, Solidago virgaurea, Euphrasia spp., Urtica dioica)
Anti-microbials (Hydrastis canadensis)
Astringent (Euphrasia spp.)
Bitters (Hydrastis canadensis)


Treating the whole person is the trick to successfully ameliorating this common problem. In addition to the symptoms of the allergy, focus on general health, stress and elimination. Diet must based upon avoidance of any specific allergen as well as general good nutrition.

Various essential oils help with the symptoms, but the specifics vary from person to person. Oils that have been recommended by aromatherapists include all those mentioned above for the common cold, but especially:

Blue Camomile, Lemon Balm, Lavender

If a steam inhalation makes the patient feel even worse, give them some oil to put on a tissue, to sniff whenever needed. Massage with any of these oils can also be helpful.
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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
 
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