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 Homeopathy: Hay Fever is Here! 
John was the manager of a restaurant and worked long hours in a stressful, smoky environment. He had to be at his best, and so he was, until hayfever struck one day last spring. His nose immediately ran "like a faucet", his eyes burned, itched and teared. He sneezed violently over and over again. He had to leave work and go home and that night he spent tossing and turning, unable to breathe. The next day he came to our clinic, and his hayfever soon was history.

Does this happen to you? Throughout the Spring and Summer and Fall seasons when the pollen that has your number on it erupts from some beautiful or nondescript tree, flower, grass or weed, you probably have symptoms like poor John. You may not always know which pollen has your number, whether its alder, birch, scotch broom or ragweed, but you know the effects. The real Les Miserables are those people who live with hay fever, without ever finding out that there are effective, low cost natural treatments for it. John learned that his hayfever could be treated rapidly and naturally and his life could resume without further misery.

If you go to a medical doctor for your hayfever, you are likely to be given antihistamines, decongestants or corticosteroids. These are not curative, and can be habit forming and cause sometimes serious side effects. Recently, in Olympia, several people reached for the over the counter medicine Sudafed and received a toxic or lethal dose of cyanide, because of product tampering. The side effects of hayfever drugs are obviously not this severe, but it does make us think about the medicines we use so casually in our search for a solution.

Naturopathic medicines, especially homeopathic remedies, provide fast relief without side effects, and can strengthen the immune system to prevent future hayfever attacks. Herbal medicines act as natural decongestants or anti-inflammatory agents without the toxicity of pharmaceutical drugs. Vitamins make the immune system more resistant to pollens and other allergens.

Homeopathic remedies for hayfever are often made from plants which cause symptoms like those of the disease itself. One of the main remedies for hayfever is Allium cepa, or onion. We have all had the experience of the red,streaming, burning eyes and watery runny nose that chopping onions can bring. This irritation can be turned to your benefit by taking a tiny homeopathic dose of Allium cepa when hayfever symptoms with watery, irritating nasal discharge, burning itchy eyes, and some sneezing occurs. If the hayfever is worse in a warm room and better in the cool, open air, especially think of using Allium cepa. Another remedy that can help hayfever where eye irritation with lots of tearing is the primary symptom is Euphrasia, or eyebright. There is usually a profuse bland nasal discharge as well and postnasal drip which makes you cough. When violent sneezing is the main symptom, especially from flowers, a remedy from Mexico, Sabadilla, comes to the rescue. This was the remedy which gave John the greatest and speediest relief, because his sneezing was so prominent. People who need Sabadilla often have a severe frontal headache, red, running eyes and a sore throat which feels better from warm foods and drinks. There is watery, nasal discharge, but not as much as other remedies. Another mainstay of homeopathic hayfever treatment is Arundo, or reed, in which itching of the nose and palate are so severe that the person wants to scratch inside their mouth! If the hayfever goes into a sinusitis with a thick, yellowish, green nasal discharge from the nose and eyes, which causes the lids to stick together in the morning, Pulsatilla, the windflower, is often effective. The person may be emotional and weepy and but not very thirsty. If there is a lot of sinus pain at the root of the nose and the discharge is very stringy, Kali bichromicum will bring speedy relief from the pain and pressure.

In our homeopathic practice, we will prescribe a remedy for the acute hayfever symptoms when they occur. When the symptoms have been relieved, we will give a constitutional remedy to strengthen the immune system and lessen or prevent future episodes. There are many possible remedies for hayfever, but careful observation and reporting of the symptoms will allow a single homeopathic medicine to give dramatic relief. Occasionally, if we can't find a single remedy that works, as a last resort we will give homeopathic preparations of regional pollens, which can be helpful, or a nasal spray with a combination of homeopathic hayfever fighters.

If homeopathy is not readily available, you can still get considerable relief from herbal medicine. Ephedra, or Ma huang, is a potent stimulant and anti-histaminic herb, and will dry up nasal secretions and open up the bronchial tubes in the lungs. It should be used in small doses at first, to avoid an overreaction. Freeze dried stinging nettle capsules can be very helpful in opening the sinuses and relieving nasal symptoms. Shea butter, from Thorne Research, can be rubbed on over the nose and sinuses to give fast relief to clogged passages. Various aromatic oils such as Eucalyptus, wintergreen and peppermint oils, and products containing camphor can open the sinuses effectively and temporarily, but should not be used along with homeopathic remedies, because they will interfere with the action of the homeopathic medicine. Sitopaladi, a safe and effective formula of 19 herbs from ayurvedic medicine, is one of the best combinations to decrease mucus formation. Another useful ayurvedic treatment is to wash out the nasal passages and sinuses with warm salt water using a neti pot, a ceramic vessel that looks like Aladdin's lamp. 1/4 tsp. salt to a cup of warm water works well to clear out clogged passages.

When hayfever strikes, it is important to eat a diet low in mucus forming foods such as wheat, dairy products and citrus fruits. The diet should not be excessively high in spicey or sour foods, which can aggravate inflammation. Vitamin C in doses up to 3,000 mg. per day, and Beta carotene, 50,000 I.U.'s per day, are helpful supplements to take.

You will breathe easier if you treat your hayfever naturally, so instead of reaching for the Sudafed, try homeopathy, herbs and vitamins to snuff out the sniffles and dry up your tears.

Drs. Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are naturopathic and homeopathic physicians and cofounders of the Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds, WA. They are coauthors of The Patient's Guide to Homeopathic Medicine and Beyond Ritalin: Homeopathic Treatment of ADD and Other Behavioral and Learning Problems. They can be reached at (206) 774-5599.

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 About The Author
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND, MSWJudyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, MSW is a licensed naturopathic physician board certified in homeopathic medicine. She graduated with a degree in ...more
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