By Dana Ullman MPH
It is getting close to allergy season again, and to most allergy sufferers freedom from this dread condition is literally nothing to sneeze at. This freedom, however, is a distant dream for many allergy sufferers.
Allergies can be imprisoning. They can make it impossible to go for a walk in the country, and even make it difficult to go outside. Some allergy sufferers can't visit their friends who have pets, and many others can't eat their favorite foods.
Even the pleasures and benefits of exercise are difficult because some allergy sufferers' noses run more than they do. A runny or stuffy nose leads to mouth breathing, then a dry mouth, then less efficient breathing, and then less efficient overall functioning. A domino effect is set up, and the allergy sufferer is knocked down.
Conventional medical treatment for allergies usually consists of antihistamines, steroids, and desensitization shots. In obstinate cases, laser surgery may be utilized to vaporize mucus-forming nasal tissue. People with allergies know that these treatments don't work; at best, they provide temporary relief of symptoms, and at worst, they create side effects which can be worse than the allergies themselves.
Perhaps the greatest misunderstanding about allergies is the assumption that the allergen (the cat dander, the pollen, the housedust mite, or whatever) is the problem. Actually, the allergen is simply the trigger, while the allergic person's body is the loaded gun. Rather than just treating symptoms or avoiding the allergen, the best course is to take action to strengthen the body's own immune and defense system. Natural therapies which do this help empty the loaded gun or simply make it shoot blanks.
Homeopathy and Allergies
In the near future when homeopathic medicines are widely accepted by the majority of orthodox physicians, doctors will pretend that they have always been supporters of homeopathy and homeopathic principles. They will point to conventional allergy treatment as an example of this.
While it is partially true that conventional medical treatment of allergy uses small doses of a substance to which the person is actually allergic and even though this principle is the basis of homeopathy, homeopaths use considerably smaller doses than conventional allergy shots. Also, homeopaths find that using the same substance to which the person is allergic may relieve a person's symptoms, but it will not truly or deeply cure the person's allergy.
Homeopaths instead prescribe a "constitutional medicine," a remedy that is individually chosen to the totality of symptoms that the person is experiencing, not just the allergy symptoms. Finding a person's constitutional medicine requires the care of professional homeopath.
People can, however, use homeopathic medicines to treat the acute phase of their allergy. Although these natural medicines will not "cure" one's allergy, they will often provide effective relief and will do so without side effects.
Solid research have proven the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines in hayfever. Dr. David Taylor-Reilly, a professor and homeopath at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, published an important study in the Lancet (October 18, 1986) which showed that homeopathically prepared doses of 12 common flowers were very effective in reducing hayfever symptoms when compared with patients given a placebo.
This same researcher published in the Lancet (12-10-94) another high caliber study on the homeopathic treatment of asthma. This double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial performed conventional allergy testing to determine what substance asthma sufferers were most allergic. Then, half of the subjects were given a homeopathic preparation of this substance, while the other half were given a placebo. Those people given the homeopathic medicine experienced a very significant improvement in their symptoms of asthma.
One of the common homeopathic medicines for respiratory allergies is Allium cepa (the common onion). Because onions are known to cause tearing of the eyes and running of the nose, it is wonderfully effective in treating such symptoms when given in homeopathic microdoses. Specifically, people who will benefit from Allium cepa experience a profuse, fluent, burning nasal discharge which is worse in a warm room and better in the open air. They have a profuse, bland (non-burning) tearing from the eyes with reddened eyes, and will desire to rub their eyes frequently. They experience a raw feeling in the nose with a tingling sensation and violent sneezing. A frontal congestive headache may be concurrent with their allergy symptoms. These symptoms tend to exacerbate after damp winds.
People who need Euphrasia (eyebright, an herb) have the opposite symptoms as those who need Allium cepa: they have profuse burning tears from the eyes and a bland nasal discharge. Their eyes water so much the person looks awash in tears. The whites of the eye and the cheeks become reddened from the burning tears. The eye symptoms are worse in the open air. The profuse bland nasal discharge is worse at night, while lying down, and in windy weather.
Burning tears and nasal discharge which are often worse on the right side characterize the symptoms related to Arsenicum album (arsenic, the mineral). These people's symptoms are worse at and after midnight. They toss and turn in bed and become very anxious, frightened, and restless during breathing difficulties. They are very chilly and feel better in general in a warm room. They usually have a great thirst but only take sips at a time. These people are sensitive to light, have violent sneezing, and may develop asthmatic breathing.
When an allergy sufferer is particularly irritable and chilly and has a fluent nasal discharge during the day and congestion at night, Nux vomica (poison nut, a seed from a tree) should be their remedy. Their symptoms tend to be worse indoors and better in the open air. They are sensitive to the cold and to being uncovered. Frequent sneezing may be experienced. Their symptoms sometimes begin after being irritated, vexed, or fatigued.
A common remedy of both women and children is Pulsatilla (windflower, an herb). These people have a nasal discharge during the day and congestion at night(just like people who need Nux vomica). People who need Pulsatilla are quite different from people who need Nux vomica: they are usually gentle, mild, yielding, impressionaable, and emotional people who seek attention and sympathy, rather than the argument and conflict in which Nux vomica people indulge. People who need Pulsatilla have congestion is worse in a warm room, hot weather, or while lying down, and is relieved in cool rooms, open air, or with cool applications. They tend to have itching at the roof of their mouth at night. They tend to be without thirst.
There are numerous other remedies to consider, including Histaminium, Kali bic, Natrum mur, Sabadilla, Solidago, and Wyethia. To learn when and how to use these remedies as well as more detailed information about the previously described medicines, consult a homeopathic guidebook, such as either of my books Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines or Homeopathic Medicine for Children and Infants or Dr. M. Panos and Jane Heimlich's Homeopathic Medicine at Home.
If these individual remedies are not available or if you cannot find the best one to fit your symptoms, there are now numerous "homeopathic formula products" readily available in health food stores. These natural remedies are extremely easy to us and work wonderfully well.
So, what would you rather do: invest in box after box of Kleenex, or try some simple and safe homeopathic medicine to treat your allergies. You may never want to go through another allergy season without homeopathic medicines.
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