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February 14, 2006

Homeopathic Remedies to Relieve Hayfever

Using homeopathic remedies to relieve hayfever symptoms lets you avoid the common side effects of "over the counter" medications like drowsiness.

THE SKODA - Cheap and Cheerful
If you want quick, easy and cheap, just go to your local chemist or health shop and buy Nelson's Pollenna, a combination remedy containing Allium Cepa, Euphrasia Officinalis and Sabadilla Officinarum, chosen for their suitability in treating certain conditions and combined together for convenience.

Your alternative cheap and cheerful option is New Era Combination H for Hayfever and Allergic Reactions. It's a combination of Mag Phos, Nat Mur and Silica tissue salts.

Advantages: readily available, easy to use, and - like a cheap car - it just might get you there!

Disadvantages: a bit of a hit-and-miss approach - there are at least a dozen remedies for hayfever and the combination you choose might not contain the one that will be of most benefit for your particular symptoms. You could end up disappointed and thinking "well, I've tried homeopathy and it doesn't work" - which would be a great pity, because that's closed off an avenue of assistance to you.

Middle of the Road

A better method is to take a more homeopathic approach and identify the remedy which matches your symptoms most closely. Whether you have a cold, sinusitis, allergies or hayfever - whatever you call it, it is the symptoms that will lead you to your remedy. Here are just a few examples of the homeopathic principle Like Cures Like when it comes to hayfever:

sneezing.jpg
If you feel like you've been slicing onions instead of enjoying the spring flowers, Allium Cepa relieves burning nasal discharge, watery eyes, hoarseness, hacking cough and raw sore throat .

blownose.jpgIf your eyes are burning and your nose is running Euphrasia may help, especially if the only thing worse than the garden is a smoke-filled room.

As all autumn hayfever sufferers know, the bright yellow flower of Hydrastis causes (and thus cures homeopathically) thick, yellow, ropy mucus, even in the spring.

While the drying agent (sodium chloride) from which Natrum Mur is derived tends to leave passages dry and then wet as the body responds to the dryness, this remedy helps the body address dryness and cold watery but thickening mucus symptoms.

Advantages: Instead of making "cheap" your main priority, you have chosen the right homeopathic method for your individual needs by matching the remedy to your symptoms, so this option is far more likely to work for you! Using homeopathic remedies to relieve hayfever symptoms lets you avoid the common side effects of "over the counter" medications like drowsiness (and worse - see the scientific bit on Allergy Medications below). Homeopathic remedies are also completely safe for children and even babies.

Disadvantages: In choosing a remedy based on your hayfever symptoms alone, you will probably find relief from hayfever in the same way as taking aspirin will bring a fever down but doesn't cure the 'flu. In other words, you get symptomatic relief. This is known as "treating the acute", and is not truly homeopathic constitutional treatment. You may be taking the right remedy for the temporary state triggered by allergens and irritants, but your underlying tendency to over-react to these substances will probably remain. This means your symptoms may recur so that you need to take the remedy frequently during an acute episode, and will need to repeat the exercise every year when the problem arises. But if that meets your needs and is what your pocket will stretch to, go for it!

I provide an easy-to-use service for £30.00 whereby I will help you identify a remedy to try by Email Consultation. If you have more questions first, you can email me for more information.


Vee Smith"I just wanted to say how amazed I am that I'm not suffering like I normally would expect to be by now. I know it might sound odd, but I've been expecting to feel rubbish, sore eyed, sneezy, tickly and sore throated, runny nosed, head-achy, wheezy and not be able to spend ALL day in the garden, mowing my lawn and pottering about there, having a bbq without suffering in the evening and next day, which is what I've become accustomed to all my adult life. It's as if part of me feels weird not to be suffering or enduring side effects of antihistamines but another part of me is really enjoying the sensation of not suffering and feeling "normal"! Thank you Linda, you have succeeded in treating my hayfever where ALL others have failed (and I have to confess now, I was sceptical that it would work to this effect!). I would say I don't have any hayfever symptoms at all now, and maybe I take one pill in the morning, if I remember (don't know if that's the correct thing to do, but it seems silly taking something when you're not suffering)." - Vee Smith, Virtual Assistant, Watford


Does homeopathy work for hayfever? See study results below.

I offer a homeopathic programme which is designed to clear the underlying susceptibilities which lead to allergic reactions, as well as giving the substances to which you are allergic back to you in homeopathic form to re-acclimatise your body and help it to learn not to over-react to irritants. During this process, we will establish your constitutional picture and also treat any acutes as they arise.

fieldflowers.jpgAdvantages: This long-term approach may require one or two repetitions in subsequent years but will lead to a noticeable reduction in symptoms this year, aiming for total remission. This is well worth doing for children, since this course of treatment should give them lifelong freedom, which means no worries when they're older and sitting all those important examinations in the spring and summer when hayfever is at its worst. You can also start now - in fact, now is the ideal time! The programme is designed to run from NOW through to the Spring to prepare you for the worst, and includes prescribing throughout the summer.

Disadvantages: I can't think of any! The standard fee for this course of treatment is normally £100.00 but I am offering the full programme for £85.00 if you make your initial enquiry by email. I do recommend you start your programme as soon as possible to get the full benefit this year. Please make your initial enquiry to linda@homeopathyresource.com, or give me a ring on 01494 416376.

THE SCIENTIFIC BITS

DOES HOMEOPATHY WORK FOR HAYFEVER?

Homoeopathy and Hayfever

The assertion by sceptics that homoeopathic remedies are useful only as placebos was to all intents and purposes refuted nearly ten years ago in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 144 active hay fever sufferers. Scientists compared the effects of a homoeopathic preparation of mixed grass pollens with a placebo preparation.

The homoeopathically treated patients showed a significant reduction in both patient and doctor assessed symptom scores, and the significance of this response was increased when results were adjusted to take account for pollen count.

Although more of the patients receiving the homoeopathic remedy experienced initial aggravation of symptoms than those patients in the placebo group, this was followed by a marked and sustained improvement that led the researchers to conclude that homoeopathic remedies could halve the need for antihistamines for hay fever sufferers.

Is homoeopathy a placebo response? Controlled trial of homoeopathic potency, with pollen in hayfever as model. Reilly DT; Taylor MA; McSharry C; Aitchison T Lancet (ENGLAND) Oct 18 1986, 2 (8512) p881-6.

New homoeopathic remedy for hay fever

Researchers in Austria recently evaluated the efficacy of homoeopathic preparation of Galphimia glauca compared to placebo in the treatment of pollinosis (hay fever).

There have been 7 randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials and 4 further trials which were not placebo-controlled (1 was randomized and controlled, 1 prospective and uncontrolled and 2 retrospective and uncontrolled) performed between 1980 and 1989.

Exclusion and inclusion criteria were identical over all trials. In total 1038 ambulatory patients who suffered from acute pollinosis (752 in placebo-controlled trials) entered the analysis. The overall rate of improved eye-symptoms was about between 1.09 and 1.43 times higher in the treatment group than in the placebo group. Treatment success rate was found to be on average 79.3% (74.1% to 85.0%.)

Across the single studies, the results were highly comparable (except for one study which was run in 1985) and showed a significant superiority of Galphimia glauca over placebo treatments. Estimates of treatment success rates were found to be comparable with those of conventional antihistamines, with the added advantage that no side effects occurred when homeopathy was used.

Ludtke R; Wiesenauer M. (A meta-analysis of homoeopathic treatment of pollinosis with Galphimia glauca) Eine Metaanalyse der homopathischen Behandlung der Pollinosis mit Galphimia glauca. Wien Med Wochenschr (Austria) 1997, 147 (14) p323-7

Conventional nasal spray versus homoeopathic Luffa comp in hay fever

German researchers compared the efficacy and tolerance of a homoeopathic nasal spray for hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) with conventional intranasal cromolyn sodium therapy. 146 patients with hayfever symptoms participated in the randomised, double-blind trial lasting 42 days. The homoeopathic remedy (Luffa comp. - Heel trade mark Nasal Spray), 0.14 ml per application, 4 times per day consisted of a fixed combination of Luffa operculata, galphimia glauca, histamine and sulphur.

The homoeopathic treatment showed quick and lasting effects. This effect was independent from the medication applied and produced an almost complete remission of hay fever symptoms. Furthermore, there were no major adverse side effects, although local, minor adverse effects appeared in 3 of the patients. This results indicate that the homoeopathic nasal spray is as efficient and well tolerated as conventional therapy with cromolyn sodium for the treatment of hay fever, with fewer side effects.

Weiser M et al. A randomized equivalence trial comparing the efficacy and safety of Luffa comp.-Heel nasal spray with cromolyn sodium spray in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Forshende Komplementaermedizin 6(3): 142-8 Jun 1999.

The following article has been borrowed from the Mayo Clinic's informative website and describes the conventional medicines used to treat allergies, so I am not responsible for the content, but I have highlighted the side effects of conventional medications in bold text.

Allergy medications: Know your options

Allergy medications - alone or in combination - can help relieve your allergy symptoms.

Allergy treatment usually starts with avoiding the substances (allergens) that cause your signs and symptoms. If you can minimize your exposure to allergens - which may include everything from pollen, mold, pet dander and dust mites to certain foods, drugs and chemicals - you'll have less sneezing, coughing and itching.

But because you can't always avoid everything that triggers your allergies, your doctor may prescribe allergy medication. The right medication or combination of medications depends on the allergy symptoms you have. Allergy medications are available in pill, liquid, nasal spray, eyedrop and topical (applied to the skin) forms, some over-the-counter and others by prescription only. To make the best choice, get advice from your doctor, and find out which medications are best for different symptoms.

The main types of allergy medications are:

  • Corticosteroids. These medications help prevent and treat the inflammation associated with allergic conditions.
  • Antihistamines. These drugs block histamine, an inflammatory chemical released by your immune system during an allergic reaction.
  • Decongestants. These drugs relieve nasal and sinus congestion.
  • Leukotriene modifiers. These medications block the effects of leukotrienes, inflammatory chemicals released by your immune system during an allergic reaction.
  • Mast cell stabilizers. These preparations prevent the release of histamine.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids help prevent and treat the inflammation associated with most allergic conditions, although the site and severity of inflammation varies. Except for some over-the-counter skin creams, corticosteroid medications usually are available only by prescription. They include:

  • Nasal sprays. Corticosteroid medications sprayed in the nostrils are the preferred treatment for hay fever because they help prevent and relieve nasal stuffiness, sneezing and an itchy, runny nose. Examples include budesonide (Rhinocort), mometasone (Nasonex), fluticasone (Flonase) and triamcinolone (Nasacort). Although these medications aren't usually immediately effective, you may start to notice improvement after you've used them regularly for days or even a week or two. Nasal corticosteroids are generally safe for extended use. Mild side effects may include an unpleasant smell or taste, or irritation, crusting and bleeding in your nose. Nasal irritation may be especially noticeable during the winter. Rarely, more serious side effects can include sinus damage and infection. Unlike steroids taken by mouth or inhaled deeply through an inhaler or nebulizer, most nasal steroids don't appear to reduce bone density or affect growth in children. Still, to be on the safe side, doctors usually prescribe the lowest effective dose of nasal corticosteroids.
  • Eyedrops. Corticosteroid drops formulated for the eyes relieve the redness, tearing and itching caused by hay fever and allergic conjunctivitis. Examples include dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexair, others), fluorometholone (Eflone, Fluor-Op, others) and prednisolone (AK-Pred, Econopred, others). They shouldn't be used if you have glaucoma or an eye infection. They can cause side effects such as blurred vision. Because they've been shown to cause birth defects in animals, you may be advised to avoid them if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Also, if you wear contact lenses, corticosteroid eyedrops increase your risk of eye infections, so you may be advised to switch to eye glasses during treatment.
  • Skin creams. Best for relieving the scaling and itching caused by eczema (atopic dermatitis), corticosteroid skin creams come in different strengths. Low-potency skin creams include hydrocortisone (Allercort, Dermacort, others). Medium to very high potency skin creams include triamcinolone (Aristocort, Flutex, others). Although such skin creams are usually safe, they can sometimes cause skin irritation and discoloration.
  • Pills, liquids. Oral corticosteroids such as prednisone (Cordrol, Dexasone, others) are sometimes used to treat severe allergy symptoms. Because the long-term use of such medications can cause severe side effects such as cataracts, osteoporosis and muscle weakness, they're usually prescribed only for short periods of time.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines block the action of histamine, an inflammatory chemical released by your immune system during an allergic reaction. Blocking histamine reduces such symptoms as redness, swelling, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and hives (urticaria). Prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines include:

  • Pills, liquids. Over-the-counter oral antihistamines include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) and clemastine (Tavist). Because these older, first-generation antihistamines may make you sleepy, avoid using them before driving or operating heavy machinery. Newer, second-generation antihistamines - such as loratadine (Claritin), which is available over-the-counter - are less likely to cause sedation. Fexofenadine (Allegra) is a nonsedating prescription antihistamine. Another prescription antihistamine, cetirizine (Zyrtec), has an intermediate risk of causing drowsiness or driving impairment.
  • Nasal sprays. The prescription antihistamine azelastine (Astelin) is effective for hay fever, but may cause drowsiness.
  • Eyedrops. Prescription eyedrops include emedastine (Emadine), levocabastine (Livostin) and olopatadine (Patanol). Side effects may include redness, tearing, headache and mild stinging or burning. Antihistamine eyedrops increase the risk of eye inflammation for contact lens wearers, so you're safer wearing glasses during treatment.

Decongestants

Decongestants relieve nasal and sinus congestion caused by hay fever, as well as eye congestion caused by allergic conjunctivitis. Usually available over-the-counter, they include:

  • Pills, liquids. Many decongestants contain pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Actifed, others), sometimes in combination with another drug. Medications such as Claritin-D, for example, combine pseudoephedrine with an antihistamine. Because oral decongestants elevate blood pressure, you should avoid them if you have high blood pressure (hypertension). Oral decongestants can also exacerbate the symptoms of prostate enlargement, making urination more difficult.
  • Nasal sprays. Examples include phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine) and oxymetazoline (Afrin). Don't use a decongestant nasal spray for more than two or three days at a time because, after longer use, you may develop severe congestion as soon as you stop.
  • Eyedrops. Examples include tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride (Visine). Although these eyedrops are generally safe, your eyes may become persistently red if you overuse them.

Leukotriene modifiers

These drugs block the effects of leukotrienes, inflammatory chemicals released by your immune system during an allergic reaction. Such medications have proved most effective in treating allergic asthma, but they also relieve hay fever. Leukotriene modifiers are only available by prescription. They're produced in pill and chewable tablet form. Examples include montelukast (Singulair), zileuton (Zyflo) and zafirlukast (Accolate). Headache is the most common side effect of montelukast, and nausea or upset stomach is the most common side effect of zileuton. Headache and nausea are sometimes side effects of zafirlukast.

Mast cell stabilizers

Mast cell stabilizers prevent the release of histamine, the same inflammatory chemical that antihistamines stop from binding to cells in the mucous membranes. Mast cell stabilizers may also reduce inflammation associated with hay fever and allergic conjunctivitis. They include:

  • Nasal spray. Available over-the-counter, the nasal spray cromolyn sodium (NasalCrom, Children's NasalCrom) has no serious side effects but may make the nasal passageways sting and burn, causing increased sneezing. Cromolyn sodium works best when you take it before your symptoms develop. Some people need to use the spray three or four times a day.
  • Eyedrops. Several different mast cell stabilizer eyedrops are available by prescription, but none are sold over-the-counter. Cromolyn sodium (Crolom) is available in eyedrop form, as are slightly different mast cell inhibitors, including lodoxamide (Alomide), pemirolast (Alamast) and nedocromil (Alocril). Cromolyn sodium and lodoxamide may make the eyes burn and sting, while pemirolast may cause chills, coughing, sneezing and sore throat. Nedocromil may cause blurred vision or dry, itchy eyes.

If you are taking any other medications or you have a chronic health condition, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting any treatment for allergies, to be sure you're not at risk of a drug interaction or other adverse effect.

Immunotherapy: An option if medications are ineffective

If you have hay fever symptoms that don't improve with medications or if you aren't able to take allergy medications without side effects, your doctor may recommend allergy shots (immunotherapy). Over a period of three to five years, you receive regular injections containing allergen extracts. The goal is to desensitize you to specific allergens and decrease or eliminate your need for medications.

Immunotherapy may be especially effective if you're allergic to cat dander, dust mites or pollen produced by trees, grass and weeds. In children, immunotherapy may help prevent the development of asthma. Rarely, immunotherapy injections can cause a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

I'm not sure that regular injections over three to five years would really go down well with many people, and it sounds like a pretty drastic alternative, especially for a child! I hope this article has helped you decide that HOMEOPATHY is your best option if you don't want to or can't take allergy medications. If I can be of any further assistance, please contact me.

Posted on February 14, 2006 10:25 PM

Written by Linda Lloyd, MLCHom, DipHEAR, FARH
Contact Linda on 01494 416376 or email Linda@HomeopathyResource.com. You can sign up for her free newsletter and download some useful free articles from her website at www.HomeopathyResource.com.

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