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.

Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW Written by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW

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