Homeopathic Help for Seasonal Allergies

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Perhaps the only thing people dread more than doing their taxes each spring is the return of those annoying seasonal allergies caused by pollens, trees and grasses. The coughing, itching and wheezing can take over people’s lives, in some cases even leading to depression, poor sleeping habits and a loss of appetite. While it may be second nature for many allergy sufferers to reach for their antihistamine of choice, all-natural remedies are also a treatment option and they don’t come with side-effects.

We spoke to Sheila Caporali-Crowe, a Toronto-based Homeopath, about the root of seasonal allergies, how we can help ward them off before they strike and what to use once they’ve begun their assault.

Q: What causes allergic reactions?

A: Allergic reactions, also called hypersensitivity reactions, are reactions of the immune system to an agent that is intrinsically harmless. In other words, an allergy is an inappropriate response by the body’s immune system to a substance that is not normally harmful.

Our immune system is a defense mechanism that protects us from infections. It protects us by identifying foreign invaders and mobilizing white blood cells to fight them. Allergic reactions occur when the immune system wrongly identifies a non-toxic substance as a “foreign invader” or a “toxic substance” and the white blood cells overreact and do more damage to the body than the foreign invader. The allergic response becomes the disease itself.

Q: How do conventional treatments for allergies differ from homeopathic options?

A: Conventional medicine has many anti-allergy treatments, the most popular being antihistamines. People suffering from allergies are familiar with the common side-effects from these medications which may range from annoying to debilitating. These common antihistamines provide only temporary relief of symptoms and at worst; they create side-effects, which can be worse than the allergies themselves. Some common antihistamine side-effects include drowsiness, light-headedness, dry mouth, constipation, difficulty with urination, blurred vision or confusion.

Homeopathic medicine considers the symptoms of a disease as merely an expression of the way the body is trying to fight the disease. Failure to overcome the disease means the failure of the body’s own self-healing system. The treatment is intended to stimulate and revitalize the internal self-healing or immune system. In homeopathy, we need a particular remedy for the individual that covers all of their symptoms. The selected remedy may need to be repeated a couple of times and if the condition clears up then it was an acute condition. Although these natural medicines will not “cure” one’s old-standing allergy, they will often provide effective relief and will do so without side-effects.

Spring allergies can be treated with preventative homeopathic combination remedies. Before spring, oral doses of homeopathic grasses, pollen and trees can be taken. In the fall, ragweed allergies can be avoided by taking homeopathic ragweed or ambrosia.

Q: What are some specific homeopathic remedies for different allergy symptoms?

A: Symptoms: Violent sneezing with tingling feeling in nose. Extremely watery and acidic burning discharge from nose. Bland discharge from the eyes. Worse in warm rooms and in the afternoon. Better in open air or with application of a cold cloth. Temporary relief by putting cold water on face. Remedy: Allium Cepa (Red Onion)

Symptoms: Could have sneezing and running nose. Eyes itch, feel irritated and burn with a lot of tears. Eyes are very inflamed. Photophobia. Tears are corrosive. Eyes get inflamed. Eye symptoms are worse in the open air. Nasal discharge is worse at night, while lying down. Also, worse in windy weather. Remedy: Euphrasia (Eyebright)

Symptoms: Excoriating nostrils with discharge of burning ichorous fluid. Picking at nose until it bleeds. Aversion to light. Skin below nose and upper lip inflamed and chapped, especially in children. Picks lips until they bleed. Burning in many parts – ears, lips, tongue palate, lungs, etc. Remedy: Arum Triphyllum (Jack-in-the-Pulpit)

Symptoms: Sneezing with watery, nasal discharge. Tears and intolerant itching of eyelids. Burning of eyes. Remedy: Ambrosia (Ragweed)

Symptoms: Burning, clear watery nose. Nose may also feel stuffed up. Sneezing and watery eyes. Restless. Tossing and turning in bed and becomes very anxious, frightened and restless during breathing difficulties. Chilly and craving heat. Plenty of weakness. Often feel better in a warm room. Remedy: Arsenicum Album (Arsenious Acid)

Symptoms: Frequent bouts of sneezing with itching and constantly running nose. Stuffed up when there is cold rain. Itching and tearing of eyes. Eyelids red and burning. Frontal sinus headache. Sensitive to newly grown grass and the odors of flowers. Chilly and nervous. Face hot. Better by consuming hot food/drinks or keeping warm. Relief when outside. Worse with cold air. Remedy: Sabadilla (Cevadilla Seed)

Symptoms: Frequent back-to-back sneezing. Dry or profuse nasal discharge. Stuffed up in cold rain. Watery discharge from eyes, which is worse in open air or outside. Cold settles in eyes. Wants to put pressure on the nose to open up the nostrils. Worse in cold, rainy, humid, damp weather or sudden change in hot weather. Better with external warmth. Remedy: Dulcamara (Bitter Sweet)

Symptoms: Incessant sneezing. Constant need to blow nose, but no discharge. Eyes feel heavy. Feeling of fullness at the root of nose. Feeling as if floating in the air. Worse with sudden changes of temperature. Remedy: Sticta (Lungwort)

Q: Where can people buy the natural remedies and how much should they take?

A: The remedies can be purchased or ordered from health food stores but ideally one should consult a homeopath first. If a person is dealing with allergies and needs relief they can start with a dose of the remedy that most closely matches their symptoms in a 6C unit and take one pellet to dissolve in the mouth up to three times a day while the symptoms are acute or heightened. If the symptoms improve, reduce the frequency of the remedy and stop dosing once there is relief.

Written by Jackie Burns

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