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If you have a general or family practice or specialize in allergies
or eyes, ears, nose, and throat problems, your phone, like ours,
will start ringing to announce the opening of hay fever season.
It is fascinating how such a comparatively mild condition can cause
so much discomfort. You might not imagine that sneezing, a stuffy,
drippy nose, plus itchy, watery eyes could be so annoying, but they
are, often for weeks at a time, depending on the weather, pollen
count, and whims of the gods. Many of us avidly await the arrival
of the first tulip to announce that spring has sprung. But just
ask any hay fever sufferer how he or she feels about spring fever,
and you will likely observe an expression of misery or dread. The
allopathic crowd will reach for Afrin, Allegra, Claritin, or Sudafed.
The more naturally informed grab stinging nettles, hesperidin, shea
butter, or quercitin. In some cases, neither approach does the job.
and by Research
You can find many clinical accounts of successful treatment of hay
fever with homeopathic medicine. The following case is excerpted
from our book, The Patient's Guide to Homeopathic
Medicine, and from our January 1996 Townsend
Letter article, "A Quintuplet of Hay Fever Cases."
Todd, a 26-year-old computer programmer, was assured by another
of my patients that homeopathy could help him with his hay fever.
He came in late April in extreme discomfort. He lamented, "I'm
allergic to everything that's not food!" The poor fellow's
nose ran all the time, necessitating his use of half a box of tissues
per day. Todd's bleary eyes were itchy, puffy, and watery. His incessant
post-nasal drip precipitated a sore throat. Swollen sinuses resulted
in a pressing headache. This young man's symptoms were definitely
worse outdoors. He described himself as "thoroughly wiped out,
with little energy for anything but sneezing and blowing."
In the past, Todd's hay fever had lasted up to four months at a
time. This time he came to see us after only a few days, however;
it was his worst bout ever. He reported that he had "tried
everything" orthodox medicine had to offer him.
We prescribed Allium cepa 30C (onion), one of the most common and
remarkably effective medicines for hay fever. Just think about what
happens to you when you slice an onion, and you'll know just the
kind of hay fever to use it for. It works wonderfully for hay fever
or a cold, in which your nose runs like a faucet (leaving the nose
and lip raw), along with itchy, watery eyes with bland tears, and
considerable sneezing. Todd called us three days later to say his
nose was dry. The first day after starting the Allium cepa, he experienced
lots of sneezing, which passed quickly. Then he had a few mild headaches
and pressure behind his eyes. By the time he called, the symptoms
had passed, except for occasional, slight nasal congestion. We instructed
Todd to take the Allium cepa as needed.
We have one patient, Dorothy, who calls us, predictably, at the
first sign of spring. We have treated her constitutionally in the
past, but she feels well except for the seasonal allergies and has
not felt a need for further treatment. Dorothy's eyes burn, and
her nose is completely blocked. Whenever she sets foot outdoors,
a searing, nasal discharge drives her crazy. She calls the moment
her symptoms arise, and we prescribe one dose of high-potency Sulphur,
which resolves her symptoms for another year.
David Taylor Reilly, a highly respected homeopath, researcher, and
educator from the Glasgow Hospital in Scotland, demonstrated the
effectiveness of homeopathy for hay fever (Is homeopathy a placebo
response. Controlled trial of homoeopathic potency, with pollen
in hay fever as model. Lancet. 1986;2: 881). Dr. Reilly compared
the effects of a homeopathic preparation consisting of 12 mixed
pollens in a 30C potency with that of a placebo. He found that the
patients taking the homeopathic treatment had significantly fewer
symptoms and needed only half the amount of antihistamines in comparison
with controls over the same period of time. In our experience, if
you take the homeopathic medicine that clearly matches your hay
fever symptoms, antihistamines are unnecessary.
Treating Yourself for
If you are under constitutional homeopathic care, it is best to
consult your practitioner for a number of reasons. You may simply
need a repetition of your constitutional medicine, or the acute
hay fever symptoms may aid your homeopath in better understanding
your overall picture. He or she is likely to prescribe a single
dose of the appropriate medicine, which, like Dorothy above, you
may need to take only once during hay fever season. Quick and easy.
If you are not receiving homeopathic care, feel free to use the
following information to self-prescribe. Of course, there are over
2000 homeopathic medicines, so you may need one that is not listed
here. However, in our nearly 20 years of treating hay fever, we
have found that the information here will allow many of you to treat
your seasonal allergies quite effectively. The following material
is excerpted from our book Homeopathic
Self-Care: The Quick and Easy Guide for the Whole Family.
Some Guidelines for
1. Only take the indicated medicine if it matches your symptoms
clearly. If not, use another therapy.
2. Take the indicated medicine. If your symptoms improve, then return
and repeat the medicine. If there is no improvement after two doses
four to eight hours apart, it is not the correct medicine.
3. It is fine to use other natural therapies for hay fever, along
with the homeopathy, with the exception of aromatics such as eucalyptus,
camphor, or menthol.
Pointers to Finding
the Homeopathic Medicine
• The most common medicine for hay fever with watery eyes,
watery nasal discharge, and sneezing is Allium cepa.
• If there is an irritating discharge from the nose and a
bland discharge from the eyes, consider Allium cepa.
• If itching of the nose and palate is the primary symptom,
give Arundo or Wyethia.
• When eye symptoms, especially watering, are the most significant
symptoms, give Euphrasia.
• When the eye discharge is irritating, but the nasal discharge
is bland, give Euphrasia.
• When the discharge is like egg white and the person has
cold sores or canker sores, a headache, and perhaps a recent disappointment,
rejection, or grief, Natrum muriaticum is the medicine.
• If sneezing is the most prominent symptom, strongly consider
• Give three pellets of 30C every four hours until you see
• If no improvement after three doses, give another medicine.
• After you first notice improvement, give another dose only
if symptoms begin to return.
• Lower potencies (6X, 6C, 30X) may need to be given more
often (every two to four hours).
• Higher potencies (200X, 200C, 1M) generally need to be given
only once. Repeat only infrequently if the symptoms return with
Are the eyes watery? Red?
Is the nose running?
What kind of discharge?
"My nose is running like a faucet." Allium cepa
"My palate and nose itch." Arundo, Wyethia
"My eyes are watering intensely." Euphrasia
"I have a cold sore." Natrum muriaticum
"I feel like a sneeze machine." Sabadilla
Does anything itch?
How much are you sneezing?
How much is your nose running?
Any food desires or aversions?
Other Self-Care Suggestions
• Use an air purifier indoors to remove pollens from the air.
• Vacuum your living and work areas more often during hay
• Bioflavonoids 1000 mg one to two times a day can be helpful.
• Some people find nettles to be of benefit either in tea,
capsule, or tincture form.
• Sip a glass of one to two Alka-seltzer Gold tablets dissolved
• Take one teaspoon baking soda in a glass of water.
• Take 500 mg buffered vitamin C every two hours until symptoms
pass, up to 3000 mg per day.
• Eyedrops made from Euphrasia or other herbs may be soothing.
• Irrigate your sinuses each morning with a neti pot (yogic
technique effective for many sinus problems).
Allium Cepa (Red onion)
Most common medicine for hay fever
Thin, watery, irritating nasal discharge, pouring like a faucet
Eyes and nose run as if person were peeling an onion
Fear that the pain will become unbearable
Burning nasal discharge, especially from the left nostril, irritates
the upper lip
Red, burning, very watery eyes with a non-irritating discharge
Hacking, tickling cough, worse from breathing cold air
Sneezing when entering a warm room
Cool, open air
Food and Drink
Strong hunger and thirst
Desire for onions
Aversion to cucumbers
Strong itching of the palate and inside the nose, which causes sneezing
Salivate profusely when the nose runs
Ear canals burn and itch
Food and Drink
Desire for sour foods
Hay fever centers on the eyes
Hot, irritating discharge from the eyes but a bland nasal discharge
(the reverse of Allium cepa)
Eyes are sensitive to light and water constantly
Wiping the eyes
Natrum Muriaticum (Sodium chloride)
Egg-white or watery discharges
Crack in the middle of the lower lip
Depressed, withdrawn, and sad
Illness after grief or disappointed romance
Feelings hurt very easily
Wants to be left alone when sick
Doesn't like to cry in front of others
Watery eyes with swollen lids
Lose sense of smell and taste
Nose alternates between lots of discharge and being stopped up
In the sunlight
At the ocean
Outside in the fresh air
Food and Drink
Desire for salt, pasta, bread, lemons
Aversion to slimy food
Nux Vomica (Quaker's button)
Runny nose in the day and outdoors; dry nose at night
Obsessed with business
Want to be the first and the best
Competitive and hard driving, Type A
Frustrated easily by little things
Intense crawling sensation in the nostrils
Nose feels blocked, but watery nasal discharge through one nostril
Cold air or drafts
Rich foods, high living, being sedentary
Coffee and other stimulants
Food and Drink
Desire spicy, fat, coffee, alcohol, and tobacco
Sabadilla (Mexican grass)
Violent sneezing that comes in attacks
Watery nasal discharge worse from the smell or even the thought
Imagines his body to be some way it is not
Itching and tickling in the nose with a thin, irritating discharge
Nose is dry
One nostril is stuffy
Face feels hot and bright red
Lips are hot and burning
Food and Drink
Desire for warm drinks, lemons, onions
Aversions to onions
Watery, burning nasal discharge when outside
Nose is plugged when indoors
Thinking all the time
Nose is blocked on alternate sides
Tip of nose is red and swollen
Disgusted by the odors of others but can't smell his own
Burning pain in the eyes
Warmth and warmth of bed
Food and Drink
Desire for alcohol, sweets, and spicy
Wyethia (Poison weed)
Extreme itching in the throat, palate, and nose
Terrible itching at the back of the sinuses
Wants to scratch his palate with his tongue
Throat feels swollen
Back of the throat is dry and burning
Sensation as if something were in the nasal passages
Constant desire to swallow saliva to relieve dryness in throat,
but it doesn't help
Looking for Further
Assuming that these recommendations bring welcome relief for your
honking and hacking, you may find homeopathy of benefit for your
allergies or other chronic problems, including your mental and emotional
health. Successful homeopathic treatment of acute problems can provide
a taste of how much better you can feel overall with less pain and
discomfort, greater energy, vitality, clarity of mind, and happiness
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, LCSW,
and Robert Ullman, ND, DHANP are licensed naturopathic physicians
board certified in homeopathy. In practice for 25 years, they practice
at the Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds, WA,
and treat patients by telephone and video consultations as well
as in person. They are co-authors of eight books, including the
best-selling Ritalin-Free Kids, Rage-Free
Kids, Prozac Free, A Drug-Free Approach to Asperger Syndrome
and Autism, Whole
Woman Homeopathy, Homeopathic Self-Care, The Patient's Guide to
Homeopathic Medicine, and Mystics,
Masters, Saints, and Sages: Stories of Enlightenment. They
have taught also internationally. They live on Whidbey Island, WA
and Pucon, Chile and can be reached at 425-774-5599 or at www.healthyhomeopathy.com.