I don’t know about anywhere else but, here in Spain spring is definitely on it’s way. We’ve had a week of beautiful sunny days with a slight nip in the air and confused bees wandering onto my balcony in search of elusive flowers that have not yet bloomed!
It’s also coming up to the time when I will start being asked for hay fever remedies especially as here on the coast, we have different pollens blowing in
from all over the area causing all manner of allergic reactions.
Hay fever is caused by the immune system overreacting to certain substances which have been inhaled causing the symptoms of sneezing, watery, red and itchy eyes, runny nose, coughing, sore itchy throat and breathing problems. Due to these symptoms, many sufferers also suffer from headaches, tiredness due to sleep deprivation and irritability. This is not limited to pollens and spores and can also be caused by the house dust mite, smoke and pet hairs.
Conventional treatments include anti-histamines in spray, drop or tablet form, steroid sprays, tablets or injections, and decongestant sprays and tablets. These treatments are not generally very suitable for children and whilst they may suppress the immune system reaction they will not diminish or cure the condition. Many people experience side effects from conventional treatments whilst others don’t want to be dependent on this type of medication for long periods of time.
Hay fever should ideally be treated constitutionally by a homeopath, preferably during the winter or a couple of months before the start of the hay fever season. This will involve treatment for the genetic disposition to hay fever, support and strengthening of adrenal gland function and desensitising to any specific allergen (this can be carried on throughout the season as part of the acute remedies). I would expect patients to be free of hay fever within 3-4 years with symptoms diminishing each year although, I have known people to have no symptoms at all following the winter treatment.
There are many homeopathic remedies that can help to alleviate the acute symptoms until the winter treatment can start. These are some of the main remedies:
Allium Cepa - For streaming, watery eyes and nose, intense itching and redness of the eyes, as if from peeling onions and a tickly cough. Thirsty person with symptoms usually better outside in fresh air.
Arsenicum - Thin watery discharges but the nose feels blocked. May be burning and itching of the eyes or nose. The air passages feel constricted with shortness of breath and wheezing. Feels chilly, anxious and tired.
Euphrasia - For swollen and irritated eyes with acrid tears and pus. Eyes may hurt from too much light and symptoms worse during the day and from warmth. There may be a daytime cough which improves at night
Ferr Phos - Used in the early stages can slow or prevent an attack. Symptoms include runny nose, gritty feeling like sand under the eyelids, congested head and headache which is better for cold applications.
Nat Mur - Violent and frequent sneezing with watery discharges like raw egg white but, eyes and nose can alternate between being runny and feeling very dry. Thirsty with loss of taste and smell but craves salt or salty foods. May seem sad and be irritable when comforted.
Nat Sulph - Blocked up or stuffy nose with thick yellow discharge, watery when sneezing and at night. Bitter or salty taste in the mouth with lack of appetite. Wants ice or cold water. Worse for damp weather and damp conditions.
Sabadilla - Spasmodic bouts of sneezing with large amounts of nasal discharge. Oversensitive to smells, particularly garlic or flowers. Even the thought of flowers can cause symptoms. Redness of eyes and itchy nose with frontal pain. Person may be nervous and timid.
Wyethia - Itching on the roof of the mouth and the posterior sinuses with the sensation of something in the nose. Dry, hacking cough and a tickly throat. May clear the throat repeatedly. Symptoms may extend to pain or itching in the ears.
Diet of course is important so make sure to include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and also include local honey in your daily diet. This will help by desensitising your body to the pollens in your area and honey is also an effective decongestant as well as being soothing for sore throats. Aloe vera has mild anti-histamine properties which may help with symptoms. It would also be a good idea to avoid products containing refined sugar, processed foods, tea, coffee and cow’s milk products. Some people find that avoiding wheat products also helps.
You could also help by boosting your immune system with Echinacea and Goldenseal and there are Hay fever Tea mixes available in some holistic or health food shops. Some of the ingredients used include: Ephedra, Elderflowers, Eyebright, Nettle Leaf, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Goldenrod, Dandelion, Comfrey Leaf, Vervain and Yarrow. If you have a good herbal stockist locally why not try making up your own mix? Use 1 teaspoon of your mix per cup of water and take 3 times per day.
If you suffer with high blood pressure or glaucoma please get medical advice before taking these herbs.