Hayfever is such a common problem these days and many sufferers arrive at the homeopath’s door after a round of specialists and drugs, including long term use of antihistamine, but often no great improvement. It can have such an impact on life and make the prospect of spring and summer, if seasonal, miserable. Hayfever usually responds well to homeopathy and the best way to manage hayfever in the longer term is through a consultation with your registered homeopath to individualise your remedies.
Good improvement with constitutional care may take two or three seasons, but you should find symptoms much more manageable even in the first season. Visits do not need to be very frequent once improvement has been achieved but it does need to be consistent, particularly in the couple of months leading up to the hayfever season. If you have symptoms all year round this is termed allergic rhinitis and while elimination of the allergen can be helpful, individualized treatment is key. And don’t forget that stress can often make hayfever and allergies worse!
Many people focus on strengthening the immune system and gut function but as a homeopath my view is that a dysfunction in these systems is just a symptom and not the cause of the problem. Very often when I look at a case I see that there is a history of asthma, allergies or eczema somewhere in the family which indicates an inherited susceptibility to the problem.
Often when taking a case the parent (if we’re discussing a child) will admit to having asthma as a child “but I grew out of it”. The susceptibility is still there and will always be there, predisposing the patient to a particular weakness, and this weakness often shows up in the next generation in some form. That doesn’t mean to say you will always have symptoms, just that the tendency is there and may be triggered by some kind of stress. The only way to manage these intractable cases is to address that inherited susceptibility, which we know homeopathy is well placed to do, based on over two hundred years of case studies.
Diet is important in the management of hayfever, as is immune support. Some foods can aggravate symptoms just because they are an added burden to the immune system. Avoiding sugars, eliminating dairy and reducing processed foods can be helpful, but your triggers will usually be unique to your system. Vitamin C, horseradish, garlic, Chinese herbs and mushroom complexes can all be a helpful support when things are in full swing. Personally I find peppermint oil is my best friend if I’m a little sniffy (a drop in each nostril works wonders) and many people swear by neti pots.
Skin prick tests or blood testing are sometimes used to establish allergies. Do be aware that the more allergies you have, the less useful this testing becomes. If constitutional treatment on its own is not enough and you can pinpoint your allergy, it is possible to reduce sensitivity using homeopathic remedies. It is not effective used on its own as the system needs to be brought back to balance first and I do tend to find homeopathic desensitising is not necessary if the individualised remedy is well chosen.
Acute remedies for hayfever may sometimes be required as a backup during the height of the season. Over-the-counter products such as our Hayfever & Allergy Combination or Hayfever 2 can be helpful if symptoms are mild and short lived. If no improvement is noticed within a week or two then a different remedy and probably a constitutional consultation is required.
If you use the Hayfever & Allergy Combination or Hayfever 2 but get little improvement, this indicates that the remedy you need is not in the combination. I do often make up individualised combinations to support constitutional care if required.
Remedies for Hayfever
There are many small remedies for hayfever such as Arundo, Wyethia, Sanguinaria and my own saviour, Phleum, but they are often best selected by a practitioner due to their similarities.
I’ve listed below the remedies most commonly used, all of which can be found in our online store but rather than starting at A and working through to Z, consult your homeopath for best results!
Allium Cepa – Burning discharge from nose, bland discharge from eyes. Nose runs like a tap and may burn the skin of the nose or upper lip. Violent sneezing. Symptoms are usually worse indoors than out of doors. Marked headache, better when the nose runs freely. Light sensitivity, sharp pains in the larynx as if there are hooks in it, made worse by warm food or drink. Great sensitivity to flowers, peaches, pollen.
Arsenicum Album – May be feverish and worn out with hayfever. Feels better for warmth despite fever. Acrid watery discharge from the nose, which is totally obstructed. Sneezing from a tickling in one spot. Light sensitivity, wheezing and tightness in chest, burning throat, restless and anxious. Feels better in a warm room and for warm drinks.
Dulcamara – Constant sneezing, stuffy or streaming nose, eyes swollen and watering. All made worse by being outside, being in a damp atmosphere, smelling new mown hay, getting chilled after exertion or being in a warm room.
Euphrasia – Thick burning discharge from eyes which are very swollen, itchy and inflamed. Bland discharge from nose, coughing up mucous. Symptoms worse in the morning, from warm breezes and wind. Feels better at night on lying down.
Gelsemium – Non-stop sneezing, heavy eyes, puffy and watering. Discharge may feel as if hot water is passing through the nose. Overwhelming drowsiness and weakness during hayfever attack. Apathetic, listless and may feel shaky or dizzy. Exhausted by sneezing.
Natrum Mur – Streaming nose with watery discharge like egg white. Mucous and obstruction may be worse in open air or in the wind. Sneezing attacks or ineffectual sneezing. Chapped lips and cracks at the corners of the mouth.
Nux Vomica – Eyes smart and are very light sensitive. Nose is very obstructed and stuffed up with itchiness inside ears and Eustachian tubes. Nose may run fluently in a warm room giving some relief. Terrible sneezing and runny nose worse in the morning on rising from bed. General irritability.
Pulsatilla – Hayfever especially in spring and in heat of summer and autumn. Bland, yellow discharge from eyes and nose. Awful itching and watering of eyes which may lead to infection. Wheezing and cough worse on lying down. Feels better in air conditioning (generally likes open air but obviously is worse due to pollens). Tend to be of a tearful disposition.
Sabadilla – violent sneezing, watering eyes, eyelids red and swollen, headaches which feels as if head is shrinking. Sneezing is debilitating. Sore throat soothed by warm drinks. Feels chilly. Thinking is dull and slow. Worse outside and worse for pollens especially flowers.
Silica – Chronic, dry nasal obstruction. Thick post-nasal discharge. Stuffed up nose, especially on waking in the morning. Swelling of the nose and face over the affected area. Sinuses may feel tender and blocked. Every allergy attack leads to sinus. Generally chilly.
Note: Silica is really a remedy for chronic cases but it may be helpful for the above situations. If symptoms improve but do not resolve fully a different potency or a deeper acting remedy may be required. Contact you homeopath for assistance.
Sulphur – Hayfever affecting especially the eyes. Sensation as if eyes were full of sand. Rims of eyelids red and crusted. Sneezing attacks worse in the evening.
Family Guide to Homeopathy; Andrew Lockie
Desktop Companion to Physical Pathology; Roger Morrison
Nature’s Materia Media: Robin Murphy
Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information in this article does not constitute medical advice. It is referenced from the texts approved by Therapeutic Goods Administration and is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a treatment seek advice from your homeopath.