Hay fever is rarely a serious condition, but anyone that has ever suffered from it knows how horrible you can feel, and that usually weeks at a time! You may go through life with your eyes closed because they feel like they have sand in them. Or you may hardly be able to keep a conversation because you’re sneezing continuously!
Over the counter antihistamines suppress this allergic reaction. However, they only work for a short time and they often come with a tricky sideeffect: drowsiness. Not exactly a great tradeoff if you are a busy mom, are expected at work, are studying for exams or try to have a social life. These also do not solve the underlying cause of your hay fever and often increased dosages are needed to continue to suppress the symptoms.
The deal with an allergic reaction is that the body is basically saying: “Hey, there is something out there, and I don’t like it!”. By suppressing this reaction, you are telling it to just get on with it instead of helping it address why exactly it is overreacting to substances which are not really harmful.
How can homeopathy help me with my hay fever?
The ideal way to deal with hay fever is therefore not to suppress it, but to help the body in the process in a natural way. Avoiding pollen in spring or summer is not really realistic, so it’s lucky that nature has given plenty of options to alleviate symptoms without suppressing them. Homeopathic remedies is one of those options and they are used in two ways in hay fever.
The first is during hay fever season itself to just help with the symptoms of the eyes, nose, and throat or breathlessness. Sometimes patients never get their symptoms back again after only taking such a remedy a few times or even only once. More common though is that patients take remedies during the whole season for their symptoms and then get treatment in winter to deal with the cause of the allergies. Dealing with the cause is the second way homeopathy is used in hay fever. The cause is addressed so that symptoms are much less the following hay fever season.
As this year’s cold April comes to an end, it is a good time to start to introduce some homeopathic remedies for your self-help. To make those remedies work for you, it is important to understand the action of Homeopathy which is based on the principle that you can treat ‘like with like’, that is, a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat similar symptoms. For example, cutting an onion can lead to streaming eyes and nose – that’s why the onion bulb Allium Cepa when made into a homeopathic remedy acts according to this principle and helps to relief those specific hay fever symptoms.
Patients’ hay fever symptoms can range anything from blocked or runny nose, frequent sneezing fits and itchy palate to breathing difficulties and serious inflammation with swelling of the conjunctiva This means, to find the right remedy for your acute hay fever treatment, it is important to observe your currently presenting symptoms as precise as possible and to be aware where it all starts off which usually is the nose, the eyes or the throat and whether there any other areas affected like e.g. the lungs or the skin.
This first post introduces you to some remedies which could be useful when your hay fever symptoms are affecting your eyes, nose and/or mouth/throat. A following post will offer some information on lungs and skin symptoms.
Homeopathic remedies can be obtained directly (phone or online) from homeopathic pharmacies like e.g. Helios (helios.co.uk) or Ainsworth (ainsworth.co.uk). Depending on the severity of your symptoms, the intake varies from 1 little pill every hour until the symptoms are getting better to 1-2 intakes only per day. Only ever take 1 pill at the time and stick to the rule – as symptoms lessen, reduce the intake accordingly and stop it all together once symptoms disappeared.
Frequently used homeopathic remedies
- mild lachrymation (watering eyes), burning eyelids, photophobia
- sneezing leading to acrid, profuse nasal discharge (fluent coryza) leading to burning nose and upper lip
- dull catarrhal headaches
- hacking cough on inhaling cold air/oppressed breathing from pressure middle of chest
- hoarseness and tickling in larynx.
Euphrasia 30C for hay fever with a strong affinity to eye symptoms. Extension to throat possible.
- fluent but mild nasal discharge but with acrid, burning lachrymation that excoriate the skin (please note here the difference to Allium Cepa)
- eyes are ‘swimming’ in burning tears, lots of blinking due to photophobia
- sensation as if sand in eyes
- burning and swelling of eyelids
- catarrhal headaches
- in case of extension to throat:
– coughing during the day due to irritation of the larynx
– often clearing of the throat due to mucus formation which is difficult to expel.
Arsenicum Album 30C for hay fever symptoms affecting eyes and nose. Throat can be affected. This is also a remedy for affection of the lungs which will be explained in a following post.
- burning lachrymation with photophobia (in some cases there is a need to wear sunglasses)
- thin burning nasal discharge, sneezing without relief
- hay fever with feeling chilly and shivering
- sore throat with burning pain, relieved by warm drinks
Sabadilla 30C for hay fever with symptoms presenting first in the nose and with a possible affection off the throat.
- dry, itchy nose with congestion of nostril (possibly alternating from one nostril to the other)
- tickling in nose spreading over whole body, cramp-like sneezing attacks
- cramping pain in the root of the nose with the need to frown the forehead possibly with frontal headache
- oversensitive to odors
- great inclination to sleep during the day
- extension to throat:
– sore throat
– itching of soft palate
– dry scraping
– constant urge to clean one’s throat
– sensation of knot in throat
Wyethia 30C for hay fever starts in the throat extending to palate often without any nasal discharge.
- itching of the back of the nostrils, posterior sinuses
- very itchy throat and palate
- throat feels swollen, tendency to get hoarse
- dry hacking cough due to tickling epiglottis
- as if uvula elongated/epiglottis feels dry and burns
- burning sensation in bronchial tubes
- itching and/or pain in right ear
Arundo 30C for hay fever affecting the throat and palate as well as the eyes but often without nasal discharge.
- very strong itching and burning in the first part of the ear canal
- very strong itching in the nostril and the palate
- possible loss of sense of smell
Last but not least:
if any of the remedies described here are not covering your symptoms or are unavailable, the remedy Mixed Pollen 30C can be chosen and covers the symptoms of itching nose, eyes and throat as well as wheezing, sneezing and streaming nose and congestion. This remedy is made from a mixture of grass, trees and flower pollen and can be very useful at the very start of the pollen flying season and at the beginning of the haymaking.
Skin issues during hay fever season usually do not stand alone. Often they are problems that are around all year round or were prominent during childhood and during hay fever season the allergens make the condition flare up.
Very often the skin symptoms also go hand in hand with asthmatic symptoms. Therefore when you suffer from skin symptoms in hay fever season it is best to see a homeopath who can take their time to take your case and guide you in your process towards healing. They can give you remedies to reduce symptoms during the pollen seasons and simultaneously work at the root of your symptoms by addressing your susceptibility.
In the mean time here are a few suggestions that have no side-effects and cannot harm if they are not right for you, but they might be able to relieve your complaints. Remember however that in the best case scenario, the remedies will only alleviate the symptoms and not resolve the underlying cause. It is even possible that the remedies will help temporarily and that after a while you do not respond to them anymore. The remedies suggested are also very suitable if you do not have an underlying skin condition
- Hay fever combination Allium Cepa / Sabadilla / Euphrasia / Histaminum 30c – if you suffer also from lung symptoms and/or nose, eyes, throat symptoms, it is worth trying this combination available at Helios (but another homeopathic pharmacy will be able to make it up for you too). The remedy should soothe the allergic reaction in your entire system, therefore also your skin.
- Urtica urens – for hives, come on suddenly, very itchy. Urtica Urens is nettle so the type of symptoms this remedy helps are the nettle rash type skin symptoms.
- Apis – also for hives, or very hot raised rash, swelling, usually bigger patches of hives or skin fully swollen, lots of thirst. This remedy is made from the bumble bee so imagine the skin’s reaction from the sting of a bee, that is the type of skin symptoms you would be able to treat with Apis. Also suitable if you are not sure if your skin symptoms are actually a heat rash and not as a result from allergies.
These are most likely to help at least soothe any skin symptoms whether acute or chronic.
- Urtical cream – Urtica for the itching, Calendula for the healing of the skin
- Graphites cream – dry itchy eczema
- Calendula cream – Calendula is Marigold. It heals any type of tissue including that of the skin. This is the reason it. Be careful using it in chronic eczema however as in such cases the body is trying to push out symptoms and because calendula heals skin very quickly, it may prevent the body pushing out the problems. For this reason it is also important not to use it on infections, abscesses.
- Healing cream by Helios – this is not per se an eczema/rash cream but it is fantastic for scarred skin. Important is that this is used AFTER an infection or wound is gone and the skin has started healing. Amazing results with this cream have been seen in scars of babies after the BCG vaccine or mothers with Caesarian scars. If you cannot get a hold of this cream ask your homeopathic pharmacy to make up a cream with Thiosinamine in 6x which is the homeopathic working ingredient. Helios has also put Calendula tincture and Vitamin E oil in their cream which have healing properties for the skin and promote it’s elasticity.
Skin care recommendations:
I recommend you pick 1 shower gel and 1 or 2 creams, plus one thicker cream for parts of the skin that are particularly in bad condition. Do not mix and match too much in order not to unnecessarily overwhelm the already sensitive skin.
Especially do not use Sudocrem, nappy rash creams like Metanium, or Diprobase as these creams are suppressive. Also do not use ointments or oils as these are like cling film on the skin. The skin needs to breathe and to be allowed to perspire.
- Put some oats in a stocking and run it under the tap when preparing your bath. Oats help heal the skin and they reduce itching. If you have a gluten intolerance I don’t recommend this method.
- Some people find Epsom salts or dead sea salts helpful. Please try with caution. Although salts will disinfect the skin, apart from such baths being quite painful, they can also unnecessarily dry out the skin and cause it to crack even more.
- Calendula tincture (add few drops to a bath)
- Weleda Calendula Cream Baby Bath
- SOS Barefoot Shower Gel
- SOS Barefoot Shampoo
- Weleda Baby Shampoo & Bodywash
- Calendula cream (suitable for particularly bad patches)
- Neals Yard Oat & Calendula Lotion
- Chickweed cream
- SOS Barefoot Bodylotion
- SOS Barefoot Rescue Cream (suitable for particularly bad patches)
- Weleda Calendula Lotion
- E45 cream
Lung symptoms during hay fever
If you suffer with lung symptoms during hay fever season, things are not as straight forward as with the typical sneezing, watery eyes and snotty noses. It is very important to mention first and foremost that if your doctor has advised you medication such as inhalers or carrying an epipen, in no way do we suggest you should come off these!
!! IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT WHEEZINESS IN COMBINATION WITH RASH OR HIVES IS CONSIDERED TO BE AN EMERGENCY AND REQUIRES EMERGENCY TREATMENT !!
If you wish to reduce medication we recommend you to never do this yourself but together with your doctor and a Homeopath over a longer period of homeopathic treatment.
However, there are some remedies that can support you if you suffer from wheeziness.
•Arsenicum Album: especially when having attacks at night or if the wheeziness gives a burning sensation in the lungs. Often there is a thirst but with a desire for small sips of water rather than big gulps. Usually this is a dry type of asthma or cough, but there may be fluent nasal discharge with it. Also Arsenicum can feel quite chilly and restless with their symptoms.
For daily use and support during hay fever season a 30c is useful. However when having an attack you may wan to have a 200c at hand, but this is not a potency to be repeated frequently.
•Antimonium Tartaricum 30c: very useful when wheeziness starts or when you are about to grab your inhaler to reduce the attack. Sometimes taking this remedy will prevent the need for the blue acute attack inhaler (Ventolin, Salbutamol, Albutarol). This remedy often includes a cough in which either the patient is almost drowning in their own mucus or has difficulty bringing up a little bit of mucus.
•Blatta 30c: this remedy may be indicated if Antimonium Tartaricum does not seem to help. It has a similar picture of shortness of breath with a suffocative cough and the feeling of drowning in mucus. Symptoms that are worse in rainy weather when it is expected to be better as pollen are swept out of the air, are an indication for Blatta.
•Carbo Vegetabilis 30c: this remedy is not just useful in attacks but also afterwards when there is much exhaustion from lack of oxygen. There is marked weakness and sometimes even fainting. The patient may look a little gray in the face or blue around the lips. Sometimes there is belching and flatulence with it too. A key note symptom is that the patient constantly wants fresh air especially if it can be fanned.
•Aconite 200c: during an attack this is a useful remedy if the patient is panicking.
•Lobelia 3x: Lobelia is a remedy for general lung support. It helps the lungs dilate so you can get oxygen in. Taking this 2-4 times a day on it’s own or alongside another indicated remedy can make a huge difference. Some people have even reported to have completely cured from
asthma after taking this remedy for a little while. However, remember that Homeopathy is very individual and this result is definitely not to be expected as a rule of thumb!
• Oxygen / Adrenalin /Kali-Iodatum 30c: this is a combination asthma remedy that is available at Helios Pharmacy. If you have difficulty finding an indicated remedy then it is always worth trying this one.
If any of the remedies in previous posts for eyes, nose and throat symptoms fit your picture, try those as they are very likely to reduce your lung symptoms too if they are well indicated. Especially Mixed Pollen can be useful as this is the causative agent of hay fever, whichever symptoms you may have.
Other things that may help:
•Emergency flower essence: this can help calm down during an attack and it does not intefere with homeopathic remedies. Both the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy and the Australian Bush Flowers Emergency Essence are great.
•Wear a pollen mask when outside
•Be extra careful about leaving clothes outside the bedroom, keeping the bedroom closed, and showering and washing your hair before going to bed to reduce pollen to reduce the risk of nightly attacks.
•Use a humidifier at home as making the air more humid will help pollen drop to the ground instead of floating around as much.
•In an attack sometimes steam helps. You can breath in steam by locking yourself in the bathroom and running a hot shower, or by hanging over a bowl with hot water covering your head and the bowl with a towel, or with steam inhalers. Adding some menthol or lavender essential oil can be soothing too.
If despite these suggestions you are struggling to get your symptoms under
control, do get in touch with me for a consultation.
Please follow your GP’s advice and do not stop your hay fever medication that has been prescribed for you without consulting him first. In addition, be aware that Asthma usually flares up in hay fever season and please contact your GP for treatment or contact a Homeopath for further advice (www.findahomeopath.co.uk).