2004-05-14 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

Health & Harmony

DR. Nancy gahlesDR. Nancy gahles

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

We all know about hay fever. Either we have suffered from it or we know a family member or friend who suffers. It is, literally, an irritating condition. It is seasonal, usually spring and fall and it tends to run in families. As do most "sensitivities". Spring hay fever is an over-sensitive response to the pollens from grasses and trees. The person suffering from this type of allergy reacts to the stimuli with their immune system mounting a massive defense in the form of releasing histamines which trigger the itching, sneezing and tearing of the mucous membranes (eyes and nose) in an attempt to expel the offending foreign invader.

Depending on the type of flower, tree or grass in bloom, this response can be ongoing throughout the growing season. It is often difficult to isolate the exact plant that one is allergic to. Therefore, prior to the season it is important to take steps to prevent the development of symptoms. We do know that allergies tend to run in families and we do know some of the lifestyle issues that contribute to allergies. Nutritional deficiencies; low thyroid function; exposure to smoke, chemicals or toxins as well as physical and emotional stress all provide fertile soil for the sensitive reaction to manifest. Spring naturally comes on the heels of winter. It has been my experience that after a long, hard, cold winter indoors with little exercise, lack of light and nutritional indiscretions, we may be ripe for over reaction to the new environment. It is not easy for most people to accept change, therefore, graciously moving into the next season may have some challenges. However, with insight and information, we are equal to the challenge!!


*Avoid sugar, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and processed foods. All of these tend to deplete the immune system and contribute to congestion. Give it two weeks and gradually add back those items that you really need, that is, those that feed you in a positive way. The ones that give you strength and a sense of well being.

*Start eating a balanced diet including the foods of the season. These will be naturally non-congesting. Fresh fruits and vegetables; whole grains; legumes; whole grain rice and oats; raw seeds,nuts and berries and clean fish and poultry proteins. I prefer organic or free range poultry products ( Bell & Evans or Murray’s). Wild Alaskan salmon is the safest one harvested from unpolluted sources. Order a sampler from Vital Choice Seafood at www.vitalchoice.com.

*The Omega-3 and Omega-6 Essential fatty Acids have an anti-inflammatory effect and should be included in your diet via the cold water fishes, such as flounder, mackerel and salmon at least 3 times per week. I recommend Balanced Omega Combination by Nordic Naturals as a daily supplement. Order at www.nordicnat urals.com or call my office. Borage oil and Oil of Evening Primrose are also recommended daily supplements.

*Bioflavinoids stabilize the mast cells which secrete histamine and they enhance the effect of Vitamin C. Take 1,000mg. of citrus bioflavinoids 3 times per day. Quercitin is one of the most effective bioflavinoids. It can be found in a complex with Ester-C and Bromelain to increase the efficacy of its anti-inflammatory action.

*Turmeric is a most powerful anti-inflammatory and I have found it to be most effective in decreasing sinus congestion. Metagenics makes a product called INFLAVINOID that I use. It can be found in most health food stores.


*CHIROPRACTIC care has been shown to increase the immune response and decrease sensitivities to environmental stimuli. Cranial theapy also facilitates drainage of the sinus and helps clear congestion.

*HOMEOPATHY has been proven to be effective in hay fever relief. Dr. David Reilly, a professor and homeopath at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, conducted what is considered the best study of the homeopathic treatment of hay fever. The Lancet (October 18, 1986) published his study which showed that homeopathically-prepared doses of 12 common flower pollens were 6 times more effective than placebo.

Common hay fever remedies that you can try yourself are available in most health food stores as over-the-counter preparations. They are natural and safe to use however, you should always consult with your primary care provider before embarking on any self-treatment protocol.

Potencies between 6c and 30c are fine. Try 2 pellets under the tongue. You can take up to 3 doses. If you have relief after the first dose, you need not repeat. If you have no relief after 3 doses, the remedy is not correct for you. Many people who suffer with hay fever need professional homeopathic care to treat the underlying susceptibility to allergens. In that case, call Health & Harmony Wellness Education at 718-634-4577 for a referral to a Certified Classical Homeopath in your area.


ALLIUM CEPA is for watery eyes where there is a burning, smarting sensation. There is violent sneezing with a runny nose. The watery eye discharge is bland and the nasal discharge is acrid and irritating. The feeling is like when you cut an onion. In fact, Allium Cepa is homeopathically prepared onion.

EUPHRASIA is for watery eye and nose discharges. Differing from Allium, Euphrasia has eye discharges that are hot, acrid and irritating while the nasal discharge is bland. The eyes are often red and sore and can have thick yellow matter.

SABADILLA has many of the common eye and nose symptoms but tends to have more tickling and itching. The nose itches and tickles with violent sneezing, the roof of the mouth may itch and there is often itching in the throat.

ARSENICUM ALBUM has more of burning discharges both of the eyes and the nose. You may see the red, burned upper lip just under the nose from the excoriating discharge. There is a type of restlessness, anxiety and increased thirst that is typical of this remedy. They are often oversensitive people and fastidious.

NUX VOMICA also has the common symptoms of sneezing, itchiness, runny eyes, etc. The peculiar symptom of feeling that you have to sneeze but can’t is one that may lead you to this remedy. These people are also chilly, irritable, impatient and oversensitive to odors.

NATRUM MURIATICUM has frequent sneezing, especially in the morning, with profuse watery nasal discharge. The eyes are red, watery ,and they burn and itch. These people have a desire for salt, tend to recurrent cold sores and tend to dwell on past, unpleasant memories.

WYETHIA has extreme itching of the soft palate of the mouth. They make a clucking sound as the attempt to relieve this itch. They may have itching in the nose, ears and throat and have a dryness which makes them constantly try to swallow saliva for relief.

These are a sampling of thousands of remedies that make up the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia. In many instances, you can find relief from simple acute occurrences. In other cases, you may need the help of a professional. This information is simply that. To inform you of alternatives that are available for further research.

For more information I suggest reading Homeopathic Family Medicine by Dana Ullman, MPH. See www.homeo


For classes on Complementary and Alternative Medicine(CAM) call Health & Harmony Wellness Education at 718-634-4577.

Our classes meet the first Friday of the month from 9:30AM to 11AM.

Next class is Friday June 4. Fee: $15.

As always, I am available for any questions you may have on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. E-mail me at AskDrNancy @aol.com.

May The Blessings Be!

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