2009-05-08 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Seasonal Allergies, Part II


To the untrained eye, one hay fever case may look like another, but homeopaths know that each person's symptoms and story are different. We are trained to elicit differentiating details— of both the hay fever and of the person. Although the baby's case mentioned in the first part of this column is an extreme example of a causative factor, the homeopath will frequently find circumstances that cause or contribute to a patient's ongoing allergic state. Prolonged grief, caretaking of a sick or dying loved one, lack of sleep, or constant worrying can stress a person's entire system and lower the natural immunity to a point where they become susceptible to environmental stimuli (e.g., pollen, wind, heat, or cold) that they would normally be able to handle. It behooves the homeopath to inquire in depth about possible causes, as well as into the patient's mental and emotional state, since the answers can lead us to the one remedy out of thousands that will improve the person's overall health and reduce their susceptibility to stressors.

If you don't have a homeopathic professional for in-depth prescribing, fear not.

Flowing like a faucet

Descriptions of my four favorite remedies for hay fever are below. If one fits your symptoms, you might get relief by taking it. If not, consult one of the many self-care books for more possible remedy choices, or see an experienced homeopath. (www.NationalCen terFor Homeopathy.org).

Allium cepa, a homeopathic medicine prepared from red onion, may be the one most used for seasonal allergy symptoms, especially during spring and August. People needing Allium cepa will have symptoms reminiscent of the way one feels when chopping onions. The eyes water and the tears flow like a faucet. The nose also runs profusely, and this discharge is burning, causing a raw, redness under the nose and upper lip, often with frequent sneezing. Hoarseness and tickling of the throat may be present with a hacking cough. Damp cold winds often precipitate this condition. People needing Allium cepa may also suffer from various local inflammations and be susceptible to skin rashes. When attempting to find a remedy for someone with hay fever, the homeopath might be well served to "peel the layers of the onion away" and find out about the patient's mental/ emotional state and dreams. Those needing Allium cepa may be melancholy and fear that their pain will become unbearable. According to Vermeulen's Prisma materia medica, they may have "constant dreams of battles, fights, precipices, storms at sea, and difficulty in reaching the coast, of deep wells, and efforts to get out of them." Thematically, this can represent the melancholy and despair the patient feels over their health difficulties. It is interesting to note that onions and garlic, both members of the Liliaceae or Lily family of plants, have long been used to ward off evil and have been brought into battle for protection.

Forewarned is Forearmed

How to prepare for hay fever season.

As hay fever season rolls around and the days get longer, I recommend paying special attention to keeping your immune system healthy. ·Eat whole foods (free of preservatives or too much processing), fresh fruits and vegetables (as many as possible in freshly juiced form), fish (especially mackerel and wild salmon), chicken, but no red meat. By eliminating white sugars, flour, and some forms of dairy foods, many allergies can be alleviated altogether! ·Eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and poor in fried and processed foods. This will help to reduce the whole chain of events that allergens trigger. I recommend flax seed (oil or fresh ground seeds), fish oils, and Vitamin D3 (1,000 IU for adults and 400- 800 IU for children 4- 10 years of age). ·For symptomatic relief, try quercetin, a bioflavonoid that stabilizes the mast cell response and acts like an antihistamine. Take daily doses of Vitamin C (500 mg), an antioxidant that protects cells from the oxidative stress that the allergen exerts on them.

I also recommend black elderberry extract, which studies have shown to be effective in strengthening the immune system, as well as probiotics to enhance intestinal flora and thereby boost the immune response. ·Rest and relax! This is an important but overlooked way to reduce inner tension and induce a state of decreased sensitivities. Taking time to rest and reflect will make your response to the environment more conscious, directed, and less susceptible to the chaos and cascade of histamines. Murray Grossan, MD, an otolaryngologist with 50+ years experience and author of The Sinus Cure reminds us: "Many years ago there was an excellent treatment for uncontrolled allergy symptoms. They would put a person to complete bed rest and in an allergy-free environment for about a week to 10 days. This allowed the patient's natural cortisone to regenerate and he would be well. Today, we give cortisone medication to do the same thing, but it is important to remember that if the attack is severe, rest is the best medicine." (Source: www.ent-consult.com) Cortisone is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands.

These glands can become exhausted in the relentless routine of day-to-day responsibilities when we do not take a "time-out" to refresh and replenish our resources.

Homeopathy leads the charge in stimulating the body to heal itself. Give it a try!

May The Blessings Be!

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