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An allergy is  body’s exaggerated immune response to any substance that it considers harmful. These substances, known as allergens, are normally harmless for most other people. When a person, who is allergic to a substance, is exposed to it for the first time, his/her body produces IgE (immunoglobulin E) antibodies. These antibodies find the allergens in the bloodstream and usher them to the white blood cells for destruction. In this process of destruction, a chemical called histamine is released, which results in swelling (inflammation) of the body tissues, itching, increased secretions of body fluids and narrowing of the airways (bronchospasm).

Most people are allergic to more than one substance at once. Common allergens include pollen that causes hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis, dust, pet dander, food, insect bites, mould and medicines.

Genetic and environmental factors play a major role in making one prone to allergies. A child who suffers from an allergy is likely to have a parent who has the allergy as well, though it is not always the case. Depending on the allergen, an individual may experience symptoms such as itching, rash (hives), swelling, sneezing, runny nose and breathlessness. Skin and blood tests help to diagnose different allergies. Anaphylaxis is a severe form of an allergic reaction which presents as severe itching in the eyes, swelling in the throat that prevents swallowing and breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, hives, confusion and dizziness. It may be fatal if emergency medical care is not provided.

In homoeopathy, acute remedies relieve the symptoms of allergies, while long-term treatment reduces the frequency and intensity of subsequent attacks. These remedies are selected on the basis of the characteristics of a patient’s personality and physiology. Common remedies include apis, arsenicum album, arundo, natrium muriaticum, nux vomica, pulsatilla, sabadilla, tuberculinum and urtica urens. The dosage of the remedy is prescribed by the homeopathic physician based on each individual case.

  1. Homeopathic medicines for allergy
  2. Dietary and lifestyle changes for allergy patient as per homeopathy
  3. How effective are homeopathic medicines and treatments for allergy
  4. Side effects and risks of homeopathic medicine and treatments for allergy
  5. Takeaway

Some of the most important homoeopathic remedies that are helpful in treating allergies are listed below. The symptoms mentioned under each remedy prompt the homoeopathic physician to choose the said remedy.

  • Apis 
    Common Name:
    The honey-bee
    Symptoms: Apis is an excellent remedy for allergic reactions to bee stings and urticaria (hives). The following symptoms respond well to this remedy:
    • Swelling and redness of various parts of the body, with burning, itching and stinging pain
    • Puffing up of entire body including hands and feet 
    • Redness and burning of eyes with puffiness and swelling of the lower eyelids (Read more: Eyelid inflammation causes)
    • Swelling and redness of face, mouth, lips and throat
    • Lack of thirst

Symptoms get worse by warmth and touch and improve in open air and from cold application

  • Arsenicum Album 
    Common Name:
    Arsenic trioxide
    Symptoms: Patients who benefit from arsenicum album have some of the following symptoms:
    • Swelling around the eyes with burning, swelling and watering of the eyes and sensitivity to light
    • Blocked nose with constant sneezing and thin, watery, corroding discharge from the nose 
    • Swollen, pale, cold, and sunken face that is covered with sweat
    • Wheezing, asthma and suffocation with an inability to lie down in case of respiratory allergies
    • Nausea and vomiting after eating or drinking, in case of food allergies, especially to melons and juicy fruits
    • Abdominal pain and heartburn with persistent burps
    • Extreme restlessness 
    • Anxiety, especially about health
    • Weakness and exhaustion with the slightest exertion
    • Thirst for small quantities of water at short intervals

Symptoms usually worsen in open air, at night and in cold air, but the person tends to feel better indoors and with cold application

  • Arundo Mauritanica 
    Common Name:
    Reed
    Symptoms: Arundo mauritanica works well in allergic cold. Patients having the following symptoms respond well to arundo:
    • Itching and burning in ears
    • Itching in the nose, throat and roof of the mouth
    • Itching and burning in eyes, especially the left eye 
    • Swollen eyelids
    • Constant sneezing with discharge from the nose, loss of smell and snuffles
    • Cough with breathlessness and bluish phlegm

(Read more: Sinusitis)

  • Natrium Muriaticum 
    Common Name:
    Common salt
    Symptoms: Natrium muriaticum is usually given to sensitive and brooding individuals who tend to weep easily. It is an effective remedy for allergic rhinitis. Symptoms that respond well to this remedy include:
    • Swelling and heaviness of eyelids with acrid and corroding tears
    • Constant sneezing with thin, watery discharge that looks like raw egg white
    • Itchy hives after exertion or exercise
    • Oily skin
    • Anaemia with weight loss, mapped tongue and a tendency to catch a cold easily

Symptoms are worse between 10 and 11 am, from heat and at the seashore, but the patient feels better after bathing in cold water.

  • Nux Vomica
    Common Name:
    Poison nut
    Symptoms: Nux vomica is an efficacious medicine for allergies in people who are lean, irritable, angry, nervous and prone to gastric complaints and haemorrhoids. Such people have the following symptoms:
    • Stuffy nose, especially at night and when outdoors, with corroding, watery discharge in the daytime
    • Sore throat that itches right after waking up in the morning
    • Sensitivity of eyes to light
    • Itching in ears
    • Food allergies that are generally triggered by spicy, pungent food and alcohol
    • Drug reactions
    • Abdominal pain and discomfort with gaseous distension, sour and bitter belching, indigestion
    • Desire to vomit but an inability to do so
    • Constant ineffectual desire to pass stool

Symptoms worsen after mental exertion, touch, eating spices and dry weather. Symptoms improve from rest and after a good nap. 

  • Pulsatilla Pratensis 
    Common Name:
    Windflower
    Symptoms: Pulsatilla is a remedy indicated in cases of acute and chronic allergies. It acts well on individuals who are sensitive, weep easily, indecisive, timid and mild. Windflower is prescribed to treat the following symptoms:
    • Itching and burning in the eyes with profuse watering, thick discharge and swollen sticky eyelids
    • Blocked nose, especially on the right side, with green or yellow discharge
    • Cough, which makes the person sit up in bed, with thick, bitter and greenish expectoration
    • Swollen lower lip
    • Lack of thirst
    • Vomiting, belching and heartburn with rumbling and distended abdomen

Abdominal complaints may arise after eating pastry, ice-cream, fruits and rich, fatty foods

  • Sabadilla 
    Common Name: Cevadilla seed
    Symptoms: Sabadilla is an excellent remedy for allergic rhinitis. The following symptoms are seen in people who respond to sabadilla:
    • Constant sneezing with profuse, watery discharge from the nose
    • Pain in the sinus region over the forehead
    • Red eyes with watering and burning
    • A feeling of heat in the face

Symptoms worsen with cold food and drinks and get better with warm food and drinks

  • Tuberculinum Bovinum 
    Common Name: Pus (with bacilli) from a tubercular abscess
    Symptoms: Tuberculinum bovinum is an efficacious remedy for those who are lean, irritable, sulky and lose weight despite eating well. Such people also have a tendency to catch a cold easily. Allergic tendencies with the following characteristics indicate a need for this remedy:
    • Hard and dry cough with breathlessness, suffocation and sweating
    • A tendency to get skin lesions with severe itching, especially at night, while undressing and bathing
    • Skin eruptions with white scales, oozing on the scalp, behind the ears and in skin folds that become raw and sore

Symptoms constantly change, affecting one part of the body and then another, and come and go suddenly

  • Urtica Urens 
    Common Name:
    Stinging-nettle
    Symptoms: Urtica urens is a very effective remedy for allergies with the following features:
    • Ill effects of shellfish
    • Big, red patches on the skin with violent itching and severe burning
    • Severe allergic reaction resulting in angioneurotic oedema (swelling of the lower layers of skin)
    • Swollen lips, nose and ears 
    • Excessive swelling of eyelids
    • Skin blisters 
    • Itching and stinging sensation on the scrotum

Symptoms are worse in cold air, with exposure to water and touch

Homoeopathic medicines are administered in extremely minute doses and thus, some dietary and lifestyle habits might hinder their action. To ensure that optimal benefit is obtained from the medicine administered, the founder of homoeopathy, Dr Hahnemann has advised the following changes. 

Do’s: 

  • Follow your doctor's advice and don't miss any appointment. 
  • Try to be physically active; exercise regularly in the fresh air. You can also go out for a walk every day.
  • Take a healthy and nutritious diet. 

Don’ts:

  • The following things can react with the action of homeopathic medicines and should hence be avoided:
    • Strong-smelling foods and drinks like coffee, herb teas, fine liquors prepared with medicinal spices and spiced chocolate
    • Medicinally compounded tooth powders and mouthwashes 
    • Perfumed sachets 
    • Strong-scented flowers
    • Highly seasoned foods and sauces 
    • Frozen foods like ice-creams 
    • Foods that contain raw and/or medicinal herbs
    • Celery, parsley, stale cheese and meats
  • Do not take long afternoon naps as it may have negative effects on health.
  • Avoid mental strain to achieve good health. 

(Read more: Healthy foods and their benefits)

Patients with chronic or recurrent allergies are often disappointed with the frequent use of antihistamines and steroids as these have various side effects and do not provide a permanent solution to their condition. Homoeopathy offers a simple and safer way to manage such episodes and treat the condition at a deeper level, thereby providing long term relief in a lot of cases.
Rather than suppressing the symptoms, homoeopathic medicines help combat the body's immune reaction to allergens.

The correct homoeopathic medicine helps in reducing the IgE levels and thereby the histamine response. These medicines may be prescribed as acute remedies at the time of the allergic episode or as constitutional remedies to strengthen the immune response and prevent recurrent episodes. In fact, homoeopathic treatment not only helps treat the disease but also the susceptibility of a person to certain diseases, called miasm.

Homoeopathic medicines are highly diluted and potentised; hence, these are essentially safe and are not known to cause side effects. Also, they are administered in an extremely controlled manner and in small doses, making them safe for both genders and all age groups. However, it is important that one seeks help from a qualified homoeopathic physician for a correct and genuine homoeopathic remedy and its dosage.

Allergies occur when the body's immune system reacts against otherwise non-harmful substances; these substances are called allergens. Common allergens include dust, pollen, pet dander and mould. Allergies can either be inherited or occur due to environmental factors. An allergic reaction could be mild, moderate or in severe cases, life-threatening. Conventionally, allergies are treated through symptomatic management and by preventing the triggers. Homoeopathy is a very safe mode of medication without any noted side effects. Homeopathic medicines can be taken to relieve acute episodes as well as prevent recurrences. A detailed case history guides the physician to the appropriate remedy for the individual.

References

  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Allergy
  2. American Institute of Homeopathy [internet] U.S Allergic Rhinitis
  3. British Homeopathic Association. Allergies. London; [Internet]
  4. William Boericke. Homeopathic Materia Medica. Kessinger Publishing: Médi-T 1999, Volume 1 Homoeopathic Materia Medica
  5. Timothy F Allen Medi- T.The encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica The encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica Volume 6, New Delhi : Jain Publishers 2007
  6. John Henry Clarke. A Dictionary of practical materia medica . A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica; Médi-T National Center for Homeopathy. A Dictionary of practical materia medica . Mount Laurel; [Internet]
  7. Organon of the Medical art by Wenda Brewster O’Reilly. Organon of Medicine. New Delhi: B Jain publishers 2017
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