Spring is just around the corner for the Southern hemisphere, and while this is good news for some, many others are anticipating the return (or exacerbation) of their allergic rhinitis, also known as hayfever. While pharmaceutical drugs are so often either ineffective or carry side effects that can range from annoying to dangerous, fortunately homeopathy offers effective treatment options.
Many think that homeopathy’s success depends on the placebo effect. However, this assumption has been questioned in a study (n=144) comparing a homeopathic preparation of grass pollens with a placebo. No evidence was found to support the idea that homeopathy is merely a placebo, and patients showed a significant reduction in allergy symptoms. The significance was only increased once those performing the study adjusted the results for the amount of pollen exposure. Those receiving homeopathic medicine also had their need for antihistamines cut down by half. Another saw significant improvements in quality-of-life questionnaires taken by the homeopathic treatment group compared to the placebo, over the 4 weeks that the study was performed. This trial involved people with moderate to severe allergies, and although it was only deemed preliminary, it still suggested that homeopathy is more than placebo.
A small German study found that the remedy known as Galphimia glauca was 83% effective (34/41) in relieving pollen allergies, compared with 47% ‘effectiveness’ for the placebo. Similar results were found in a meta-analysis of studies where patients (n=1,038) were all treated with Galphimia glauca, as the average success rate among the treatment groups was 79.3%. The authors described this as comparable to the effectiveness of antihistamines, however without the side effects. Additionally, the efficacy of a nasal spray containing homeopathic preparations of Luffa operculata, Galphimia glauca, histamine and sulfur as compared to placebo was tested on 146 patients. The effects were quick and lasting, with the hayfever symptoms going into an almost complete remission.
Besides Galphimia glauca, Boericke’s Pocket Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica lists many remedies for hayfever. These include Ambrosia artemisiifolia; Aralia racemosa; Euphrasia officinalis; Lachesis muta and Sinapis nigra. While some health issues, such as hayfever, have many possible remedies, one can choose the best remedy by looking at the patient’s specific “person-picture”. For example, Sinapis nigra is indicated for someone with a hacking cough that is better when lying down and alternately stopped nostrils, in particular the left one for the entire day. Other indications for this remedy are sneezing; nostrils that are dry at the front and have cold-feeling mucus at the back; watering eyes and acrid discharge.
So in conclusion, homeopathy is an effective treatment option for people affected by allergic rhinitis, but visiting a qualified homeopath is advisable in order to receive the correct remedy for the individual case.
Pocket Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica, William and Oscar E. Boericke