As one of the many hayfever sufferers in this country I can truly empathise with anyone who experiences this seasonal condition. In my own case it started when I was 17 years old whilst I was studying for exams. I remember having particularly bad reactions after a stroll in the park in London when I would break out into a prickly skin rash as well as the usual itchy, swollen eyes, incessant sneezing and nose running like a tap.

Other bad years were characterised by not being able to sleep at night due to symptoms of a bad head cold with wheezing and blocked sinuses. However, I think what I found the most frustrating was the complete lack of energy for weeks on end as my body tried to fight the complaint.

But then in 1991 things started to look up as I became a guinea-pig for a final year student of homeopathy who was a friend of a friend. The first year she began by using a remedy made of mixed pollens (like cures like) alongside my constitutional remedy both of which seemed to make enough of a difference so that I no longer had to rely on the conventional tablets and nose spray I had been using until then. The following season the symptoms changed and so did my treatment.

This time I was given the remedy Allium Cepa (made from onion) but had already had some preventative treatment in the winter to try to address my underlying predisposition to the allergy in the first place. As time went on I started to notice a definite shift in the way my body coped with the problem. Each year symptoms became less severe and lasted for a shorter period of time so that now my discomfort is minimal, if at all.

If I do get any symptoms they are very contained to a few days when the pollen really has reached its all-time high for the season. The great thing I find about treating hay fever with homeopathic remedies is that they actually can give you an energy boost so that you feel pretty good generally which helps you deal with what s going on physically. Of course the remedies can help alleviate the eye and nose symptoms quickly and effectively without side-effects.

As with any other physical illness, the person s underlying energy levels on a given day, will affect the severity of the reaction as well as how much stress is present. When stress levels are high this will rob the body of precious energy needed to keep the physical processes ticking over.  So rest if possible and chill out. Finally try to notice if certain situations, food or drink worsen your symptoms. In my case a glass of wine or getting overheated seemed to start or exacerbate the allergic reaction.

Below are a few of the commonly-used remedies for hay fever which you can by over-the-counter. As with any other complaint better results will be had if you consult a trained homeopath, but I know many people who have self-prescribed and experienced some relief from this particular problem.

Arsenicum-album

This remedy would be useful if there were a lot of sneezing with watery discharge from the nose which irritated the skin. The symptoms would be worse at night and may involve burning, watery eyes, wheezing, great thirst for cold drinks and a need to sit propped up in bed in order to breathe. There would be a certain amount of restlessness and anxiety or neediness in this person.

Euphrasia

More commonly known as Eyebright in the herbal world. This is a fantastic remedy to help with eye symptoms generally, not just in hay fever. So for swelling, itchiness, watering, burning etc

Natrum-mur

This remedy would be of help with the usual symptoms of watery, red eyes, streaming nose, sneezing etc but accompanied by a craving for salty things, an aggravation of symptoms when in the heat of the sun, great thirst or a bad headache. Likely to work better for people who have suffered/suffer disappointment, grief or sadness.

Nux-vomica

For hay fever sufferers who experience being mostly blocked up with the occasional flow of discharge from perhaps only one nostril and/ or violent sneezing. The eyes may be bloodshot and watery and sensitive to light. The sort of person who would need this remedy may be tired through overwork or lack of sleep and irritable.

For workshops in self-prescribing for acute symptoms contact Marisa Formicola RSHom on 01473 737384.

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