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Homeopathy, an Effective Treatment for Allergies

Homeopathy is an alternate therapy with its roots in 17th century Germany. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, initially practiced conventional medicine but was disappointed with the existing crude and ineffective practices such as purging, blood-letting, and the potentially harmful poly-pharmacy measures it involved. He then developed homeopathy, the science of ‘Similia Similibus Curenter’. Although this principal was further researched by Hahnemann, it was first mentioned by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine in his writings. ‘Similia Similibus Curenter’ in simpler words is the use of substances that are capable of producing a certain set of symptoms in a healthy individual, to treat similar conditions in the diseased state. An example of this is cinchona or quinine present in cinchona bark used in treating malaria conventionally. Hahnemann experimented by taking cinchona himself in small doses and realized that it produces malaria like symptoms of chills and abdominal cramps when taken by a healthy individual, thus proving his theory [1].

Homeopathic medicines are diluted into minimal or small doses through the process of potentization. This process retains the therapeutic or medicinal properties of the medicinal substances and cures with minimal or no side-effects. Treating allergies with homeopathy allergies are one of the commonest health problems today. Recent statistics state that respiratory allergies as the 5th commonest chronic diseases in adults, and 3rd commonest in children below 18 years of age [2].

Allergy is defined as a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system [3]. The immune system produces a hypersensitive reaction to certain substances in the environment that are normally harmless. Such substances are known as allergens. House dust, animal fur, dust mites, pollen, insects, moulds, various food items such as peanuts, milk, seafood, eggs and soy, and some medicines generally cause allergic reactions. Allergens typically result in inflammatory symptoms such as swelling, redness, itching, rhinitis or running nose, conjunctivitis, sinusitis, eczema, hives or urticaria, asthma, and in severe cases anaphylactic shock. Individual response to these allergens varies in severity, duration and manifestation or symptoms. Allergies usually run in families, hence people with a genetic predisposition have an increased risk of developing an allergy. Conventional medicine uses desensitization therapy for the prevention of allergic reactions in people who are prone to certain allergies. This involves injections or sublingual ingestion of small doses derived from a specific allergen, by the affected individuals, thus gradually reducing ones sensitivity to that particular allergen. This concept is very alike the law of similars, which is the cornerstone of homeopathic science. In fact a homeopathic physician, C.H. Blackley from Scotland was the first to identify pollen as the cause of hay fever. Interestingly another homeopathic physician from San Francisco, Dr. Selfridge was one of the three physicians that founded the American Academy of Allergy [4].

A number of clinical trials done on the subject of treating allergies with homeopathy remedies have proved the efficacy of homeopathy, with considerable improvement in the symptoms of the subjects. A group of researchers from Germany conducted annual, randomized, placebo-controlled, and double-blind clinical trials using Galphima Glauca, a homeopathic remedy on more than 1000 subjects suffering from hay fever. These studies showed consistently effective and beneficial results in subjects taking the homeopathic remedy as compared to those taking placebo [5].

Homeopathic remedies for allergies:

Although acute allergic episodes can be treated effectively with some symptom specific homeopathy remedies, selective constitutional remedies based on individual and complete patient history can successfully treat the symptoms as well as the chronicity or long-term effects of deep-seated allergic reactions. Here are some remedies that are helpful in the treatment of allergic attacks.

Allium cepa: It is specially indicated in hay fever. Profuse, watery, and acrid nasal discharge resulting in redness and soreness of the nose and upper lip, a raw and hoarse throat, red, swollen, watery eyes that are sensitive to light, frequent sneezing and headache mostly in the forehead, better in the open air and worse on entering a warm room, are symptoms suggestive of allium cepa.
Sabadilla: Sabadilla relieves hay fever with spasmodic sneezing, running nose, watery and profuse nasal discharge, frontal headaches, and watery inflamed eyes, and a sore throat with painful swallowing, relieved by warm food or drinks.
Arsenicum album: Asthma accompanied with anxiety and restlessness, profuse, watery and burning nasal discharge alternating with nose block, respiratory symptoms accompanied by increased thirst for warm drinks, and labored breathing better on sitting upright, nightly aggravations from 12-2 am indicate arsenicum album.
Urtica urens: It is helpful in treating urticarial rash. Severe, violent itching with burning and stinging on the rash and a sensation of heat are suggestive of urtica urens. It also successfully treats allergies that alternate with rheumatism.
Histaminum: It is prepared from the enzyme histamine involved in generating allergic reactions. This is the drug of choice, when none of the indicated remedies relieve allergy.
Some remedies for allergen specific allergic reactions: 

Solidago virgaurea is indicated for individuals sensitive to goldenrod and house dust mites.
Blatta orientalis is indicated for asthma arising from sensitivity to cockroaches.
Rhus toxicodendron is indicated for allergic reactions from poison ivy.
Homeopathy is a safe and effective alternative therapy for allergies. Conventional medicine only suppresses allergies, and seldom cures them. It is better to turn to this age-old system that has proven its efficacy time and again in altering the inherent disease tendencies, resulting in safe, natural, and complete cure of acute and chronic illnesses.

Citations:
1- Samuel Hahnemann. Organon of medicine, 6th edition, 1921
2- Allergy and Asthma foundation of America
3- Dorland’s Medical Dictionary 
4- Cohen SG. The American Academy of Allergy: a historical review. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1979.
5- Wiesenauer M, Ludtke R, A Meta-analysis of the Homeopathic Treatment of Pollinosis with Galphimia glauca, Forsch Komplementarmed, 3(1996):230-234.

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