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It's hay fever time!

Hay fever symptoms can be really difficult to live with and can make Spring and Summer in particular a miserable time. Antihistamines and topical steroids are available to buy or your GP may prescribe them, but both work by suppressing the body's immune system. You have to take them every day and many still cause a number of side effects, the most common of which is sleepiness.

Homeopathic treatment of rhinitis and hay fever is attractive for a number of reasons. It offers an individualised treatment. This is important because even though people may be allergic to the same substance (tree pollen or house dust mite for example), their symptoms are experienced in different ways. Nasal discharges may be bland, burning or itching. There may be unbearable itching in the palate, the ears, the throat, the eyes, or a combination of any of these. Some people may have a tight feeling in the lungs, or a cough or no chest symptoms at all. The homeopath selects a medicine that covers all of the particular symptoms of that person rather than offering blanket suppression of symptoms.

Homeopathic remedies cause no side effects such as sleepiness (which is common to conventional antihistamine therapy). They are safe to use during pregnancy and with children and babies. Importantly, unlike other hay fever and allergy medications, you do not have to take the medicine continually. It's often the case that when the right remedy is found, just a short course of treatment can give relief for weeks or even months at a time. Finally, there scientific evidence for the homeopathic treatment of hay fever and rhinitis, published in The Lancet!

Potency and Dosage

Many health food stores, including Holland and Barrett stock Nelsons homeopathic remedies. These come in 30c and this is a good potency to use for hay fever and allergies. Some excellent homeopathic pharmacies that take online orders are Helios and Ainsworths.

One dose equals one pilule (pill or pellet) under the tongue mucous. It’s not necessary for the remedy to be swallowed.

Take one dose every 2 hours until symptoms start to improve. With improvement, space the doses further apart, taking a dose only when symptoms return. If there is no improvement at all by 4 doses (after 8 hours) choose a more suitable remedy or contact your homeopath.

! Don't forget that chronic or recurring problems should be treated with the assistance of a professional homeopath for the best results.

Allium cepa (All-c)

This remedy, prepared from the red onion, treats the symptom of streaming eyes and nose that is worse in warm and stuffy rooms and better in a cold room or the open air. Their nasal discharge burns while tears from the eyes are bland – the opposite to Euphrasia’s symptoms. Sneezing can be intense and frequent and eyes are sensitive to the light. Symptoms maybe worse in the evening. There maybe a tickly cough.

Arsenicum (Ars)

Burning or itching in the nose, eyes or throat is a strong indication for this remedy. The discharges from both eyes and nose will be burning (but check to make sure that Allium cepa or Euphrasia are not better indicated – Euphrasia has the opposite symptoms). An improvement of the symptoms in the open air, although sensitive to light, is usually an indication for this remedy.

Euphrasia (Euph)

This is a good remedy for hay fever where there is the classic symptom of lots of sneezing with streaming eyes and nose. For people needing this remedy the tears from the eyes will feel hot and burning and there will be swelling of the eyelids. But the nasal discharge will be bland in comparison. (Allium cepa has the opposite symptom). The symptoms may be better in the open air - although away from pollen. There may be sensitivity to light in both Euphrasia and Allium cepa.

Natrum muriaticum (Nat-m)

Initially, there is a streaming, bland discharge from both the eyes and nose with lots of sneezing.  Later, there is nasal discharge that is thick and clear like the white of an egg with loss of taste and smell.  This is not one of the main remedies for hay fever but it can bring great relief to the type who gets easily burned, feel generally miserable, uncomfortable, blotchy and irritated in the sun.

Nux vomica (Nux-v)

Indicated when there is lots of sneezing, streaming from the eyes and nose, and when the person feels irritable and cranky. The symptoms are worse in dry air and relieved when the atmosphere is damp.

Pulsatilla (Puls)

The main indications for this remedy are a weepy, needy, state of mind, together with discharges that are thick, bland (not acrid) and green or yellow.  Symptoms can be changeable, for example one nostril blocked and then the other. Someone needing this remedy are much better for open air and gently moving about (where there is no pollen).

Sabadilla (Sabad)

Long paroxysms of sneezing, itching in the nose with irritating runny discharge, a feeling of a lump in the throat, and watery eyes will all suggest a need for this remedy. The person may feel nervous during allergy attacks, and trying to concentrate can bring on drowsiness or headache.

Wyethia (Wye)

Intolerable itching felt on the roof of the mouth and behind the nose—sometimes extending into the throat and ears—strongly suggests the use of this remedy. The itching on the roof of the mouth may cause the person to make “clucking” noises as they try to scratch it with their tongue! Everything in the person's head feels dry and irritated, but the nose may still be runny.


Reilly DT, Taylor MA, McSharry C, Aitchison T. (1986) Is homoeopathy a placebo response?Controlled trial of homoeopath ic potency, with pollen in hayfever as model. The Lancet 2:881-886.

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