Seasonal Allergy Statistics
According to estimates, 10-38% of children suffer from chronic hay fever and allergies(a.k.a. allergic rhinitis) and many of those people go on to suffer from chronic debilitating allergies throughout adulthood.1 The most common symptoms include nasal congestion, nasal discharge, postnasal drainage, frequent sneezing, and itching of the roof of the mouth, nose, or eyes. Additional symptoms often associated with allergic rhinitis include frequent sore throats, repeated clearing of the throat, cough, itchy eyes, and headaches. Depending on the climate, these allergies may be seasonal.2
Even though allergies are very common, they can have a significant impact on people’s daily lives because people who feel run down by allergies do not perform as well at work. Research has shown that employees with untreated allergies are up to 10% less productive than coworkers who do not suffer from allergies. Effectively treating allergies may be able to reduce the overall cost of decreased work productivity for employers.
There are 3 main categories of conventional treatment of allergic rhinitis1-2:
- Avoidance of environmental allergens
- Allergy medications
- Allergen-specific immunotherapy (allergy shots)
Commonly prescribed drugs for allergic rhinitis include antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants, saline, sodium cromolyn, and antileukotrienes. Some of these medications are given intranasally and others are taken by mouth. Daily saline nasal irrigation has been found to be effective in 50% of patients with allergic rhinitis. It is natural, helps the body to rinse allergens out of the nasal passages, and can be purchased in kits over the counter at drug stores.
Ironically, allergy shots (allergen-specific immunotherapy) are very similar to the principles of homeopathy, a.k.a.“like cures like”. In this treatment, conventional doctors give patients regular shots of their own allergens and over time this helps the body’s own immune system re-regulate. This type of treatment includes weekly shots of each individual patient’s unique allergens until a maintenance dose is reached. Allergy specialists continue to give patient’s monthly allergy shots for several years. Typically, patients do not achieve results from allergy shot treatments within the first 6 months and the recommended treatment is usually 4-5 years. Of the various conventional options, allergy shots have been found to be more cost effective and improve patient’s quality of life better than allergy medications; however, they don’t address the underlying imbalance in the body that causes the allergic reaction in the first place, and many people discover they later become allergic to something else.
Several studies using a similar principle of homeopathically prepared allergens have been found to be safe and effective at reducing allergies. They are discussed further in the homeopathy research section below. Benefits to homeopathic treatment are that it is very gentle because the medicines can be taken orally to avoid the frequent hassle of shots, it has been found to be cost effective, and typically the results begin faster than the 6 months that it takes for the allergy shots to begin working. In fact, the graph below is from a research study published in the British Medical Journal showing that the patients treated with homeopathic immunotherapy had improvement in nasal airflow within the first few weeks of treatment compared to placebo.3
Fig 2: Mean (SE) weekly change from baseline in nasal inspiratory peak flow
3. Taylor MA, Reilly DT, Llewellyn-Jones R, McSharry C, Aitchison T. Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series. BMJ 2000; 321 doi: 10.1136/bmj.321.7259.471 (Published 19 August 2000).
Homeopathy is an incredibly safe, gentle and effective treatment used by the physicians at Arizona Natural Health Center for seasonal allergies. Allergic reactions simply mean that the body’s immune system is out of balance and is having an overly robust reaction to certain environmental stressors such as dust, pollen, mites, and foods. Because the immune system is working overtime unnecessarily, it causes allergy symptoms. Homeopathy has a holistic ability to help balance the immune system to function more healthfully, which also means that homeopathy can be very helpful for a wide variety of allergies and sensitivities, whether their source is from environmental triggers like pollen or from daily ingestion of foods that children are eating. Over time, with long-term chronic treatment, homeopathy can help greatly reduce or eliminate allergies completely so that patients aren’t affected by these daily insults to their system.
Homeopathic Research for Seasonal Allergies and Hay Fever:
Several studies in the scientific literature have shown that homeopathy is safe, effective, and cost effective for the treatment of allergic rhinitis.1-12 In 2000, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial (RCT) showing that homeopathy has significant objective improvement in nasal airflow compared to placebo in patients with allergies. Read the full-text study here. Additionally, this was the fourth in a series of homeopathy allergy studies that achieved positive outcomes. The researchers were able to combine the data of the four studies to produce a meta-analysis showing that homeopathy was more effective than placebo for treating allergies.
A recently published study of long-term homeopathic treatment of pediatric atopic diseases found that 63% of thechildren with allergic rhinitis had major improvement or complete resolution of their symptoms over a long time period including several year follow up.12Another study evaluated the effects of homeopathy in the treatment of respiratory conditions with a cost-benefit analysis. In that study, they found that in the first year of homeopathic treatment there was a 62.9% reduction in the consumption of conventional medicine allergy drugs and in the second year there was a 62.48% reduction.11 The study also reported that “Costs for homeopathic therapy are significantly lower than those for conventional pharmacological therapy.”
- Reilly DT, Taylor MA. Potent placebo or potency? A proposed study model with initial findings using homoeopathically prepared pollens in hay fever. Br Homoeopathic J 1985;74:65-75.
- Reilly DT, Taylor MA, McSharry C, Aitchinson T. Is homoeopathy a placebo response? Controlled trial of homoeopathic potency, with pollen in hayfever as model. Lancet 1986; 2: 881-886.
- Scadding GK, Brostoff. Low dose sublingual therapy in patients with allergic rhinitis due to house dust mite.Clin Allergy 1986;16:483-491.
- Wiesenauer M, Ludtke R. Edition forschumg. The Treatment of Pollinosis with Galphimia glauca D4-a Randomized Placebocontrolled Double Blind Clinical Trial, Vol III. Stuttgart: Hippocrates Verlag, 1987. 235-243.
- Wiesenauer M, Ludtke R. The treatment of pollinosis with Galphimia glauca D4-a randomized placebo- controlled double-blind clinical trial. Phytomedicine 1995; 2: 3-6.
- Ludtke R, Wiesenauer M. A meta-analysis of homeopathic treatment of pollinosis with Galphimia glauca. Wien Med Wochenschr 1997; 147(14): 323-327.
- Weiser M, Gegenheimer LH, Klein P. A randomized equivalence trial comparing the efficacy and safety of Luffa comp. Heel nasal spray with cromolyn sodium spray in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Forsch Komplementarmed 1999; 6: 142-148.
- 8. Taylor MA, Reilly DT, Llewellyn-Jones R, McSharry C, Aitchison T. Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series. BMJ 2000; 321 doi: 10.1136/bmj.321.7259.471 (Published 19 August 2000).
- Kim LS, Riedlinger JE, Baldwin CM, et al. Treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis using homeopathic preparation of common allergens in the southwest region of the US: a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Ann Pharmacother 2005; 39: 617-624.
- Goossens M, Laekeman G, Aertgeerts B, Buntinx F. Evaluation of the quality of life after individualized homeopathic treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis. A prospective, open, non-comparative study. Homeopathy 2009; 98: 11-16.
- Rossi E, Crudeli L, Endrizzi C, Garibaldi D. Cost-benefit evaluation of homeopathic versus conventional therapy in respiratory disease. Homeopathy 2009; 9: 2e10. Click here to link to the study abstract on PubMed.
- Rossi E, Bartoli P, Bianchi A, Da Fre M. Homeopathy in pediatric atopic diseases: long-term results in children with atopic dermatitis. Homeopathy, 2012 Jan;101(1):13-20. Click here to link to the study abstract on PubMed.
Jimmy was a 10-year-old boy with high functioning Asperger’s who also suffered from terrible allergies with nasal congestion. When he began homeopathic treatment, one of the first things to immediately improve was his allergies. Within a week of treatment his mother reported to me that his allergies went away completely, which had a huge impact on his overall health. Jimmy was obsessed with his stuffy nose because of his sensory integration problems associated with the Asperger’s syndrome. This caused lots of problems with his ability to focus and perform other self-hygiene tasks because he was so preoccupied with his stuffy nose. After his allergies went away, Mom found that Jimmy was communicating more directly and even doing more self-care such as brushing his teeth and hair without needing lots of extra prompting. She also reported that he had less brain fog, so he was functioning better throughout the school day and was better able to focus on his homework after school.