Homeopathy and Allergy

Cressida Boyd reports on a conference run by the British Homeopathic Association

Dr Sara Eames, president of the Faculty of Homeopathy, explained that homeopathy is based on the law of similars, whereby the curative is made, in minuscule amounts, of the same substance that causes the symptoms. For example, homeopathy would use an extremely diluted or ‘potenised’ extract of onion to cure runny eyes and runny nose, which are symptoms that an onion might cause. Homeopathy is a safe form of medicine with very few side effects.

However the homeopath does not just take a patient’s symptoms into account during diagnosis – the patient’s personality, behaviour, mental and emotional symptoms (such as the feelings the illness arouses) are all relevant. They help the homeopath to choose the correct remedies for treatment as homeopathy uses different remedies to treat the symptoms of the condition and the underlying constitutional imbalance that may have caused the symptoms. In fact, patients like this method of diagnosis as it can make the whole experience more personal.

For over 200 years patients have used homeopathy with positive results. Studies from homeopathic hospitals in London and Bristol where chronic patients are treated suggest that more than 60% experience improvement in their main complaint, an overall well being in their general health, and reduction in the need to take conventional medication.

Homeopathy and allergy
An allergy is an inappropriate response of the immune system that protects the body from foreign organisms. It is a sophisticated system that has to differentiate between substances that are part of the body and those that are harmful to it. The immune system is particularly active on the surface of the body, at the orifices and in the digestive tract because it is here that it encounters the highest proportion of alien substances.

Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, had a theory of predisposition in genetics, whereby the child inherits the parents’ predisposition to certain conditions such as allergy.

The realisation that the body is allergic can trigger a vicious cycle that exacerbates symptoms. Psychoneuroimmunology studies how the emotions affect the body and therefore the immune system. A remedy that only addresses the physical symptoms and ignores their psychological effect will not work. The patient needs to know, understand and be involved in the treatment for wellness to be achieved.

Homeopathy, food allergy and food intolerance
Dr Russell Malcolm expanded on the subject of allergies by explaining the difference between an allergy and intolerance.

A food allergy is characterised by antibodies to the foodstuff in the blood, which can cause a severe reaction.

Food intolerance can be the result of a number of different imbalances in the system including, for instance, lactose intolerance, which is caused by the lack of the enzyme lactase which allows the gut to process lactose sugar.

A true allergy does not necessarily cause an imbalance in the bowel (bowel dysbiosis), nor does bowel dysbiosis necessarily tip over into true allergy. However, food intolerances and bowel dysbiosis can each be the direct cause of the other.

To address intolerance, the homeopath would resolve the organ function imbalance that is closely related to the digestive function imbalance. There are many homeopathic remedies specific to the large and small bowels – indeed he showed us a page with about two hundred recommended remedies for diarrhoea alone!

Dr Malcolm encourages a full investigation where food allergies are concerned. The treatment of allergies is an area that remains poorly understood. As sensitisation to an allergen increases with exposure, seeking treatment as early as possible is encouraged.

Diagnosis involves taking a full case history, including listing symptoms experienced, the patient’s relationship with foods, taking an allergy test – a skin prick or blood test, an exclusion diet then a food challenge, medically supervised in case of anaphylactic shock.

Treatment is complex, dependent on a holistic and in-depth diagnosis with an experienced homeopath, and must take into account not only the typology of the sufferer (eg quick-witted, not very muscular) but also his or her character (eg lacks self-confidence, charming to outside world but extremely shy) and he or she must be prepared to put time and energy into their own treatment.

Homeopathy and hay fever
Dr Charlotte Mendes da Costa gave us a digestible rundown on hay fever and the different remedies we can safely recommend in the pollen season.

Tree pollens are the first to appear, sometimes as early as February, followed by grass pollens at their height over the hot summer months, and the later, weed and mould pollens. She stipulated that although homeopathy can be used to cure hay fever entirely, for successful treatment sufferers need to seek the advice of a qualified homeopath as early as September in order for the appropriate full diagnosis to take place and treatment to begin before the following spring and the beginning of the pollen season.

Homeopathy and animals
Holly Mash, a homeopathic veterinarian, uses homeopathic remedies to treat dogs and cats that have developed allergies to house dust mites, fleas and even pollens like humans!
She believes that allergies are becoming more common in both humans and animals as immune systems become ever more compromised by poor nutrition, more processed food, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, pesticides, increased pollution, vaccinations, increased stress and poor breathing.

Information for animals and humans
For more information regarding animals call 07875 767 403 / see www.hollymashvet.com

For humans, there are homeopathic hospitals in Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Tunbridge Wells. Conventionally trained doctors, nurses and pharmacists with extra complementary training staff these hospitals. Patients are referred by their GP and hospital consultant, and are offered a tailor-made package of integrated care.

Relevant hospital services include:
• Children’s clinic – almost 50% of referrals are for asthma and eczema
• Allergy and environmental medicine – testing, nutrition and lifestyle advice, homeopathy and EPD
• Skin and general medical clinics
• Chronic fatigue service

Referral letters from GPs or consultants should be sent to:
Patient Services, Royal London Homeopathic Hospital,
60 Great Ormond Street,
London WC1N 3HR.
Alternatively, referrals can be made online through extended choice – ask your doctor.

How to find a homeopath:
British Homeopathic Association / Faculty of Homeopathy – register of medically qualified homeopaths www.trusthomeopathy.org / 0870 444 3955

Society of Homeopaths – the largest organisation representing over 1500 professional homeopaths. www.homeopathy-soh.org / 0845 450 6611

For homeopathic remedies:
Ainsworth’s www.ainsworths.com / 020 7935 5330.

Remedies for allergic reactions and withdrawal symptoms
Val Kearney is a long time allergy sufferer who runs groups for the Hyperactive Children's Support Group in Yorkshire and is a member of the British Institute for Allergy and Environmental Therapy. Here are her tried and trusted remedies for an allergic reaction which also work for ‘withdrawal symptoms’.

1. For an adult, take a level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a dessertspoon of warm filtered water. Wash down with a cup of filtered water.

2. Not for those who suffer anaphylactic or potentially anaphylactic reactions. Put a very tiny bit of the offending food in a cup of filtered water and hold one teaspoonful in your mouth while you count to 20 before swallowing.

3. Get some Nux Vom tablets – ask a homeopath or homeopathic chemist for advice on potency and dosage. www.ainsworths.com / 020 7935 5330

First published in 2008

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