New England School of Homeopathy

The Natural Treatment of Hayfever

The New England Journal of Homeopathy
Spring/Summer 1999, Vol.8 No.1

by Lysanji Edson ND

Hayfever (allergic rhinitis) is an immune disorder which is triggered by airborne allergens resulting in nasal discharge, itchy eyes and nose, and sneezing. It is most often caused by pollens of grasses and trees in spring and by ragweed and molds in late summer and fall.

This time of year many practitioners see patients who are doing well on constitutional remedies but come to our clinics miserable with a bout of hayfever. As someone improves over time, hayfever generally improves too with regard to severity and duration. Beyond that, it is often difficult to ascertain whether the hayfever is a true acute or a flare up of a chronic state. Whichever it is, the allergic episode is often self limiting to a few weeks. Rather than take a chance on interfering with the constitutional remedy, we can help our patients prevent and treat these episodes with some lifestyle and dietary changes and with nutritional, botanical and hydrotherapeutic support.

Lifestyle and the environment

The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid coming in contact with the allergens. Here are some ways patients can reduce exposure during allergy seasons:

Avoid outdoor activities especially in the early morning and late evening as well as on dry, windy days since pollen counts are highest at these times.

Avoid woods and fields.

Don’t line dry clothes or bedding outside.

Shower and rinse hair after exposure to pollen.

Air conditioners, and dehumidifiers as well as air purifiers with ionization and small amounts of ozonation can go a long way to reduce indoor allergen exposure. Be sure to change or clean filters often.

Avoid tobacco smoke and other indoor air pollutants.

Pets that have been outside will likely have pollen on their fur so you may need to keep them away from your favorite areas and have someone else do the pet petting.


Avoid food allergies or sensitivities. This will often decrease seasonal hayfever symptoms by reducing the total burden on the immune system and digestive tract.

Eat lightly, avoiding red meat, dairy foods and sugar.

Include liberal amount of onions and garlic in the diet.

People who are sensitive to ragweed may experience a cross reaction if they eat watermelon. It is from a similar plant species.

Avoid alcohol, especially wine and beer. Alcohol often increases hayfever symptoms.

For those who tolerate it well, fasting can quickly reduce symptoms.

Nutritional Supplements

Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) has been shown to reduce allergic reactions. It often quickly reduces nasal congestion.

Bioflavinoids work well to decrease the histamine response. Quercitin is most studied but is often used in combination with other bioflavinoids such as catachin, rutin and hesperedin.

Bromelain (an enzyme from pineapple) is mucolytic. It is very effective in reducing sinus congestion.

Botanical Medicines

There are many herbs used in the treatment of hayfever. Perhaps the most common one is Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica). Nettle is often used before and during allergy season to help prevent allergic reactions. A combination of Echinacea and Goldenseal can also be used before and during hayfever season to help boost the immune system. For best results, use this combination for 7 to 14 days then take a week off.


Alternating hot and cold compresses can be used 2-4 times a day (or more) to relieve inflammation or congestion of the sinuses:

Supplies needed:
2 small cloths such as a wash cloth or hand towel
Hot and cold water

Soak one cloth in tolerably hot water then ring out excess water. Apply to the sinus area (forehead, eyes and upper cheeks) for about 3 minutes. Replace it with the second cloth which has been soaked in ice cold water and rung out. Keep the cold cloth in place for about 30 seconds. Repeat the alternating hot and cold compresses (3 minutes hot, 30 seconds cold) 3 times, ending after the 3rd application of the cold cloth.

Most patients know which time of year is most problematic for them. It is best to start treatment 2 or more weeks before symptoms appear. Many patients get good results by starting with Vitamin C, Nettle and Bioflavonoids. As the season arrives or if symptoms appear, add Pantothenic Acid, Bromelain and hydrotherapy as needed. Do not forget the environmental and dietary considerations. Reducing the stress on the immune system goes a long way in reducing hayfever symptoms.

Below are commonly used adult dosages; decrease for children in proportion to their weight. And remember, doses are always dependent on the individual’s tolerance and sensitivity.

Vitamin C 1000 mg, 2-3 times a day
Freeze dried Nettle capsules 300 mg, 2-3 times a day
Bioflavinoids 1 gm, 2-3 times a day
Pantothenic Acid 100-250 mg, 2-3 times a day
Bromelain 1800-3200 mcu/gm =125-500 mg, 2-3 times a day. Dose is dependent on potency of bromelain. Take between meals and without food.

Lysanji Edson ND practices at the Natural Choices Health Clinic in Beaverton, Oregon. She completed the NESH Post Graduate Course in March 1999. She would like to thank her classmates for their encouragement and support.

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