The word “allergy” did not even exist a century ago, and yet, respiratory allergies today are the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S. and are the 3rd most common chronic disease among children under 18 years old (Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America).
Allergy is the medical specialty that commonly uses small doses of an allergen in order to desensitize a person to that allergen. This concept of using small doses of what might cause a problem in order to help prevent or heal the person is an ancient observation of healers/physicians all over the world, and it is the basis for the natural medicine called homeopathy.
The primary principle of modern allergy treatment is derived from the homeopathic principle of “treating like with like”. It is therefore not surprising that one of the three physicians who founded the American Academy of Allergy was a San Francisco homeopathic physician, Dr. Grant L. Selfridge. Another homeopathic physician from Scotland, C. H. Blackley, who in 1871 was the first physician to identify pollen as the cause of hay fever.
Respiratory allergies represent the condition for which there is a relatively strong research base for efficacious treatment with homeopathic medicines. For example, a group of researchers at the University of Glasgow published four studies, three of which were published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and the Lancet, two highly respected medical journals.
The first two trials involved patients with hay fever where patients were either given a placebo or homeopathic doses of 12 common flowers to which people are allergic.
The third trial involved patients with asthma, where patients underwent conventional allergy testing to determine to which substance they were most allergic (e.g., dust mite allergy). Half the patients were given a placebo and half were given a homeopathically prepared dose of the substance to which they were most allergic.
The fourth study was the treatment of patients suffering with perennial allergic rhinitis (a broad technical term for respiratory allergies that are not seasonal). Like the previous trial, half of the patients were given a placebo, while the other half were given a homeopathic dose of whatever substance the patient was most allergic to. The patients given the homeopathic medicine experienced significant improvement in nasal inspiratory flow comparable with the improvement typically experienced by patients given steroidal drugs…without the side effects.
When evaluating all four trials together (there were 253 patients in all of their clinical trials), there was a 28 percent improvement in patients receiving homeopathic treatment versus a 3 percent improvement in placebo subjects.
What the research suggests is that homeopathic medicines provide an often effective and extremely safe means of treatment for people with respiratory allergies. It makes sense to consider safe methods before resorting to more risky treatments.
Allergy is a very individual condition so that what your body is allergic to may not affect another person exposed to the same allergen. Allergy is a sudden hypersensitive reaction that presents itself with a number of symptoms following contact with an allergen.
The greatest misunderstanding about allergies is the assumption that the allergen is the problem. Actually, the allergen is simply the trigger, while the individual’s immune system and its response is the loaded gun.
For long-term therapeutic benefits, homeopathy aims to stimulate the body’s own defense system to cope with exposure to allergens, rather than suppressing the allergic symptoms. Homeopaths instead prescribe clinically a “constitutional medicine”; a homeopathic remedy that is individually chosen based on the totality of symptoms that the person is experiencing, not just the allergy symptoms.
Constitutional treatment may involve looking at aspects of the person’s family history, lifestyle, medical history and state of mind to achieve a complete picture of the individual. The objective of constitutional treatment is to strengthen the immune system so that the body does not overreact to the allergen.