Autumn Chill

An iconic Group of Seven fall scene, The Pool by Tom Thomson

Every Canadian loves autumn. It’s the season after the oppressive heat, the season when things begin again, even though we can see that nature’s begun to slow things down to prepare for that regeneration. We come back from long summer breaks, we go back to work or school or projects we’ve set aside for the summer, renewed by the cooler air, the warm colours in the trees and sky, and the desire to be part of all the festivities that come with the fall. Fall fairs, Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, glorious foliage: reasons we all want to get moving again when the air turns crisp.

For many people, autumn’s changes signal the return of seasonal allergies, as well as a greater susceptibility to things like the common cold, and the winter flu. We naturally try to shore ourselves against this–that’s what all the harvest festivals are about, what all the feasts and gatherings around food are meant to accomplish. We’re meant to look after each other, feed ourselves well from all that’s been produced in the warmer months, and give ourselves the fuel we need to make it through the approaching winter months in full strength. So health challenges we face this time of year don’t have to set us back, as they can be easily managed with acute care strategies that help you avoid falling ill or cut the suffering time down to a minimum.

Seasonal Allergies

Late summer is the hardest time for people who suffer with allergies. Over the counter drugs can be helpful, but many people simply find no relief from them or find the side effects too difficult to live with. Here are some first aid homeopathic remedies to keep handy to lessen your suffering without side effects and without suppressing your symptoms:

Itchy, burning, watery eyes and nose, with acrid discharge that irritates the skin of the nose and the upper lip. It all feels worse from being indoors, and slightly better from being out in the cool air; all symptoms get worse in the evening–if this sounds like you, try a dose of Allium Cepa as a first aid treatment. A low potency dose that you can repeat when needed (like a 12c or 30c) can eliminate these symptoms without side effects.

If you find you have these symptoms but notice that the symptoms get worse at night–especially around midnight–use a dose of Arsenicum Album instead. Arsenicum‘s burning discharges in the eyes and nose are similar to Allium Cepa‘s, but the acrid discharge actually causes an intense itching in the nose (that no amount of sneezing can stop) and the burning, irritated skin of the nose and upper lip feels better on exposure to warmth, such as warm air or warm applications (like applying a warm cloth to the area). Where Allium Cepa feels better outdoors, Arsenicum Album feels much worse outdoors, and actually improves from being inside.

A slightly different picture calls for the homeopathic medicine Euphrasia. In this case, the eyes are the source of a burning, watery discharge that causes redness and irritation. The eyes feel gritty and itchy, and the discharge from the nose is bland, even though there is frequent sneezing. Like Allium cepa, the symptoms are worse in the evening and when indoors, but they are also made worse from warm winds. They improve slightly in the fresh air.

Sabadilla is the remedy that relieves an allergy characterized by repeated fits of sneezing, sometimes up to 10 sneezes in a row, and a nose that “runs like a tap.” People who need this remedy suffer from an extreme sensitivity to odours, especially fragrances: just sniffing a flower can cause sneezing fits that go on and on. A dull headache is usually part of the symptom picture, and a few Sabadilla patients have the peculiar sensation of a lump in the throat with the constant urge to swallow.

Arundo Mauritanica, a lesser known remedy, is one to consider when overall itchiness is the most outstanding feature in the hayfever symptoms. The eyes, nose, insides of the ears and particularly the roof of the mouth all itch constantly. Lots of sneezing can accompany these itchiness symptoms, and sometimes the patient can even experience a loss of the sense of smell.

One of the easiest remedies to find is the always underrated Natrum Muriaticum tissue salt, in a 6X or 12X potency. The beauty of using the tissue salt over the specific acute care remedy is in the tissue salts “general” usefulness in hay fever symptoms. It may not help everyone who suffers from hay fever, but it will help those who suffer from sneezing (particularly when exposed to bright light), and watery eyes and nose (which produces a clear discharge). In fact, any sensitivity which brings these symptoms out will respond to Natrum Muriaticum tissue salts. Simply take them as needed when the symptoms are present, using one 4 pill dose under the tongue every fifteen minutes or so until the symptoms stop: then take them four times a day (on waking, before lunch, before dinner, and again before bed) to help keep your defenses strong. I like to have these tissue salts on hand if there is a general weakening of the immune system–especially if one suffers from cold sores whenever this happens. Natrum Muriaticum tissue salt can be brilliantly effective in stopping the formation of the cold sore before it can start–and it greatly shortens the duration of the sore to a matter or hours, instead of a couple of weeks.

Seasonal allergies are really just acute flare-ups of a chronic illness, indicating a general weakening of the body’s over all immune system that disempowers the body’s complex, layered defenses. It’s easy to palliate with first aid remedies, but always remember that homeopathic treatment for chronic illness is extremely effective against eliminating allergies (both recurrent ones like hayfever, and other allergies) once and for all. For many people, the over-the-counter allergy medicines available can provide temporary relief, but their side effects (such as drowsiness and spaciness) are just too difficult to contend with when they need to be alert and energetic. OTC medications suppress natural histamine responses on a temporary basis, and this can be tiring for most people. Homeopathy offers a few “first aid” options that alleviate these symptoms without side effects, and work in a way which actually helps encourage and strengthen the body’s natural defenses instead of just shutting them down the way anti-histamines do.