Allergic rhinitis

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Allergic rhinitis is a collection of symptoms, predominantly in the nose and eyes, caused by airborne particles of dust, dander, or plant pollens in people who are allergic to these substances. When these symptoms are caused by pollen, the allergic rhinitis is commonly called hay fever. [1]

Contents

Causes

Allergies are caused by an over-sensitive immune response. The immune system normally protects the body against harmful substances such as bacteria and viruses. Allergy symptoms occurs when the immune system reacts to substances (allergens) that are generally harmless and in most people do not cause an immune response. When a person with allergies breathes in an allergen such as pollen or dust, antibodies are produced. When the antibodies are stimulated by pollen and dust, histamine and other chemicals are released. This causes itching, swelling, and mucus production. Symptoms vary from person to person. Very sensitive individuals can experience hives or other rashes.

Hay fever involves an allergic reaction to pollen. A similar reaction occurs with allergy to mold, animal dander, dust, and similar inhaled allergens. The pollens that cause hay fever vary from person to person and from region to region. Large, visible pollens are seldom responsible for hay fever. Tiny, hard to see pollens more often cause hay fever. Examples of plants commonly responsible for hay fever include trees (deciduous and evergreen), grasses, ragweed, etc. The amount of pollen in the air can play a role in whether hay fever symptoms develop. Hot, dry, windy days are more likely to have increased amounts of pollen in the air than cool, damp, rainy days when most pollen is washed to the ground.

Some disorders may be associated with allergies. These include eczema and asthma. Allergies are common. The genes and environmental conditions may make one more prone to allergies.

Symptoms

Symptoms include coughing, headache, itching nose, mouth, eyes, throat, skin, or any area, runny nose, problems with smell, sneezing, stuffy nose (nasal congestion), tearing eyes, sore throat and wheezing.

Exams and tests

The history of symptoms is important in diagnosing allergic rhinitis, including whether the symptoms vary according to time of day or the season, exposure to pets or other allergens, and diet changes. Allergy testing may reveal the specific allergens the person is reacting to. Skin testing is the most common method of allergy testing. This may include scratch, patch, or other tests. The RAST blood test may also help determine which allergens one is sensitive to.

CAM therapies for allergic rhinitis

Ayurveda

Since Ayurveda believes in balancing the three doshas present in the human body thus treating the disease on the whole, it considers Allergic Rhinitis as a Kapha-Pitta disorder. From the Ayurvedic perspective Allergic Rhinitis is due to the toxins present in the body (ama) and due to the low immunity. Ama aggravates the levels of Pitta and Kapha in the body, giving rise to different symptoms of allergies. The following are helpful in allergic rhinitis.

Slice of ginger, pepper and cardamom can be added in the tea and taken. Honey with half the amount of lemon juice can be taken early in the morning for few weeks. Two spoons of Apple cider vinegar and a bit of honey to a glass of cooled boiled water would also be helpful when taken early in the morning. Chamomile tea has good effect if taken twice a day. One cup of Indian gooseberry mixed with two tea spoon of honey is prescribed by ayurvedics. The dosage is twice a day. Pouring two to three drops of coconut oil into the nostrils at bedtime could provide relief. Ayurvedic treatment procedure involves inducing therapeutic vomiting which helps in balancing Kapha. Herbs like santalum, cardamom and licorice can be boiled in water (ratio 1:4) and reduced to quarter of the quantity. Drinking this often will help in preventing the aggravation of Pitta dosha. Taking two tablets of guduchi thrice a day or consuming tea made of camphor, cloves and basil for about two weeks will help prevent the aggravation of Kapha. Consuming herbs like Evening Primrose, nettle and Butterbur are also useful in treating allergic rhinitis. Amrutharishta, Sudarsanasava, Dasamoola kaduthryam qwath, Indukantham qwath, Amruthotharam qwath, Septilin tablet and syrup, Step syrup and tablet, etc. are the commonly used medicines.

Homeopathy

Frequently prescribed medicines for allergic rhinitis are in the following paragraphs. [2][3][4]

Allium cepa is a well-known homeopathic remedy for acute allergic coryza. Acrid nasal discharge and bland lachrymation are the key symptoms. There is a feeling of a lump at root of nose. Ambrosia Artimisiaefolia is a rare remedy used in hay fever. While Allium cepa covers bland lachrymation, this remedy is for lachrymation with itching of eyelids. During initial stages symptoms could be of watery coryza, sneezing and stuffed up feeling of nose, latter becomes irritating cough and asthmatic attacks. Aralia racemosa is a frequently used remedy in allergic asthmatic condition. Frequent sneezing caused by least current of air, with copious watery and excoriating discharge, and dry cough worse by lying down are the main indications. There may be a gastric disturbance associated with these indications.

Euphrasia officinalis is another frequently used remedy for hay fever. It is always compared with Allium cepa, because symptoms of both remedies manifest in both nose and eyes. While Allium cepa is for acrid coryza and bland lachrymation, in contrast, Euphrasia for fluent bland coryza with acrid lachrymation. There is thick and excoriating discharge from the eyes. Galphimia glauca is a remedy homoeopathically proven few decades ago and clinical experimentation done by a group of German doctors from 1964 to 1966 in whole variety for allergic infections. It has been claimed and successfully used homoeopathically often for hypersensitivity to weather changes. It produces increased secretion from the nasal and ocular mucous membranes with excessive sneezing. Eyelids are oedematous. Histaminum is a remedy established in 1950s. It covers pruritis of nose with sneezing, dryness and blockage of nostrils. Feeling of heat and pruritis of edge of the eyelids, which is better by cold.

Rosa damascena is often used in the beginning of allergic rhinitis. Sneezing and watering with pain in the ear are the peculiar symptoms to call for this remedy. Acute partial deafness may be associated with main symptoms. Sabadilla is a frequently used remedy for coryza with severe lachrymation and pain in the frontal head. Spasmodic sneezing with copious, watery discharge from the nose. Solanum lycopersicum is a rare remedy, but many homoeopaths frequently think this remedy when they come across hay fever. It is indicated for fluent watery nasal discharge with severe body ache. Allergy from house dust, with itching of the nose. Patient always prefers to be in indoors, due to fear of dust.

Acupuncture

Naturopathy

References

  1. Allergic rhinitis
  2. Pocket Manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica, William Boericke
  3. A compendium of Rare & Clinically Established Mother Tinctures, Dr. P. N Varma et al. published by Schwabe India
  4. Materia Medica of New Homeopathic Remedies, Julian. O. A.
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