The “Hair of the Dog”
By Steven Horn, RH
If you’ve ever experienced
respiratory allergies, you know how unpleasant they can be. It’s no fun to feel
like you can’t breathe properly, which is no wonder millions of people turn to
modern medicine for symptomatic relief. Unfortunately, this does nothing to
eliminate the allergy, which leads people to think there is no cure. However,
allergies can be cured with natural methods.
health issues, such as those Kim Balas and I talk about in this month’s Herbal
Hour Video. These include screening for food allergies (which are often a big,
underlying factor), improving digestion and elimination and supporting liver and
adrenal function. These things can go a long way towards reducing allergic
However, in my experience,
the most direct “cure” for allergies is homeopathy. Homeopathy is based on the
idea that like cures like. So, to cure allergies, you have to take “the hair of
the dog that bit you,” that is, a small, highly diluted amount of the substance
you are allergic to. This concept has many applications when treating
For example, as I’ve traveled and stayed in
various people’s homes, I’ve occasionally experienced allergic reactions to
certain breeds of long-haired cats. It may have something to do with the way the
cats are fed because Kim Balas has a long haired cat that I’ve never reacted to,
but other cats have caused moderate discomfort and redness around my eyes,
constriction of my air passages, resulting in a “wheezy” feeling and fatigue.
I’m certain that the only reason my symptoms haven’t been worse is because I
take good general care of my health.
What worked the best for me in relieving this
problem was a homeopathic Nature’s Sunshine used to carry for animal dander.
Just a few doses of that homeopathic remedy and my symptoms would subside. Also,
I noticed that the longer I took the homeopathic, the less reaction I had,
demonstrating to me that the homeopathic was providing more than symptomatic
relief-it was helping desensitize my body to the cat hair.
More recently, I’ve experienced some
even more severe allergic reactions after working in my garden. After
rototilling or using my weed eater in the yard, I’d experience some of the same
symptoms I got with the cat hair-wheezing, fatigue, redness around the eyes. My
neighbor across the fence experiences similar problems. He says it’s a fungus in
the dust and he takes allergy medications for it.
Now, I may be one stubborn cuss, but one
thing I absolutely refuse to do is take any of those over-the-counter or
prescription allergy relief medications. I’d rather “tough it out” than use that
stuff, because I see people’s health, in general, deteriorate when they start
taking medications regularly. So, I’ve been experimenting with natural remedies.
For starters, I now wear a dust mask
when I’m tilling or using the weed eater or lawn mower. This helps a lot. I’ve
also tried HistaBlock and other remedies which help a little, but have not
provided lasting relief. What did help was a kind of homeopathic treatment my
holistic chiropractor used on me. Using muscle testing, he determined it was a
respiratory allergy and swabbed the inside of my nose, then used the cotton swab
to create a homeopathic frequency to desensitize me. It created rather dramatic
relief. If! have problems again this year, I may just go ahead and make my own
homeopathic out of the dust and weeds in my yard that I determine (through
muscle testing) are the causes of my problem.
Many years ago, I did something very
similar with my former spouse. She had a very negative response to the pain
killing shots when she went to the dentist. It would make her very sick for
several days afterwards. So, we made a homeopathic remedy for her. I got the
dentist to give me just a few drops of the “shot” in a small amber glass bottle.
I filled the bottle with a mixture of brandy and water, then shook it up and
down. I then took just a few drops of that mixture and put it into another amber
bottle filled with water and brandy. I also shook this bottle.
I repeated the same process one more
time by adding a few drops from the second bottle to a third bottle filled with
water and brandy. After shaking this bottle vigorously up and down I gave this
mixture to my wife who took ten drops under the tongue several times a day
starting just a couple of days prior to going to the dentist, and then continued
taking it for several days after visiting the dentist.
The end result was that she had no
reaction to the shots as she had before. We were able to repeat this process for
her next dentist appointment, too.
a similar thing with a friend of mine who was very chemically sensitive. She
needed minerals, but colloidal minerals caused her to break ou t in a rash. We
dilu ted them homeopathically and she was able to take them and gradually work
up to where she could tolerate them. Later, when she tried a formula my midwife
friend Joan Patton created (called Herbal Minerals) her chemical sensitivity
almost completely went away.
had great success using homeopathic remedies for both food and respiratory
allergies. For example, when my office was in Northern Utah, I got three
homeopathic remedies that were produced from locally gathered pollen. One was
collected from spring pollen, another from summer pollen and the third from
autumn pollen. They were very effective.
Herbs and Homeopathy
The homeopathic principle makes its way into
our use of herbal remedies, too. While using homeopathic preparations of pollen
is one way to desensitize a person to allergies, one can actually use the pollen
itself. Bee pollen has long been used as a remedy for allergies to pollen. One
starts by taking a very small amount, perhaps just a few grains and then
gradually increases the dose.
gathered pollen is best because it will contain pollen from the actual plants
one is reacting to in the local environment. One can get the same benefit from
using raw, unfiltered, locally gathered honey, as the honey will naturally
contain small amounts of pollen. However, even if you can’t get locally grown
pollen, Bee Pollen such as NSP sells in capsules is often helpful.
It’s also interesting that some of the
same plants that produce allergy-triggering pollens can be used to help cure
allergies. I know of at least two plants that fit this profile-ragweed (the
number one allergy-producing plant) and goldenrod. At anAH G conference, I
learned that ragweed is a mast cell stabilizer when taken internally, which
means it helps reduce allergic reactions. I haven’t actually tried it myself,
but if you were going to take it, I’d start with very tiny doses and work up.
Goldenrod is recommended for kidney
weakness that involves fatigue. Over the past few years I have had the classic
symptoms (as described by my friend Matthew Wood in Herbal Wisdom) indicating
the need for this remedy. So, I have taken it from time to time over the past
six or seven years. Since Matthew Wood also suggests goldenrod is a remedy for
cat hair allergies, it could be that the goldenrod is what has permanently
reduced those allergies and not the homeopathic. I have no idea what the
relationship is between goldenrod, the kidneys and cat hair, but it may be that
goldenrod is working on the adrenals or some other system involved in the
used a blend of goldenrod, nettles and eyebright to reduce upper respiratory
allergy reactions. Eyebright is actually one of our best remedies for rhinitis
symptoms (runny nose, scratching throat, red eyes, etc.) It is helpful for both
food and respiratory allergies, but I’m not aware of any homeopathic effect to
it. Nettles, on the other hand, does have a homeopathic quality to it. Nettles
actually contain small amounts of histamine, the very substance that is released
by the mast cells that produces the allergy symptoms. Nettles also contain
formic acid, the same stuff that produces the redness and swelling in an ant
bite. So, nettles is another example oflike curing like.
It’s unfortunate that NSP had to
discontinue many of its homeopathic allergy formulas due to poor sales. I found
their dairy allergy homeopathic and ALJ
to work really well for one of my sons who was highly allergic to dairy. His
face would swell and his eyes turn red and he’d get really irritable with just
small amounts of milk. Both the dairy formula and the animal dander formula are
no longer with us (which is unfortunate because they are the two I used the
most), but we still have the Molds/Yeast/House Dust and the Hayfever/Pollen
allergy formulas. Hopefully, if we educate enough people about their value we
can hang onto these great homeopathic remedies.
Of course, if you’re brave, you can
always do like I’ve done and make your own!