Once more the annual hayfever season is approaching. What effective remedies has non-orthodox medicine to offer those who can not escape the environment and who suffer each year?

Acupuncture (9 sessions over 3 weeks) and Laser Acupuncture (15 sessions) have been shown to be significantly superior to placebo-laser acupuncture in a controlled study in treating 174 hayfever sufferers..

Phytotherapy showed a higher degree of improvement in a double-blind randomised controlled trial using Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) for one week.

Ephedra sinica (Chinese: ma huang gen) has been used for more than 5000 years for allergic respiratory conditions in the Far East, without undue side-effects. In 1924 Professor Chen, a Chinese scientist, conducted and published detailed pharmacological studies on this plant remedy. Two years later the German pharmaceutical company Merck produced and marketed the single synthetic alkaloid ephedrine. This was soon widely used in orthodox medicine for all kinds of allergic respiratory problems, including asthma.

It then emerged that this single, unbuffered alkaloid played a part in inducing severe hypertension, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, and coronary thrombosis. The use of the herbal remedy was subsequently restricted in most Western countries. Yet the full botanical medicine had not caused those problems, because the other six or so constituents in the plant buffered the action of the ephedrine. One of these, called pseudo-ephedrine, for instance, actually reduces the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. That probably explains how this medicinal plant was widely used for thousands of years, with no undesirable side-effects. Despite this, the plant remedy has largely remained ‘restricted’ in the West.

It should certainly not be used alongside any mono-amine oxidase inhibitors. Ephedra species are found all over the world. In Western traditional medicine (in France, Italy, Persia, Spain and Switzerland), their usage goes back to antiquity. One of its species is the sea grape which is believed to have been a component of the Soma draught, a celebrated tonic for the elderly, already mentioned in one of the oldest Sanskrit manuscripts, the Rigveda, which is a collection of poems of the Indogerman peoples who migrated to, and populated, India in very early times.

Homoeopathy, as well as two derivative versions of it (homotoxicology and isopathy), have all shown very promising evidence of significant success in treating hayfever. In double-blind randomised controlled trial over 42 days involving 146 hayfever sufferers, the effects of the homotoxicological nasal spray Luffa comp-Heel was compared with those of an orthodox nasal spray containing cromolyn sodium. The assessments demonstrated therapeutic equivalence of the two sprays.

A double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial involving 144 hayfever sufferers tested the therapeutic effects of homoeopathic dilutions of specific isopathic antigens, individually determined for each patient by prior skin tests. The use of antihistamines as well as all the symptom scores were significantly more reduced in the isopathically treated group The UK Pollination Calendar could be used instead of skin tests to determine the specific pollen(s) causing an individual’s seasonal hayfever, so as to be able to prepare the appropriate isopathic remedy.

A meta-analysis of seven separately conducted randomised placebo-controlled trials of Galphimia glauca involving 752 patients shows that this homoeopathic remedy is effective in 79% of hayfever cases, improving or removing both eye and nose irritations as effectively as orthodox treatments.

About the Author:
Dr Harald Gaier is a naturopathic physician based on Harley Street. Dr Gaier has nearly four decades of clinical experience and writes for several of today’s leading alternative medicine publications. For more information see

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