Homeopathy for Hay Fever

Updated: Apr 14

Seasonal Allergies

Hay fever is the common name for seasonal allergies, most often to one or more pollens that occur only during certain periods of the year. Hay fever can also be caused by mould spores, which, like pollens, also tend to be around between Spring-Autumn/Fall.

Histamine is the chemical principally responsible for causing all types of allergic reactions in the body. It’s released by a type of white blood cell called a mast cell (as well as from a few other types of white blood cells), which are jam packed with the stuff, into the areas of the body the mast cells recognise a perceived threat - in this case places like the nose and eyes, in response to the presence of pollen.

The histamine causes inflammation in the local area–blood vessels dilate and become more permeable, which means the contents of the blood can more easily leak out into the surrounding tissues – allowing immune substances to flood the area. It causes the membranes lining the nose, sinuses and eyelids and covering the conjunctiva (the outer layer of the eyeball) to become inflamed and to release mucus.

Histamine can also signal muscles in the airways to contract – restricting further entry of the offending pollen - but also causing difficulty breathing.

All this is great if you are trying to prevent entry of nasty pathogens into the body, it helps to protect the body from their entry, but it’s no fun when it happens needlessly, for prolonged periods.

Overreacting to the Environment

The main symptoms of an allergic response can include:

  • Itching of the nose/ roof of the mouth/ back of the throat/ around other parts of the face

  • Nasal discharge which may bung the nose up, especially in more chronic cases.

  • Frequent, sudden attacks of sneezing

  • Red, swollen, watering, itching eyes

  • Frontal sinus headaches

  • Postnasal drip, which can cause coughing

  • Wheezing (especially in those who also suffer with asthma)

  • There can be, more rarely, a slight fever

So, basically, the hay fever sufferer’s body – as with any allergic reaction - is over-reacting to the environment, producing a histamine-induced allergic response against unharmful substances like pollen.

The Body Speaks in Metaphors

This part may seem a little out there to some, but its been shown that even a photograph of a person’s allergen can induce a reaction in more sensitive sufferers - indicating a deeper, psychological component.

In homeopathy we like to view illnesses on many different levels. Symptoms can often be metaphors for what is out of balance in a person, areas deep in our psyche that we have avoided looking at can bubble to the surface, trying to get our attention.

For example, issues in the hips and the lower back –load bearing parts of the skeleton, can be the body’s way of telling us that we are taking on too much responsibility.

Since the immune system is our defence system, our army for deciding what can come into the body and what can’t - its believed that issues with immunity can reflect an imbalance around boundaries. An immune system on red alert, overreacting to what others can tolerate, can speak of an inner issue with conflict deep in the psyche, often beyond our awareness.

Where a person can't stand up for themselves, create strong boundaries or express their anger at situations – this can somatise and cause illness that the body expresses to show what is needed – a stronger, clearer response to outer aggression. These are often very gentle people, who have suppressed their aggression to accommodate others.

Dethlefsen and Dahlke, in their inspired book, The Healing Power of Illness, suggest sufferers might want to ask themselves this question:

“Why am I refusing to tolerate aggression in my consciousness, but instead forcing it to work itself out in my body?”

The Problem with Antihistamines

Conventional treatment includes:

  • Antihistamines, which can cause drowsiness as a side-effect

  • Decongestants, preventing the natural elimination process

  • Nose or eye drops

  • Corticosteroid nasal sprays, which have been associated with suppression of the immune system

  • Allergen immunotherapy via injections to try to desensitise people – this has been associated with anaphylactic shock

So, the main medical answer to hay fever is to block histamine receptors with antihistamine drugs. Whilst this does reduce the symptoms in the short term, it’s neither addressing the underlying cause of the issue (this is not a histamine problem – it’s an overactive immune system problem) nor taking into account that histamine is a multifaceted chemical with several functions in the body.

Histamine is a signalling molecule in the skin, gut and immune system and it’s also a neurotransmitter that maintains wakefulness and attention, playing an important role in the sleep-wake cycle. This is the reason that antihistamine drugs can cause drowsiness as a major side effect. So, when you block one action of histamine, you can interfere with all its actions and predictably, research is now uncovering a broad range of short and long-term side effects from the regular use of antihistamines.

They have been linked to – amongst other things – dizziness (associated with the drowsiness), nausea and vomiting, change in appetite (increased or decreased), weight gain, difficulties urinating and overflow incontinence, and associated risks with UTI’s, moodiness and increased risk of dementia,

On top of this, antihistamines are known to become less effective over time – its not uncommon for someone to find that they need increased doses over time to get less and less effect. Patients often have to then progress onto ‘harder’ drugs like corticosteroids.

Chemical decongestants constrict the blood vessels in the nose. However, because they are absorbed into the blood they can circulate and cause blood vessel constriction throughout the body. Side effects of decongestants include nervousness, agitation, palpitations, and insomnia.

Avoid Symptom Suppressing Antihistamines, with Homeopathy!

Homeopathy is a fantastic alternative to conventional treatment for anyone suffering from hay fever. We have so many natural remedies for helping with the symptoms at the time of an attack, and even better - with yearly homeopathic constitutional treatment, symptoms decline year on year for good!

The following are 3 broader action remedies for hay fever, that can be taken at the time of an attack, without such an accurate symptom match. They can cut an attack short in the moment, but a more accurate choice of remedy (which may actually point to one of these remedies still) will provide longer lasting relief.

These 3 remedies are often found in generalised homeopathic blends for hay fever, sold by the homeopathic pharmacies like Helios.


Use this when symptoms are mostly centred around the nose.

Think big, noisy, violent sneezing that comes in bouts of multiple sneezes.

They have lots of watery discharge from the nose and often the eyes too, and may have a sensitivity to strong smells like flowers, which make their symptoms worse.

There can be itching in the nose and back of the throat.

Symptoms are worse for cold air and improve with warm food and drink or from keeping warm.

Allium cepa

This is the red onion, useful for all the symptoms peeling red onions can cause – which are of course very similar to general hay fever symptoms.

Use Allium cepa for streaming eyes where the discharge is bland and non-irritating (so the eyes are not red or irritated) and a running nose where a burning discharge (irritating the nostrils and under the nose). The nose can be red and sore. There can also be violent sneezing and if they are stuffed up they may have a headache. They may also have a hacking cough and hoarse voice.

Symptoms are worse for being cooped up in a warm room (especially any sneezing) and better from fresh air.


This remedy is taken from a flower commonly known as ‘eye-bright.’ So, the focus of this remedy is on the eyes.

The eyes and eyelids are hot, red and swollen due to lots of acrid watering from the eyes. There can be a sensitivity to bright light – causing them to screw up their eyes and blink a lot. The patient may be constantly wiping and rubbing their eyes. There can be a thick, infected discharge running from the eyes too. The nose can also be running, but with a bland watery discharge.

In addition to being taken as a normal homeopathic remedy, Euphrasia can be bought in eye-drops to help bring immediate relief to sore, burning eyes, even if a different remedy is being used internally. Or make yourself an eye wash from a drop of Euphrasia mother tincture in an eyebath of boiled then cooled water.

Symptoms are generally worse in the evening.

Useful note – Euphrasia and Allium cepa are very similar, but the key difference between them is the location of the burning discharge. In Allium cepa, only the nasal discharge is burning, for Euphrasia, only the eye discharge is burning

10 Other Common Remedies for Hay Fever

Ambrosia artemisiaefolia

Dark red face with stuffed up nose and chest.

Think of intolerable itching of the eyelids, with smarting, watery eyes.

The nose is stuffed, red, swollen and watering.

They may have a whooping sounding cough, pain in the chest and need to sit up to breathe properly.

They are worse in the evening until midnight.


Red, hot, puffy eyes and throat.

This remedy is, of course, made from the honey bee – and is useful for the kinds of symptoms a bee sting can cause in sensitive individuals. Apis tends to be especially useful for children with hay fever, where they have a lot of hot, red, puffy swelling around the eyes, giving them an almost bug-like look. The eye area will be very sensitive to touch, but cold applications will soothe the area. The throat can also be red and puffy. There may be stinging pains.

The symptoms can come on very suddenly, after playing out near fresh cut grass for example. Symptoms are better for cold air/applications and worse for heat or touch.


Stuffed up nose, burning nasal discharge and burning eyes, but better for warm bathing

Think of Arsenicum for hay fever with a stuffed-up nose, even though there is a thin, burning, watery discharge. The discharge burns the upper lip. There is lots of sneezing, but it doesn’t relieve the irritation in the nose.

They can have hot, inflamed eyes, which – as with all arsenicum symptoms - are better for warm applications/ bathing.

The patient is often unduly anxious and physically and emotionally restless.

Feels chilly even in warm weather.

Symptoms are worse on the right, at night and on lying down. They are better for being inside and warm.

Arum triphyllum

Alternate between blocked and flowing nose with terrific pain in the root of the nose.

Nose alternates between complete blockage and a burning, watery flow of mucus. Nostrils turn red.

There may be an accompanying sneezing and tickly cough that are both worse at night and prevent sleep.

Patients are inclined to pick at everything – their nose, lips and nails. Their lips are often chapped.

Symptoms worse on the left.

Arundo mauritanica

Burning and itching in the eyes, ears, nose and roof of mouth.

Symptoms begin with burning and itching in the palate and conjunctiva. Also in the ears and nostrils. The patient may hum in an effort to release the itch with the vibration.

Think nasal discharge that starts off clear/ white and later turns green.

There can be pain in the root of the nose and the patient may feel like they could suffocate from all the mucus.

There can be increased salivation and a loss of smell.

Kali iodatum

Long, incessant sneezing bouts, ‘burning, crying colds

Think sneezing bouts that can last for an hour or more in the morning. Sneezing causes eyes to water profusely.

Think of a burning, watery discharge from the eyes and nose.

Think red, swollen eyelids.

Think of a blocked nose at night that is sore to touch.


If nothing else helps

This remedy is thought to be one of the widest acting for hay fever, and worth a try if nothing else seems to help.

Its particularly indicated with burning nasal and eye discharges, swollen eyes and nose and where there are signs of some asthmatic symptoms

Symptoms are worse on the left side.

Nux vomica

Irritable, oversensitive and react badly to antihistamines.

Think of irritable patients who are oversensitive – especially to smells.

Think alternating stuffed up nostrils, intense itching in the nose, eyes and ears and an unsatisfied desire to sneeze.

The patient may feel overall cold, although their face can be hot.

They may start to feel nauseous if symptoms are prolonged.

Especially useful in patients who’ve had a bad reaction to antihistamines, it will help detox the drug from their system.

Symptoms are worse for strong smells, getting angry and stimulants like coffee or alcohol.

They feel better for a nap, a warm drink or something to eat.

Natrum muriaticum

Nasal discharge with the consistency of egg white

Think of a blocked nose with discharges that have the jelly-like consistency of raw egg white – white/ clear and lots of it.

There may also be a hammering headache above or behind the eyes.

The patient may crave salt and be suffering from suppressed emotions.

Symptoms are worse for sunlight, heat or emotions.


All dried up, itchy and depressed.

Intolerable itching in the palette and behind the nose, sometimes extending into the back of throat, ears and corners of the eyes.

The patient may try to scratch the roof of the mouth with their tongue and swallow often.

All the mucus membranes of the head feel dry and irritated – mouth, nose, throat – but the nose may still be profusely runny with burning mucus.

The patient may feel depressed.

Cell salts for Hay Fever

A useful cell salt combination (sold as combination H) is Mag Phos, Nat mur and Silica.

Deeper Homeopathic Treatment

Hay fever is an acute flare up of a chronic condition – since it recurs year on year. This indicates a deeper pathology.

Whilst acute remedies can help reduce your symptoms in the height of suffering a hay fever attack, deeper chronic treatment with a homeopath helps to reduce the underlying cause, so that year upon year your hay fever should become less and less intense.

Did you know that the best time to see your homeopath about hay fever is actually before the hay fever season begins? If you’d like to work towards reducing your hay fever symptoms in the long term, rather than just treating them as they come up, I run a yearly hay fever prevention program. You can get in touch to find out more and register your interest.


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Thanks for reading!


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