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Unblocking a Nasal Allergy with Homoeopathy

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 40 - May 1999

Susan always had a tendency to a blocked nose. It had become worse recently and was more obviously aggravated by exposure to house dust. Indeed, skin tests performed at the local hospital had been positive to house dust and house dust mites. The treatment recommended was the same as Susan had used for many years – a steroid nasal spray which was reasonably effective but which only worked while it was used regularly. Once discontinued, the rhinitis would return with a vengeance. So, she decided to see if homeopathy might be a solution to her allergy.

Susan's rhinitis symptoms were: itchy eyes with profuse watering, nasal blockage worse in the morning, an intense desire to blow the nose but with very little discharge, nasal speech, and coughing with expectoration in the morning. The whole picture was worse indoors and better in the open air. These symptoms occurred every day.

Apart from these afflictions, Susan was remarkably well. She had no eczema nor asthma, two conditions which often co-exist with rhinitis.

Susan was a person who tended to feel warm rather than cold. She was often wakened by burning hot feet which she had to stick out from under the bed covers in order to cool them down. Unfortunately, this manoeuvre was not always effective and she would sometimes lose considerable sleep because of her "hot feet". Her feet were also sweaty as was the rest of her body and she had to be scrupulous about hygiene.

Thirst was also a strong feature. Susan would drink almost anything at any time. Her prize possession was a pint mug for tea! Her favourite foods were curries. She also liked fat, salt, milk and cheese as well as red meat. When her feet allowed her, she slept well, particularly on her side or on her stomach but never on her back.

I found Susan to be very open about herself. She admitted to living in chaos at home. She was not at all houseproud and spent little time cleaning. She was careful about personal hygiene because, if she was not careful, she had terrible body odour which caused embarrassment.

Despite her total lack of organisation and cleanliness in the home, Susan was precise about some things, especially those related to work. She denied being a worrier but tended to be quite philosophical about life. Her hobbies were reading, especially factual books and classical fiction and also music (listening to it rather than making it). She came across as a happy-go-lucky person, who had organised her life to suit herself. She had not married and spent her time on her own interests.

Susan's case seemed to have all the hallmarks of a condition that might respond to Sulphur. This medicine has protean actions on every system of the body, especially in subjects for whom the medicine seems to cover their whole constitution. Susan was warm-blooded, untidy, sweaty, a fat and spice lover and a fairly firmly-grounded and slightly self-centred person. Sulphur is extremely helpful in allergy cases where the other features also fit. I prescribed three doses of Sulphur 30c at twelve hourly intervals, arranging a follow-up appointment at five weeks.

At this appointment, Susan was not at all sure about whether anything had happened. This response is not as disappointing to the homeopath as you may expect. Firstly, one can often, on close questioning, uncover alterations that the patient has not been fully aware of. Secondly, it at least rules out a major placebo response, which can be very confusing and can jeopardise the future success of treatment.

In fact, on further enquiry, it turned out that Susan had felt unwell for about 24 hours after the initial dose although not specifically in the rhinitis area. Over the following four weeks, she felt that there may have been a slight benefit in the nasal blockage. I interpreted this as a possible aggravation after the medicine followed by a slight improvement and, on that basis, recommended repeating the medicine every two weeks or so, or less frequently if the symptoms allowed.

After another six weeks, Susan returned. She had taken three courses of three tablets and had found that the nasal congestion cleared almost totally for about 10 days after each dose. This improvement was preceded each time by a brief aggravation (or worsening) lasting about six hours. She was very pleased indeed with her progress and we now had to decide how to proceed.

Susan and I both felt that there was no doubt that the Sulphur was having a beneficial effect on her rhinitis. The question was whether to give a higher potency at this stage in the hope of eliciting a longer lasting effect, or whether to continue on the present regime. We decided to carry on with the Sulphur 30c repeated as required. I asked Susan to let me know if the Sulphur failed to act. This can occur in homoeopathic therapy. It is almost as if the body becomes used to this same stimulus and needs a different strength in order to stimulate the healing response.

At her last consultation, Susan and I had a very humorous exchange. Inspired by her treatment, she had been reading a homoeopathic textbook and, naturally enough, had read up what it said about the medicine that she was taking. Naturally enough, she was somewhat incensed by the unattractive character traits described under Sulphur, and asked me if I felt that these did, in fact, apply to her. I was happy to reassure her that no patient displays ALL the features of the medicine to which they respond. On the contrary, homoeopaths are often taught that they can base their prescription on just three STRONG features of the case, although, the more features that match, the more confident one can be that the medicine is likely to work.

It is to avoid these scenarios that many homoeopaths make it a policy not to divulge the name of the medicine to the patient. I prefer to take the opposite view in most patients, although this can sometimes lead to lengthy discussions and explanations. On the whole though, it is best if the patient knows the name of medicines to which they have responded in case they ever need to take them again!

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About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

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