[The present may seem an inappropriate season of the year in which to publish an article on Hay Fever. The contrary, however, is the case. Hay Fever is a very deep seated complaint, taking usually at least two years for its cure, and the best time to commence its treatment is at a period when it is not prevalent.ED].
What hosts of remedies for this complaint! What numbers of failures of cases given up both by the patients themselves and by the doctors!.
Nosologically considered, this affection has been variously called: Hay Fever; Hay cold; Nasal Hydrorrhoea; Periodic vaso- motor coryza; a paroxysmal neurosis provoked by an idiosyncrasy of hypersecretion of the oculo-nasal mucous membranes; and lastly, Summer Catarrh.
It is to an English homoeopathic doctor, named John bostock, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, that we owe the first practicable description of this malady. He defined it as “a congestion of the Schneiderian membrane.”.
So things remained until recent years, when German and American authors, supporting the theory of a neurotic origin, raised many objections to the above definition.
Whatever may be the origin and whatever the name chosen by writers on the subject, one fact remains. It is that always, at a definite season of the years, we are called upon to treat this complaint.
Is it not the highest mission of the true physician before all to cure those who suffer, instead of discussing hypotheses and theories?.
So our first care should be to seek means of combating those painful symptoms of hay fever and helping the unfortunate patients who come to us with “red nose and eyes full of secretion”.
I have had the opportunity of seeing in a big hospital in Boston, U.S.A., patients, in relays, undergoing the cuti- reactions in the forearm or arm, to determine the particular pollen which was the cause of their affliction. REsults-very unequal and far from lasting.
If there be an affection which allows a true demonstration of the pure homoeopathic method, it is this Hay Fever, because (happily, shall we say) there is not remedy for it absolutely specific in the allopathic sense of the International Congress of 1911, submitted a so-called specific, which should be analogous to Belladonna for scarlatina, or Drosera for whooping-cough. It was his Chromico-Kali-Sulphuricum, which is a bisulphate of chromopotassium, a violent substance with the formula (SO4)2 CrK. The results of his experience with this drug were published in a brochure, and Stauffer is, to my knowledge, one of the only homoeopaths today mentioning this remedy.
I had myself the occasion to use it, in the beginning of my practice without result, and I must mention that Dr. Mersch, in most of his cases, had to give massive doses. It is a remedy which very probably has a local action recalling this affection, but we should know enough to be suspicious of a medicine responding only to the name of a disease. For the rest, its use has never spread. Beware of every remedy of which the pathogenesis has not been established according to the method of Hahnemann.
WHAT IS HAY FEVER?.
It is the cry of alarm of sick organism; it is genuine nervous organo-vegetative disequilibrium and its typical paroxysms, leading to pricking and itching, the desire to rub eyes and nose,a nd difficulty of respiration, irritate the patient to the last degree.
The above are due to an irritant, most often of exogenous origin, provoking an oculo-nasal reflex, leading into a temporary excitation of the pneumogastric nerve, which reaches a true vagotonus. To employ scientific parlance, it is a PAROXYSMAL VAGOTONUS.
This affection, I repeat, has no specific in the usual sense of the term; that is to say, there is no one remedy which cures it, but it is perfectly curable by Homoeopathy, and each remedy which has cured becomes then the specific for that particular case.
Numerous medicines are indicated in the different homoeopathic books of Materia Medica, and the characteristic symptoms of Hay Fever are classified in special books, veritable dictionaries of symptoms, which we call repertories.
The most complete of these repertories is beyond dispute that of Kent, [ J.T. Kent, Repertory of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica, third edition, 1924. Ehrhart & Karl, Chicago] written in English and indicating in its third edition upwards of thirty remedies for this affection. Only one must know how to find them, and to facilitate this, I would mention the places where they can be found.
1. First, in the chapter on NOSE, sub-title Coryza, under the rubric “annual Hay Fever,” Page 326 (remedies relating to fever in Springtime and in the month of August are included):.
Ail., ALL. c., Ars., Ars. i., Arum t., ARUND., bad., Brom., Carb.v., Cycl., Dulc., Euphr., Gels., iod., Kali bi., Kali i., Kali p., lach., Naja., NAT.M., NUX v., PSOR., Puls., Ran.b., SABAD., Sang., Sil., SIN. N., Stict., Teucr., Tub., Wyeth.
II. In the same chapter on Nose, sub-title Coryza, see Periodical attacks, page 328, Graph., Sil.,.
Alternate days: Aran. Nat.c. Every fourth day: Iod. Every twenty-one days: Ars.m.
III. See also rubric, Flowers, page 328, ALL. c., Sabad., Sang.
IV. Also rubric Peaches, page 328, All.C.
V. And the rubric, Rose cold (more common in America than with us), All. c., Sabad., Sang., Tub., Wyeth.
In this connection I cannot resist relating an anecdote of Dr. Helmuth, the famous American homoeopathic surgeon, who had a patient who declared she could not stand the sight of roses in the month of June without being taken with a sudden attack of running from eyes and nose. Determined to test this assertion, the doctor paid his patient a visit at the above-mentioned time wearing a superb rose in his buttonhole. Hardly had the lady entered the room when she cried, “Oh! Doctor, why have you done that? I am touched by your visit, but you have doubtless forgotten that I cannot even see roses at this time of the year without suffering very unpleasantly.”.
The doctor replied, “Oh! but that is soon remedies; I will throw it out of the window at once.” Which he did. But the patient answered, “But it is too late.” And in fact she began sneezing and rubbing her eyes without ceasing. The rose was an artificial one!.
The Mechanism of this reaction is extremely interesting, but not perhaps very easy to explain. Can the vagosympathetic system, under the influence of an emotion, affect such a crisis? We know to what extent we are under the control of the vegetative system as regards all the emotions, but as emotional shock generally provokes a sympathico-tonus and as Hay Fever produces a vagotonus, it may be asked if the action there were not a sympathetic inhibition provoked by psychic action.
Accepted opinion would allow us in any case to believe that by a psychic reflex we could obtain the same results as by the mechanism of a bulbar reflex of which the point of departure was an olfactory irritation.
Lastly, you will find these indications:.
VI. In the chapter, RESPIRATION, under the rubric Asthmatic, page 765 (see Hay Asthma): Ambr., Arum t., Ars., Ars.i., Bad., Carb.v., Dulc., Euphr., IOD., Kali i., Lach., Naja, Nat.s., Nux v., Op., Sabad., Sil., Sin.n., Stict.
All these remedies have caused and cured hay-cold, each with its particular symptoms.
If I have just said that happily we have no specifics and that all the more on that account homoeopathic dread cases of Hay Fever, it is necessary to be certain of my meaning.
To cure symptoms belonging only to spasmodic coryza does not mean at all to cure the patient, and I protest here that it is to do patchwork, treatment in compartments, I would even say it is culpable and ignorant. Have you not seen each one of the case treated with Allium cepa, Sabadilla, Arundo mauritanica, Phleum, etc., returning the following year with the same symptoms or with a corresponding affection after the temporary disappearance of the oculo-nasal trouble?.
It is not then by giving remedies for the Hay Fever, for the name of the disease, that we cure the patient, and this is why I assert that this complaint, more than most others, demonstrates the pure homoeopathic method taught by Hahnemann.
Forget the disease, leave one side the pathognomonic symptoms, showing only results, end-products. Let us approach the cause by that indirect etiological method which is pure Homoeopathy.
It is here as with all the affections we have to treat: look after the patient first and all the time.
It is the general state that must be our care, and not the symptoms of alarm produced most often at the end of the emunctory passages, where the organic disequilibrium is translated into action.
Doctor Austin, my homoeopathic master, impressed me deeply during my study in america when he showed me the case of a young woman who consulted him in the midst of an attack of Hay Fever. She was an intelligent and well educated person. He explained to her that her compliant was essentially a deep-seated and chronic one, an affection very “psoric.” That all the periodic maladies, especially those recurring at fixed intervals, were eminently chronic and often very difficult to cure; they demanded consitutional treatment over several years. Such, for example, were Epilepsy, Malaria, certain Migraines, Hay Fever, Eczema, etc.
The only true method leading to cure of the patient and not to temporary suppression of the local symptom complete, could only be obtained by taking a complete record of the case, then applying the constitutional remedy corresponding to the totality of the symptoms. Dr. Austin explained to his patient that for a case like hers, one must reckon at least three years for a cure and that the best time to begin to treat Hay Fever was in winter, in order to desensitise the organism progressively, before the Spring.
If patients came in the middle of an acute attack, one had then to study their case at once and avoid above all palliative prescribing, of remedies based only on the symptoms of the moment.
For one was dealing here not with an acute complaint, but with an exacerbation of a chronic malady. One must then not give the remedy corresponding to the obviously acute symptoms, but administer the chronic remedy, and give it preferably at the time of decline of the acute manifestation.
Of course, the patient will suffer while submitting to questioning and during the days taken by the examination, but that is a small thing compared with the possibility of cure, and the intelligent patient will understand the importance of this necessary period of inaction.
If the doctor lose his head as may the patient, prescribe one remedy, then another, then, seeing no result, try a third, the give mixtures or alternating medicines or I known no what-what will be the result and what will the doctor have demonstrated if he cure not? His own incompetence!.
The search for the deep remedy may take several days. In the particular case above-mentioned, Pulsatilla was given at once, then during the whole of the following year the patient received progressive doses of this remedy at intervals of several weeks or months. At the end of the first year, she had had only a few prickings, and the second year she was completely cured; her weight increased, her general condition became excellent, everyone thought her transformed. The physician had not only cured the Hay Fever, but had cured the patient.
This method requires not only knowledge, but demands apart from medical competence, a great effort and courage of the doctor, and not all, alas! are ready to comply with it.
Do not worry then as to whether the general remedy which responds to the totality of symptoms is a remedy for Hay Fever or no. If the remedy truly corresponds to the characteristic symptoms of the patient, the fever and the other ills of which the patient complains will disappear. At the same time, if you cannot make a choice between two or three similar remedies which each present the characteristics of the patient, then you can take into consideration the secondary symptoms, and among others those relating to the Hay Fever. That remedy which presents the characteristics of the local affection would then be the most appropriate.
No one can be attacked by Hay Fever who has not a susceptibility to this affection. Kent has gone into this question in the seventh chapter of his Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy, summing up paragraphs 30, 31 and 32 of the Organon of Hahnemann. The problem of susceptibility and of drug receptivity is a great mystery, and Granier has sought to formulate the question thus:.
(a) A man falls ill by virtue of a morbid receptivity; without this receptivity this receptivity, no illness is possible.
(b) A man falls ill also through drug receptivity; without this, no “proving” is possible.
(c) A man is cured thanks to drug receptivity; without it no cure is possible.
Such receptivity is in the nature of things in inverse proportion to the state of biological equilibrium.
All this is interesting, but it does not tell us anything as to the cause of this receptivity. The problem has been treated also by the famous Dunham in his work on the in his study on susceptibility published in the Transactions of the I.H.A.