Sunday, March 17, 2013

Good Plant - Bad Plant

Ah, springtime is upon us in North America. The beginning of longer hours of sunlight, the birds singing their beautiful arias. We get to spend more time outdoors, and can start thinking about what to plant in our gardens, dusting off our walking shoes and bicycles. Unfortunately for some, spring time is a harbinger for hay fever otherwise known as Allergic Rhinitis which causes our immune system to respond to allergens by releasing histamines which trigger inflammation of the eyes, nose, ears, and mouth.

There are two plants in particular I would like to differentiate for you that people often equate with causing hay fever.  The first, Ambrosia artemisifolia aka Ragweed is often a leading suspect, the other plant,  Solidago Virga Aurea aka Goldenrod, is not. Ragweed, a plant pollinated by the wind, has no need for showy, colorful flowers, so it goes unnoticed, but it is Goldenrod with its beautiful yellow tresses that often gets the blame for our sneezing and intolerable red itchy eyes.

Ragweed season begins just as the summer grass allergies are beginning to let up. I offer this information to save the more showy Goldenrod plants from being ripped up from their roots by those thinking it is the culprit for their looming autumn hay fever misery.

Early spring time allergies can be caused by a number of airborne pollens produced by trees, grasses and weeds. You will begin to notice the yellow or green pollen all over cars and windowsills.  This same pollen gets into our hair and all over our clothing. If you are sensitive to tree and grass pollen, keep your windows closed, shower after spending time outdoors, and throw your clothing into the wash ASAP.  You do not want to sleep on bedding, or wear clothing laden with the offending pollen. If you like to hang your laundry outside this is not the season to do it. Make good use of your washer and your dryer.  

Only wind-pollinated plants like Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisifolia), a plant that blooms at the same time as Goldenrod, produce a dry pollen, which is dispersed widely enough, to cause allergic reactions in many people.  Ragweed pollen is an especially irritating pollen. 

The pollen produced by Goldenrod is sticky, and is harvested by insects who are responsible for pollinating the Goldenrod. In order for a person to be affected by Goldenrod pollen, they would have to stick their nose right into the flower just like a bee would.

Ambrosia artemisiaefolia  

This weed is indigenous to North America, and will propagate easily in just about any soil that gets full sunlight.  Changes in our weather patterns allowing for longer periods of warmer temperatures, has made conditions even more hospitable for Ragweed and in turn more inhospitable for millions of people.

Ambrosia from the term ambrotos, meaning ‘immortal' in Greek, is an appropriate name, since it is really difficult to eradicate these plants from an area that they overrun.

The leaves of Ragweed look a lot like another plant, Artemisia Vulgaris, aka Mugwort. 

Symptoms that call for using Ambrosia artemisiaefolia  are excessive sneezing, severe itching of the eyelids and ears, itching of the roof of the mouth, runny nose, post nasal drip, and or nasal obstruction, and fatigue during hay fever season.

 Solidago Virga Aurea

The name Solidago means "to make whole” (Latin solidus + agree).

Solidago, historically recognized for its treatment of kidney affections, has been used in situations which might call for the use of a catheter.  It is one of the homeopathic remedies referred to as "the homeopathic catheter" and  is often employed to make the use of an actual catheter unnecessary. Other remedies referred to as "the homeopathic catheter" are Sabal serrulata aka Saw Palmetto, and Thlaspi Bursa Pastoris aka Shepherd's Purse.

Solidago often useful in dermatological allergies causes welts on the skin, with very obstinate itching, and in that respect is similar to another homeopathic remedy Apis Mellifica, aka the Honey Bee.  

Remedies that could prove helpful throughout all of the allergy seasons precipitated by low, medium or high pollen counts are as follows:

Allium Cepa
The Red Onion

Symptoms are characterized by a strong burning sensation from the nose and eyes accompanied by a watery discharge. The eyes are sensitive to light, often red and irritated, while the nose can become red and sore from the burning, corrosive mucus. There is often violent sneezing. The voice can be hoarse accompanied by a hacking cough. Hay fever predominantly in Spring or August can benefit from Allium cepa.

Arsenicum Album
The Element

Arsenicum is indicated in people who have frequent sneezing and a blocked nose accompanied with a watery discharge. Unlike Allium Cepa, the symptoms are worse outside and better for staying in the house and keeping warm. There can be inflammation of the eyes with burning and swelling which is somewhat relieved by warm bathing. Generally, the person requiring Arsenicum may feel unduly restless or anxious during the attack and find it difficult to get warm, even in hot weather.

Arundo Mauritanica
An Italian Grass

Hay fever begins with burning and itching of the palate and conjunctiva. Annoying itching of the roof of the mouth and in the nostrils, sometimes with pain at the root of the nose. Initially, the nose can discharge clear mucus, which can then turn green and slimy with lots of sneezing.

Euphrasia officinalis

Euphrasia has a long history of use for eye conditions. Hay fever symptoms may include very watery eyes, with the need to wipe or rub them constantly. The eyelids (particularly the lowerlids) can swell up. A thick, infected discharge from the eye itself can leave the eyes very gummed up and sore. The nasal and throat symptoms are less marked and also include watery mucus which can be easily discharged.  Symptoms of a sensation of a foreign body in the eye, and or photo-phobia can be very persistant and uncomfortable.

Ferrum Phosphoricum
Phosphate of Iron

This is a very useful remedy in the early stages of any inflammation. Taken at the onset of allergy symptoms, it often slows or stops an episode. Symptoms include runny eyes with a burning or gritty feeling, facial flushing, watery nose and short, hard, tickling cough.

Natrum Muriaticum
Chloride Of Sodium, Common Salt

The most characteristic symptom of Natrum Muriaticum is that discharges have the consistency of raw egg whites. The discharge may be white or clear and watery and can be extremely profuse. Violent sneezing, especially in the mornings, a loss of smell or taste, and itching in the nose are common symptoms. The eyes can be watery and the throat can be dry and sore. Hay fever symptoms are often accompanied by violent, pulsating headaches made much worse by the heat of the sun.

Nux Vomica

Someone needing Nux vomica has an acute sensitivity to the slightest odor or particle of pollen. Symptoms may include nasal congestion with the congestion alternating nostrils, intense itching of the ears, nose and eyes, with an urge to sneeze which is often just an aggravating tease. The throat can feel rough and dry and you may experience queasiness if the symptoms last for an extended period of time. Nux vomica can be helpful especially if there has been a bad reaction to antihistamines.

Pulsatilla nigricans
Pasque flower, Wind Flower, Anemone pratensis

Pulsatilla produces profuse mucus, the mucus from the eyes and nose can be thick and green. The mucus can become obstructed and lead to sinusitis, nosebleeds or a loss of smell. There is a sensation of burning and dryness in the eyes and the lids can become gummed up, and form styes. The symptoms are usually better for cold applications and being in the cool, fresh air. 

Sabadilla officinarum
Schoenocaulon officinale, Cevadilla

This is a common hay fever remedy, which is most often indicated during the early spring or at harvest time. Persistent sneezing, clear mucus and an itchy, stuffed up nose are common symptoms.  The eyes can water from being outdoors, in cold air, from sunlight or while sneezing.

The Mineral

Those needing Sulphur are prone to thick, offensive mucus, and the throat can become irritated and swollen. There can be a general hot feeling and an aggravation of symptoms from becoming heated. The nose and eyes can become inflamed with heat and burning sensations. There can be oversensitivity to odors or changes in temperature. Generally, this type of hay fever can be accompanied by skin rash and or by itching anywhere on the body.

Poison Weed

The signature symptom of  Wyethia is intolerable itching felt on the roof of the mouth and in the back of the upper throat.  Other symptoms may include a dry, hacking cough, caused by tickling of the epiglottis, a burning sensation in the bronchial tubes, and a tendency to become hoarse from talking.

Be sure to check your weather websites often to stay informed about the pollen counts in your area.

Good Health,

© Lynn Cremona 2013, all rights reserved.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Unwelcome Visitor

 How To Treat A Most Unwelcome Visitor


Gastroenteritis is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines (the Gastrointestinal Tract).

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause inflammation of the stomach and large intestine lining; they are the leading cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S.

Noroviruses are found in the stool (feces) and the vomitus of infected people. 

Antibiotics will not be effective if the cause of gastroenteritis is a viral infection.
Using anti vomit and anti diarrhea medicines will most likely prolong the illness.

Allow your body to purge because that is what it needs to do.
People can become infected with the virus in several ways, including:
·         Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus;
·         Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hands in their mouth, their eyes or nose.
·         Having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms, for example, caring for someone with a stomach virus, or sharing foods or utensils with someone who is ill. 

This very unpleasant illness is spread by direct person-to-person contact, so attention to personal hygiene is extremely important.  Wash your hands after being in public as well as after using the toilet, whether public or your own, and before eating.  Many people who experience the vomiting and diarrhea that develop from these types of infections or irritations think they have "food poisoning," which they may, or call it "stomach flu," although influenza has nothing to do with it.

As soon as someone begins to experience prolonged loss of bodily fluids, it is very important to consume electrolytes, which are minerals that affect the body's fluid levels, blood acidity, and muscle and organ function, in large amounts to prevent dehydration.  Health food stores carry rehydration drinks that contain electrolytes, and conventional drug stores carry Pedialyte and Gastrolyte, Dioralyte, Electrolade, and Rapolyte which also contain electrolytes.

Signs of dehydration are:
·         Feeling dizzy, lightheaded and weak
·         Having a dry or sticky mouth
·         Producing less urine, darker urine, and urine having a strong odor
·         By the time you feel thirsty, you might already be dehydrated

Probiotics, bacteria that are beneficial to a person's health, are recommended during the recovery phase of gastroenteritis. Live bacteria cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus are said to be effective in soothing the digestive tract and returning the intestinal flora to normal. L. acidophilus is found in live-culture yogurt, and is also found as bottled Probiotics in the refrigerated section of your local health food store.

The following Homeopathic remedies are good to have on hand:



Aloe can be used to relive stomach symptoms such as involuntary loss of stool and diarrhea with burning pains in the rectum or anus. There may be nausea, accompanied by burning in the stomach and esophagus, as well.


Arsenicum is indicated if you are having dark putrid stools that are watery, or if you are having vomiting and diarrhea at the same time. You may feel restless, anxious or exhausted, and experience a burning sensation when having diarrhea. You may be very thirsty, but desire only small sips of liquids. You may also feel chilly.  Children may want company or be afraid to be left alone. Arsenicum can also be used for diarrhea caused by food poisoning.


Chamomile is indicated if you are having abdominal pain and watery green diarrhea, that may have an odor like rotten eggs.  Your face is often flushed, and being covered with a warm blanket makes you feel worse. You may be feeling irritable or angry.


If impending diarrhea is preceded by abdominal cramps, so severe you want to double over, the remedy Colocynthis is indicated.  If pressure on the abdomen helps to relieve cramps, this remedy is a good choice.


Homeopathic Ipecac can relieve nausea and vomiting. It is a good choice for constant nausea, especially if accompanied by pain around the navel. Ipecac is another remedy to consider if diarrhea has a green appearance.  Do not confuse homeopathic Ipecac with syrup of Ipecac found in drug stores.


If your abdomen gurgles and rumbles before you experience explosive watery greenish but painless diarrhea, Podophyllum is the remedy of choice. You may have frequent urges to go to the bathroom and have worse diarrhea in the morning. After bowel movements, you may be left feeling  exhausted.

Pulsatilla can be used for gastroenteritis where there is diarrhea in abundance that just won't stop. Bright yellow in color but with no burning. There may be nausea and vomiting. You may desire foods such as ice cream, pudding and custard to sooth your stomach. There is usually little to no thirst. There may be a yearning for fresh air, either from an open window or going outside into the cool air. There is a tendency to whine,  to want company and a fear of  being left alone.

Veratrum album

When watery diarrhea is accompanied by stomach cramps, vomiting and the chills and cold sweats, think of Veratrum album. Indications for this remedy include a craving for cold fluids and abdominal bloating.  The face is very pale, with dark circles around the eyes and a bluish hue to the lips.

As it is with most visitors after 3-4 days, it is time for this one to leave, so that you can get on with your healing and your life !

© Lynn Cremona 2013, all rights reserved.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care.