Hayfever blues

If you were unlucky enough to live in Narnia under the rule of the White Witch, you'd always suffer the chill of winter and never have the joy of Christmas. This is a little like having hayfever: you endure gun-metal grey skies for months then finally get the sun but you can't get out there and frolic because your eyes itch and you can't stop sneezing. Not fair is what I'm saying.

The underlying principle of homeopathy is "like cures like", so my hayfever patients take a homeopathic dose of the pollen that they are allergic to in the morning, and a homeopathic preparation of histamine in the afternoon during the hayfever season. I treat them constitutionally during the winter to address the susceptibility, and Bob is your uncle - Christmas comes to Narnia.

There is also a lot you can do yourself. I'll tell you the less painful stuff first to keep you reading. Local honey is delicious, and cunningly contains the pollen local to the sufferer. If you were really clever you'd add some to nettle tea, which is a natural antihistamine. Vitamin C is another natural antihistamine, so make sure you're getting it down you. Echinacea is a fabulous anti-inflammatory, which could give you another line of defence at this tricky time of year. And if you read my previous blog entry, you'll remember the flower Euphrasia or Eyebright, which works wonders for all manner of eye complaints. 10 drops of its tincture in cooled boiled water used as an eye bath is very soothing.

That was the good news; you know what's coming next. Much of the food and drink you crave works against hayfever sufferers. Caffeine puts stress on your adrenals, which are already working like a dog to produce the cortisol to counter the inflammatory effects of the histamine that your body is experiencing. Alcohol is, guess what, rich in histamine, so that's the last thing you need. Finally, dairy is one of the biggest food allergens, and can stimulate the production of mucous, exacerbating blocked noses and ears. It's a bummer, I know, but the agony of withdrawal is worthwhile.

Put this all together, and what I want to say is that there is no need for summer to be synonymous with suffering.