Homeopathy is based on the concept that natural substances (plants, roots, etc.) given in large amounts cause symptoms. However when given in extremely small doses, these same natural substances can actually cure or prevent symptoms. A basic homeopathic principle is that the more dilute a substance is, the more effective it is. There are no well done published clinical trials in the medical literature supporting the idea that homeopathic remedies work. In fact, prior to the World War II, all medical schools in the United States teaching homeopathy were closed or abandoned homeopathy as part of their educational program because it lacked a scientific basis. It is said but not proven that homeopathy focuses on subtle yet powerful electromagnetic forces. These forces are thought to heal through activation of the immune response. Homeopathic remedies are made from plant, animal, or mineral substances. Only the most dilute substances are used. This is thought to ensure that only the smallest, most effective traces of the active ingredient remain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the manufacturing, labeling and dispensing of homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic remedies appeal to some people because they are often labeled as “natural” and are so diluted that they rarely cause side effects.
Several unsupported studies contend that homeopathic remedies such as Zicam® may help in improving allergic rhinitis and sinus symptoms. They are thought to reduce the symptoms of flu and asthma. The benefit of homeopathic treatments seems to be more than a placebo effect in some small poorly designed trials. Response to homeopathic treatments is usually within one week. Their long term effectiveness however has not been established. The NIH supported National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has stated that “systemic reviews have not found homeopathy to be a definitively proven treatment for any medical condition.”
Many homeopathic remedies have been recommended for the treatment of acute sinusitis and allergic rhinitis. Individual doses and strengths may vary. Homeopathic medications come in liquid drops, syrups, tiny sugar pills, or ointments. Homeopathic medication can be self administered from off the shelf remedies or administered under the guidance of a homeopathic practitioner. Homeopathic remedies may at times cause allergic reactions since they may contain animal and plant proteins.
Common Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy and Sinus Problems
Nux vomica silicea
Itchy, watery eyes; congestion
Sore throat, upper respiratory infection
Watery or itchy eyes, runny nose
Sinus pain, swelling and congestion
Itching, swelling and overall allergy response
Stringy post nasal drip, sinus pain
Sneezing, watery eyes
Itching throat, difficulty swallowing