Eczema, Hayfever & Asthma: An Anthroposophical Medical Approach

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By: Basil B. Williams, D.O.

The diagnosis and treatment of allergies has increased dramatically in recent years. Approximately one third of the patients in my practice require therapy for some form of allergy. I commonly see atopic dermatitis (common name: eczema), allergic rhinitis (common name: hay fever) and asthma. Today I will discuss how I man­age these illnesses, in simple terms.

This usually presents locally but can be very widespread on the skin. It has an inflamed to reddish appearance that may scale and proceed to an angry weeping rash. Itching is usually not a prominent symptom. Streptococcal infections can occur.

The primary treatment of eczema involves guiding the patient in identifying and eliminating the causative food allergy. A recent study has shown that food plays a major role in eczema, In 80% of eczema cases involving children seven foods caused the majority of problems (1). They are: regular cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, cod, catfish and cashews. One can eliminate the foods causing the allergy over a period of ten days and then observe the decreased symptoms of eczema. Carefully, each food is then rein­troduced over a period of time to discover the offending agent. I often recommend therapeutic remedies, helpful in the reduction of the rash and the clearing of the skin condition, as follows:

1. Silicea 6X or Sulfur IX (Homeopathic Weleda) with a knife tip of powder given three times a day. Eczema is due to weakened digestive forces that occur in the wrong place. The potentized forces of sulfur help to strengthen the digestive forces in the digestive system and remove its unnatural activity in the skin. Silicea, an important mineral in the skin, is often deficient in our every day diet. It can be healing for the skin in a homeopathic potentized form. The remedies can be used singly or in combination and are given for four to six weeks.

2. The ointment Equisetum compound is applied topically two or three times per day. The remedy is made by Wala and has the healing qualities of silicea found in equisetum (horsetail) and potentized sulfur, The anti-inflammatory and soothing effect of both the root of the Iris plant and zinc oxide are also present. Given these therapies, eczema usually clears after several weeks.

Hayfever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma have a similar history of expo­sure to exogenous allergens and hyper­sensitivity to foods. Approximately 20% of patients with asthma will also have food allergies. The airways, including the watery eyes (allergic conjunctivitis) are very sensitive and may react to many kinds of allergens called 'triggers'. These trigger substances may cause production of mucus and tightening of the airways. More than 80% of children and 30% of adults with asthma may be sensitive to allergen triggers and should be coun­seled to avoid them to prevent exacer­bation of symptoms.

Trigger Substances
Patients are made aware that they may be allergic to trigger substances in the following categories:

1. Indoor pollutants such as household chemicals, perfumes, solvents, molds, dust, dust mites, cockroach an­tigens, tobacco and wood smoke.

2. Outdoor pollen in the spring such as maple, pine and birch and in the fall the pollen of ragweed.

3. Animal dander from cats, dogs birds, rodents.

4. Food dyes (Red, Yellow, Blue), preservatives and foods containing sul­fur dioxide such as is added to dried fruit. Other foods that may contain sulfites are lettuce, grapes, mushrooms, shrimp, beer, wine.

5. Medications especially those that contain aspirin, ibuprofen and beta blocker agents.

Acute Hayfever
I recommend the following thera­pies for my patients with acute hay fever:

1. Berberis/Citrus spray in both nostrils every hour as needed (Wala). Berberis (barberry fruit) is therapeutic to reduce swelling and inflammation of nasal membranes. Citrus (quince) re­duces mucus membrane hypersensitiv­ity to allergens. There is also the presence of quartz (silicea) that helps sta­bilize mucus membranes from further swelling and inflammation.

2. Calcium carbonicum/quercus pellets (homeopathic Wala) (For all pel­lets and drops discussed, one pellet or one drop per year of age up to app. 14 for adults per dosage are given four times per day.) Calcium carbonicum reduces the hypersensitivity reaction while the quercus (oak) strengthens the life forces of the patient. The therapy is continued until resolution of the acute symptoms

3. Mint tea vapors are breathed deeply to clear nasal passages and sinuses.

4. For persistent symptoms after the above therapy I then prescribe ephedrine from the plant ephedra sinensis (PhytoPhannica), 12 mg. extract daily up to one every eight hours as needed for hay fever symptoms, for a period less than ten days. I would not prescribe ephe­drine to children under the age of twelve, or patients with glaucoma, hypertension, irregular heartbeat, or with other pre­scribed medications,

5. Citrus e fruct/cydonia e fruct D2 (Wala) pellets four times day.

6. Gencydo Eye drops (Weleda) are prescribed for patients with allergic con­junctivitis every three to four hours as needed

Chronic Hayfever
For the treatment to prevent recur­rence of chronic hayfever:

1. I continue Calcium carbonicum/ quercus, and Citrus e fruct/cyclonia e fruct D 2 pellets each given morning and night for six to eight weeks.

2. Curative Eurythmy under the di­rection of a physician and curative eurythmist.

Curative eurythmy is a therapy in­volving movement. The specific eu­rythmy movements are modified accord­ing to the illness being treated. Rudolf Steiner has said "If an organ of the body is ill, a movement can be found through which that organ can be healed." The movements can be taught to a patient or the care giver over a specified period of time by a licensed curative eurythmist.

These movements with or without specific foot movements are given as vow­els or consonants. They are T, S, R, M, A (3). I have seen the reduction of hay fever symptoms with curative eurythmy alone.

3. Diet: The diet should consist of foods of a light vegetarian variety for both acute asthmatic and hay fever patients with cold-pressed plant oils and with warm teas.

4. Gencydo I% ampule (Weleda) in­jection subcutaneously reduces mucous membrane hypersensitivity and inflamma­tion. I have used this therapy successfully and it has markedly reduced the symptoms of hay fever. Often hay fever patients with Gencydo therapy become asymptomatic for many years. Patients can be taught to give themselves one ml. injection from a twelve-vial box, twice weekly, with a series of injections twice a year (total number of vials is 24 per year). For the second year a 2% solution is given in a similar manner, but the 2% solution is not tolerated as well and Gencydo does produce some pain at the site of injection, momentarily. For the third year either a 1% or 2% solution is given depending on what is tolerated.

Asthma can present as tightness in the chest, wheezing to severe life-threatening shortness of breath. A physician should al­ways be consulted for severe symptoms. Like hayfever, asthma symptoms may oc­cur immediately or hours after being ex­posed to a trigger substance. In many asthma cases there is also a strong psycho­logical component that may contribute to the severity of the illness.

Asthma Prevention
I recommend the following to help prevent acute exacerbations:

1. Patients are counseled about food and environmental allergens.

2. In the morning, Petasites (butterbur root) with Quercus (oak) com­pound as pellets (homeopathic Wala) are prescribed. The forces of fir, butterbur, plantain and oak combine to balance and heal the forces of the lung.

3. At noon time, Primus essence drops (Wala Blackthorn). The prunus con­tributes life forces to overcome the hard­ening forces of asthma.

4. In the evening, Petasites with Veronica comp. (Wala) pellets, Veronica is substituted for Quercus as a calming remedy, contributing to restful sleep.

5. Nicotiana Compound (Homeo­pathic Wala) pellets are given three times a day. Chamomile (root), tobacco leaf, birch charcoal combine to balance the forces of both the kidney and the lung.

6. Warm compresses each evening with Equisteum (horsetail) tea are applied over the kidney region for 20-30 minutes,

7. Gencydo 1% (Weleda) injected in a similar manner as in the therapy for hayfever but, if possible, the injection given in the region between the shoulder blades.

8. Thyme oil (Wala) lightly mas­saged over the chest region with warmth with rest for 20-30 minutes.

9. Curative eurythmy under the di­rection of a physician and curative eurythmist, vowels and consonants: L, A, O, U, M. (3).

10. Curative artistic therapy under the guidance of a curative painting thera­pist (4) can be healing for the life body (etheric) and for the soul forces (astral).

Acute Asthmatic Symptoms
If of a mild or moderate nature, the following may be helpful:

1. The application of Hauschka Rhythmical Massage as indicated by Dr. Ita Wegman, the indications given for bronchial asthma listed on page 137 of the work book(3).

2. Cuprum aceticum D3 (Weleda) drops every two hours during the acute phase is an important remedy to reduce the bronchial spasm.

3. Lobelia Comp (Weleda) drops ev­ery two hours during the acute phase. Ho­meopathic lobelia inflata, (indian tobacco), plumbum praep, Quercus (Oak) rhythmi­cally balance excessive inhalation and de­ficient exhalation.

4. Warm lemon foot bath for 20 minutes (one half lemon squeezed in one gallon of warm water).

If the above measures do not alleviate acute symptoms within a reasonable pe­riod of time then appropriate inhalers such albuterol or ipratropium may be necessary and/or a physician consulted.


1. Burks, A. W et. al: Atopic dermatitis and food hypersensitivity reactions. J. Pediatr 132­-136, 1998.

2.  Kirchner- Bockholt, M.D. Fundamental Principles of Curative Eurythmy, Temple Lodge Press, London, 1992

3. Hauschka, Margarethe, M.D. Rhythmical Massage as indicated by Ita Wegman, M.D. Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1979.

4. Hauschka, Margarethe, M.D. Fundamentals of Artistic Therapy: The Nature and Task of Painting Therapy, Rudolf Steiner Press London, 1985.

Editor's Note: Always work together with a physician who can advise you on your personal therapy.


Prunus (Blackthorn)
This bush combines an iron-hard rind (the Irish shillelagh is made of it!) and sharp thorns. The abundant blossoms rise directly out of the twigs in early spring, before the leaves. The slowly ripening fruit is still sour in late fall. It has the ability to strengthen life forces, and hold astral forces at bay. The leaf bud of Prunus 5% or I X is often used internally for asthma, together with Quercus IX or 2X and Veronica IX or 2X.

This translucent harmoniously formed mineral is a bearer of light. It has a strong relationship to the nerve-sense system, and thus to the skin.

Its intense yellow crystals seem like captured heat. Indeed it quickly burns with a blue flame, easily changing its consistency. No wonder that it is an excellent remedy for the metabolic system.

Lemon & Quince (Gencydo)
These two plants represent polar (allopathic) and related (homeopathic) natural processes in hay fever. Their blossoms expend intensive fragrance with a slightly sweet aroma into the environment. This is followed by contraction and the formation of a strongly enclosed fruit, sealing moisture in a leathery rind - an image of the effect as remedy. The sour/bitter mineral elements address the forces of the ego.

A simple ancient plant, its dry silica structure holds alkalinity and sulphur content at bay which otherwise would make it swell into watery form. Horsetail has a cleansing effect on the kidneys.


artwork: Walther Roggenkamp, courtesy Weleda Nachrichten

If you are interested in the healing and spiritual qualities of plants read The Plant by Wilhelm Pelikan, available from Mercury Press, (914) 425-9357.

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