Homeopathic desensitisation, also known as Isopathy, is a subtype of Homeopathy which involves taking a homeopathically prepared remedy made from the same substance that you have a reaction to. The remedy helps to rebalance your body so that you don’t continue to produce symptoms when exposed to the offending substance.
I love cats and yet I am allergic to them, so when a dear little black and white cat called Fred (who is actually female) came into our lives, I took a remedy made from her hair to desensitise myself so that she and I can live together happily without me sneezing and wheezing. This may sound a bit far out but it worked for me, it has been effective for many of my clients and there are scientific studies emerging to support this method (references below).
I once prescribed Canine Hair 200c for a lady who was allergic to dogs but really wanted to get a puppy. I advised her that desensitisation isn’t always 100% effective so it would be best to desensitise and then gradually spend time with her chosen puppy before making the commitment to adopt her. However, she decided to take the leap and adopt the puppy as soon as she finished the course of desensitisation. Fortunately the remedy worked and she and the puppy could live together harmoniously.
The efficacy of desensitisation varies from person to person, as other elements are involved including general constitution, diet, medication and stress levels but generally there is at least some improvement and often the difference is life changing.
Homeopathic Desensitisation for Hay Fever:
In my experience, Homeopathic desensitisation works particularly well for hay fever. Many years ago I prescribed Mixed Grasses 30c for a friend who had suffered from hay fever for over 30 years. She had tried everything, including allergy shots (immunotherapy) but nothing had worked. I also gave her the homeopathic remedy Nat Mur which was indicated by her specific symptoms and this combination virtually eradicated her hay fever. Each year in the spring she takes the Mixed Grasses 30c daily for about a week as a preventative and the occasional Nat Mur if she needs it. The catch with this method is that you need to know what triggers your symptoms, for example, is it tree pollen, flower pollen, grasses, weeds, rapeseed or hay? The University of Worcester and the Met Office publish pollen information which may help you identify your trigger (s).
Now is a great time to start Homeopathic desensitisation for hayfever as it works better when you are not currently exposed to the substance that you are allergic to. As with the case of my friend, sometimes a supportive homeopathic remedy is also needed.
Over the years, I have also found desensitisation to be effective for mould, dust and dust mite sensitivities.
What about food sensitivities?
Homeopathic desensitisation can be effective for food sensitivities but this is a complex area and from my experience, personally and as a professional Homeopath and Nutritional Therapist, I haven’t seen such good results with food desensitisation as I have with pollens, animal hair and mould for example. However, it is worth trying it as it can help to reduce the reaction.
If you are going to use a food desensitisation remedy you really do need to avoid that food totally for the duration of the desensitisation (14 – 28 days). It is likely that you will then be able to tolerate small amounts of the offending food but if you go back to eating it regularly in significant quantities its unlikely that the desensitisation will be enough to counteract the adverse effects.
There are certain circumstances under which I would advise against desensitisation. It would not be suitable for Coeliacs because, unfortunately, Coeliac Disease is a lifelong, autoimmune disease occurring in genetically predisposed people in which there is such a severe intolerance to gluten that the person should never ingest any gluten. In this case taking a desensitisation remedy to gluten would not enable the person to go back to eating gluten.
I would never recommend this approach for a person with severe, life threatening allergies such as peanut allergy because sometimes people do react even to the homeopathic desensitisation remedy.
How can I find out what I am sensitive to?
This is a tricky one! It may be obvious or perhaps you can figure it out yourself using a bit of detective work and keen observational skills. Or you could find a therapist who is experienced in Kinesiology or Vega testing to help you.
How do I take desensitisation remedies?
It is always better to take the desensitisation remedy when you aren’t currently exposed to the offending substance. For example, if you are seneitive to your pet’s hair you might choose to take the remedy when you are at work or on holiday rather than when you are at home with the pet. This obviously isn’t always possible, for example, in the case of dust sensitivity it would be very difficult to avoid dust totally.
The potency and duration vary from person to person as we are all different. When I do one to one consultations I choose the potency and duration of the remedy based on many aspects of my client’s health. However, I generally recommend taking the remedy twice daily for 7-14 days for airborne sensitivities such as pollens and animal hair and 14-28 days for food sensitivities.
You may need to repeat the remedy if at any point you start to experience symptoms again. For example, if you take the mixed pollens remedy for a couple of weeks in March and you are fine until June but then experience a flare up of your symptoms, you might need to take the remedy twice daily for another week.
Potency in Homeopathy is a complex subject and outside the scope of this particular article. The potencies I work with most often are 30c and 200c but if you are quite new to Homeopathy, for the purposes of desensitisation, I would recommend using the 30c potency.
Occasionally even the desensitisation remedy will provoke symptoms in sensitive people. If this happens stop taking the remedy as its already done what it needs to and you don’t need to continue it. If you are a particularly sensitive person you may only need a few doses of the remedy. Homeopathy is personalised medicine and as we are all unique a certain amount of judgement is needed by the person taking the remedy (unless of course it is prescribed by a professional Homeopath).
Limitations of desensitisation:
As a Homeopath and Nutritional Therapist I usually use homeopathic desensitisation remedies alongside other homeopathic medicines, dietary changes and herbs. Homeopathic desensitisation can be immensely effective in helping to relieve suffering, however, its only one part of the puzzle and for long lasting effects, it is better to look at the whole picture. An allergy or intolerance is an inappropriate reaction by the body to something that wouldn’t usually be a problem. For example, pollens which we find in nature and which we have evolved with shouldn’t be seen as a threat to the body, but for someone with an allergy this is exactly what happens. So, if you are experiencing allergies or intolerances there are deeper issues that it would be helpful to address such as an imbalanced immune system or disrupted gut function but that is a blog for another day.
I would never recommend Homeopathic desensitisation for people who have severe, life threatening allergies where they could experience anaphylaxis as to do so could be dangerous.
Where to buy desensitisation remedies:
Homeopathic Pharmacies such as Helios Homeopathy and Ainsworths stock an extensive variety of remedies.
These are some of the remedies that you can order:
Feline Hair 30c
Canine Hair 30c
Horse Dander 30c
Mixed grasses 30c
Mixed pollens 30c
Dust & dust mite 30c
Mixed Moulds 30c
Don’t be afraid to ask, even if the substance you are sensitive to seems obscure, as the bank of homeopathic remedies available is constantly evolving and we Homeopaths are usually an open minded bunch.
Homeopathic pharmacies can also combine remedies. For example, if you feel you are sensitive to grasses and pollen you can ask to have those combined in a remedy.
How to take Homeopathic remedies:
Suck the remedy until it dissolves
Take the remedy when you don’t have any strong taste in your mouth as strong flavours such as coffee and mint can antidote homeopathic remedies. Its is best to take the remedy at least 15 minutes away from eating, drinking (except water) and cleaning your teeth.
Avoid peppermint tea, chewing gum and mints whilst taking homeopathic remedies.
Store homeopathic medicines away from light and strong odours.
Keep the remedies away from mobile phones, computers and microwaves as the electromagnetic field they emit and damage homeopathic medicines.
The information provided here is for informational purposes and it does not claim to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. It is based on scientific studies and clinical experience. Do not stop taking any prescribed medications without the consent of your Doctor.
Photographs copyright © Beach Davies, 8-19 Photography.
Kim LS1, Riedlinger JE, Baldwin CM, Hilli L, Khalsa SV, Messer SA, Waters RF. Treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis using homeopathic preparation of common allergens in the southwest region of the US: a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Ann Pharmacother. 2005 Apr;39(4):617-24. Epub 2005 Mar 1.