Allergies is the generic term given to when a person has an "allergic" reaction to some kind of environmental or other factor they have come across. When the body has an allergic reaction, it is producing too much histamine, it is overreacting whatever it has come across.

Often this can be a food item, pollen and other plant life, chemicals in the atmosphere or home, environmental pollution, bee stings etc. More and more people have allergies today, partly because we are being bombarded by so many external "allergic" factors that the body begins to freak out and overreact to them.

The most common treatments given are anti-histamines and decongestants, but if the allergic reaction gets worse it may need to be treated with stronger medications such as adrenalin and corticosteroids.

One of the most common form of allergies is hayfever, the seasonal allergies people have due to the pollen found in the atmosphere. The most common symptoms are nasal congestion, sneezing, eye irritation, cough and at times asthma. With homeopathy, the acute symptoms of hayfever can be treated whilst in the midst of the symptoms, although more effective treatment can be done a few months before the season. Then the body can be encouraged to become less reactive to the pollens found in the season. However, in many cases, it can take treatment on a yearly basis for a few years to eradicate the hayfever. Hayfever is an inherited condition, an expression of a constitutional susceptibility passed through countless generations. Although not a serious disease, it can be quite chronic and stubborn, and very unpleasant when suffering.

Other allergic reactions can affect the skin, producing symptoms called hives (urticaria), headaches, chronic nasal congestion, exhaustion, stomach upsets etc. Homeopathy treats the underlying susceptibility to the allergies. It affects to alter the way the body reacts to the allergens. Although allergy tests can reveal what a person is allergic to, and allow avoidance of these factors, sometimes they can't be avoided. Furthermore, it makes much more sense to try and stop the body reacting to the allergens than just avoid them.

Food allergies can sometimes be very obvious and other times very subtle. There are now so many ideas around diets and foods that it is hard to know what to do. Homeopaths do not tend to specialize in dietary advice, although they may do so if necessary. It is obviously important to avoid any foods that profoundly aggravate a person. However, a healthy person should be able to eat most things in moderation, and even to excess every now and again and people should not feel that they have to avoid many foods forever. The goal of being healthy is to be able to be flexible and adaptable in what one eats and not be unnecessarily restricted. One of the most common allergies seen today with food is to that of wheat. Wheat is the oldest and most widely known grain used by man and has gone through countless modifications over thousands of years. The reaction to wheat could perhaps be due to the fermentation process by the yeast used. The reaction to yeast in modern times is a huge phenomena, with a lot of attention going into yeast (fungal) based conditions such as candida. Diets have been created restricting all yeast and wheat products as a means of controlling candida. One major factor in the incidence of candida may be the use of antibiotics in the last 50 years, which has stimulated the growth of yeast in our bodies and environment. Given the fact that antibiotics are now so much in the food supply, including animal feed, everybody is somewhat affected by this. For those who have taken antibiotics frequently, their susceptibility to yeast infections and other fungal allergies is much greater and needs to be considered when treating allergies.

Homeopathic treatment can take all these factors into account and help the body recover from the effect of antibiotic therapy. The result should therefore be a reduction in sensitivity to wheat and other yeast based foods.