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Homeopathy for Wheat Allergy

Reviewed & edited by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD

Wheat allergies are among the top eight food allergies in the United States and are most often seen in children. Although some children outgrow this allergy, approximately three-quarters of all grain products contain wheat flour, making allergies to wheat increasingly difficult to manage.i

Being allergic to wheat is different than having a sensitivity to wheat gluten or celiac disease. While the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness estimates that 18 million Americans have a gluten sensitivityii, wheat allergies are more rare and result from a local or systemic immunological reaction against various proteins found in wheat, but do not necessarily interfere with digestion. Individuals with a wheat sensitivity react non-specifically to gluten protein and individuals with celiac disease suffer from an antibody-specific abnormal immune reaction to gliadin, a type of gluten protein found in wheat, that results in a change in the intestinal villi and interferes with nutrient absorptioniii.

An individual with a wheat allergy may notice symptoms within minutes to hours after ingesting something containing wheat or if their skin comes in contact with a product containing wheat. Wheat allergy symptoms may include swelling, itching, or irritation of the mouth or throat, itchy or swollen skin, nasal congestion, headache, itchy or watery eyes, difficulty breathing, cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and digestive disturbances. In some cases, more severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis, characterized by swelling of the airways, may occur. While the conventional approach of dealing with a wheat allergy involves avoidance of the allergen, it is possible that one can use homeopathy to treat wheat allergy flare-ups.

Homeopathy, an alternative medical system developed in Germany more than 200 years ago, employs the “law of similars,” a healing principal that uses “like to cure like.” Subscribing to the philosophy that a substance that produces symptoms in a healthy person can be used to cure the same symptoms in an ailing person, homeopathic practitioners treat patients with minute doses of natural remedies to induce immunity. These substances, typically diluted to include one part remedy to approximately 1,000,000,000,000 parts water, are given to patients to promote a low level immune reaction. The body then responds in moderation to the antigen and builds up a tolerance over time, instead of having an immediate, full-blown, allergic reaction with potentially severe or life-threatening symptoms. In essence, homeopathy views the individual’s specific pattern of response to an allergen, both at the physical and psychological level, as more important than the identity of the allergen.

Under the care of a homeopathic provider, sufferers of wheat allergies may develop immune tolerance to wheat proteins and lessen or eliminate their response to wheat. Some common homeopathic remedies for treating wheat allergies include arsenicum album and histaminum hydrochloricum.

Arsenicum album has been used as a remedy to treat the symptoms of restlessness, exhaustion and digestive upset, and may help alleviate these symptoms experienced by individuals who are highly sensitive to foods such as those with a wheat allergy. Homeopathic formulas of arsenicum album are created from the processing of arsenic and a physician should be consulted prior to its use. Arsenicum album is often taken at a 30c potency every 30-60 minutes during an acute attack, or twice a day during an ongoing allergic reaction. Administration of the remedy is ceased once signs of improvement are noticeable.

The homeopathic remedy histaminum hydrochloricum is made from histamine dihydrochloride and is primarily used to treat various allergies, including those from food, and may be useful for individuals with a wheat allergyiv. Histaminum hydrochloricum is also an ingredient in the brand Zicam Allergy Relief Nasal Gelv and is often used to treat respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis, or colds and sinusitis. According to Boiron USA, their histaminum hydrochloricum product is available for adults and children two years of age and older at 3X to 30X- 3C to 30C HPUS and is used by dissolving five pellets under the tongue three times a day until symptoms are relieved or as per a physician’s directionvi.

If suffering from wheat allergy, consider homeopathy as a way of treating symptoms that range from swelling and itching to nausea and digestive disturbances. Use arsenicum album and histaminum hydrochloricum to increase your tolerance of gluten protein, and be mindful of food triggers that may stimulate wheat allergies.

Written by Nicole Kagan

References

  • Haskins, M., & Bailey, H. (2014, September 13). What Is histaminum hydrochloricum?. WiseGeek. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-histaminum-hydrochloricum.htm
  • Introduction to homeopathy. (n.d.). WholesomeONE. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from https://wholesomeone.com/quote/introduction-homeopathy
  • Nortman, D. (n.d.). The Homeopathic Treatment of Allergies | Homeopathy Zone. Homeopathy Zone. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://www.homeopathyzone.com/blog/news-articles/the-homeopathic-treatment-of-allergies
  • Rost, A. (2009). Homeopathy. Natural healing wisdom & know-how: useful practices, recipes, and formulas for a lifetime of health (p. 106). New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.
  • Wheat allergy. (2014, May 17). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wheat-allergy/basics/symptoms/con-20031834
  1. https://wholesomeone.com/condition/wheat-allergy-natural-treatment
  2. http://www.celiaccentral.org/non-celiacgluten-sensitivity/
  3. http://www.celiaccentral.org/non-celiacgluten-sensitivity/introduction-and-definitions/
  4. http://www.cupboardnaturalfoods.com/ns/DisplayMonograph.aspStoreID=L88GDLUFL7S92ND800AKHLBD3UCU53C8&DocID=bottomline-histaminumhydrochloricum
  5. http://www.zicam.com/our_products/Allergy_Relief/
  6. http://www.boironusa.com/products/histaminum-hydrochloricum/

 

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Condition

Wheat Allergy Natural Treatment

A wheat allergy is basically being allergic to wheat. It is one of the top eight most common food allergies (along with milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish) and can be difficult to manage due to the fact that about three-quarters of all grain products contain wheat flour. It is important to note that being allergic to wheat is different from celiac disease.

Wheat allergy natural treatment involves avoiding anything containing wheat.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Wheat Allergy?

An allergic reaction to wheat is similar to other types of food allergies. Symptoms can range from sneezing, congestion and/or asthma to hives, skin rashes or swelling to digestive issues like stomach ache, nausea, diarrhea and/or vomiting.

Life-threatening reactions known as anaphylaxis can also occur. In cases like this a person may experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing and/or swallowing, swelling of the throat, chest pain, dizziness, fainting and/or a fast heartbeat. Immediate medical intervention is critical with an Epi-Pen and call to 911.

What Causes It?

A wheat allergy occurs when the body mistakenly views the wheat protein as an invader out to cause harm. It typically begins in the baby or early toddler years and is often accompanied by other food allergies. In many cases children outgrow the allergy with about 65 percent being wheat allergy-free by the time they enter the teen years.

How Is It Diagnosed?

If a wheat allergy is suspected, a doctor will perform a physical exam along with a combination of tests depending on the situation. In a skin test tiny amounts of wheat proteins are pricked into the skin to see if there is a reaction. A blood test can screen for antibodies.

Often patients are asked to keep a food diary where they write down what they have eaten and any reactions afterward. An elimination diet is another possibility where certain foods are avoided and then slowly added back in while noting any symptoms. Finally, in food challenge testing small amounts of the food may be eaten under very close supervision to see if a reaction results.

How Is It Treated?

Avoidance of anything containing wheat is crucial to preventing a reaction. Reading labels is a must and meeting with a registered dietitian can be helpful.

What Should Be Avoided?

Education and diligence are important in working to avoid wheat. As expected it is often in breads, pasta, crackers and many desserts like cookies and cake. More surprisingly, however, are other foods like hot dogs, ketchup, soy sauce and ice cream which may also contain it. Beer, licorice, jelly beans and hard candy may be culprits as well. Even make-up and playdough may have wheat in them.

Labels should always be read very carefully to avoid accidental ingestion.

What If an Allergic Reaction Occurs?

The possibility of an allergic reaction should be discussed with a doctor and a plan put into place. Generally speaking someone with a wheat allergy may be prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector (commonly known as an Epi-Pen) to use if he or she feels a reaction coming on. Antihistamines may help ease symptoms but should not be used in place of epinephrine which is the gold standard for treating life-threatening anaphylaxis. 911 should also be called in the event of a severe reaction.

Is a Wheat Allergy the Same Thing as Celiac Disease?

A wheat allergy is different than celiac disease. While people with a wheat allergy may be allergic to other foods there is also a chance they are not and wheat is the only food to be avoided.

Individuals with celiac disease, on the other hand, need to avoid all foods containing gluten (foods with wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut and some oat products among others).

The reactions also differ. For people with a wheat allergy reactions can be life threatening. Celiac disease also has serious consequences to eating gluten but the damage is over the long term with ailments like fatigue, malnutrition and anemia being possible.

Written by Kristen Stewart
Kristen is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, parenting and lifestyle topics. To learn more, visit her website at kristenestewart.com.

  • acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/food-allergies/types/Pages/wheat-allergy.aspx
  • foodallergy.org/allergens/wheat-allergy
  • mayoclinic.com/health/wheat-allergy/DS01002