What we now call hay fever got its name, rose cold, nearly four centuries ago. In his commentary on medical practice, Botallus, who was royal physician to the city of Asta, wrote:
“I know for a certainty of men, who at the smell of roses were seized with a loathing as against their chief enemy and that to such an extent to be subject to headaches or a sneezing fit or a running at the nostrils so that for two days it could not be stopped by rubbing.”
In 1691, in Dr. J. Constantino de Rebecque’s Storehouse of Medicine of the Swiss or Treasury of Drugs and Most Choice and Rare Medical Observations (Geneva), are these words:
“I have thought it useful to relate the effects which roses have, on me. From my thirteenth year, at the rose-blooming time, each year, I am attacked by a running catarrh in which for many days a thin and sharp fluid flows from the nostrils, and the eyes are also affected so that tears are caused to flow. This state lasts as long as the rose season. When the rose season is over, this condition stops of itself. In the first year, I thought this was due not to roses but to the warm summer, but after more careful consideration of the affair I have found out that it is due solely to the roses.”
“Rose cold” and “rose fever” are still used with reference to hay fever that develops in the spring,
though it is now well-known that roses have nothing to do with the production of hay fever. Rose pollen is not an airborne pollen.
The strong and pleasant perfume of roses and related flowers suggests their attractiveness to insects and their dependence upon these, rather than upon the wind, to transport their pollens for purposes of cross-fertilization. In no part of the United States and other countries where such studies have been made, has the pollen of roses ever been found in the air. On the other hand, many of our cultivated varieties of roses are almost entirely devoid of pollen-bearing organs.
The pollens that irritate sensitive membranes in April, May, June and early July come from other flowers and from grasses that are abundant at this season. Blue grass (June grass), timothy and other such cultivated grasses shed their pollens at this time. Indeed, in most parts of the north temperate region, pollens from many plants are abundantly present in the air during rose-blossom time.
We have no intention of attempting to list all of the flowers, weeds, grasses and trees, the pollens of which are held responsible for hay fever. Ragweed, one of the most widely distributed of these, is, perhaps, best known to the average reader. Cedar trees in the fall and hundreds of other plants are held responsible for the development of hay fever.
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These pollens are present in tie air of all who breathe— non-hay fever sufferers among mankind and the lower animals, as well as hay fever sufferers all around us. If they are the real cause of hay fever all who come in contact with them, including the animal world, should develop hay fever. The fact is that less than 10% of men and women have hay fever and no lower animals have it at all.
The systemic condition back of sensitized membranes and the sensitive membranes art present before the plants shed their pollens. With most hay fever sufferers, these conditions are present all the year round. They do not become conscious of the sensitivity of their membranes until these are brought into contact with outside irritants.
Pollens irritate sensitive membranes; they do not make the membranes sensitive. The real cause of hay fever is the cause that sensitizes the membranes. Until this cause is recognized, understood and dealt with intelligently, no permanent relief from hay fever is possible.
When this cause is understood, it may be removed and when it is removed, the hay fever ceases without attention being given to the theoretically-offending pollens. There is then no need to run away from pollens, to live in air-conditioned houses, to wear air filters on the nose, to seek to “immunize” sufferers with allergens, to destroy pollen-bearing plants or to do any of the other things the mad “scientists” have done and are doing.
Restore the hay fever sufferer to health, and he will live in the same environment with the rest of us and react to its normal elements in a perfectly normal way. Healthy men and women do not suffer with hay fever. It should be known that when health is restored, previously sensitive membranes soon lose their sensitiveness. The problems presented by hay fever are simple and easily solved once the subject has been stripped of the mystery thrown around it by the mystery-mongering professionals. At the Health School hay fever does not last long.