A Cure for Hay Fever?
HAY FEVER sufferers may soon be able to greet the summer with open arms and clear noses. New research makes great claims for a treatment based on the ground-up bark of an African gum tree, which also seems able to relieve the symptoms of asthma.
The treatment, which comes in capsule form, is a traditional African medicine derived from a gum tree found only in Ghana, West Africa. The bark is soaked in clean water and then dried naturally, meaning the finished product contains no chemicals or additives. It is now marketed in the UK under the name Yamoa.
Asthma refers to the shortness of breath caused by the narrowing of the bronchial tree – the main airways in the lungs. It is often triggered by an environmental cause, such as an allergy to air pollution, dust mites or certain vapours. The number of asthma cases is rising fast in the UK. In 1973, 4 per cent of the population was diagnosed as asthmatic; in 1996, the figure was 21 per cent. It is now estimated that around 3.4 million people are affected, including 750,000 pupils.
Early statistics from a study by Dr Nyjon Eccles and nutritional therapist Althea Myrtle at Harley Street’s Chiron Clinic show that 48 per cent of Yamoa users claim they have been completely cured of hay fever, and a third believe they’ve seen a marked improvement. Nearly one-third of test subjects who suffered from asthma said they’d been completely cured, while 41 per cent reported a marked improvement. The effects of taking Yamoa could be seen in as little as two months in most patients. Dr. Eccles, who has a PhD in medicine from University College Medical School, London, says he came across Yamoa a year ago. ‘Some of my patients had found it on the internet and were taking it, so I decided to run a proper trial,’ he says. ‘At the moment, I’m taking formal measurements of lung capacity so that we can quantify the results scientifically, rather than relying on patients’ anecdotal evidence, but so far the results are very encouraging. ‘Yamoa seems to alter the immune system so the patient is no longer sensitive to pollen triggers. It also seems that patients need to take it for only a two-month period, never again. A large proportion of sufferers have been cured and haven’t needed to take antihistamines or use their asthma inhalers since.’ The only side effect is a slight, tickly cough.
Karen Barleycorn is a 28-year-old mother-of-one from London. Her hay fever symptoms have been cleared by taking Yamoa. ‘My hay fever started when I was seven and helping out on a market stall in East London,’ she says. ‘Being out in the open, it used to hit me badly. My eyes would swell up and I’d have an itchy throat. At night I couldn’t sleep. Once, when I went for a day out in the country, I had to come home because I had a very scary asthma attack.‘I’ve never been hospitalised, but it is frightening, as anyone who’s experienced it will know.’ She adds: ‘My symptoms subsided a little when I took an indoor job with Boots, but I was still using my inhaler four or five times a day all through the summer. ‘I was introduced to Yamoa by a friend three years ago and I started taking it twice a day. Within a few months I could see a massive improvement. ‘I don’t use an inhaler any more, and I don’t have any symptoms. I know it says on the box that you only need to take Yamoa for a month, but I’m still taking it three years later because I don’t want to risk going back to how I was. ‘I’ve just come back from a break in Cumbria. In the past, I wouldn’t have been able to go out without my eyes streaming and having difficulty breathing, but this time I didn’t have any symptoms at all. ‘The hay fever really made my life miserable. I couldn’t enjoy some of the things my friends took for granted, like a walk in the park. ‘I’m sure they got sick of me sneezing and having swollen red eyes the whole time. Even nights were bad. I’d wake up at least twice night, having to use my inhaler. ‘Hay fever was a part of my life for so long that I can’t believe it’s gone, and I still find it amazing.