A scary morning!
My teenage son stepped outside the patio door, hit some ice and was promptly on the ground. I heard the crash from the other room. We knew he banged his knee up pretty good. We didn’t know if he hit his head on the flower pot next to the door.
With some help, he hobbled back in the house and sat down in a chair. Almost immediately, he “disappeared.” He was staring (and, breathing!) but completely unresponsive. Concussion? Seizure? It was a very spooky few seconds. Then, nausea and retching set in and he started shaking; his face (lips in particular) were absolutely colorless. Now, we added shock to the list of possibilities.*
Immediately, I gave him Arnica 200c.
Why 200c? Because it was the one that was the nearest. In an emergency, the best potency is the one you have! (I did move to Arnica 1M shortly thereafter.)
Homeopathic Arnica is the go-to for injuries in general.
Arnica is the go-to for head injuries, too.
Arnica is indicated in traumatic shock and shock from fractures.
Arnica is also indicated in, as the homeopathic repertory says, “fainting, injury from shock in.”
Cleveland Clinic (n.d.) says, “Fainting, also called passing out or syncope, is a temporary loss of consciousness. It is caused by a sudden decrease of blood flow to the brain. An episode typically lasts a few seconds or minutes. Most fainting spells are not a cause for concern. But if you faint often or have other symptoms, you should seek medical attention.”
(I have seen 2 of my boys faint now on more than one occasion and it certainly does not feel like it’s not a cause for concern!)
Mayo Clinic (2018) describes: pale skin, lightheadedness, nausea and jerky, abnormal movements. “Recovery after a vasovagal episode generally begins in less than a minute. However, if you stand up too soon after fainting — waiting about 15-30 minutes — you’re at risk of fainting again.” I wish I had read that earlier today because he did try to stand up and he did “disappear” again.
One theory of why this happens, according to Alboni and Alboni (2017), is the body is trying to “take on a gravitationally neutral position” — to get the head lowered to get some blood flow back to the brain. It turns out sitting in a chair was probably not the best position for him; we should have had him lying down with his head slightly raised on a pillow.
Is Arnica the only remedy I used? Nope. Aconite for shock. Ipecac for the nausea. Bryonia for the knee stiffness.
I also used homeopathic Carbo vegetabilis.
We were discussing going to the emergency room and he commented that putting a mask over his face "felt like a very bad idea." When taking a homeopathic case, the patient’s words are very important, so his mentioning this with no prompting gave me reason to pay attention.
Why did I care about this statement? It is Carbo veg’s association with the want of air that tipped me off. “The patient faints easily, is worn out, and must have fresh air” (Boericke 2007).
Homeopathic Carbo veg is known to be helpful for the following breathing issues:
• Difficult breathing
• Wants to be fanned
• Gasping for air
• Desires air
• Breathing stopped
Carbo veg is also useful for: shaking with chills, unconsciousness or semi-consciousness, traumatic shock, physical anxiety, and it is very highly indicated in hypotension or low blood pressure, which, of course also makes it a good remedy for fainting, thus making it a good fit for my son this morning.
I am happy to report that after a couple of hours of taking it easy and getting some good food and plenty of water in him, he is nearly back to his old self. His knee is still a little tender, but it’s getting him where he needs to go and it doesn't appear to be broken. (Phew!)
Any other remedies used? Yep. Ignatia 200c for me. As my mother-in-law used to say about raising children, “it’s not the work, it’s the worry.” Stressful stuff to watch your son “disappear.”
Watch your step!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
* I am fortunate to have an excellent and kind MD who answers my texts on a panicked Saturday morning. We also spoke with an ER doctor. We did not go this alone. If we had not had these resources, we definitely would have taken him to the ER.
Alboni, P. and Alboni, M., 2017. Typical vasovagal syncope as a “defense mechanism” for the heart by contrasting sympathetic overactivity. Clinical Autonomic Research: Official Journal of the Clinical Autonomic Research Society [online], 27 (4), 253–261.
Boericke, W., 2007. Pocket manual of homeopathic materia medica & repertory : comprising of the characteristic and guiding symptoms of all remedies clinical and pathogenetic including Indian drugs. Accessed through Radar Opus software. New Delhi, India: B. Jain.
Cleveland Clinic, n.d. Fainting: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention [online]. Cleveland Clinic.
Mayo Clinic, 2018. Vasovagal syncope - Symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
I mentioned last time that our children always seemed to have made some emotional growth spurts following a big, acute illness and I wondered if that could be the case for me. Here’s what happened…
I could not budge my low-grade fever. No remedy made a dent. Period. I eventually contacted one of my previous instructors asking for help.
Her response: “something is stuck inside. Your symptoms are being too shy.”
She recommended some Sulphur 30c.
Sulphur is an interesting remedy. It is often used to clear up/clean out the remnants of an acute illness. I had considered the idea, but given I was not at the end, I didn’t think it was time for me yet. The Father of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, used to begin every case with Sulphur because it was going to illicit some sort of a response in everybody.
Sulphur definitely pulled a little somethin’ somethin’ out of me. Immediately upon taking it (I mean immediately), I became so weak I had to abandon the shower I had just turned on. Within 5 minutes, I began weeping and the tears simply wouldn’t stop. For the first time since my illness began, I couldn’t get out of bed.
The tears eventually stopped and I was able to get out of bed again, but the fever remained. I wondered and pondered at what could be "stuck." December was a fraught month for me — it could have been any number of emotions that got stuck.
Anger was stuck.
I raged in my mind for hours one morning and I could literally feel the crud breaking up. My temperature dropped a bit but it soon went back up again.
So, I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I raged and I raged again and I began to understand what was stuck inside of me. Again, I felt the crud breaking up. By the next morning, the fever was gone, for the first time in nearly 2 weeks.
Coincidence? Perhaps. But I had also worked through serious amounts of stagnant emotion and that can only be a good thing.
Was Sulphur the only remedy I needed? Nope.
Sulphur got things going.
Once I recognized anger as the culprit, Nux vomica was suggested and it made good sense, homeopathically speaking. Nux vomica is a major liver remedy and the liver, of course, is where that anger gets processed. But, Nux didn’t do much for me this time around.
Natrum muriaticum was suggested. Nat Mur is a well indicated remedy for ailments from anger. I only took 1 dose and it was abandoned in order to keep chasing the current symptoms.
Chamomilla was suggested and Chamomilla definitely did something. It was as if the Chamomilla opened the door to usher the anger through.
Then, it was suggested to take Bryonia alba in 3 ascending potencies. I took the first dose and the fever continued to improve, so I left it at that.
The next morning was when the fever was gone.
So, what’s left?
Fatigue is what’s left and a little dizziness. Turns out a low-level fever for 2 weeks and very little appetite takes its toll on a person’s energy.
So, was there emotional growth that happened for me?
Why, yes! There was some growth that happened!
Some emotional growth and some good homeopathic education, too!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
I learned this trick from Pinterest years ago.
The crud has hit my house. It entered surreptitiously on New Years Day and didn’t let itself be known for a few days after that. I helped my son through it, homeopathically speaking, and then it was my turn.
In general, it is much harder to help yourself, homeopathically speaking, than it is to help someone else. When you are helping someone else, you are logically interpreting symptoms. When you are trying to interpret your own symptoms when you’re not feeling your best, you’re lucky to have logic still involved in the process at all!
Anyway, I am unofficially on day 8, though I didn't test positive until 2 days ago. I don’t feel terrible, but I don’t feel great. I certainly have felt much worse in my life. The low-grade fever doesn’t want to budge. I have a terrible smell/taste in my nose. (I didn’t lose my sense of smell/taste — in fact, they have become highly sensitized.) I do not love the lack of energy, mental or physical. I know people who currently have “it” or just had “it” and they took the Ivermectin or the HCQ and some felt better immediately and some are still struggling to feel better.
It was this last piece of information that made me realize that I’m doing pretty well with my remedies. I have not had the “painful shivers” or the loss of smell; I have been sleeping like a baby. I don't have a painful, rib-breaking cough. Aches have been minimal and are now completely gone. I have a lot of snot but I don’t have that bursting headache that some people are getting. (My left eyeball was tender when I moved it for a couple of days, but it was annoying, not unbearable.) I am now coughing a bit, but it feels like a forward movement — clearing that stuff out. I can breathe just fine and my lungs aren’t involved. (I did turn into a mouth breather for a couple of days, but that’s gone now, too.) Everything has stayed from the neck up and I appreciate that fact!
What remedies have I used?
I’ll be completely honest — everything! If a symptom appeared, I tried a remedy. Sometimes the remedies felt futile (like for the fever that won’t budge) and sometimes they seemed to help pretty quickly.
To keep this article brief — and so I can get back to the business of getting well and kicking this garbage to the curb! — I will list a few remedies that have been very helpful for me and for my son and friends.
My son started out with extreme restlessness and low/mid back pain: Nux vomica. (In hindsight, Rhus tox could have been helpful here, too, but it wasn't presenting that way at first.)
He had the painful shivers and very painful skin. Fortunately, his skin wasn’t so painful that he couldn’t have anything touch it (Krajewski et al. 2020), but it was uncomfortable for him. He found great relief from hot water: Rhus toxicodendron.
He had some dizziness for a quick minute but an old bottle of Heel’s “Lightheadedness” quickly cleared that up.
We used a few other remedies for him here and there, but these were the big movers for him.
That’s the thing with acute diseases — you have to chase the symptoms. A symptom shows up, a remedy helps it and another symptom moves in to take its place. It’s not like clearing up a chronic condition where you want to stick with A remedy or a group of remedies for a while. You have to react quickly with the changing symptoms of an acute.
My yucks started out with severe dizziness and nausea and vomiting: Ipecac.
After 2 days, everything was very much improved and I thought I was good to go and then the new version of symptoms set in a few days later.
Oscillococcinum — the Flu remedy.
I literally have not yet figured out the low grade fever thing. (Very frustrating!) But, it’s not terrible and I guess I have to let my body do what it’s doing and trust that it knows what it’s doing. Generally speaking, though, Ferrum phos is an excellent remedy for low-grade fevers. I have also tried fever combination remedies, to no avail.
Eyeball that hurts when moving it: Bryonia. Bryonia on its own wasn’t doing the trick, but mixing Aconite with the Bryonia did do the trick. [Aconite/Bryonia is a Banerji Protocol to ward off the yucks of any kind, but homeopathic legend has it that when you add Aconite to a remedy that should be working, but isn’t, it’s like a power boost and it certainly seemed to be for my painful eyeball.]
That moment when the bed felt too hard to get comfortable: Arnica. This, too, can be Bryonia, but given that I wasn’t having the eyeball luck with that remedy, I moved on to Arnica.
Last night, when the coughing started in the middle of the night: Boiron’s Chestal Cold and Cough. I haven’t had to repeat it yet, so that must have done the trick. [note: having combination remedies available are extremely helpful in the middle of the night when you can’t get your brain to figure it out!]
Nux vomica helped with my stuffy nose and gas.
Arsenicum album helped early on with a burning sensation deep in my nose.
For the most part, however, I have now accepted that perfection really is the enemy of the good. I don’t feel great, but I am thankful that I have a lovely husband and sons who are keeping the home fires burning, literally and figuratively.
On that note, my husband has yet to succumb. Hopefully, he is that rare breed that is not susceptible to this virus. Or, it could be that he has religiously stepped up his supplement routine — he said he feels better than he has in a while as a result! — and, at any little hint of anything, he turns to his tried and true: Boiron’s Cold Calm.
Who knows? They say children experience positive growth after an illness — we certainly noticed that when our little fellows got sick — maybe that can be true for old homeopaths, too! I have come to the conclusion that my body just needs to experience this sickness for whatever reason. I’m not sick in bed. I can even still beat my husband in gin rummy, and he's no slouch at the game! I am tired and don’t feel great, but I am not down for the count and I believe it is homeopathy that is responsible for this small blessing. It just is what it is. I haven’t been sick in many years! I guess it was just my time!
It was Voltaire who proclaimed, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” It has been so very many years now that I have avoided getting really sick. My remedies have always stepped in and fixed everything right up for me in very short order. I now expect perfection and that’s not a reasonable goal.
I will keep on keeping on and I know one day soon, this will all be behind me and I can get back to the business of life!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Krajewski, P. K., Szepietowski, J. C., and Maj, J., 2020. Cutaneous hyperesthesia: A novel manifestation of COVID-19. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity [online], 87, 188.
Homeopathy: An A to Z Home Handbook by Alan V. Schmukler
This was my first book on homeopathy. All those years ago, this felt like a book of magic spells that I didn’t have the ability to access. I read through it many, many times. I turned down corners and marked up all sorts of pages. I may have even tried a remedy or two, but I’m thinking I probably didn’t. I was too nervous. It felt completely forbidden and a little scary.
In reality, it’s a straight forward book with good, useable information.
Maybe the introduction scared me off. Way back in 2006, Schmukler says, “I call this a handbook for survival, because in the coming years we may find ourselves in survival situations for the following reasons:
1. Natural disasters
3. Antibiotic-resistant infections
[Where he writes, “The medical system could easily be overwhelmed by thousands of cases of untreatable infections.” That sounds familiar now that we have lived through 2020!]
4. Exotic diseases
5. Chemical or drug sensitivity
6. Genetic engineering
7. No medical insurance"
Maybe this list was too heavy for my relatively young and naïve self when I first found this book and homeopathy was completely foreign to me. I’ve made it to 2021 and am a little wiser to the ways of the world now. But, even before the nightmare of the last 18 months I had discovered the full importance of homeopathy in all these potential scenarios as well as every day life.
Chapter 1 is a nice explanation of homeopathy, why you would choose it, what it does and a brief history. Chapter 2 dives right into the rules for using the remedies and taking the case.
Chapter 3 starts the nitty gritty. Beginning with “Abscess” and closing out with “Yellow Fever,” he doesn’t quite make it all the way through the alphabet (that's because Zika wasn't widely known in 2006!) but the ailments he includes are meatier than other, similar books (as one might expect when one is writing a book for survival situations).
For each ailment he includes a brief description, followed immediately by a list of suggested remedies, each described in just a few lines. He keeps it simple and succinct. He also suggests a few starred remedies which are highly indicated for each condition.
Example from Homeopathy: Ailments A to Z, pages 198-199:
A sprain is an injury to the ligament around a joint. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and sometimes bruising.
* Arnica: Immediately after the injury.
* Rhus tox: Stiffness and pain, which is worse after rest and better from continued motion. Must keep shifting position.
Bryonia: Worse from any motion, better from pressure, better from lying on the affected part.
Ruta: Tendons, especially the ankle, heel and wrist. Repetitive motion syndrome. Worse after rest.
Hypericum: When nerves are damaged and there is much pain.”
You can’t get much clearer than those quick descriptions to get you on your way to healing.
Chapter 4 is a nice addition of “Organ Remedies” not often found in most “consumer” homeopathy books. Chapter 5 is “Remedy Description,” also known as a Materia Medica in homeopathy-speak.
“Pregnancy and Birth,” “Preventing Illness with Homeopathy,” “First Aid Remedies for Specific Occupations and Activities,” “Economizing: Making Your Remedies Last Forever” are chapters that definitely separate this book from its neighbors on the book shelf.
Schmukler rounds out the book with “Homeopathy Around the World” and “How to Use a Repertory” (which is basically a book of symptoms) and includes a mini-repertory. He finishes the book up with “Remedies for Your Home Kit,” which of course has a nod to some unusual remedies for when the survival situations get tough.
Schmukler, A.V. (2006). Homeopathy : an A to Z home handbook. Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications.
Julia Coyte, CHom
I am passionate about homeopathy and I love sharing this passion. Having a working knowledge of homeopathy shouldn't be kept a secret. If people have the ability to help themselves, their children and their friends when they have minor ailments, life just gets better for everyone. That is the purpose behind Ruminating on Remedies.