Feel the Fear
Delagran, L., 2012. Impact of Fear and Anxiety | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing [online]. Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing.
Jeffers, S., 2023. Feel the Fear... and Do It Anyway. Harvest.
LeDoux, J., 1998. Fear and the brain: where have we been, and wwww.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(98)00282-0/fulltexthere are we going? Biological Psychiatry [online], 44 (12), 1229–1238.
Mcintyre, A., 1996. Flower power : flower remedies for healing body and soul through herbalism, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and flower essences. Holt.
Schroyens, F., n.d. Synthesis Adonis. (accessed through Radar Opus software).
Steimer, T., 2002. The biology of fear- and anxiety-related behaviors. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience [online], 4 (3), 231–49.
Barks in the night
Waking up in the middle of the night to your little one “barking” and struggling to breathe is a frightening thing.
Croup, according to Taber’s Medical Dictionary “is an acute viral disease, usually occurring in children from 6 months to 5 years and marked by a resonant barking cough, (sounding like a seal), and varying degrees of respiratory distress" (Venes and Clarence Wilbur Taber 2013).
Croup isn’t a separate disease unto itself — it’s something that can develop from a common cold or flu. “If there’s enough swelling, irritation and coughing, a child can develop:
Mayo says to seek medical attention if your child:
Despite how scary it sounds, croup isn’t usually serious and it mostly can be treated at home.
Why the barking? The cough forces air through the swollen and irritated passageway and results in a seal-like bark.
My oldest was prone to this and it is indeed an unnerving experience. I didn’t know about homeopathy then, but we were able to treat him at home each time by sitting in the steamy bathroom until it all calmed down.
Conversely, taking the child outside into the cold night air or having them stand in front of an open freezer can also do the trick (Cleveland Clinic 2021).
How can homeopathy help?
The first remedy to consider for croup is Aconitum napellus, or Aconite, for short. (Remember! Aconite rhymes with fright!) It’s a pretty sure bet that both the child and the parent* will be frightened! Use Aconite at the first sign. Repeat, if needed. Aconite is the “go-to” remedy for any illness with rapid onset. * Don’t forget Ignatia for the worried parent!
Other homeopathic options for croup:
Spongia tosta is the next remedy to consider if the Aconite did not take care of it quickly. Spongia is known to have a cough which sounds like a saw going through wood — a very dry cough and warm drinks are probably helpful.
Hepar sulph might be useful in the morning or in the following days when the cough can sound basically the same, but it changes to a wetter cough — loose and possibly rattling. There may be some choking fits that accompany the cough.
Repeat the chosen remedy every 15-20 minutes, if needed. If the child falls asleep, that’s good! If they wake again, repeat the remedy.
(Click for an instructive video of cough sounds and their corresponding homeopathic remedies.)
If your child is prone to croup, consider working with a professional homeopath to help prevent recurrences.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Allen College of Homoeopathy, n.d. Listen the Cough Sounds & Diagnose the Remedy (Part 1) [online]. www.youtube.com.
Cleveland Clinic, 2021. How to Care for Your Child’s Croupy Cough [online]. Cleveland Clinic. .
Kessels, L., n.d. Home Remedies for Colds and Croup: Do They Work? [online]. www.stlouischildrens.org.
Mayo Clinic, 2019. Croup - Symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Venes, D. and Clarence Wilbur Taber, 2013. Taber’s cyclopedic medical dictionary. [22nd ed., ISBN: 9780803629776]. Philadelphia, Pa.: F.A. Davis.
Tis the Season for… Sore Throats
Tis the season for… Sore Throats.
Sore throat complaints are keeping me busy this month! Some have the dreaded Covid, some have the flu, some may have strep throat and some people just have a sore throat.
What to do about this pharyngitis? (Pharynx is the part of the throat behind the mouth and nasal cavity and “itis” for inflammation.)
Well, at the first sign of feeling unwell, I like the Banerji protocol of Aconite 200c mixed with Bryonia 30c. Taking this right away can often nip things in the bud and send the yucks away before they can settle in.
Another option for those who are quick on the draw is Ferrum phos 6x. This, too, can often turn things around in short order.
Once the yucks have made themselves at home and one is definitively feeling unwell, let’s look at a few homeopathic remedies which may help. (Note: There are many remedies which can be helpful for sore throats, these are just a few of my favorites.) See also: Calming the Cold; Some Flu Remedies to Consider and Tis the season for the crud.
Extremely painful, dark red throat, where swallowing liquids is the only option and even that is very difficult, despite being thirsty; tiny bites of food gags them. They may have swollen glands and/or bad breath.
The sore throat appears suddenly and generally hurts more on the right side with burning or throbbing pain. The throat and the tip of the tongue may be red. Pain is worse from turning the head, touching the throat and swallowing, especially liquids. Face will often be red and hot but the hands and feet tend to be cold.
Burning and rough sore throat with pain that extends from the throat to the ear. May feel like there’s a painful lump in the throat that cannot be swallowed. Pain in the sternocleidomastoid — the long muscles on either side of your neck. Paralysis of the vocal cords. Swallowing solid foods is difficult.
Homeopathic Hepar is known for a sticking sensation in the throat, like a splinter or a bone. Pain extends to the ear on yawning and swallowing. May hawk up thick, yellow, sticky mucus. Wrapping up the external throat feels good. Cold drinks or becoming cold makes them feel worse but warmth in general and warm drinks can help. There may be a pulsation felt in the throat and they may feel worse in the evening and at night. Very sensitive to the pain and sensitive to everything else, too, actually and they may be irritable and impatient.
A purple throat, often on the left side (or starts on the left and moves to the right) and feels worse when swallowing liquids — even saliva is difficult — empty swallowing makes the throat hurt even worse (though they may have a constant desire to swallow). Swallowing solids may be easier. May have a disturbing constricting sensation, causing them to loosen clothes around the throat. Ear pain with sore throat. There may be a sensation of breadcrumbs or a painful sensation of a lump or plug which is not relieved by swallowing. They may choke easily, especially on falling to sleep and may have a suffocative feeling. Often feel worse on waking.
Often on the right side with a dryness in the throat and they may not be very thirsty. A stitching pain on swallowing which is better with warm drinks and worse with cold drinks. Choking on swallowing. They may feel like there is a lump or a plug in the throat. They are chilly but they also want fresh air but are worse becoming cold or eating/drinking cold things. May have digestive issues at the same time as the sore throat.
Lots of saliva and a raw, rough and burning feeling in the throat. Lots of slime gets stuck in the throat and there may be drooling while sleeping. Swollen glands. A bad or metallic taste in the mouth and may have bad breath. The throat may be copper colored. Throat pain on coughing. The throat may be worse at night and they may also experience night sweats. Finding the right temperature is often difficult.
Body aches and restlessness may accompany the sore throat. The tip of the tongue may be red. The throat becomes irritated and the voice becomes hoarse and is often worse from talking. The pain is worse from swallowing at first, but improves with more swallowing. Warmth is helpful and moving around may help, too — feeling worse when they are resting. Like the swallowing, they may feel worse when first moving around but better as they keep moving.
When to see a doctor?
According to the Mayo Clinic, see a doctor if:
A few quick notes relating to tonsillitis. (Note on type: Most highly indicated, highly indicated and indicated.) Again, there are many homeopathic remedies for tonsillitis and I am just focusing on the throat remedies already mentioned.
Tonsillitis, in general — in order of importance: Belladonna, Ferrum phos and Mercurius. Hepar & Lachesis. Baptisia and Lycopodium.
Tonsillitis with pus: Hepar, Mercurius. Belladonna, Lycopodium, Lachesis
Hardness of hearing with tonsillitis: Hepar, Lycopodium and Mercurius
Chronic, recurring tonsillitis: Hepar, Lachesis and Lycopodium
Painless tonsillitis: Baptisia
Burning pain in tonsils: Belladonna and Mercurius
Purple tonsils: Hepar and Lachesis
Bright red tonsils: Belladonna and Ferrum phos
Dark red tonsils: Baptisia and Lachesis
Tonsillitis in children: Ferr-phos, Lachesis, Lycopodium and Mercury
Sharp pain in tonsils: Belladonna, Lachesis, Lycopodium and Mercury
Tearing pain in tonsils: Belladonna
Throbbing pain in tonsils: Belladonna
Strep throat is another possibility and can lead to long term problems in rare cases. Unlike most sore throats, strep is caused by bacteria. Strep A is big in the news this year, especially in the UK, but there are other strains of strep which can cause throat problems, too (A, C & G are the primary throat culprits).
I never messed around with strep throats when my kids were little because I know two people who suffered terribly as a result of untreated strep. “Untreated strep throat can cause an autoimmune reaction in which the body attacks its own tissues and may lead to rheumatic fever, chorea and kidney damage” (Berkow et al. 1995).
How can you tell the difference between a sore throat and Strep throat?
Ultimately, for a full diagnosis of strep throat, you need to see a doctor and get a throat culture.
According the the Merck Manual and the Mayo Clinic, strep throat symptoms typically appear suddenly and include:
In very young children (under 4), the only symptom may be a runny nose. (When my kids were little, I learned that strep infections in littles may present with only stomach problems, so keep that in mind.)
“People with strep throat generally get better in 2 weeks, even without treatment. … antibiotics can shorten the duration of symptoms in young children and prevent serious complications such as rheumatic fever” (Berkow et al. 1995). (Note: There are homeopathic remedies which can be helpful in strep throat, but that is beyond the scope of this article.)
If you are suffering from a sore throat, try one of these homeopathic remedies so you can get back to some painless Fa La La-ing before the festive season is behind us.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Berkow, R., Beers, M. and Fletcher, A., 1995. The Merck Manual Home Edition. Merck Research Laboratories.
Mayo Clinic, 2018. Strep throat - symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Summer athletes, take heed! ER visits shoot up in
the warmer months as the seasonal warriors take on
the bats, balls and trails.
This one hits home right now as my husband is in week 3 of his really nasty sprain. Click here for an 18-second visual of what’s involved in an ankle sprain. (For the record, he wasn’t being a weekend warrior, it was just an unfortunate happenstance.)
We were hours from medical care, his ankle was huge and looked very wrong. I gave him Arnica 1m immediately, to great effect. Ice. Rest. Elevation. More Arnica repeated as needed. The ER took X-rays and sent him on his way with 2 Ace bandages and told him to take ibuprofen for the pain. That was helpful. Not. The next day we were able to see a proper orthopedist who took more X-rays and this time sent him on his way with a walking/air boot and the same instructions for pain. He never resorted to the over-the-counter painkillers, I am happy to say.
What to do after that? Well, some people say the X-rays can be a problem. If you’re worried about that, Nat Mur 6x, (twice daily the day of the X-ray and a few days following) is said to help.
Back to sprained ankles…
The number one remedy to turn to for any accident or injury is Arnica. Give it early and repeat as needed. As a general rule of thumb, the worse the injury, the higher the potency and then back off the repetition and lower the potency as the pain dictates.
The next remedy to consider is Aconite to help reduce the shock which often follows a bad injury. Remember! Aconite rhymes with fright. Any situation that has been a shock to your system can benefit from Aconite. And, in this case, it can benefit not only the person who had the accident, but the person who witnessed the accident.
The traditional, much accepted treatment for injuries is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Some injuries respond to cold, some respond to heat. Ice restricts blood flow and blood flow is what you need to heal your parts. That same blood flow is also what can cause all the swelling. I am not a physician but I have certainly had more than my fair share of injuries in my lifetime. Some of my injuries felt better with rest and elevation and ice and some felt better getting moving right away. To my mind, your pain (in addition to the input from your physician) needs to be your guide as to what is right for you.
What else can help? Here are a few homeopathic suggestions and their symptoms which may help you choose the best homeopathic remedy for your injury.
Arnica: Start here. “It is safe to say that 98% of patients who have suffered traumatic injury, however caused, need a dose of Arnica to begin their recovery” (Thomas 2000).
A typical Arnica patient does not want anyone to touch their injured area. Sore, they may feel “beaten up” with swelling, bruising and inflammation. Topical Arnica is an option if the skin is intact. Do NOT apply Arnica to open injuries.
Rhus tox: for an injury that is better for heat and continued motion. Worse on first moving. Rhus tox is better suited to simple sprains.
Ruta: for an injury that is worse for motion and worse for cold application. Bruised, crushed, weak feeling. A remedy for tendons and ligaments, similar to Rhus in its pain. May feel hot to touch. Follows Arnica well to help aid in recovery.
Bellis perennis: Think of this remedy if Arnica is not helping as much as you think it should be helping. Bruised pain. Like Rhus tox, a Bellis pain hurts when starting to move but gets better as you keep moving the injured area and is better from heat. A Bellis pain, though, may have the sensation of a band squeezing the injured joint. “Complicated sprains involving tendons, ligaments and soft tissue with swelling, edema and pain” (Ratera 2016).
Bryonia: worse for the slightest movement of any kind. Better for rest and immobility. This person might be a little grumpy as a result of their injury.
Ledum: when the injured area feels better from cold applications. Ankle feels dislocated and is worse by walking, to the point of being intolerable. The skin may be cold to the touch.
Symphytum for tears at the point of tendon insertion into the bone (Ratera 2016). This remedy has been known to speed along recovery. CAUTION: do NOT use Symphytum until you are certain there is no break or fracture.
Cell Salts which may be of help for sprains (Weintraub 1999):
Again, let your pain be your guide as to how long and how often you taking the remedies.
According to American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament and a strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Sprains generally occur in ankles, knees and wrists and strains generally occur in the back or leg, particularly the hamstring. Both injuries can range in severity and neither is necessarily worse than the other — it depends on the person and the injury.
Conventional medicine again recommends RICE for strains (see above).
Homeopathically, Arnica is the best place to start and may be all that you need. “Forcing, twisting, wrenching strains and tears are most likely to respond to Arnica if it is prescribed within 24 hours of the trauma” (Thomas 2000).
The above list of remedies can also be applied to muscle strains with these notations:
Rhus tox may be especially helpful in injuries due to lifting or over-exertion.
Bryonia is especially well suited to intercostal and rib injuries.
Ruta is also useful for injuries due to over-exertion. Follows Arnica well to help aid in recovery.
Cell Salts which may be of help for strains (Weintraub 1999):
In addition to the above listed cell salts:
Number one: wear a helmet. Høye (2018) found helmet use reduced serious head injury by 60%.
We just watched an interesting documentary called Bikes of Wrath where 5 young guys re-created the journey from Steinbeck’s novel of a similar name, but this time on bikes. None of them had any head injuries, but they did indeed have some strains and perhaps a sprain — in his case, it was his elbow. They certainly could have benefitted from carrying a little remedy kit with them, that's for sure!
Sprains and strains are covered above, let's move on to cuts, scrapes and contusions.
Once again, Arnica is the first stop for any injury. If the fall was big enough, take a dose of Aconite for any shock.
ROAD RASH (see this link for more information)
Ooof! It’s been a long time since I’ve had to pick gravel out of my knee, but I can still remember how unpleasant that is!
In this case, an oral dose of Arnica may be helpful because there is probably some element of bruising that will accompany the road rash, but remember DO NOT to apply Arnica to broken skin.
I have no idea who this group is, but they have some clear images indicating whether hospital treatment should be sought following a skinned knee.
Assuming the wound is not too bad and does not need professional medical care, clean the area and remove any debris. The Wound Care Society has some nice instructions.
Calendula is where you want to start homeopathically for this injury — after the wound has been sufficiently cleaned out, that is. Calendula can be taken orally, or a Calendula tincture or cream can be applied. If you have the homeopathic pellet, but not a tincture, dissolve the Calendula pellet in some clean water and apply that to the wound. Hypericum can be used in this way, as well.
Ledum is useful if the wound is deeper. It may be cool to the touch and very painful.
Hypericum: like Calendula, Hypericum is very good and soothing to use topically. In fact, they can work very well together. Helios offers a lovely combination cream*. A Hypericum wound is very sensitive and is definitely indicated if any nerves are involved, like fingertips or toes.
Hamamelis is very good if the wound continues to bleed. Arnica, too, can help with bleeding, but Hamamelis would be the next stop. Also very good for hematomas which may form as a result of the injury.
Cell Salts which may be of help for cuts and abrasions (Weintraub 1999):
Guess what the first remedy is for bruising? You’re so clever! Yes, it’s Arnica! The bruise is painful and they don’t want anybody to touch it!
Bellis perennis if the bruising is deeper, and especially if the bruising is in the abdominal area or breast tissue.
Ledum shows up again here, too -- if the area feels better with cold application.
Ruta or Symphytum if the bone is bruised or the periosteum is affected (the tissues between the bones and the skin — think of the shins or cheekbones).
Cell Salts which may be of help for bruising (Weintraub 1999):
First off — consult a physician if you have hit your head, whether you were wearing a helmet, or not.
Once again, Arnica is the place to start. Not only because it’s the go-to first remedy for any accident or injury, but in this case because Arnica is the first choice homeopathic remedy for head injury, period.
Bonus! One of my favorite homeopathic books for injuries, First Aid with Homeopathy by Dr. Manuel Mateu Ratera, has a PDF of his Head Injury pages available online.
The next-in-line remedy for head injuries is Nat sulph (see cell salts below). Like Arnica, Nat sulph can be used for residual effects from old head injuries.
Why choose one over the other? Arnica has the general trauma/injury element to it.
When to choose Nat sulph? Nat sulph has a slight edge in terms of residual effects from head injuries: concussions afterward, migraines afterward. However, Nat sulph is more clearly indicated when there is vertigo following a head injury or depression or mental dullness sets in after a head injury.
Cell Salts which may be of help for head injuries (Weintraub 1999):
For some research on mild traumatic brain injuries and homeopathy, see Chapman et al. (1999).
These remedies, Arnica in particular, should accompany you when you set out for any physical activities this summer. Or, better yet, purchase a little kit to throw in your bag. Taproots has nice one*.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
* Just because NSAIDs are available over the counter does not mean they are without risks. There are plenty of studies out there talking about the downside of taking NSAIDs. Below are just a few of these studies.
** I have no affiliation with these companies, I just like their products.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, n.d. Sprains, Strains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries - OrthoInfo - AAOS [online]. www.orthoinfo.org.
Helios Homoeopathy, n.d. Hypericum/Calendula cream: helios-frontend [online]. www.helios.co.uk.
Høye, A., 2018. Bicycle helmets – To wear or not to wear? A meta-analyses of the effects of bicycle helmets on injuries. Accident Analysis & Prevention [online], 117, 85–97.
Mayo Clinic, 2018. Sprained ankle - Symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Ratera, Dr. M. M., 2016. First Aid with Homeopathy. Kander, Germany: Narayana Verlag.
Sonnenschmidt, R., Sankaran, R., Vithoulkas, G., Borland, D., Scholten, J., Kusse, F., Mangialavori, M., Birch, K., Das Kaviraj, V., Perko, S., Welte, U., Le Roux, P., Hahnemann, S., Jus, S. and Chauhan, D., n.d. Manuel Mateu i Ratera First Aid with Homeopathy Reading excerpt First Aid with Homeopathy of Manuel Mateu i Ratera Publisher: Hahnemann Institut [online].
Summers, S., 2022. How can I take care of a scraped knee? [online]. www.truthaboutnursing.org.
TapRoots, 2022. SUMMER On-the-Go Portable Homeopathic Kit Including Hard-covered Case, Holds 8 Kit-sized Remedies [online]. TapRoots.
Temple ReadyCare, 2021. 6 Reasons for Summer ER Visits and How to Avoid Common Injuries and Illness [online]. Temple Health.
Thomas, E., 2000. Homoeopathy for sports, exercise, and dance. Beaconsfield, Bucks, Uk: Beaconsfield Publishers.
Weintraub, S., 1999. Natural healing with cell salts. Pleasant Grove, Ut: Woodland Pub.
woundcaresociety, 2016. How to heal skinned knee quickly? [online]. Wound Care Society.
woundcaresociety, 2019. How Long Does Road Rash Take To Heal [online]. Wound Care Society.
Research links - Arnica:
Marzotto, M., Arruda-Silva, F. and Bellavite, P., 2020. Fibronectin Gene Up-regulation by Arnica montana in Human Macrophages: Validation by Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay. Homeopathy [online], 109 (03), 140–145.
Research links Homeopathy & Head Injury:
Chapman, E. H., Weintraub, R. J., Milburn, M. A., Pirozzi, T. O. and Woo, E., 1999. Homeopathic Treatment of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation [online], 14 (6), 521–542.
Research links: Traumeel:
Birnesser, H., Oberbaum, M., Klein, P. and Weiser, M., 2004. THE HOMEOPATHIC PREPARATION TRAUMEEL® S COMPARED WITH NSAIDS FOR SYMPTOMATIC TREATMENT OF EPICONDYLITIS. Journal of Musculoskeletal Research [online], 08 (02n03), 119–128.
Conforti, A., Bertani, S., Metelmann, H., Chirumbolo, S., Lussignoli, S. and Bellavite, P., 1997. Experimental studies of the anti-inflammatory activity of a homeopathic preparation. [online].
Lussignoli, S., Bertani, S., Metelmann, H., Bellavite, P. and Conforti, A., 1999. Effect of Traumeel S, a homeopathic formulation, on blood-induced inflammation in rats. Complementary Therapies in Medicine [online], 7 (4), 225–230.
Porozov, S., Cahalon, L., Weiser, M., Branski, D., Lider, O. and Oberbaum, M., 2004. Inhibition of IL-1β and TNF-α Secretion from Resting and Activated Human Immunocytes by the Homeopathic Medication Traumeel® S. Clinical and Developmental Immunology [online], 11 (2), 143–149.
Schneider, C., Klein, P., Stolt, P. and Oberbaum, M., 2005. A Homeopathic Ointment Preparation Compared With 1% Diclofenac Gel for Acute Symptomatic Treatment of Tendinopathy. EXPLORE [online], 1 (6), 446–452.
* Research links: NSAIDs:
Allison, M. C., Howatson, A. G., Torrance, C. J., Lee, F. D. and Russell, R. I., 1992. Gastrointestinal Damage Associated with the Use of Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs. New England Journal of Medicine [online], 327 (11), 749–754.
Bindu, S., Mazumder, S. and Bandyopadhyay, U., 2020. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and organ damage: A current perspective. Biochemical Pharmacology [online], 180, 114147.
Graham, D. Y., Opekun, A. R., Willingham, F. F. and Qureshi, W. A., 2005. Visible small-intestinal mucosal injury in chronic NSAID users. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology [online], 3 (1), 55–59.
Risser, A., Donovan, D., Heintzman, J. and Page, T., 2009. NSAID Prescribing Precautions. American Family Physician [online], 80 (12), 1371–1378.
Summer Fun #2: Water
Whether a river, an ocean or a pool -- nothing is as inviting as a body of water on a hot, summer’s day. It’s cool and refreshing, but, after a shallow dive into the subject … I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it can be dangerous!
Let’s start with a dip in the pool, which is most likely chlorinated. Some people are particularly sensitive to the chlorine and can develop what is known as SWIMMER'S EYE or, chlorine conjunctivitis. It is essentially eye irritation but it stings and it can be pretty miserable. Goggles can help, but that's not a sure thing to keep it at bay.
Homeopathic Euphrasia or “Eyebright” for burning eyes and watery eyes. Pain as if something were in the eye. Puffy eyes. Red eyes. When “eye” is in the name of the remedy, you know it’s a good place to start.
Arsenicum album for profuse, watery, burning discharge. There is often a level of restlessness.
Or, Similisan’s Redness & Itchy Eye Relief* would be a good thing to keep in the cupboard if you or your child is prone to this.
Moving from the pool to a natural body of water can bring it’s own set of problems, namely, SWIMMER'S ITCH or Cercarial Dermatitis.
Caused by a parasite that gets under the skin (Kolářová et al. 2012) and triggers an allergic reaction, swimmer’s itch is as the name suggests, an itchy rash.
If the rash is blistery and oozy, look to Graphites.
If the rash burns, stings and itches, try Sulphur.
If the rash stings and is raised and fluid filled, try Apis.
Regardless of what kind of water you’re swimming in, swimmer’s ear is basically an outer ear infection caused by trapped water in your ear that can lead to the growth of bacteria (Mayo Clinic).
For sharp ear pain with a sudden onset, Belladonna. There may be redness and throbbing pain.
An aching ear pain that feels like the ear is stopped up, Chamomilla.
If there is discharge and itching, try Hepar sulph.
Or, Similason has a new formula: Swimmer's Ear Relief*.
If you are lucky enough to be near the ocean, beware of JELLYFISH!
Potentially harmful jellyfish are found in most oceans and can cause both dermatological problems as well as systemic issues (Mebs 2014). The venom of the 51 species of box jellyfish can kill a human in less than 2 minutes (Baldwin 2022).
The Wilderness Medical Society has published “Jellyfish Stings: A Practical Approach” (Lakkis et al. 2015). If you left your stinger suit hanging in the closet and manage to get stung, conventional medicine doesn’t have a lot to offer. “The literature published on the treatment of jellyfish stings is limited, conflicting, and lacks consensus.” In short, help the person out of the water, keep them from rubbing the stung area and reassure them. Some say to apply cold, others heat. If it’s a life-threatening species, call an ambulance immediately. (Be careful when helping someone with a jellyfish sting as stinging cells may be spread on contact.)
Once again, this is a situation where homeopathy can come in very handy. Homeopathy doesn’t care if the sting is a result of a jellyfish or a bee. If the symptoms match the remedy, there is a good chance relief will follow.
First Aid with Homeopathy (Mateu 2020) says applying vinegar can decrease the effect of the toxins.
For all these homeopathic jellyfish remedy recommendations, repeat every five minutes until significantly better and then begin to lengthen the time between doses.
For most “run of the mill” jellyfish stings, try Apis mellifica. For intense burning and stinging followed by redness and swelling. The person needing Apis will generally be worse from warm applications.
If the affected area feels cold and also feels better from cold, try Ledum.
Urtica urens can be applied topically as well as ingesting the homeopathic remedy. The person needing Urtica will be experiencing great itchiness and burning, similar to experiencing stinging nettles (from which the remedy is made).
If the pains are more neuralgic in nature and radiating out, try Hypericum.
It’s a warm, beautiful day with a little breeze and you think, “what could possibly go wrong?” Well, Hypothermia is one thing that can ruin your day.
“That only happens in the cold, right?” Um. Nope. The only requirement for hypothermia to set in is anything that causes a severe drop in body temperature. It can happen in perfect conditions (Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission 2022) and, actually, swimming doesn’t even need to be involved.
It can happen from being in the water or from being caught in a rainstorm. When I was a kid, my brother went sailing on a too cold day and he returned way too cold. I remember being instructed to lie down on the kitchen floor next to him under a blanket to try and warm him up. I now know that is termed “external passive rewarming” and is the method of choice for mild hypothermia. A slow and gentle warming is what you’re after.
For hypothermia to set in, the water doesn’t have to be cold, just cooler than your body temperature. Children, the elderly, injured or intoxicated people are more susceptible (Paal et al. 2022). Shivering, confusion, breathing issues, and muscle dysfunction are some of the symptoms which may be experienced with a significantly lowered body temperature.
The Natural First Aid Handbook (Mars 2017) recommends hot water bottles to the groin and sides of the torso and warns against rubbing or massaging an individual with hypothermia. First Aid with Homeopathy (Ratera 2016) recommends hot liquids and moderate warmth to the abdomen via a hot water bottle and also talks about breath as a treatment for hypothermia. “The helper places his mouth against the spine, between the shoulder blades, and breathes out in long breaths, blowing directly against the clothing. Almost immediately, local heat is felt, and gradually this heat spreads through the body if the exercise is continued. This technique helps to warm, and also to calm the patient. It can therefore also be used in crises of asthma or panic, to calm the patient and restore natural breathing.” Fascinating!
Other than warming the person, what can be done? Homeopathy, of course!
If the person is conscious, give a dose of Aconite to help with the shock.
Bellis perennis is useful in thermal shock (Ratera 2016). Thermal shock can happen from any sudden exposure to cold when the body is hot — even drinking cold drinks when the body is hot.
Carbo vegetabilis can be useful for persons who are chilly, with cold perspiration and cold breath. Other symptoms may include coldness, numbness and weakness.
Veratrum album is for internal coldness, as if ice-water is in the veins. Weakness and collapse with coldness.
If the person is icy cold but wants to be uncovered, consider some homeopathic Camphor. Cramps, convulsions or shock may be present.
Regardless of the size of the body of water, drowning is always something to watch out for and contrary to what we have seen in the movies, drowning is often completely silent (Redcross. CA 2013). See sidebar for "signs a swimmer is in trouble."
According to Stop Drowning Now (2018), in the US, 10 people die every day from drowning. “Drowning is fast and silent and can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds.”
When my son was little, I turned my back to get his floaties and the other mother with me (who I thought was watching all the kids!) said, “I didn’t know he could swim.” I turned around and I saw him standing on the bottom of the pool, completely underwater, eyes open, looking up at me. He couldn’t swim! He definitely did not belong there! That could have been a disaster. It was absolutely instantaneous — shockingly fast! Thankfully, he was completely fine. I will never be able to get that vision out of my mind. It was terrible.
CPR or the Heimlich maneuver, followed by mouth-to-mouth is the standard recommendation. Venema (et al. 2010) claim that 30% of rescued drowning victims require CPR. Get medical help immediately.
If the person is unconscious, administer homeopathic Carbo vegetabilis while waiting for help to arrive. Carbo veg is known as “the corpse reviver” and should be administered frequently. To avoid inhaling the remedy, place the pellet between the lips and the teeth and let it dissolve there.
If the person is better when sitting up but is experiencing a rattling in the chest, try Antimonium tart.
Lachesis is indicated when the person is suffering asphyxia and the pulse is very weak.
If there is a “near miss” like I described with my son, it may not be over and done with when you have them out of the water and breathing on their own again. Jama Pediatrics (Stern and Thompson 2022) notes that “symptoms of drowning such as gasping or difficulty breathing most commonly occur immediately. In rare cases, symptoms may develop after a nonfatal drowning. If a child develops worsening cough, fast breathing rate, vomiting or change in mental status after nonfatal drowning, take them to the nearest emergency department for evaluation.”
It may seem like it’s better (and safer!) to just dip your toes in the water to cool off, but no! Life is too short to sit out the swim!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
* I have no affiliation with this company, I just like their products.
REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING:
Baird, J. K. and Wear, D. J., 1987. 12 Cercarial dermatitis: The swimmer’s itch. Clinics in Dermatology, 5 (3), 88–91.
Baldwin, E., 2022. Box Jellyfish: The Dangerous Jellyfish | Ocean Info [online]. oceaninfo.com.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, 2022. Hypothermia [online]. Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Gordy, M. A., Cobb, T. P. and Hanington, P. C., 2018. Swimmer’s itch in Canada: a look at the past and a survey of the present to plan for the future. Environmental Health, 17 (1).
Hoeffler, D. F., 1977. ‘Swimmers’ itch’ (cercarial dermatitis). Cutis [online], 19 (4), 461–465, 467.
Kolářová, L., Horák, P., Skírnisson, K., Marečková, H. and Doenhoff, M., 2012. Cercarial Dermatitis, a Neglected Allergic Disease. Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology [online], 45 (1), 63–74.
Lakkis, N. A., Maalouf, G. J. and Mahmassani, D. M., 2015. Jellyfish Stings: A Practical Approach. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine [online], 26 (3), 422–429.
Lessell, C. B., 1999. The world travellers’ manual of homoeopathy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel.
Mateu, M., 2020. First aid with homeopathy. Kandern, Germany Narayana Verlag.
Mayo Clinic, n.d. Swimmer’s ear - Symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic, n.d. Swimmer’s itch - Symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Mebs, D., 2014. Durch Quallen verursachte Verletzungen. Jelly Fish Sting Injuries Der Hautarzt [online], 65 (10), 873–878.
Paal, P., Pasquier, M., Darocha, T., Lechner, R., Kosinski, S., Wallner, B., Zafren, K. and Brugger, H., 2022. Accidental Hypothermia: 2021 Update. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [online], 19 (1), 501.
Ratera, Dr. M. M., 2016. First Aid with Homeopathy. Kander, Germany: Narayana Verlag.
Redcross. CA, 2013. Drowning: A silent killer - Canadian Red Cross [online]. Red Cross Canada.
Schmukler, A. V., 2006. Homeopathy : an A to Z home handbook. Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications.
Smith, S., 2007. Medical homoeopathy. West Wickham England: Winter Press.
Stern, A. M. and Thompson, L. A., 2022. What Parents Should Know About Drowning and Dry Drowning. JAMA Pediatrics [online].
Stop Drowning Now, 2018. Facts & Stats About Drowning - Stop Drowning Now [online]. www.stopdrowningnow.org.
Szpilman, D., Bierens, J. J. L. M., Handley, A. J. and Orlowski, J. P., 2012. Drowning. New England Journal of Medicine [online], 366 (22), 2102–2110.
Venema, A. M., Groothoff, J. W. and Bierens, J. J. L. M., 2010. The role of bystanders during rescue and resuscitation of drowning victims. Resuscitation [online], 81 (4), 434–439.
Things that go boom
I got hooked on watching videos about how things were made way back when … watching Sesame Street (Anon. 2022). (This video is on crayon making, but it’s a good one!) Then, for a while I enjoyed the Canadian show, “How it’s Made” — here’s a link to their firework segment.
As you can imagine, I enjoyed learning about the firework making process for this article.
What did I learn? Well, not surprisingly, the main ingredient in fireworks is … wait for it … Gunpowder.
Gunpowder originated in China in the 9th century and is made up of three ingredients: saltpeter (potassium nitrate), sulfur and charcoal.
All three of these ingredients are used in both conventional medicine and homeopathy. Saltpeter, known homeopathically as Kalium nitricum; Sulfur, aka Sulphur and charcoal, known as Carbo vegetabilis.
Historically, saltpeter in its crude form (Kali nit) was used in the treatment of asthma (Brown and University of California Libraries 1917) and, today, this ingredient can be found in toothpastes formulated for sensitive teeth. Anecdotally, some people claim this kind of toothpaste has helped their asthma (Graedon and Graedon 2010).
Sulfur, the third most abundant mineral in the human body (Science et al. 2020), is used conventionally in many areas, including: allergic rhinitis, shingles and interstitial cystitis (Mount Sinai 2022).
Charcoal, primarily in the form of “activated charcoal” is used as “a safe, effective, and inexpensive alternative to more invasive treatments for poisoning” (Park 1986). (Note: Before finding homeopathy, I never traveled without activated charcoal and it has proven very useful on many occasions. I still keep it handy, but have not needed it since learning the homeopathic remedies.)
John C. Clarke’s Gunpowder As a War Remedy: A Work of Homeopathy (2016) notes that saltpeter and sulfur both have antiseptic capabilities and that standard black powder (the original gunpowder) can be used on infections, boils, blood poisoning and "other maladies". Additionally, Gunpowder is listed in the homeopathic repertories primarily for: gunshot wounds, wounds that are slow to heal, and anal fistulae.
Knowing the ingredients that make up gunpowder, I’m not surprised people decided to use Gunpowder as a medicine, both crudely and homeopathically.
Gunpowder as a healing agent dates back in literature at least to 1865 with Culpeper’s Last Legacy, in which he wrote, “A little Gun-powder tyed up in a rag, and held in the mouth, that it may touch the aking tooth, instantly easeth the pains of the Teeth” [sic].
John C. Clarke (2016a) talks about soldiers using gunpowder: “taken crude in teaspoonful doses mixed in hot water” and shepherds sprinkling it “on bread and cheese, to cure and prevent wound-poisoning acquired in shearing and handling sheep” as well as using it on the sheep themselves for their ailments.
After experimenting on himself, Clarke used homeopathic Gunpowder in a 3x trituration. The 3x potency* means some of the original substance remains in this version of the remedy but without the taste or smell “and to be in no sort of way explosive” and calls it a “most powerful and efficacious remedy.”
Dr. T. Chatterjee claims Gunpowder in high potencies can cure “obstinate psoriasis” and, in low potency is “an excellent blood purifier” and can be helpful after the extraction of an abscessed tooth.
Gunpowder remains a useful homeopathic remedy today for abscesses, boils and carbuncles and in bold-type, Robin Murphy mentions blood poisoning, also known as sepsis. (Sepsis is a life-threatening condition and needs to be treated immediately by a medical professional.)
Interestingly, historically speaking, the advent of gunpowder on the battlefields was cause for amputations as a result of gunshot wounds and the ensuing sepsis (Stansbury et al. 2007). It appears that gunpowder caused the wounds which, in turn, caused sepsis which, in turn, caused the need for amputation, which, ironically could have been avoided by treating the wound with Gunpowder in the first place and thus avoiding the amputation. A crazy version of not quite “like cures like,” but as "same cures same," which in homeopathy is termed Isopathy.
If you have a pet who has a hard time with the fireworks, try Aconite (rhymes with “fright”) or, put a few drops of Bach Rescue Remedy in their water bowl.
Happy 4th of July and be careful of all those things that go BOOM!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
* Potency article
Anon., 2022. Sesame Street - How Crayons Are Made [online]. www.youtube.com.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopedia, 2003. Gunpowder summary [online].
Brown, O. H. and University of California Libraries, 1917. Asthma, presenting an exposition of the nonpassive expiration theory [online]. Internet Archive. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby company.
Chatterjee, T., n.d. My Random Notes on some Homeopathic Remedies Reprint. accessed through Radar Opus software.
Clarke, J. C., 2016a. Gunpowder As a War Remedy: A Work of Homeopathy. USA.
Compound Interest, 2015. The Chemistry of Fireworks | Compound Interest [online]. Compound Interest.
Culpeper, N., 1685. Culpeper’s Last Legacy [online]. openlibrary.org.
Graedon, J. and Graedon, T., 2010. ‘Sensitive’ toothpaste may help asthma. Chicago Tribune [online], 15 May 2010.
Mount Sinai, 2022. Sulfur Information | Mount Sinai - New York [online]. Mount Sinai Health System.
Murphy, R., n.d. Repertory, version 3. Accessed through Radar Opus software.
Park, G. D., 1986. Expanded Role of Charcoal Therapy in the Poisoned and Overdosed Patient. Archives of Internal Medicine [online], 146 (5), 969.
Pray, T. J. W., 1849. The Medicinal Properties of Sulphur. The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal [online], 40 (26), 521–523.
Schroyens, F., n.d. Synthesis Adonis. accessed through Radar Opus software.
Science, U. of H. at M. F., Program, H. N. and Program, H. N., 2020. Sulfur. pressbooks.oer.hawaii.edu [online].
Science Channel, 2020. How It’s Made: Fireworks. YouTube [online]. YouTube Video.
Stansbury, L. G., Branstetter, J. G. and Lalliss, S. J., 2007. Amputation in Military Trauma Surgery. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care [online], 63 (4), 940–944.
Further references — Homeopathy & Medicine
Casey, S., 2011. Gunpowder! Little-Known Remedy Packs a Wallop Against Wounds - Shirley Casey [online]. Hpathy.
Clarke, J. H., 2016b. Gunpowder. from Materia Medica by John Henry Clarke. Homeopathy. [online]. www.materiamedica.info.
Rxlist.com, 2021. Sulfur: Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Dosage & Interactions [online]. RxList.
The Center for Homeopathy, n.d. The Discovery of the Therapeutic Uses of Gunpowder [online]. Center for Homeopathy.
Further reference list — Fireworks & Gunpowder
Foxhall, K., 2017. gunpowder – The Recipes Project [online]. Hypotheses.com.
Jennifer, 2017. Jennifer Evans [online]. Early Modern Medicine.
** This is a fun subscription service of science experiments for kids.
Mel Science, n.d. Magnesium fireworks [online]. MEL Science.
Science Made Fun, n.d. Fireworks and their Colors [online]. Sciencemadefun.net.
United States Geological Survey, 2020. What minerals produce the colors in fireworks? [online]. www.usgs.gov.
Her ears were "yuck"
Our overseas visitors just left us after a very enjoyable time.
One (dare I say) benefit of staying at the home of an enthusiastic homeopath is that some issues can be addressed in a relaxed fashion. Among other ailments, we addressed a long-standing case of plantar fasciitis; pre-wedding emotions for the mother-of-the-bride were handled nicely with Ignatia; bug bites were avoided and (if we didn’t get the OHM* bug spray on in time) helped; sunburned shoulders were quickly cooled with Similasan’s Burn Recovery*™; jangled nerves following an off-road adventure were met with Aconite (remember! Aconite rhymes with Fright!); Nux vomica came in handy the morning after the late night festivities and a custom Bach Flower Remedy blend for the bride herself proved useful for the ubiquitous pre-nuptial butterflies. Did I mention it was a nice, long visit with plenty of time to get the chance to show off what homeopathy can do!?
The day before the return flight, painful ears as a result of flying was brought up. So, I sent along a tube of Kali mur. When she landed, she texted to say that she did not take the remedy for the first flight and her “ears were yuck. Took them for the second flight and for the first time no need to keep moving jaw to pop ears, also when landing.”
Kali muriaticum is one of Schussler’s 12 original cell salts and is known to help the body clear congestions. (In this case, I gave her the 30c potency, but I’m sure the 6x "cell salt" would have worked just fine, but may have needed to be repeated more frequently.) This remedy is known to be helpful for blocked eustachian tubes, middle ear conditions, swollen glands and when crackling noises are heard when blowing the nose or swallowing. Robin Murphy talks about "snapping, itching, as of a plug in ears". That pretty much sums up the discomfort one can feel in one's ears when flying and Kali mur did the trick for her.
Her husband jokingly asked if I had “anything for the annoying fellow passengers.” Yup. Nux vomica would be worth a try for that because, after all, it’s not necessarily that the fellow passengers are annoying, it’s the fact that one is being annoyed by one's fellow passengers.
Whoo hoo! I love it. Homeopathy works so quickly and so effectively for so very many conditions. I truly wish everybody knew about this amazing medicine!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
* OHM products are only available to professional homeopaths and their clients.
** I have no affiliation with this company, I just like their products.
I have never used it, but I bet Similasan’s Itch Relief would work well, too!
Watch your step!
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.
Perfect is the enemy of good
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.
T-Relief, that is. I was annoyed when the company changed the name of Traumeel to T-Relief. No reason, I guess I just liked the name Traumeel. But today, I think the name T-Relief is far superior.
I am riddled with osteoarthritis. It seems every time I have an x-ray done, I get confirmation as to why this or that place was stiff, sore or uncomfortable. My hands, wrists, knees, hips, ankles, feet — I’m sure there are more, but I haven’t had those black and white internal pictures yet. For the most part, my osteoarthritis is a non-issue. I credit bone broth and homeopathy (of course!) and exercise. If I don’t move regularly, my knees (right knee in particular) and hips get ornery. So, I make sure to walk frequently and for fairly long distances. Conversely, my hands and wrists can get sore if I use them too much. Go figure. (Actually, as I am thinking about it, perhaps that has to do with broken bones, as I broke a bunch of fingers and my wrist. Hmmm. I’ll have to noodle this further. I’ve never really given it any thought before.)
I take absolutely no medicines or painkillers of any kind, aside from homeopathy. It is important to note that I have arthritis in many places, but I need to acknowledge that my arthritis is considered mild to moderate. (If you are suffering with severe osteoarthritis, homeopathy can probably still help, but I would recommend a more targeted homeopathic approach in addition to T-Relief.)
Occasionally, I wake up with sore hands. Today was one of those days. I grabbed T-Relief and put a small amount of the cream on my hands. Within less than 2 minutes, I had relief. True relief. No remnants of stiffness or soreness. None. That’s the moment I decided I prefer the new name of this homeopathic combination. (A few years ago I watched an older woman with pretty advanced arthritis use Traumeel and she said, “it’s like I put on gloves and I have new hands.” Yes! I can now relate to that!
What’s in T-Relief and why does it help? Let’s take a look. Interestingly, this combination uses extremely low potencies: 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 6X and 10X. (For a refresher on homeopathic potencies, click here and here.) With these low potencies, the instructions of using it “2 to 3 times daily, or more often if necessary” make good sense*.
Aconitum napellus or Aconite for short. Numbness and tingling can result when the inflamed joints press on nerves. Raynaud’s disease occurs more frequently in arthritis patients and it, too, can be helped by Aconite. “Red, shining swelling, very sensitive joints” (Murphy 2020) are helped by Aconite as are weak and lax ligaments of joints and sharp joint pains. Hip joints and thighs that feel lame. Trembling can also be associated with osteoarthritis and Aconite can help with this, too.
Arnica montana. T-Relief takes, in my opinion, a scattershot approach (in a good way!) with their Arnica by including it in 1X, 3X and 10X potencies. One of these potencies is most likely going to provide some relief. Arnica is the go-to remedy for over-doing it, as well as experiencing a lame feeling. Limbs which ache as if they had been beaten. Aching as a result of exposure to cold and damp or muscular strain. Cramps, like writer’s cramp. Weakness in the hands, especially when grasping. Arnica is shown here and here and here to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Baptisia tinctoria is also excellent for aching, sore and bruised pains with great weakness. Wandering pains as well as stiffness and pain.
Belladonna is well known for any ailment which is red and hot. Swollen joints, cramping pains. Spasms and shifting pains and the cold limbs which can sometimes result from arthritis.
Bellis perennis, the common daisy, is amazing for aching pains, new or old. (If you are suffering from old injury pains, Bellis perennis may be your new best friend.) Sore joints as well as muscular soreness. A bruised, aching, sore pain. Tight wrists. Hip pains that are worse for exertion.
Calendula officinalis. Calendula has been shown to be anti-inflammatory (and here, too) as well as being useful in repairing damaged tissues and when we get right down to it, what is osteoarthritis? “Osteoarthritis is a joint disease in which the tissues in the joint break down over time” (NIAMS 2019) so it makes sense that Calendula would be helpful in repairing not just superficial wounds, but also the deeper tissues. Like Belladonna, Calendula can also help with cold hands and feet.
Chamomilla The Materia Medica does have some guidance regarding Chamomilla assisting when ankles give way, when there are pains in the hips and loins and numbness and stiffness of hands, particularly when grasping objects. However, I think Chamomilla’s biggest contribution to this combination remedy is its ability to soothe irritability and anger. Not being able to easily do, or do at all, what you want to do, inevitably leads to irritability. If Chamomilla can help soothe a teething toddler, it can help a grumpy old arthritic person!
Echinacea also addresses cold hands and feet as well as aching, weakness and pain in general.
Hamamelis virginiana is another good pain remedy. It is indicated in very sore muscles and joints and it is one of the most highly indicated remedies for varicose veins which have been found to be associated with osteoarthritis (Sisto et al. 1995).
Hypericum perforatum is another excellent nerve remedy as well as a good remedy for when the joints feel bruised. It is also a highly indicated remedy for pain in general, especially radiating or shooting pains.
Millefolium is a pain remedy, not terribly specific to arthritis with the exception of sprains and strains of joints. (Remember, T-Relief is not specifically formulated for arthritis, it is for pain, in general.)
Ruta graveleons is a big remedy for bruised pain, particularly in the bones and shows an affinity for joints, ankles and wrists. Cracking in joints. Knees which give way. Pains in the bones of feet and ankles. Pain and stiffness in wrists and hands.
Symphytum officinale is for bone pain and more importantly, complaints and pains of cartilage. Aching hip pain as well as joint pain, generally. See here and here for research on Comfrey, AKA Symphytum.)
As you can see, T-Relief is a beautiful combination of low potency homeopathic remedies to assist in the relieving of mild to moderate arthritis pain.
P.S. Don’t be surprised if you rub some T-Relief into your hands and find relief in your knee. Once the remedies are in your system (in this case via the skin), you will likely find relief all over, not just where it was applied.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
* It’s always important to read the directions and use according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
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Murphy, R., 2020. Nature’s materia medica : 1,400 homeopathic and herbal remedies. 4th edition. Blackburg, Va.: Lotus Health Institute, November.
NIAMS, 2019. NIAMS Health Information on Osteoarthritis [online]. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Sisto, T., Reunanen, A., Laurikka, J., Impivaara, O., Heliövaara, M., Knekt, P., and Aromaa, A., 1995. Prevalence and risk factors of varicose veins in lower extremities: mini-Finland health survey. The European Journal of Surgery = Acta Chirurgica [online], 161 (6), 405–414.
Staiger, C., 2012. Comfrey: A Clinical Overview. Phytotherapy Research [online], 26 (10), n/a-n/a.
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.