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.
Our first houseguests in over 2 years have arrived. A lovely thing, I can assure you!
After enduring this enforced time of not traveling, I (happily) forgot how horrible jet lag is, but I am reminded of its nastiness as I watch our over-seas visitors make the adjustment to the new time zone.
Why do we feel so exhausted after getting off a plane? All we do is sit (and eat), watch movies and maybe snooze a little bit for all those hours. We should be refreshed, like we had a day of relaxation! Yet, when finally stepping off that smelly tube with wings, it’s not at all uncommon to feel like you’ve run a marathon and got hit by a truck when you crossed the finish line!
The experts say it’s precisely because we’re sitting for long periods of time in dry air and become dehydrated, etc., etc., etc. Whatever the true pathophysiologic reasons are, jet lag is a miserable feeling.
Mainstream medicine has nothing to offer, really. Melatonin (Cipolla-Neto and Gaspar do Amaral 2018) apparently can help, and you can see how it would work (Herxheimer and Petrie 2002). Though short-term melatonin use is generally regarded as safe, I must admit, I wouldn’t mess with my hormones in this way (because melatonin is indeed a hormone)… especially when homeopathy has some simple answers. For more information on possible side effects of melatonin: (Bauer 2017; American Sleep Association 2022; Drugs.com 2021).
So, what did I do for our tired guests?
In anticipation of their arrival, I left two remedies on the dresser in their room:
JetZone: Jet Lag Prevention & Helios’ Jet Candy
JETZONE, remedy information as listed on the packet:
Arnica: Sleepless and restless when overtired
Cocculus: Constant drowsiness after loss of sleep
Kali phos: Weak and tired from overexertion. Headache from fatigue.
Gelsemium: Insomnia from exhaustion
Nux vomica: Heartburn, anxiety and restlessness
Argentum nitricum: Mental anxiety
Jet Candy, by Helios:
JetCandy doesn’t list their reasonings for including the remedies, but I will fill in the blanks.
Bellis perennis: Another trauma remedy. Some call it a “deeper” Arnica.
Petroleum: I wrote about Petroleum’s role in seasickness here. In short, Petroleum is particularly helpful for nausea.
There are other homeopathic combination remedies for jet lag, these are just the two I happened to have lying around.
No-Jet-Lag, by Miers Labs:
No-Jet-Lag doesn’t list their reasonings for including the remedies, but I will fill in the blanks.
Chamomilla: Oversensitivity, anger and for when falling asleep is difficult.
Ipecac: Nausea, headache
Lycopodium: Gas and bloating; frequent waking and unrefreshing sleep
Jet Lag Relief, by Boiron
Arnica: Relieves muscle pain and stiffness
Cocculus: Relieves nausea associated with jet lag
Nux vomica: Relieves drowsiness and digestive problems associated with travel
What do all of these jet lag combination remedies have in common? Arnica montana. Arnica is a well known homeopathic remedy for injury and trauma. Let’s face it — changing time zones is absolutely an assault on your person. It affects your body, your mind and your emotions. If you are unable to get your hands on one of these combo remedies prior to your trip, bring along a tube of Arnica and half your battle will be won.
Jetlagreview.com (who knew such a thing existed?!), claims to be “the #1 source for helping people find effective ways to effectively combat jet lag.” I have no idea who is behind this site, but I was very intrigued to see 1/2 of the products they review are homeopathic (the others are vitamins and/or herbs).
No-Jet-Lag is jetlagreview’s #2 Silver Award Winner, for whatever that’s worth.
If you find yourself headed overseas, pick up one of these combination remedies and slip it in your carry-on. They’re all slightly different, but basically the same and any one of them will certainly be better than nothing. Or, take along just a tube of Arnica and see if one of these can’t put a little spring in your exhausted tourist step!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
* I have no affiliation with any of these products. I have used Jetzone and No-Jet-Lag, to good effect. Follow the directions listed on the packet.
American Sleep Association, 2022. Melatonin Side Effects [online]. American Sleep Association.
Bauer, B., 2017. Pros and cons of melatonin [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Cipolla-Neto, J. and Gaspar do Amaral, F., 2018. Melatonin as a Hormone: New Physiological and Clinical Insights[online]. academic.oup.com.
Cleveland Clinic, n.d. Jet Lag: What is it, Symptoms, How Long Does it Last & Treatment [online]. Cleveland Clinic.
Drugs.com, 2021. Melatonin Side Effects, Uses, Dosage (Kids/Adults) [online]. Drugs.com.
Herxheimer, A. and Petrie, K. J., 2002. Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Jet Lag Review, 2022. Top Products [online]. jetlagreport.com.
Recovering from Surgery
Funny how the world works. I have been thinking of writing a post about recovering from surgery and lo and behold, not long ago, I awakened to a text saying my oldest son was in the ER experiencing terrible stomach pain.
Yes. You guessed it. Within 12 hours, he had his appendix removed*.
Always remember… the procedure may be simple, but recovering from removing a piece of your anatomy is never simple!
He was prescribed and he filled all of the meds the doctors recommended. Has he used them? Nope. (I take that back. He took one single Tylenol the first morning.)
How did we address this post-surgical pain? With 2 little tubes of homeopathic remedies: homeopathic Nux vomica and Helios’** homeopathic combination remedy, "Surg".
Why Nux vomica following an appendectomy and anesthesia?
Dr. Ratera (2016, p. 310) lists Nux vomica among a selection of only 11 remedies for use following general anesthesia, including narcosis (“a state of stupor, drowsiness or unconsciousness produced by drugs”).
Schroyens (2012) lists Nux in the following rubrics in his homeopathic repertory:
• Stomach, nausea, operation on abdomen, after; Including cramping pain.
• Vomiting following an operation.
• General ailments following an operation.
In addition to those “official” symptoms, Nux vomica is the remedy to turn to when you have things in your system that shouldn’t be there — (see: Garbage in, Garbage out and Too Much!).
Once upon a time, our Great Pyrenees, Rufus, had a minor procedure and he was not waking up following the anesthesia (see definition of Narcosis above). When I set out to his vet appointment, I didn’t know he was going to be put under, so, I didn’t bring any remedies with me. But, I always have Nux vomica 200c in my purse, (see: My Little Bag of Wellness). I slipped 2 pellets in between his gum and his cheek and he literally popped out of Neverland and was able to stand up and walk to the car. Did I mention he’s a big dog? There was no way I was going to be able to carry him to the car. We got home and he curled up on his bed and was back into a very deep sleep. Another dose of Nux placed between his gum and his cheek and he got up and drank some water. I think we did 1 final dose of Nux later that evening and he was back to his normal self.
My son didn’t want to take the Nux immediately. They told him that having the anesthesia in his system would help him to sleep that night and since it had been a long time since he had any sleep, that’s the route he chose.
The other tube of homeopathy he used was a beautiful mixture of homeopathic remedies from Helios pharmacy they call “Surg.” Surg is a combination of Arnica, Bellis perennis, Calendula, Hypericum and Staphysagria.
Homeopathic Arnica is probably the most researched homeopathic remedy. Below is a good handful of summaries and links to the actual papers.
ARNICA & SURGERY RESEARCH:
Anesthesia recovery and Analgesia in dogs -- Arnica & Papaver
“The Arnica group required rescue analgesia later than the others.” (I’m willing to bet the rescue analgesia could be have been avoided all-together if further doses of Arnica were provided.)
Postoperative Sore Throat (This is a case report.)
“In all three trials, patients receiving homeopathic arnica showed a trend towards less postoperative swelling compared to patients receiving placebo.”
“The results of this trial suggest that Arnica montana given after tonsillectomy provides a small, but statistically significant, decrease in pain scores compared to placebo.”
Healing of Wounds following surgery, compared to diclofenac
“After foot operations, Arnica… can be used instead of diclofenac to reduce wound irritation.”
Effectiveness and Safety of Arnica montana in Post-Surgical Setting, Pain and Inflammation. This is a review showing “arnica Montana is more effective than placebo when used for the treatment of several conditions including post-traumatic and postoperative pain, edema, and ecchymosis.”
Varicose vein surgery Varicose vein surgery
“The results of this pilot study showed a trend towards a beneficial effect of Arnica… with regard to reduction of hematoma and pain during the postoperative course.”
Is Homeopathic Arnica Effective for Postoperative Recovery? A Meta-analysis of Placebo-Controlled and Active Comparator Trials
“Homeopathic Arnica has a small effect size over and against placebo in preventing excessive hematoma and other sequelae of surgeries. The effect is comparable to that of anti-inflammatory substances.”
Is there a role for homeopathy in breast cancer surgery?
“A. montana… could reduce post-operative blood and seroma collection in women undergoing unilateral total mastectomy.”
Use of Arnica to relieve pain after carpal-tunnel release surgery
“…there was a significant reduction in pain experienced after 2 weeks in the Arnica-treated group.”
RESEARCH on ARNICA combined with other homeopathic remedies listed in “Surg.”
Healing of Surgical Wounds -- Arnica & Staphysagria
The table provided in this study shows the number of days needed to complete healing of the surgical wound for the control group and the groups assigned either Arnica or Staphysagria.
Homeopathic Mixture Accelerates Wound Closure -- Arnica, Calendula, and Hypericum
“A homeopathic remedy… accelerates in vitro wound scratch closure of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts.”
The effect of the homeopathic remedies Arnica montana and Bellis perennis on mild postpartum bleeding
“Treatment with homeopathic Arnica montana and Bellis perennis may reduce postpartum blood loss, as compared with placebo.
RESEARCH on Arnica and homeopathic remedies not listed in “Surg.”
Perioperative Homeopathic Arnica and Bromelain
"A systematic review of the literature demonstrates the potential for arnica and bromelain to improve perioperative outcomes including edema, ecchymosis, and pain control."
RESEARCH on Hypericum:
Hypericum perforatum to Improve Postoperative Pain Outcome After Monosegmental Spinal Sequestrectomy (HYPOS)
“Although no significant differences between the groups could be shown, we found that patients who took potentiated Hypericum in addition to usual pain management showed lower consumption of analgesics.”
Homeopathic treatment for peripheral nerve regeneration
“Hypericum improves functional recovery of peripheral nerve regeneration in rats.”
Note: Most of the research on Calendula, Hypericum and Bellis perennis centers on herbal or mother tinctures.
Historically speaking, in homeopathic terms, these last three remedies have a terrific reputation for post-surgical and wound healing with claims that it can promote healing and reduce risk of infection. Dr. Robin Murphy spoke often in his seminars of the healing qualities of Calendula and names it the number one remedy to use following surgery, noting the homeopathic remedy can be taken internally as well as topically. (Note: to use topically, a pellet of homeopathic Calendula can be added to clean water and used as a compress. Or, “Calendula, mother tincture, 15 drops to a wineglass of boiled water. This will cleanse the abraded surface and prevent sepsis. Calendula 6 given three to four times daily by the mouth will assist the healing process” (Shepherd and Robinson 1995).
Calendula and Hypericum tinctures are often used together following surgery or for wound healing in general.
Dr. Dorothy Shepherd*** says, “I have never seen a cleaner wound surface or more rapid healing in a torn perineum than those which were treated with Calendula sprays, and it was much more efficacious, and more rapid than the strongest antiseptic, nor was there any rise in temperature after!” (Shephard 1989).
Bellis perennis is the common daisy. When I first learned about this remedy, the story was told about the soldiers in the war marching over fields of daisies. They were tired and they were sore and they were bruised and they didn’t realize the little flowers they were tromping over actually held the key to their ails. “Bellis perennis is long-flowering and surprisingly tough. It is resilient to the damage of mowing and human footfall, bouncing back” (Evans 2020).
The National Center for Homeopathy says it is most often used to speed surgical healing.
In addition to being helpful after surgery, Bellis can be used to assist in the healing from “long-unresolved or repeated trauma from accidents and injuries; physical, emotional or sexual abuse” (Evans 2020). Bellis is “especially useful in soft tissue injuries …. Similar to Arnica, it acts on muscle fibers and blood vessels with intense pain … deep trauma … especially in pelvis and abdomen” (Ratera 2016).
If you or a loved one has a surgery scheduled in the near future, contact Helios for a tube of “Surg” or, grab a tube of each of the remedies included in that combination (Arnica, Bellis perennis Calendula, Hypericum, and Staphysagria) and make your own combo remedy to help speed your recovery along. (Note: A good way to make your own combo remedy is to drop a pellet or two into a bottle of water and take sips as needed. Remember, every sip is a dose, so it's wise to have a water for drinking and a bottle for healing.)
For further research on the potential benefits of homeopathy, see: https://classicallypractical.com/research.html.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
* Are there homeopathic remedies that can help with an inflamed appendix? Yes, there are, and perhaps I will write about those one day. In the mean time, if you are suffering from appendicitis, or, other severe stomach/abdominal pain, please go to the ER or talk to your physician.
** I have no affiliation with Helios; I just like their products.
*** Dr. Dorothy Shepherd was an orthodox physician who turned to homeopathy, saying, “I must admit that homeopathy has never let me down.” She had a homeopathic clinic in London during the war (Anon. 2009).
Anon., 2009. Dorothy Shepherd (1885 - 1952) [online]. www.sueyounghistories.com.
Anon., 2022. Bellis perennis [online]. National Center for Homeopathy.
Evans, J., 2020. Asteraceae: remedies of the sunflower family. Harlem, NL: Emryss.
Ratera, Dr. M. M., 2016. First Aid with Homeopathy. Kander, Germany: Narayana Verlag.
Schroyens, F., 2012. Synthesis : repertorium homeopathicum syntheticum. Accessed through Radar Opus software. London: Homeopathic Book Publishers.
Shephard, Dr. D., 1989. The magic of the minimum dose : experiences and cases. Saffron Walden: Health Science Press.
Shepherd, D. and Robinson, G. E., 1995. More magic of the minimum dose : experiences and cases. Saffron Walden, Essex: C.W. Daniel Co.
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.
Arthritis National Research Foundation, 2021. Does arthritis cause numbness or tingling? [online]. Arthritis Research | Arthritis National Research Foundation.
Carmona-Terés, V., Moix-Queraltó, J., Pujol-Ribera, E., Lumillo-Gutiérrez, I., Mas, X., Batlle-Gualda, E., Gobbo-Montoya, M., Jodar-Fernández, L., and Berenguera, A., 2017. Understanding knee osteoarthritis from the patients’ perspective: a qualitative study. BMC musculoskeletal disorders [online], 18 (1), 225.
Grube, B., Grünwald, J., Krug, L., and Staiger, C., 2007. Efficacy of a comfrey root (Symphyti offic. radix) extract ointment in the treatment of patients with painful osteoarthritis of the knee: Results of a double-blind, randomised, bicenter, placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine [online], 14 (1), 2–10.
Jurca, T., Józsa, L., Suciu, R., Pallag, A., Marian, E., Bácskay, I., Mureșan, M., Stan, R. L., Cevei, M., Cioară, F., Vicaș, L., and Fehér, P., 2020. Formulation of Topical Dosage Forms Containing Synthetic and Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agents for the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Molecules [online], 26 (1).
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.
Murphy, R., 2006. Nature’s materia medica : 1,400 homeopathic and herbal remedies. 3rd ed. Blackburg, Va.: Lotus Health Institute, November.
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.
Rufus is a big dog and he most likely suffers from the hip joint problems these big fellows are known to endure. He’s been slowing down for a while now and we dare not take him on a long off-road walk because there would be no carrying him back home if he decided to sit down and be done with the walk.
The other day, poor old Rufus couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get up to get his breakfast. He had to have his back end lifted for him to get him on his way. He seemed fine the day before. Fine is relative here. It always seems an effort for him to stand up. There is almost always a groan and a sudden drop when he tries to make himself comfy.
Having no idea what happened to Ruf — did he injure his leg or back or is it just the old age aches of a big dog — I wasn’t sure where to start and he wasn’t helping me figure it out.
After being helped up, he had his breakfast and took himself outside for a bit and plopped back down in his cool room.
I brought him a T-Relief spiked treat*.
T-Relief used to be known as Traumeel and was one of the first homeopathic remedies that I began using on my own. It’s a homeopathic mix which covers a lot of ground:
Arnica — Joint, back, muscle pain
Calendula — pain reliever
Hamamelis — a good remedy to think of when Arnica didn’t act.
Bellis Perennis — joint and muscle soreness
Belladonna — pain reliever
Hypericum — nerve pain (see “Poked by a Branch” blog)
Ruta — tendons and ligaments
And a few more remedies thrown in for good measure.
A lot of homeopaths don’t like the combination remedies. Could an injury or pain be more specifically addressed through a targeted remedy? You bet. But, in a pinch and when you don’t have the working knowledge to guide you to the “correct” remedy, combination remedies can often quickly get you the relief you need.
And, for Rufus, it did just that.
He lounged most of the day, as usual, and he was able to get up for his dinner, albeit slower than usual. A few more doses of T-Relief put him back on track.
[In writing this article, I see Medinatura also offers a line of Pet products. I have not tried them. The ingredients and price appear to be identical to the people version.]
* I crush the tablet with the back of a spoon or the flat part of a knife and pick up the powder on a piece of meat or cheese and give it to him that way. They can also be put directly in the mouth, between the gum and cheek.
** Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.
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.