Next up in my series on aging, "It's Never Too Late," is #2, Balance issues.
What causes balance issues? Inner ear disorders, head injuries, neurological conditions and even medical issues such as diabetes, heart disease and thyroid problems, or, medications could be the culprit, too. In other words — it could be hard to find out what is causing these balance issues. There are a lot of avenues to investigate. It could make your head spin! Did I mention vertigo is a common cause of balance issues?
One of the beautiful aspects of homeopathy is we don’t need to know if it’s a thyroid problem or an inner ear disturbance. We only need to know what symptoms play out with these balance issues. Can it help if we know the cause? Sure, but it’s not necessary.
Let me be clear here, though. I am not suggesting to skip the investigation. Definitely figure it out with the help of a medical professional.
Signs and symptoms of balance problems include (Mayo Clinic 2018):
This could become a long article with lots of twists and turns (a little vertigo-causing itself it could be, actually!) but we’re not going there. We’re going to make it simple.
We’re going to look at the top homeopathic remedies for vertigo, dizziness, falling and the sensation of falling.
Calcarea carbonica, Calc carb for short. Clumsy, awkward, falls easily. Feet may turn inward when walking. Get tired from a short walk. There may be a tendency to fall to either side, particularly the left side, or backward. Vertigo can be caused by turning the head, looking upward or going upstairs/uphill. This is an excellent remedy for the elderly in and of itself, regardless of a tendency to fall.
Cocculus indicus has a fear of falling and a tendency to fall to either side. Cocculus has an affinity for the spine, and especially of its motor nerves. “There may be a weakness in the small of the back, as if paralyzed; the small of the back gives out when walking; the soles of the feet feel as if they were asleep; the thighs ache as if they had been pounded; first one hand then the other goes to sleep; sometimes the whole arm falls asleep … These symptoms lie at the foundation of the symptomatology of the whole drug; they all seem to depend upon spinal weakness” (Farrington 2010). In most cases which respond well to Cocculus, there is some component of vertigo at play and may be accompanied by nausea which may be worse in a sitting position or when changing from a reclining to a sitting position.
Natrum muriaticum. Nat-mur has a fear of falling, too. With vertigo, this remedy has a tendency to fall forward or to the left. The vertigo feels as if they are falling and may be worse standing near a window (or looking out of a window) or on closing the eyes and is improved when lying with the head propped high. Vertigo may be worse in the morning, especially when getting out of bed and occasionally the vertigo may be accompanied by nausea or nosebleeds.
Nux vomica fears falling, too, but particularly in the afternoon. (Homeopathy never fails to amaze me with its odd specificities!) With vertigo, a person who may benefit from Nux vomica isn’t so particular which way they fall: forward, backward or to the side. The vertigo of Nux-v feels as if the brain (and other objects) turn in a circle.
Rhus toxicodendron tends to fall backward, forward, or, to the right. It’s a major remedy for the tendency to fall when rising from bed. Or, they may have the sensation as if they would fall over. There may be a fear of death or a weakness of memory during the vertigo. Vertigo may be worse when lying down. Rhus tox is also noted in a form of vertigo common in old age which gives a sensation of confusion and dullness (Choudhuri 2016).
Stramonium popped up in the search as the only remedy listed for the following: tends to fall backward while walking; tends to fall in the dark; tends to fall to the right while sitting or rising from bed from a sitting position. There is also a tendency to hallucinations that they are falling. Vertigo is worse walking in the dark or when the eyes are closed.
A few other remedies with some particular falling tendencies (single remedy rubrics):
Phosphorus for vertigo with a tendency to fall from a chair.
Causticum tends to fall to the left while looking upward.
Spigelia tends to fall while looking down.
Strength and balance training are always a good thing, despite your age. I know nothing about Elderlygym.com, but they had some good, common sense information and some clever exercises to get started on reclaiming your balance. Or, find a well-qualified yoga or pilates teacher who has experience working with people your age.
If you (or a loved one) finds yourself no longer vertical on a regular basis, get it checked out.
“To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better.” Victor Hugo.
Homeopathy can help with both.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Choudhuri, N. M., 2016. A study on materia medica : an ideal text-book for homoeopathic students. Accessed through Radar Opus software. Noida, U.P., India: B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.
Elderlygym.com, 2019. 12 Best Elderly Balance Exercises For Seniors to Reduce the Risk of Falls [online]. Eldergym® Senior Fitness. Available from: .
Farrington, A., 2010. Lectures on Clinical Materia Medica in Family Order. Accessed through Radar Opus software.
Mayo Clinic, 2018. Balance problems - Symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Morrison, R., 1998. Desktop companion to physical pathology. Nevada City, Calif.: Hahnemann Clinic Publ.
Murphy, R., n.d. Repertory, version 3. Accessed through Radar Opus software.
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.
Cold & Damp
I live in a desert. I live in a desert for a reason. I like that nice, dry weather, usually with a big, blue sky filled with a sun that has meaning!
Soon, I’m headed to other climes and I must admit, even though I am really looking forward to the trip, I am not looking forward to the cold and damp. The last time I was in this weather in the winter, I would get so cold it took a long time soaking in a deep, hot bath to warm up. Literally. Chilled to the bone is a real thing.
Back in the day, I didn’t even know about homeopathy, let alone use it. So, this time, I’m doing a little prep work of what remedies to have along with me.
Previously, I wrote about frost bite and the remedies that can help with that. I’ll bring that remedy with me, but that’s very different to the deep-seated cold of damp weather.
Three remedies stand out in my search: Dulcamara, Nux moschata, and Rhus tox. These are not the only remedies, just the 3 that keep popping up most clearly and therefore, a good place to start (and the 3 remedies I am going to be sure to bring with me!) Calc carb showed up quite often, but it didn’t really have any distinguishing features, but I’ll leave it in anyway, just cuz.
Homeopathic Dulcamara has a strong keynote aggravation from damp weather. “Any condition which has this feature may find its remedy in Dulcamara” (Robin Murphy). Most Dulcamara complaints are related to the mucous membranes (mouth, nose, eyelids, lungs, stomach, intestines).
Symptoms unique to Dulcamara in the cold and damp:
A few symptoms where Dulcamara is your best bet (though, Calc carb, Nux moschata and Rhus tox are still indicated, but not as clearly):
Homeopathic Nux moschata is what would be called a dry remedy. (It’s made from nutmeg, so that kind of makes sense to me.) A very dry remed actually; so, it’s no surprise that the person who could benefit from it would not fare well in the cold and damp.
Three symptoms that appear in the cold and damp and are unique to Nux moschata:
If you experience any of these symptoms as a result of being in the cold and damp, Nux moschata is most likely the remedy for you.
Homeopathic Rhus tox is a remedy that is known for feeling better from heat — generally, the hotter the better! So, it would make sense that a person needing Rhus tox would feel worse in the cold and damp.
Specific to Rhus tox as a result of the cold & damp:
A few other rubrics to consider that don’t fit nicely into my (mostly) neatly segregated remedies:
Here’s to sitting by a blazing fire, sipping something hot and lovely!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Up, Up and Away
Historically at this time of year, I am cheering on fall’s arrival. This year, for reasons unknown to me, I am savoring these last days of full summer. It doesn’t really cool off too much for a few more weeks (and, even then, that’s relative, I know) — but I’m holding on to what’s left of the strong summer sun.
On this cloudless, sunny day, we’re “headed up the tram” which makes me think of altitude sickness because we’ll be eating dinner at 10, 378 ft tonight.
Long before I lived in the mountains, I visited a friend in Breckenridge, Colorado (9,600 ft). I don’t remember all the symptoms I experienced there, but I do remember dizziness was a big part of it. I learned that night that vertigo and water beds are not a good combination. (I had never and have no plans to ever sleep on one of those again.) I was down the mountain and boarding a plane back to sea level the next morning.
The altitude continued to bother me whenever I visited above my new home-base level (6,880 ft), but last year I got sick of the lethargy and headaches, so I finally did something about it.
What did I do? I took a dose of homeopathic Coca 30c, which is made from the coca leaves that they chew in South America when they’re headed up the mountains to ward off the nasty effects like throbbing headaches and pounding heart, faintness and tummy upset. I felt much better after the first dose and the next time I was up high, I took a second dose and have not had any troubles since. (I will stick it in my pocket for tonight, though — just in case.)
Purchasing homeopathic Coca in the US can be tricky so here are a couple of other remedies to try.
Calcarea Carbonica is helpful for people who have difficulty ascending — mountains or stairs, the remedy doesn’t care. Vertigo in high places. Headaches which are worse for physical exertion. Heart palpitations and weakness, in general.
Carbo-veg is the remedy for debilitation and collapse states. Fainting or the feeling of going to faint, weakness and “imperfect oxidation.” Craving oxygen and want of air.
Silicea is another weakness remedy, a lack of energy. It’s also indicated in difficult breathing when ascending as well as palpitations with vertigo.
Next time you are headed skiing or climbing or visiting a high city, or just having dinner at an altitude higher than you're used to, remember one of these remedies to help you breathe easy.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
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.