I’ve been hearing that ringworm is going around. Is it true? I must confess, it’s getting pretty hard to tell what is true these days when you’re looking at the news.
Regardless of all that nonsense, it’s important to be pro-active and know what to do if whatever is going around is coming your way.
With that, let’s talk about ringworm.
Ringworm is a fungal rash, named because of the ring that encircles the rash — no worms are involved. It is related to athlete’s foot and jock itch and it’s important to remember that fungal infections are likely to be contagious. They can spread through contact with the infected skin of others (including animals) or objects like towels, bedding or clothing.
What to look for, according to Mayo Clinic:
“Ringworm may cause bald patches and consistent scratching leads to oozing and blistering” (Alton and Alton 2021).
Sounds kind of miserable. How can homeopathy help?
My first homeopathic stop would be from the Drs. Banerji who recommend the following protocol:
Now, let’s look at these remedies individually and see why they might help.
Graphites is a big skin remedy. In this instance, it can be helpful for moist, crusty eruptions and has thick borders. Blisters which itch and ooze. Skin that comes off in scales or flakes. It is well indicated for eruptions which burn or itch as well as “smarting” — they just hurt. Itching skin, with the need to scratch it until it is raw. It’s also helpful for spots of falling hair (bald patches).
Kali sulph is the primary cell salt which is indicated in ringworm, according to Natural Healing with Cell Salts ((Weintraub 1999). I’ll just let George W. Carey, MD sum up the skin conditions noted in his book, The Biochemic System of Medicine (1896):
“All sores on the skin, when exuding a thin, yellow, watery matter, sometimes with dryness and desquamation of the surrounding skin. Skin scales freely on a sticky base… This salt also greatly aids desquamation in eruptive diseases and assists in the formation of new skin.” [author’s emphasis, not mine]
Coffea cruda, a homeopathic remedy made from raw coffee, helps to keep one’s mind off of things. In my mind, I have somehow squashed the squirrel from Hoodwinked with the dog from Up to represent this remedy. The squirrel becomes hyper-focused when he has coffee and Dug the Dog’s attention leaves whenever there is the mention of a squirrel. So, my mind justifies this craziness in this way… when your mind is hyper-focused on the itching (think: squirrel from Hoodwinked) take the Coffea cruda remedy and it can remove the attention of the itching to the “squirrel” over there (think: Dug the Dog). In other words, the remedy removes the hyper focus and allows your mind to go elsewhere.
Here’s to being prepared for the real stuff as well as the (possibly) over-hyped stuff. May we one day be able to easily decipher truth from fiction again.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Alton, J. and Alton, A., 2021. The survival medicine handbook : the essential guide for when help is NOT on the way : a Doom and Bloom guide. United States? Doom And Bloom Llc.
George Washington Carey, 1896. The Biochemic System of Medicine. F. August Luyties.
Lockie, A., 1993. The family guide to homeopathy : symptoms and natural solutions. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Mayo Clinic, 2018. Ringworm (body) - Symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Morrison, R., 1998. Desktop companion to physical pathology. Nevada City, Calif.: Hahnemann Clinic Publ.
Prasanta Banerji and Pratip Banerji, 2013. The Banerji protocols : a new method of treatment with homeopathic medicines. India: Pratip Banerji.
Weintraub, S., 1999. Natural healing with cell salts. Pleasant Grove, Ut: Woodland Pub.
What about coffee?
I’m the queen of giving things up. My husband says I’m addicted to giving things up and has challenged me to give up giving things up. Well, I’m running out of things to give up, so, someday soon perhaps I’ll think about it!
My latest giving up thing has without a doubt been the hardest one I have tackled to date. Over the years, I have successfully kicked: alcohol, caffeine, grains, legumes, nightshades, sugar, dairy and even chocolate. There are more, but I won’t bore you with the list. Some of them were for short periods of time just to see how it affected me, but most have become incorporated into my way of life after discovering I felt better without them. This article is in no way suggesting that anybody give up anything in particular. I’m a firm believer in the importance of people doing what is right for themselves. You do you.
Back to this latest one that is so hard. ** Drumroll ** Crossing my legs while sitting.
Oooh! It’s killing me! Well, it’s a little easier today after a Rolfing session yesterday. She helped move my sacrum into its new home after being twisted up for many decades and it is now much easier to sit without desperately wanting to cross my legs. Argh. Yet, I know from experience, this, too, shall pass.
What’s the secret to successfully giving things up?
Putting things in. Don’t punish yourself when you give something up — swap it. Maybe that’s why the not crossing my legs is so hard — there is nothing I can put in to substitute for this habit. The other big obstacle is situational. These habits are engrained throughout your whole being. Hanging out with the old friend with whom you used to enjoy ice cream sundaes can set those cravings in motion. Passing the cafe where you used to enjoy a regular coffee and a cookie can likewise stir things up. Create new neural pathways and life gets much easier.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want to tell you my thoughts on coffee. I gave up coffee prior to finding homeopathy, so I never thought about it much from the alleged homeopathic interference standpoint for myself. Again, I am not suggesting you give up coffee.
What does coffee have to do with homeopathy?
Some homeopaths instruct their clients to not drink coffee while working with them (and, even coffee flavored things, too). Others expand the “do not use while taking homeopathic remedies” list to include: mint, (including toothpaste), mouthwash, onions, garlic, ginger, chocolate, tobacco, alcohol, and more…. (Here’s a link to a nice article on mint from the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists (Watkins and Foxman 2014) which dispels the mint myth.)
“What!?!?” I hear you saying. “You want me to forego my morning coffee in order to use homeopathy? No way is that happening!”
Not I, but, yup, some homeopaths even go so far as to say they won’t work with a client if they don’t agree to some pretty stringent rules. In case it isn’t clear, I’m not one of those homeopaths.
For the record, I am not suggesting that you should go against your homeopath's guidance. Perhaps you could start a conversation with them to understand their thinking. What I am sharing here are my thoughts on homeopathy and what I have found works with my clients.
Why is this coffee thing even a thing?
“Effect of coffee on Homeopathic medicine” does a good job of explaining one theory on where this idea originated (Varghese 2019).
It is true that some things can indeed cancel out your homeopathic remedies: both cancelling the effects of a remedy on the person as well as making the remedies themselves in their tubes inert (*see below).
In true homeopathic form — these things are highly individualistic. Some people are much more sensitive than others. However, in my experience, coffee and mint are not a problem for most people.
I’m not going to make a blanket statement that if you have your remedy and then drink a cup of coffee that it’s not going to counter-act said remedy. If you are a regular coffee drinker, coffee is most likely not going to affect you and your homeopathic remedy. Coffee is a part of who you are. If you don’t drink coffee regularly and you find yourself on a lovely vacation in Venice, Italy and you just can’t resist that special after dinner espresso — it may have an effect on the effectiveness of your remedy. Is this a problem? In a word? No. Just repeat the remedy.
So, what’s the big deal, then?
In a classical homeopathic situation, it is common that the client would be given one single dose of a remedy and then wait a number of weeks and see what happens. In these circumstances, I can see how a homeopath would want to limit any possible interference with said remedy. When homeopathic remedies are repeated at regular intervals, whether that be twice daily, once weekly or something else, possible interference is less of a concern.
So, are there other substances that actually might interfere with the effect of homeopathic remedies?
Yes. But, there’s a big caveat here. Again, like homeopathic remedies, it’s highly individual. Some common culprits are:
Other possible antidotes that I have heard about but have not seen to be a problem include:
If you are noticing your remedies not working as well as they used to work, you may be a sensitive soul and you may want to time your remedies differently if you partake in any of the above possibilities. (A word on sensitive souls — we definitely exist and just because you have been sensitive to remedies in the past does not mean homeopathic remedies are not right for you. Work with a professional homeopath who can help guide you through this process.)
* How can you make a whole tube of remedies go inert?
Storing remedies next to strong smelling substances like cleaning products or strong essential oils has been known to “kill” the remedies themselves. If you find that tube of Arnica which has always worked in the past for you is no longer having that same beneficial effect, that tube should probably be discarded and a new one should take its place.
Some people say that putting remedies through the X-ray machine at the airport can have a negative effect on the remedies themselves. I never travel without my remedies and I have never had a problem after they have been through the X-ray machine. If you are worried about it, though, the few times I have asked the TSA agents to do a hand inspection, they have happily obliged.
What about keeping the remedies next to cell phones or computers?
I haven’t found this to be a problem.
Some people say magnets can have a negative effect on remedies — I have no experience with this and cannot comment.
Heat and sunlight has not been a problem for my remedies, either. I keep a small kit in the center console of my car and each remedy I have used has worked every time.
Tell me more about Camphor.
** Camphor as a homeopathic remedy is commonly used to stop further action of another homeopathic remedy. If an ill-advised remedy has been used and is causing unwanted effects, a dose of homeopathic Camphor can often bring that to a halt.
Likewise, some deep inhales of camphor itself or eucalyptus or menthol or tea tree oil can have the same halting effect.
“OK, we now know that coffee and mint and some other niceties of life are not (necessarily) going to interfere with the remedies. Anything else to take into consideration?”
There are a few general guidelines which may be beneficial.
In an ideal world, homeopathic remedies would be taken in a clean mouth, waiting 10-15 minutes after eating, drinking (except water) or brushing your teeth. Additionally, take the remedies away from allopathic medicines and herbs and supplements and other homeopathic remedies. In other words, give these delicate but powerful homeopathic remedies some time and space to do what they do.
Are these conditions absolutely necessary?
Not in my experience. But, if you have the time and the capacity to administer the remedies in this way, it certainly can’t be faulted.
What about touching the pellets themselves?
This could be a problem because the homeopathic medicine is just a thin coating on the pellet and any moisture on your fingers or hands may release the remedy at the point of contact, rather than utilizing that delightful and quick-acting sublingual absorption. (Having said this, the remedy can still be effective through the skin, but not as quick and sure.) Any creams or soaps on the skin may stop the remedy from entering your system. The best way to get the pellets into your mouth is to pour the desired amount of pellets into the cap and toss them into your mouth directly from the cap.
Under the tongue is best, but it’s perfectly fine to place the pellets between gum and lip — this is especially useful with babies and animals.
If you spill the pellets, it’s best to throw them out. Definitely don’t try to put them back in the tube if they have spilled.
As I mentioned above, I kicked the coffee habit prior to my knowledge of homeopathy. (I actually did it on vacation, when I was down for the count sick and I couldn’t taste it anyway, so I decided to stop cold turkey. I drank a lot of coffee all day every day and I was missing it both physically and mentally. I switched to fully caffeinated tea for a while and weaned myself from there.)
If you are looking to stop your coffee habit, remember homeopathic Chamomilla to help with those horrible caffeine withdrawal headaches. Other remedies which may help you through those tough days: Nux vomica, Ignatia and possibly Coffea cruda itself (but this is more akin to same cures same and most likely not as effective as the other choices.)
In terms of focusing on putting something in instead of suffering through taking something out, I found a Dandelion instant coffee*** to be a pretty good substitute. A word of caution: At the time of quitting coffee, I didn’t care about what ingredients I put into my system. When I gave up gluten, this coffee substitute had to go, too, because it is made from roasted barley.
For me, as a homeopath, the long and the short of taking homeopathic remedies comes down to this: don’t overthink it and don't stress about it. If you take a remedy and it’s not helping, it could be that it’s not the right remedy for your current situation or it could be that your remedy tube has been exposed to one of the above possibilities and has become ineffective. If you’re sure of the remedy choice, perhaps a new tube will set you straight.
If you have successfully been taking a remedy and it seems to no longer be effective (and you're sure storage issues are not a thing), it could be that remedy has run its course for you or, it could be a different potency is now needed or, it could be that you have been inadvertently antidoting the remedy. If you suspect the latter, take a look at when you are taking the remedy in comparison to when you are doing one of the above possible antidotes — especially if you are a sensitive soul.
If you need any help with any of this, book a focused appointment and we’ll see what we can do to get you on your way.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
*** I have no affiliation with this company.
American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists, n.d. FAQs [online]. The American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists.
Boiron, n.d. Frequently Asked Questions | Boiron USA [online]. boironusa.com.
Varghese, Dr. S., 2019. Effect of coffee on Homeopathic medicine [online]. Homeopathy Resource by Homeobook.com.
Watkins, M. B. and Foxman, E. L., 2014. Don’t Skip the Mint [online]. The American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists.
Sleep is too important to just throw it away, like we do twice a year. Daylight Savings Time affects your health. Period. End of discussion. We think the “fall back” isn’t as hard on the body and mind as the “spring forward,” but it’s still a thing (Harrison 2013). Every year this stupid practice screws me up for days. I instinctively knew this was the case and just a little bit of digging proved me right.
Manfredini (et al. 2019) found a significantly higher risk of heart attack during the two weeks following the clock change.
Poteser and Moshammer (2020) found during the week after the spring transition a significant increase in daily total mortality of about 3% per day was observed.
Even simple things like making it to medical appointments is affected by this arbitrary clock change (Ellis et al. 2018).
People assume falling back gives us an extra hour of sleep and is therefore a bonus, but research shows (Harrison 2013) there is little evidence of getting extra sleep on this night and in fact the early risings for the following days result in a net loss of sleep for the week.
See! I told you Daylight Savings time was a bad idea!
Homeopathy has many ways to address sleep problems, and, like all things homeopathy — choosing the “right” homeopathic remedy can be very specific to the individual and their sleep patterns and habits. But, from a practical homeopathic perspective, Coffea cruda 200c, twice a day, can often do more than an adequate job and may be all that is needed to help you get some good ZZZzzzzs.
Coffea cruda really shines when your mind is keeping you from sleeping. (Think of Twitchy the squirrel from Hoodwinked.) Your mind is going a million miles a minute, flipping from subject to subject … when you just can't turn off your brain.
Sleep that is easily disturbed (like from noises), when falling asleep is difficult and when waking too easily or even when startling in your sleep.
Homeopathic Coffea cruda can also help with full blown insomnia, in general and more specifically insomnia following childbirth, or drinking too much coffee, or after too much excitement or after nursing sick loved ones and even sleeplessness from excessive joy! Do you see the pattern here? Your brain is working overtime in all these situations and keeping you from the elixir of sleep.
Sleepless children, too, can benefit from Coffea cruda, either in general or when there has been too much excitement or even when the pain of teething is keeping them (and you!) awake.
Not your busy mind keeping you up? Coffea cruda can also help to tame the interfering itching (as from a bug bite or eczema) or coughing -- shutting down the physical disturbance and allowing that much needed healing sleep.
Don't underestimate both the power of sleep and the destructive nature of a lack of sleep. Your mind, your heart and your wellbeing depend on those hours of shutdown.
Sleep well and don't let the bed bugs bite. (But, if they do, Coffea cruda can help you sleep through that, too!)
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
For more information on Daylight Savings Time -- how it came about and why it's still around, check out Spring forward : the annual madness of daylight saving by Downing, M., 2009. Berkeley: Counterpoint.*
* I have no affiliation with this book, I just enjoyed reading it.
Daylight Savings Time
Ellis, D. A., Luther, K., and Jenkins, R., 2018. Missed medical appointments during shifts to and from daylight saving time. Chronobiology International [online], 35 (4), 584–588.
Harrison, Y., 2013. The impact of daylight saving time on sleep and related behaviours. Sleep Medicine Reviews [online], 17 (4), 285–292.
Manfredini, R., Fabbian, F., Cappadona, R., De Giorgi, A., Bravi, F., Carradori, T., Flacco, M., and Manzoli, L., 2019. Daylight Saving Time and Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Clinical Medicine [online], 8 (3), 404.
Poteser, M. and Moshammer, H., 2020. Daylight Saving Time Transitions: Impact on Total Mortality. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [online], 17 (5), 1611.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28679595/
Homeopathy & Insomnia
Harrison, C. C., Solomon, E. M., and Pellow, J., 2013. The effect of a homeopathic complex on psychophysiological onset insomnia in males: a randomized pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine [online], 19 (5), 38–43.
Hellhammer, J. and Schubert, M., 2013. Effects of a homeopathic combination remedy on the acute stress response, well-being, and sleep: a double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.) [online], 19 (2), 161–169.
Michael, J., Singh, S., Sadhukhan, S., Nath, A., Kundu, N., Magotra, N., Dutta, S., Parewa, M., Koley, M., and Saha, S., 2019. Efficacy of individualized homeopathic treatment of insomnia: Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine [online], 43, 53–59.
Naudé, D. F., Stephanie Couchman, I. M., and Maharaj, A., 2010. Chronic primary insomnia: Efficacy of homeopathic simillimum. Homeopathy [online], 99 (1), 63–68.
Waldschütz, R. and Klein, P., 2008. The homeopathic preparation Neurexan vs. valerian for the treatment of insomnia: an observational study. TheScientificWorldJournal[online], 8, 411–420.
Sleep & Health
Lyall, L. M., Wyse, C. A., Graham, N., Ferguson, A., Lyall, D. M., Cullen, B., Celis Morales, C. A., Biello, S. M., Mackay, D., Ward, J., Strawbridge, R. J., Gill, J. M. R., Bailey, M. E. S., Pell, J. P., and Smith, D. J., 2018. Association of disrupted circadian rhythmicity with mood disorders, subjective wellbeing, and cognitive function: a cross-sectional study of 91 105 participants from the UK Biobank. The Lancet Psychiatry [online], 5 (6), 507–514.
Minkel, J. D., Banks, S., Htaik, O., Moreta, M. C., Jones, C. W., McGlinchey, E. L., Simpson, N. S., and Dinges, D. F., 2012. Sleep deprivation and stressors: Evidence for elevated negative affect in response to mild stressors when sleep deprived. Emotion [online], 12 (5), 1015–1020.
Pillai, J. A. and Leverenz, J. B., 2017. Sleep and Neurodegeneration. Chest [online], 151 (6), 1375–1386.
Sprecher, K. E., Koscik, R. L., Carlsson, C. M., Zetterberg, H., Blennow, K., Okonkwo, O. C., Sager, M. A., Asthana, S., Johnson, S. C., Benca, R. M., and Bendlin, B. B., 2017. Poor sleep is associated with CSF biomarkers of amyloid pathology in cognitively normal adults. Neurology [online], 89 (5), 445–453.
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.