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.
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.
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
Some Flu Remedies to Consider
In my last post, I mentioned 7 remedies which may be good to have around as the cold & flu season approaches.
Here’s a quick rundown of why they’re good to have nearby, focusing especially on fevers.
Baptisia for fevers with profuse sweat, intense thirst; fevers with lethargy — no energy. Those who may benefit from homeopathic Baptisia may be suffering from bad breath or other foul smelling discharges. The bed may feel too hard and going outside and getting some fresh air does not sound like a good plan to them. There may be some mental confusion or they may even feel as if they are intoxicated. There may be copious, (often) smelly stool. Throat may appear dark red.
Bryonia. Homeopathic Bryonia may be an excellent remedy for a flu that creeps up on you… when you haven’t quite been feeling yourself but you wouldn’t necessarily call yourself “sick” yet, either. A dry fever with a great thirst for a lot of liquid; chills are more likely not a part of this picture. Dryness, however, is a key part of Bryonia… you may see constipation or a dry cough or dry eyes, dry skin, dry mouth. Someone benefitting from Bryonia may prefer to be still and quiet with movement resulting in discomfort, including when moving their eyes. They may prefer to be by their grumpy selves.
Eupatorium feverish people may find themselves shivering, especially after drinking any liquids. Aching pain anywhere in the body, but specifically pains in the legs - terrible pains in the bones themselves and may even feel as if one is broken. Big chills. Unquenchable thirst. Pulsating pain in the back of the head.
Gelsemium has little or no thirst at all and the 4 Ds: Droopy, drowsy, dizzy and dull. They feel their eyelids are too heavy to keep them open. Shivering and weak with coldness down the back. May feel faint. They may feel a dull, bruised pain all over and are worse from physical exertion. There may be a headache, beginning in the neck and moving up to the top of the head and feel as if there were a band or hoop around the head. Headaches may be relieved to some degree when urinating.
Mercurius sol is often worse in the night, where a fever may drive them from their bed. There may be shivering and shuddering with this fever. There may be bone pains, but more so at night. Discharges from the ears and the eyes. Fevers with profuse perspiration, again, worse at night or diarrhea at night. Headaches may be worse on the sides of the head and extend to the ears and the teeth.
Nux vomica flus may have pain in the lower back during fever. Shivering with perspiration. Thirsty but not wanting to drink anything. Very chilly and worse for cold air or drafts and may have a cough which starts when becoming cold. Nux vomica is well known for its digestive issues and may experience stomach pains during fever. They may find themselves oversensitive and emotional during a fever.
Rhus tox is most likely mentally restless during a fever. Chill plays a big part in a Rhus tox fever: chill, followed by heat and perspiration; thirsty during the chill; they feel worse when chilled and may develop a tickling cough during the chill. Drinking cold drinks may bring on stomach pains. They may feel they have a lump or plug in their throat and swallowing may feel good on the throat. They may feel better lying on their back and worse lying on the sides.
Here's wishing you have a happy and healthy winter season!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
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.
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.
One could be forgiven for finding confusion that results from heel pain. Stress fracture? Arthritis? Tendinitis? Achilles tendon issues? Bursitis? Maybe. A common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis.
Plantar: relating to the sole of the foot. Fasciitis: inflammation of the fascia, the thin, fibrous tissue that surrounds muscles or other organs. The “itis” means it is inflamed.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful experience. Every step. Standing too long. Those first steps when you get up from sitting or get out of bed in the morning. When I was suffering from it, I was seriously contemplating what my life would be like when I could no longer walk. That’s how bad the pain was.
I tried the Banerji protocol for Plantar fasciitis: Symphytum 200c mixed with Rhus tox 30c, taken twice daily until better.
I took it twice daily for a long time. It wasn’t getting better.
Then, I had an x-ray done. Aha! I had heel spurs. The internet will tell you that heel spurs are not (necessarily) what causes the pain, it’s the plantar fasciitis that causes the pain. They figured this out because once upon a time they used to do surgery to remove the bone spur, but I guess that didn’t fix the pain so they decided that heel spurs aren’t painful.
I disagree. Why do I disagree? Because when I took the remedy for bone spurs, Hekla lava 200c, my pain lessened by 80% within about a week. After many, many weeks of taking the plantar fasciitis remedy and getting nothing, and then trying a few other remedies to no avail — this was amazing progress.
Could it have been that the Symphytum/Rhus tox combination finally kicked in and did what it was supposed to do? Maybe. Or, it could be a causal relationship between the two conditions. It could be that the plantar fasciitis causes the bone spurs or it could be that the bone spurs some how causes the plantar fasciitis. Heel spurs (aka plantar calcaneal spurs) are present in 45%-85% of those with plantar fasciitis (Kirkpatrick, Yassaie and Mirjalili, 2017). I don't think they have figured all this out yet.
When you look at the remedy Hekla lava and how it was discovered, I’m going to give it the credit for reducing my pain.
Hekla (sometimes spelled Hecla) lava is named after the Hekla volcano in Iceland. In the 1800s, a London physician noticed that the sheep grazing a short distance from the volcano had bone deformities (exostosis) of the jaws. They surmised that the finer ash from the volcano was actually the culprit. So, like cures like. The ash of the Hekla volcano causes exostosis of the jaws. (Exostosis: benign outgrowth of cartilaginous (made of cartilage) tissue on a bone.) The potentized (the dilution process used to make homeopathic remedies) Hekla lava can assist in removing the exostoses.
I have not had a follow up x-ray to see if the heel spurs are gone. I don’t care, because the pain is gone. But, this story is a good indication of how conventional medicine and homeopathy can work nicely together. According to the Internet, the main answers to these painful foot problems in conventional medicine are: rest, icing the foot, orthotics, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicines, cortisone injections and surgery. To each their own.
If you are experiencing foot or heel pain, contact me to see if homeopathy might help you.
For more information:
1. on the proving of Heckla lava
2. Kirkpatrick, Yassaie and Mirjalili, 2017: The plantar calcaneal spur: a review of anatomy, histology, etiology and key associations.
Photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash
Lions and tigers and bears…
My latest read arrived in the mail today. “Pigs: The Homeopathic Approach to the Treatment and Prevention of Diseases.” Once I have read it, it will sit on the shelf next to “Homeopathy for the Heard: A Farmer’s Guide to Low-Cost, Non-Toxic Veterinary Care of Cattle” and the “Practical Handbook of Veterinary Homeopathy: Healing Our Companion Animals from the Inside Out.” I have more like this on the shelf, but that’s not the point of this article.
The purpose of this article is to point out how marvelously well homeopathy works for all creatures. I have recently written about Rufus and his troubles ["An insecure rectum"& "What Hurts?"], but homeopathy has in the past helped our chickens and our peacock, too.
Now, let's take a look at our imaginary creatures from the title of this article.
I have no doubt this powerful medicine would be able to help “The Lion in Love.” That’s the Aesop’s Fable where the poor lion, in love with the woodsman’s daughter, was de-fanged and de-clawed and still denied the woodsman’s daughter anyway. This poor fellow most certainly could have been helped by Natrum muriaticum, the preeminent remedy for unrequited love.
Though tiger balm isn’t made from any part of a tiger (at least not that I can find!), and can be useful for straining injuries — the mechanism behind the active ingredient is to numb and block nerve sensations to make the area feel temporarily less painful. Now, if our imaginary tiger from an Aesop’s fable was in need of tiger balm, I’m not certain it would do him much good due to his thick coat and skin. BUT, homeopathy could help him. Helios pharmacy makes a lovely remedy they call “Helios Injury.” This is a combination of Arnica, Rhus tox and Ruta grav which will bring relief to strains and sprains and bruises (oh, my! — sorry, I couldn’t resist). If you are not near a Helios (located in the UK), you can make your own combination remedy by putting a couple of pellets of each of the 3 remedies in your mouth at one time and letting them dissolve together to create this powerful remedy.
The bear in Aesop's “The Bear and The Bees,” who was stung so terribly by the whole hive from whom he was trying to steal their honey… Apis mellifica is the remedy needed if the area is warm, red and swollen. But, if the sting area feels cold and it is relieved by cold, then Ledum palustre is the better choice.
Whether it’s a chicken or a peacock or a dog or a pig or a whole herd of cows… homeopathy can help clear up what ails them quickly, safely and non-toxically.
If you are interested in setting an appointment for your lion, tiger or bear, I'm willing to give it a try! Contact me at classicallypractical.com.
Homeopathy: An A to Z Home Handbook by Alan V. Schmukler
This was my first book on homeopathy. All those years ago, this felt like a book of magic spells that I didn’t have the ability to access. I read through it many, many times. I turned down corners and marked up all sorts of pages. I may have even tried a remedy or two, but I’m thinking I probably didn’t. I was too nervous. It felt completely forbidden and a little scary.
In reality, it’s a straight forward book with good, useable information.
Maybe the introduction scared me off. Way back in 2006, Schmukler says, “I call this a handbook for survival, because in the coming years we may find ourselves in survival situations for the following reasons:
1. Natural disasters
3. Antibiotic-resistant infections
[Where he writes, “The medical system could easily be overwhelmed by thousands of cases of untreatable infections.” That sounds familiar now that we have lived through 2020!]
4. Exotic diseases
5. Chemical or drug sensitivity
6. Genetic engineering
7. No medical insurance"
Maybe this list was too heavy for my relatively young and naïve self when I first found this book and homeopathy was completely foreign to me. I’ve made it to 2021 and am a little wiser to the ways of the world now. But, even before the nightmare of the last 18 months I had discovered the full importance of homeopathy in all these potential scenarios as well as every day life.
Chapter 1 is a nice explanation of homeopathy, why you would choose it, what it does and a brief history. Chapter 2 dives right into the rules for using the remedies and taking the case.
Chapter 3 starts the nitty gritty. Beginning with “Abscess” and closing out with “Yellow Fever,” he doesn’t quite make it all the way through the alphabet (that's because Zika wasn't widely known in 2006!) but the ailments he includes are meatier than other, similar books (as one might expect when one is writing a book for survival situations).
For each ailment he includes a brief description, followed immediately by a list of suggested remedies, each described in just a few lines. He keeps it simple and succinct. He also suggests a few starred remedies which are highly indicated for each condition.
Example from Homeopathy: Ailments A to Z, pages 198-199:
A sprain is an injury to the ligament around a joint. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and sometimes bruising.
* Arnica: Immediately after the injury.
* Rhus tox: Stiffness and pain, which is worse after rest and better from continued motion. Must keep shifting position.
Bryonia: Worse from any motion, better from pressure, better from lying on the affected part.
Ruta: Tendons, especially the ankle, heel and wrist. Repetitive motion syndrome. Worse after rest.
Hypericum: When nerves are damaged and there is much pain.”
You can’t get much clearer than those quick descriptions to get you on your way to healing.
Chapter 4 is a nice addition of “Organ Remedies” not often found in most “consumer” homeopathy books. Chapter 5 is “Remedy Description,” also known as a Materia Medica in homeopathy-speak.
“Pregnancy and Birth,” “Preventing Illness with Homeopathy,” “First Aid Remedies for Specific Occupations and Activities,” “Economizing: Making Your Remedies Last Forever” are chapters that definitely separate this book from its neighbors on the book shelf.
Schmukler rounds out the book with “Homeopathy Around the World” and “How to Use a Repertory” (which is basically a book of symptoms) and includes a mini-repertory. He finishes the book up with “Remedies for Your Home Kit,” which of course has a nod to some unusual remedies for when the survival situations get tough.
Schmukler, A.V. (2006). Homeopathy : an A to Z home handbook. Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications.
Julia Coyte, CHom
I am passionate about homeopathy and I love sharing this passion. Having a working knowledge of homeopathy shouldn't be kept a secret. If people have the ability to help themselves, their children and their friends when they have minor ailments, life just gets better for everyone. That is the purpose behind Ruminating on Remedies.