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.
Shame on you!
We turned the page into 2022 and suddenly the acknowledgment of the shame that has been foisted upon us for the past 2 years is everywhere.
As I am writing this, a news alert popped up on my phone: “Whoopi Goldberg stunned by testing positive for COVID: ‘I’ve done everything I was supposed to do.’” Earlier this week, a friend shared an article from American Thinker titled, “Shame as a Covid Strategy.” Later that same day, I logged onto Facebook and saw a post from the Autoimmune Protocol Diet talking about shame being at the root of disordered eating (here’s some recent research to go along with that thought — Nechita et al. 2021). Another article in the same day was talking about CNN’s editor-at-large Chris Cillizza saying, “But I do think societally we unknowingly turned having Covid into some sort of judgment on your character.”
We certainly have done exactly that and we don’t yet know what the ramifications are of such a mass, unjustified shaming.
Did you know people are being put in special camps in Australia when they test positive for Covid, (Cave 2021), or have a friend who tested positive (Barkoukis 2021) or where they wait until they can prove they don’t test positive? (Dixon 2021). We, in the US, thankfully, still have the idea of innocent until proven guilty, but we no longer have healthy until proven sick.
Germs are gonna germ. Viruses are gonna virus. There is very little you can do to keep those germs and viruses from getting to you. (There are things you can do to keep those germs and viruses from taking hold of you, but that’s a whole other topic.) We don't segregate people because they may have other contagious diseases (unless they are being treated in a hospital). For the first time, to my knowledge, people are being blamed and shamed for getting cold and flu-like symptoms as a result of having contracted Covid.
Once upon a time, if you were unable to attend a social gathering because you had the flu, the automatic reaction on the other side was sympathy. That automatic reaction is now full of aspersions. I find this very sad.
Frederickson (2020) describes the difference between guilt and shame: guilt refers to a deed; shame to our being — “I am a bad boy” as opposed to “I did a bad thing”. He goes on to talk about shame being triggered in therapy sessions as a result of suffering “crippling shame over possessing universal, human desires or flaws.” This is most likely why shame has been such a useful tool to maneuver the population in regards to Covid — everybody has experienced shame and it is an easy ploy to manipulate behavior. Shame is ubiquitous. Show me someone who has never felt shame — I don’t think it’s possible to find someone who has never felt shame.
What exactly is shame? My then 3-year-old once said to me, "My body feels like it did something wrong." I think that's an excellent description of how shame feels. Technically, though, “shame” has two definitions as a noun in the Oxford Dictionary (Oxford University Press 2021): 1. A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. 2. A regrettable or unfortunate situation or action. As a verb: make (someone) feel ashamed.
Tell me, what, definitionally, could possibly be shameful about “catching Covid?” The shame and stigma and shunning that people have suffered over the last 2 years simply because they, or a family member, were diagnosed with or tested positive for Covid is simply shocking.
Cândea and Szentagotai-Tăta (2018) found that “external shame (perceived negative evaluations of others) seems to be more strongly associated with social anxiety symptoms than internal shame (negative self-evaluations)”.
Philosopher Jean Paul Sartes points out that a mild embarrassment in one can induce mortification in another (Lyons et al. 2018). If shame is not dealt with, it can have damaging consequences. Deep-seated shame plays an important role in many self-destructive ways. We saw above that it plays a role in eating disorders. Shame is also linked to psychotic experiences, particularly paranoia (Carden et al. 2020).
It is not my intention to equate the societal Covid shaming to the deeper shame which some people carry with them. However, we don’t know how this newest layer of shame may affect the population. When society lays a blanket of shame over huge numbers of people (especially without true justification), many will likely be adversely affected by that shaming. Again, we simply don’t know what the ramifications of these last two years will be but a recent Telegraph article may tell us a little about what may be headed our way: "Number of children admitted to hospital for eating disorders surges 70% since pandemic." Is shame to blame for this increase? We don't yet have that answer but I wouldn't be surprised to see those dots connected at some point in time.
The Lancet’s Stories of Shame notes that doctors don’t talk much about shame (Lyons et al. 2018). Psychiatrist Aaron Lazare said, “it is shameful and humiliating to admit that one has been shamed and humiliated.”
Doctors may not talk about shame, but homeopaths do. Homeopathy recognizes the destructive force that is deep-seated shame.
Referencing Murphy’s repertory (n.d.) shows us the rubric: Mind - SHAME, ailments from. Front and center in the 9 remedies listed is Staphysagria, in bold-type and underlined.
Homeopathic Staphysagria is made from a tincture of the seeds of the Delphinium plant, also known as Larkspur.
We know Larkspur from Greek Mythology. Ajax the Great was unable to live with his shame, and in anger he fell upon his sword and the Larkspur flower sprang from his blood (Greek Legends and Myths; Theoi Greek Mythology).
C.M. Boger (et al. 2008) talks about the morbidly sensitive person who is easily offended in regard to one who could benefit from homeopathic Staphysagria. Which came first? Did that extreme sensitivity result from the shaming or was the sensitive person highly susceptible to the shaming? "Sheepish, sensitive, imagines insults.” The person who could benefit from Staphysagria is worse for emotions, chagrin, vexation, indignation and quarrels. Let’s be fair here. Who is actually better for these? True, but when differentiating homeopathic remedies this person would be markedly worse for experiencing these circumstances. There are plenty of people who can roll with some embarrassment or chagrin, but the person who would most likely benefit from homeopathic Staphysagria is not that person.
Staphysagria is also known as “a great germicide” and it has been used allopathically as well as homeopathically, to treat lice (Vicentini et al. 2018; Choudhuri 2016; Farrington 2018; Tyler 2003), a condition which most certainly can historically be considered “shameful”.
Physically speaking, aside from treating lice, homeopathic Staphysagria is known to help with surgical wounds (Alecu et al. 2007). "Incised wounds, it is the best remedy … where there is a clean cut as after surgical operations" (Tyler 2003, p. 767). "Similarly, after surgery when the tissues have been 'lacerated' there is a great sense of violation … and Staphysagria is one of the first remedies to consider (Pitt 2015, p. 362).
Tying back to shame is the connection of words which can "cut deep." Humiliation, insults, shameful attacks -- they all can cut deep and have a wounding effect on a person and their well-being.
Don’t accept the responsibility of carrying somebody else’s shame because you, through no fault of your own, contracted a highly transmissible virus. Put that silly idea away!
However, if you or someone you know is dealing with deep-seated shame, humiliation or suppressed anger, please consult and work with a professional homeopath.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Alecu, A., Alecu, M., Marcus, G., Brezeanu, R., and Cojocaru, A., 2007. Effect of the homeopathic remedies Arnica Montana and Staphysagria on the time of healing surgical wounds. Cultura Homeopática, (20), 19–21.
Barkoukis, L., 2021. Australia Is Throwing People Who Don’t Even Have Covid-19 Into Internment Camps [online]. Townhall.
Boger, C. M., Bradford, T. L., and Tiwari, Shashi Kant, 2008. Boenninghausen’s Characteristics Materia Medica & Repertory With Word Index With Corrected & Revised Abbrrevations & Word Index. accessed through Radar Opus software. B Jain Pub Pvt Ltd.
Buck, H., 1997. The Outline of Materia Medica and a Clinical Dictionary. accessed through Radar Opus software. B Jain Publishers.
Cândea, D.-M. and Szentagotai-Tăta, A., 2018. Shame-proneness, guilt-proneness and anxiety symptoms: A meta-analysis. Journal of Anxiety Disorders [online], 58, 78–106.
Carden, L. J., Saini, P., Seddon, C., Watkins, M., and Taylor, P. J., 2020. Shame and the psychosis continuum: A systematic review of the literature. Psychology and Psychotherapy [online], 93 (1), 160–186.
Cave, D., 2021. Australia Is Betting on Remote Quarantine. Here’s What I Learned on the Inside. The New York Times [online], August 20, 2021.
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.
Dixon, R., 2021. I finally made it home to Australia. Washington Post [online], May 22, 2021.
Farrington, E. A., 2018. Lectures on Clinical Materia Medica in Family Order. New Delhi: B. Jain Publishers, LTD.
Frederickson, J., 2020. Shame: The Disavowal of Our Shared Humanity. Psychiatry [online], 83 (1), 33–35.
Greek Legends and Myths, n.d. Ajax the Great in Greek Mythology [online]. Greek Legends and Myths.
Lyons, B., Gibson, M., and Dolezal, L., 2018. Stories of shame. The Lancet [online], 391 (10130), 1568–1569.
Marlee, S., 2022. CNN’s Chris Cillizza just discovering Covid shaming; Twitter reality-checks him hard · American Wire News [online]. American Wire News.
Nechita, D., Bud, S., and David, D., 2021. Shame and eating disorders symptoms: A meta‐analysis. International Journal of Eating Disorders [online], 54 (11), 1899–1945.
O’Brien, T., 2022. Shaming as a COVID Strategy [online]. www.americanthinker.com.
Oxford University Press, 2021. Oxford Dictionary of English. 188.8.131.52 ed. Oxford University Press accessed through mobisystems.com app.
Pitt, R., 2015. Comparative materia medica : integrating new and old remedies. San Francisco, California: Lalibela Publishing.
Theoi Greek Mythology, n.d. PLANTS & FLOWERS OF GREEK MYTH 1 [online]. www.theoi.com.
Tyler, M. L., 2003. Homœopathic drug pictures. New Delhi, India: Indian Books & Periodicals Publishers.
Vicentini, C. B., Manfredini, S., and Contini, C., 2018. Ancient treatment for lice: a source of suggestions for carriers of other infectious diseases? Le Infezioni in Medicina[online], 26 (2), 181–192.
Further reading on shame:
Ellenbogen, S., Colin-Vezina, D., Sinha, V., Chabot, M., and Wells, S. J. R., 2018. Contrasting mental health correlates of physical and sexual abuse-related shame. Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health [online], 30 (2), 87–97.
McElvaney, R., Lateef, R., Collin-Vézina, D., Alaggia, R., and Simpson, M., 2021. Bringing Shame Out of the Shadows: Identifying Shame in Child Sexual Abuse Disclosure Processes and Implications for Psychotherapy. Journal of Interpersonal Violence [online], 088626052110374.
Seidler, Z. E., Rice, S. M., Kealy, D., Wilson, M. J., Oliffe, J. L., and Ogrodniczuk, J. S., 2021. Men’s Shame and Anger: Examining the Roles of Alexithymia and Psychological Distress. The Journal of Psychology [online], 1–11.
Shaughnessy, M. J., 2017. Integrative Literature Review on Shame. Nursing Science Quarterly [online], 31 (1), 86–94.
Further reading on Covid death rates:
Berezow, A., 2020. COVID Infection Fatality Rates by Sex and Age [online]. American Council on Science and Health.
Ioannidis, J. P. A., 2020. Infection fatality rate of COVID-19 inferred from seroprevalence data. Bulletin of the World Health Organization [online], 99 (1), 19–33F.
Mahase, E., 2020. Covid-19: death rate is 0.66% and increases with age, study estimates. BMJ [online], m1327.
Salzberger, B., Buder, F., Lampl, B., Ehrenstein, B., Hitzenbichler, F., Holzmann, T., Schmidt, B., and Hanses, F., 2020. Epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2. Infection [online].
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.