Homeopathy to the Rescue
Create a Family First-Aid Kit
by Marlaina Donato
|Arnica montana - behewa/AdobeStock.com|
The 200-year-old health system of homeopathy is based on natural sources and is unique in its “like cures like” philosophy that uses extremely diluted substances to trigger the body’s natural defenses.
“The word homeopathy is derived from two words: homeo—meaning similar, and pathos—meaning suffering. Basically, it means that a substance has the power to cure the same symptoms it can create,” says Kate Birch, a certified classical homeopath at the HippHealth Center for Holistic Healing, in Minneapolis. “Moreover, the more a substance is diluted through homeopathic preparation, the more potent it can be for healing when given upon homeopathic indications.”
For most health conditions, including chronic complaints, homeopaths recommend tailoring remedies to an individual’s constitution, but first-aid applications are relatively universal and simple. Homeopathic first-aid can be administered for muscle strains, splinters, minor burns and even the common cold. Available in health food stores and pharmacies, homeopathic remedies come in various potencies in the form of pellets, tinctures and topical agents.
Gentle Go-To Medicine
Whether treating a child’s skinned knee or an athlete with a mild to moderate injury, regular potencies offer benefits without a high risk of unpleasant or dangerous contraindications. “In general, homeopathic remedies are safe for people of all ages because if taken as directed, there are no side effects or drug interactions. This is due to the fact that remedies have been made through a process that renders the substances harmless,” says certified classical homeopath Myra Nissen, in Davis and Walnut Creek, California.
Classical homeopathic treatment is based on a person’s unique physical, emotional and mental nature, and requires deeper study to find the most appropriate remedies, but first-aid applications are most often universally straightforward. “A homeopathic first-aid kit at home is useful for cuts, burns, bumps and bruises, insect bites, poison oak/ivy and minor illnesses,” says Nissen.
Gentle, but beneficial Arnica montana is perhaps the best-known application, used for acute injury and post-surgery. In a 2016 review of studies in the American Journal of Therapeutics, a team of international researchers found Arnica to be more effective than a placebo for swelling, bruising and post-surgery pain, and suggested it could be an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Calendula is a heavy hitter for wound care, skin ailments, minor burns including sunburn, diaper rash and post-tooth extraction. It offers antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is available for topical and internal use.
Soft Tissue Trauma, Burns and Bites
Nissen highlights Ruta graveolens and Rhus toxicdendron for soft tissue injury and tendonitis and suggests Symphitum for serious damage to cartilage and ligaments. For puncture wounds or injuries involving nerves, Hypericum perforatum is helpful. She emphasizes the importance of using remedies immediately and properly to maximize the potential for rapid healing and pain reduction.
Birch says that bee stings and allergic responses respond well to Apis mellificia and fevers and headaches to Belladonna. Using Cantharis or Urtica urens for first- and second-degree burns can help to prevent blisters and minimize pain, while Silicea is a good choice for splinters.
In general, for all acute cases and injuries, remedies are often taken every hour and tapered down to every four hours upon signs of improvement or lessening of intensity. If results are not seen within two days, it is best to discontinue the remedy.
Fighting the Flu
When taken at the first sign of a cold or flu, specially combined homeopathic formulas or single remedies can help to lessen severity and duration of certain viruses. Bryonia alba is useful for moderate fever, Gelsemium for general flu-like symptoms, Nux vomica for severe chills and nausea, and Arsenicum album for respiratory and stomach flus.
Homeopathic remedies, like all medications, should be properly stored and kept away from children and pets. Also, not all products labeled as homeopathic may be pure. Some products add homeopathic remedies to other ingredients that are not safe; for example, Arnica gel may have alcohol, preservatives and stabilizers, and be harmful if swallowed.
While homeopathy offers many benefits, Birch clarifies that it is not designed to be a quick fix and is best approached from a broader view or “a philosophy that shapes your day-to-day life. When you understand these things, once you have the right remedy, it produces instantaneous results.”
Marlaina Donato is a body-mind-spirit author and composer. Connect at AutumnEmbersMusic.com.