When I had my first child, I remember feeling overwhelmed, scared, incredibly joyful, and excited. I was also relieved to have some homeopathic remedies on hand if I felt that something was amiss. Right after the baby was born, I began hemorrhaging and quickly took a strong dose of Arnica. The bleeding stopped almost immediately and I thanked the miracle of homeopathic medicine.
Homeopathy is a 250-year-old system of natural medicine in which tiny amounts of organic substances are given in order to stimulate the body’s innate healing power. One thing that differentiates homeopathy from other modalities is that these substances are highly diluted.
The depth in which the remedies can cure is profound. This is a holistic medicine, meaning it works on all levels of the person: mental, emotional, and physical. Different from Allopathic (Western) medicine, whose focus and treatment lies mainly in alleviating physical symptoms, Classical Homeopaths are interested in the deeper aspects of a person, those qualities and tendencies that make us unique. In first aid and acute situations it is empowering to have your own homeopathic remedies that you know when and how to use. Here are six essential remedies that you can add to your toolbox for home care.
1. Arnica, a remedy for injury and bruising
Arnica is a well-known remedy that has many hidden elements. For one, the patient will often announce and act as if he is well when he is not. This is due to the shock of the injury. Adults and children who need Arnica have bruising and pain in the body from an accident. The remedy is also brilliant for concussions and various types of head injuries, from mild bonks on the head to more severe concussive states. What’s little known about Arnica is that it can also work retroactively. It is always ideal to give it as soon as possible after the trauma, but it can also be given years later (in high doses and under supervision) to a child or adult who suffered a concussion or other major bodily injury.
I once treated a five year-old boy once who had, several years before, fallen out of his car seat, that was up on the kitchen counter, onto a stone floor. He had been treated at the hospital but years later, he was still experiencing mild headaches regularly. Arnica in a high potency cleared the shock and the physical remnants of the accident and freed him to go on with the joy of childhood.
2. Sepia, a postpartum / hormonal remedy
Sepia can be great for women after childbirth. New moms are often exhausted after having a baby. They push themselves to be selfless and loving, when inside they may feel depleted, exhausted, and like just handing the baby off to the nearest caregiver. In this case, Sepia is a wonderful remedy for bringing back interest and revitalization to the mother who is overwhelmed. The typical Sepia patient is female, can have blotchy brownish skin in the face, and can feel like her body is heavy and dragging down. She is tired and wants to be alone. Exercise makes her feel better and more enlivened. She can be irritable, overwhelmed, and feel detached from her family. She has little or no sex drive and tends towards headaches.
When I treated a mom with Sepia recently, I saw the tell-tale signs of burn-out and the need to withdraw in the way that she described herself, not only in her physical symptoms. In general, she was exhausted and her skin had a bit of the typical brown blotchiness in the face, but she also felt distant from her family. She didn’t want to admit this, because there is so much pressure for moms to feel generous and loving all the time. She just expressed her need to be alone, to get away sometimes. Upon further questioning, she admitted to occasionally feeling indifferent to her family and experiencing an immense guilt about those feelings. She was relieved to hear that it can be totally normal for some moms to feel that way. After receiving a high potency dose of Sepia, she felt much less overwhelmed, stressed, and like crawling into bed and hiding. She experienced more connection and fulfillment with her family and was generally happier. The constant exhaustion and weakness disappeared.
3. Aconite, a remedy for sudden high fever
When your child has the flu and is clearly experiencing a shift in emotional expression, like he is no longer happy and playful, but angry, clingy, or fearful, then consider prescribing an acute flu remedy. I really like Aconite. This is a remedy that is easy to spot because the child is suddenly quite fearful and the symptoms come on abruptly. The Aconite child’s illness generally comes on from exposure to cold or wind and the fever comes on while he becomes extremely frightened. The fever is often high and the child can be sweaty or dry, alternating between chills and heat. He is thirsty and generally wants fresh air. Even in this acute situation, the emotional symptoms of the child (or adult) are what lead to Aconite rather than only the general symptoms of the flu itself.
4. Gelsemium, a slower onset fever remedy
There can be ten people in a room who all have the same flu, and all may need different homeopathic remedies. This is because the general physical symptoms of the flu are similar, whereas how the patient responds to that flu is key. Everyone is so unique, so where one person may be frightened, thirsty, and have a suddenness of symptoms needing Aconite, another may have a slow onset of symptoms, a total lack of thirst, and want to be left alone. They feel heavy and don’t want to move. The remedy here is Gelsemium. Again this is for the common flu, but with a slow onset, sometimes brought on by bad news or excitement. These patients feel generally exhausted, heavy limbed, and achy. The characteristic symptoms here are a fear of falling, the desire to be left alone, the dull, heavy, slow pain, and the lack of thirst despite a fever. Your child will deal with illness differently from another child. The trick is to understand your own child’s type, how he responds to being sick.
5. Apis, a remedy for inflammation and mild allergic reactions
One of the best uses of acute homeopathic remedies is for reactions to injury and other first aid situations. One thing I love to treat, because I see such immediate results, is inflammation due to an allergic reaction such as from a bee sting, spider bite, or tick bite. There are a few remedies that are helpful in bringing down inflammation. One of those is Apis. Apis is made from the honeybee and therefore acts well in sudden swelling where the pain feels burning or prickling. There can be puffiness and very red skin. The symptoms come on rapidly and suddenly. The person can be jealous, bossy, irritable, and indifferent. Children tend to be whiney and constantly complaining.
6. Ledum, a remedy for tick and spider bites / puncture wounds
Ledum is great for relieving the pain and allergic reaction from a tick or spider bite as well as quickening the healing of puncture wounds. Ledum can protect against tetanus (in addition to getting the tetanus vaccine) with puncture wounds if given immediately.
I recently gave Ledum to a 12-year-old girl who had a nasty tick bite that was turning black. She was also getting a low-grade fever reaction. She was feeling emotionally anxious, had some muscle pains, and was clearly having an allergic reaction to the tick saliva. Along with sending the tick in for testing and seeing the pediatrician, her mom wanted to treat her immediately with homeopathy. I recommended Ledum 30c two pellets twice over 12 hours. That was all she needed, the girl’s mood immediately improved, as did her general malaise. She was well after that with the tick bite healing quickly and painlessly over the next few days. No additional doses of the remedy were necessary.
Homeopathy is different from Allopathic medicine in the way in which the remedies are administered. Less is more in homeopathy and this requires a totally different mindset. We are so used to being reminded to take our medicine for the full course. But in homeopathy, you want to be sure to only give the minimum dose needed. So after giving the remedy two to four times with the symptoms improving, you want to stop giving it. If the symptoms return, then you can give the remedy again, but again, only the least amount that is needed for permanent improvement. If there is a short healing crisis, or a temporary worsening of symptoms, stop taking the remedy. This means that the symptoms will improve after the crisis has passed (usually a few hours / days). This is often normal and requires you to stop giving the remedy and watch for an improvement of symptoms.
As a homeopath, I felt lucky to have some tools in my new mom first-aid toolbox, and feel that others can be empowered to use certain remedies for first aid and acute situations at home. It is deeply satisfying to know how to help your child with certain first aid and home care situations. Homeopathy gives us these tools, and I am happy to share them with you.
Katharina Sandizell, MA, PDHom, is a Classical Homeopath who received her training and degree from the School of Homeopathy in Devon, England. She is also a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with a Masters Degree from CIIS in San Francisco. She lives in California with her husband and two boys.
Katharina does homeopathic consultations in person and over Skype. For more, visit www.resonanthomeopathy.com
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of the recommendations of a care provider that knows you and your family’s medical needs.
Originally published Sept 2011