“Sticks and stones may break my bones,” is a favorite children’s taunt. How often we have heard this yet prayed it would never happen! Nevertheless, should an injury occur, there’s nothing more comforting than the homeopathic first aid kit. First aid is the arena in which most people are introduced to homeopathy. Every household, school, ambulance, summer camp and dorm room should be equipped with a homeopathy kit to prevent a simple emergency from becoming a serious casualty.
Law of Nature
What is homeopathy? It is a unique form of medicine that uses minute amounts of pharmaceutically prepared substances from plants, animals and minerals. It is based on strict adherence to the “law of similars” defined by Samuel Hahnemann, MD, in the late 1700s. Dr. Hahnemann noted in his scholarly efforts that when a toxic substance is diluted to an infinitesimal level, its toxic characteristics are antidoted, leaving only the curative qualities in the remedy. For example, most people have heard of ipecac for use in inducing vomiting. This substance, when diluted in the homeopathic method will treat an illness of relentless vomiting.
Twenty-five hundred years before Hahnemann, Hippocrates also noted the parallel action existing between the power of a toxic substance and its therapeutic ability. As a result of the body’s ability to adjust to the trigger, this pharmaceutical process allows the pathology to resolve. Dr. Hahnemann’s theory was scientifically reproducible and continues to be so today; hence his hypothesis is not theoretical but reflects a biological law of nature. Yet, homeopathy has no side effects, is safe, gentle and, oddly enough, quite inexpensive. The only drawback is that it takes some self education in order to treat emergencies with assuredness. After teaching this method of medicine, I’m confident that anyone can master simple first aid using homeopathic remedies. In general, for first aid, use potencies of 30C.
Let’s begin with a remedy that is often thought of first, particularly when the pathology has a quick and abrupt start: Aconitum napellus. When it comes to the pain, swelling and shock of a sprained ankle and similar sports injuries, this is a rewarding first choice. It should be administered orally as soon as possible and from every few minutes for more severe injuries to once daily for minor ones. This method is the rule of thumb for the administration of homeopathic remedies in general.
The second most frequently used remedy for trauma is Arnica montana, particularly when it comes to injuries to the head such as in concussions. If the injury is serious, it should be administered on the way to the hospital every few minutes. It can be taken until the initial need for Aconitum has passed. Homeopathy is compatible with conventional medicine so one can feel confident using it simultaneously with other treatment methods to bring needed calm, pain relief and healing. In her book More Magic of the Minimum Dose, Dr. Dorothy Shepherd relates that in homeopathic hospitals throughout Europe and India, Arnica montana, when used in high enough potency, has relieved pain from injuries more effectively than morphine! And there are no side effects or addictions associated with homeopathic medicines. Arnica montana can also be used for dental work. It is powerful in its ability to address potential infection and anxiety and soften the shock and discomfort of surgery. Indeed, it can even reduce fear of dental work. Dr. Dorothy Shepherd, British homeopathic doctor and researcher states in her book, A Physician’s Posy, “It is advisable to take Arnica before going to the dentist to prevent shock and pain after an extraction. Hemorrhage is frequently much lessened by such preventative measures.”
Ledum is the remedy of choice for most insect stings. Think of it also for accidents from punctures, stabs, even an injury from an embedded nail, as well as bites from cats, rats, dogs and horses. Meanwhile, be sure to get traditional medical care as well, since Ledum is not a substitute for professional care when the injury is serious. Having Ledum on hand however, is an opportunity to augment the body’s ability to begin healing, reduce swelling, minimize potential infection and bring about calm. Hypericum is also used for injuries particularly if the pain involves nerve injury, and when pain is severe. Hypericum is a capital choice for tooth pain that originates in an inflamed nerve or after an extraction.
When considering gastric issues there are many remedies of equal value to Ipecac, yet Ipecac is the remedy you want on hand when vomiting is relentless and affords no relief after the episode. All homeopathic remedies must be chosen specifically for their symptoms and etiology. For example, Nux vomica is the premiere remedy for overdoing a good thing: the New Year’s Day hangover; the child who stays up late at a friend’s house after gorging on pizza and soda; or overindulgence from Halloween candy. Usually the sufferer is cold and has the feeling that if he could only vomit, he’d feel better. There may be irritability and bloating or diarrhea alternating with constipation. Food poisoning, regardless of the pathogen is often aided by Nux vomica, but the ultimate remedy for this malady is Arsenicum album. This is particularly valuable for diarrhea that is exhausting accompanied by cold and restlessness and burning pains in the stomach or rectum.
What about that wretched poison ivy that causes so much summer distress? Pack Croton tiglium in your backpack for when a poison ivy outbreak is blistering a great deal with inflammation and itching. It is particularly useful for when the outbreak is located on the scalp, near the eyes or on the genitals. If the eruption is of a burning nature that causes severe itching and is aggravated by the warmth of a bed, the night, and by scratching, consider Rhus tox. This powerful remedy is particularly interesting since it is made from poison ivy. For those with a propensity for these itchy outbreaks yearly, it can be used as a prophylactic before the season begins with a few doses each day for two days.
On planning your homeopathy kit, it is best to buy it already organized in a neat box from a reputable pharmacy. The price is substantially less per bottle and the pharmacy’s expertise aids in choosing the most useful remedies. There are several kit sizes available. Purchase the most extensive kit you can afford. Since the remedies, if handled properly, will last indefinitely, the kit becomes an investment of long term benefits. Hylands (www.Hylands.com) carries a kit that is well organized and economical. Consider taking a teleseminar in first aid homeopathy and purchasing a how-to book or CD. The more fleshed out your understanding of this vital discipline, the more able you’ll be to depend on its effectiveness. So the next time you hear children chant, smile and think: “I’m ready for an emergency. I have my homeopathy kit.”
Aggravation Versus Side Effects
A side effect is an unintended or undesirable consequence of a medical treatment, which arises from a substance that is a toxin, for example, aspirin causing ulcers. The substance is still in the material form; hence the poisonous aspect of the substance remains active. The ulcerative response to ingestion of aspirin is not inherent within the person’s make up; it is a normal reaction to the presence of a toxin. In a homeopathic remedy, the poisonous aspect is removed by potentization, and only the curative aspect remains. The reaction some people experience, of symptoms worsening, for example, is a reaction to the body finding equilibrium to gain health rather than an effort to throw off a poison. This article addresses acute illness, in which low potencies and short term use are employed. In this situation it is extremely rare to see any effect other than a curative one. In fact, in my 21 years of homeopathy experience, I’ve never seen an aggravation when using a remedy for the situations discussed here, nor for any acute illness for that matter. However, when remedies are employed in constitutional care such as for chronic illness, such as allergies, colitis, etc., then we can witness an aggravation. And even then, an aggravation is not a side effect.
Feeling tired after a constitutional remedy is the body’s way of finding the the best way to heal, and the body does this by aggravating the old symptoms, not by creating new ones. One is an effort to deal with a toxic substance, the other is the body’s effort to complete the illness and get back to home. If there is a reaction—and there rarely is one in the hands of an experienced homeopath—it is not a side effect, but an aggravation. Within the scope of this article, I would never encourage someone to treat himself or others constitutionally without proper training.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2008.