November 8, 2009

Homeopathic Remedies for Common Ailments

These are the remedies that I have used the most in my practice and at home with my children. Of course there are hundreds of homeopathic remedies, this is the minimum amount that I suggest you keep on hand so that you have them when you need them. Homeopathic Remedies are safe and non-toxic. They do not react with any other medications or herbal preparations. You do not have to wonder about drug interactions with homeopathics the way you do with herbal medicine and even nutritional supplements. Don’t be afraid to try them as they will not hurt your child. They do act on a very deep, energetic level and will affect the overall balance of your child’s body. Whether a child receives the right or wrong homeopathic remedy he will benefit from having taken a homeopathic medicine. You can experiment if you don’t get the right remedy the first time and try another one. Generally wait an hour or so between remedies and don’t give more than three different remedies in one day.

Aconite (aconitum napellis). This is the homeopathic remedy, next to Arnica, that you will use the most. With Aconite think: suddenness of symptoms, restlessness, fever, anxiety, agitation, thirst. Your child wakes in the middle of the night with a fever, earache or croup, go to Aconite first. Suddenly your child has a hot fever and is whiney and restless, think Aconite. After playing outside without a coat on an unpredictable spring day your child comes in complaining of not feeling well, is warm and can’t find a comfortable position on the couch, think Aconite. The fever can alternate with chills. Exposure to wind, cold or shock can precede illness. This remedy is only for the first 24 hours after onset of symptoms. After that try a different remedy.

Sudden onset of symptoms
Child goes to bed fine but wakes around midnight with a cough, earache, croup, cold or fever
Restlessness, agitation, anxiety, fear
Symptoms after exposure to cold, dry winds or in seasons when days are warm and night is cold
Asthma, bleeding, fever, cold, cough, influenza, sore throat, etc

Belladonna. Also comes on suddenly. There is a fever, red face, hot dry skin, sensitivity to light and jarring and headache. A very red sore throat, pounding headache, nagging cough or other throbbing and inflammatory symptoms. Hands and feet are often cold despite high fever. Chills and heat may alternate. Glassy-eyed. Over sensitive to pains, pains feel unbearable, then they disappear for a while, suddenly reoccuring. Pains throbbing, stitching, stabbing. All senses hypersensitive – noises too loud, light too bright, touch hurts, etc and this worsens pain. Starting, jerking, twitching, spasms even in sleep. Pupils dilated. Anger. May bite, hit, groan. See lights and colors, or monsters when eyes closed. Delirious. Wild dreams, restless, jerky sleep. Tends to be thirstless. (think: strep throat)

Mucous membranes dry and very red (angry red)
Very intense emotions: delirious, anger
Unbearable throbbing, stitching, stabbing pains
All senses hypersensitive
Usually thirstless but may desire tiny sips of ice water
Earache, teething, strep throat, headache, cough, (colic) etc.

Chamomilla. Irrepressible irritability associated with teething. Nothing but rocking and carrying child brings relief. One cheek red and hot, other cold and pale. Head warm and moist with sweat. This is the typical picture of the teething child/toddler where they are refusing sleep around 9 PM and are very fickle and capricious. Nothing pleases them. Very demanding yet fickle, you give them what they ask for and they throw it on the floor. Pointing at things they can’t have and having a tantrum when they can’t have it. Sour smell to sweat, body fluids. Don’t over prescribe (it works so well) because they can build up a tolerance to it.

Very irritable, capricious, fickle
One cheek red and hot, the other not
Angry/temper tantrum
Greenish stool that looks like spinach
Teething, toothache, anger, earache, (diarrhea, colic, indigestion) etc

Gelsemium Sempervens. For the very weak child who is content to lie still and has a mild fever with chills. Limp, listless, apathetic. Half-open eyes, eyelids feel heavy. Partially flushed face. Wants to stay in bed as much as possible, may be too tired to fall asleep and stay asleep. Hands, feet, tongue, voice may tremble. Chills up and down back. Profuse urination and feels better afterward. Symptoms come on slowly, unlike Belladonna and Aconite.

Physical and mental weakness and exhaustion
Heaviness of eyelids and extremities
No thirst
Trembling and quivering
Listless, drowsy, apathy

Ferrum Phosphoricum. Good for initial stages of inflammatory conditions when you aren’t quite sure yet what is going on. Child is clearly not feeling well, may be slightly flushed, not themselves, but there are no outstanding features to describe how they are looking, acting or feeling. Throat may be a little sore, some fever. This remedy can either help the disease process along to the next stage or it can head it off at the pass.

Headache, fever, sore throat, cough, earache
Early stages of illness without outstanding features
Apis. Swelling. Think very boggy, swollen, red, shiny tonsils. Burning and stinging pains worse warmth and better from cold and cold applications. Hives and skin rashes relieved by cold.
Sore throat, conjunctivitis, chicken pox, allergies, hives, insect bites
Swelling, burning, stinging pain better cold applications

Oscillococcinum. A must for every medicine cabinet. As soon as one has the common symptoms of a viral infection or influenza: achiness, chills, throat becoming sore, becoming feverish, etc. follow the instructions on the box. This has been scientifically tested and it really works when used in the very earliest stages of illness. Can take preventatively after having been around people with influenza.

Early stages of illness with chills, fever, headache, stomach discomfort, achiness that you fear could become aviral infection or influenza

Pulsatilla. Child clingy, crying, wants to be held constantly and craving emotional attention. These kids are very sweet, not angry or irritable. Thick yellow or greenish discharge from nose worse at night or in a warm room. Nose gets congested when lying down causing child to breathe through mouth. Child feels better in open air, may ask to go outside or being outside improves symptoms. I have seen this remedy work great for kids in the early stages of congestion and cough when they are clingy and whiney. Also one of the first remedies to think of with earache. Symptoms often come on after consumption of very rich food (birthday party).

Lack of thirst
Whiney and clingy, want to be held
Congestion, cough, earache, common cold,
Symptoms better in open air

Arsenicum Album. The diarrhea remedy. Take with you when you travel if you could get Montezuma’s revenge. No trip to a third world country is complete without it. Frequent bouts of offensive-smelling, burning diarrhea and nausea with burning vomit. Child is restless and anxious with great discomfort and might exclaim that they are dying. This person is high strung and anxious about their condition and desperate to feel better. Also for watery, profuse nasal secretions that produce cold sores accompanied by sharp burning sensations of the mucous membranes of the nose, where the nose is blocked and sneezing does not bring relief (sinusitis).

Physical and mental restlessness with anxiety that condition will worsen (am I dying, I feel like dying, I am never going to get better)
Burning pains and discharges
Traveler’s diarrhea
Very chilly
Very thirsty but only for sips at a time
Diarrhea, influenza, food poisoning, sinusitis, fever, indigestion, anxiety

Spongia Tosta – for croup if Aconite doesn’t work.

Dosing suggestions:

1 dose= 2-3 pellets under tongue (can also dissolve in filtered or spring water and give by teaspoonful. Great for babies. The water just needs to touch the mucous membranes of the mouth. )

This is the hardest part of homeopathy as you will wonder how much to give and how often. Less is more. Please try to take remedies 15 minutes after or before eating to give the remedy time to settle into the body. I suggest using lower potencies such as 6x, 6c and 30c. Give a child a couple pellets under the tongue. If child responds to first dose but starts complaining again soon after, keep repeating the remedy every fifteen minutes until the response holds. Usually three times in the first hour is enough. An hour after the first dose you should have a good idea as to whether this remedy is having an effect on your child, the first place that you see this is usually on the emotional plane. A good remedy will help your child to become less restless, less angry, less clingy, less whiney, etc. A good sign that you have found the right remedy is if your child can sleep. Generally speaking if a remedy seems to be helping, give once every couple hours or when child appears to need another dose because symptoms that improved with remedy have reappeared. Don’t give a dose because it’s been a couple hours, wait until it is needed as often child’s state has changed and you won’t need to dose as often.

If new symptoms result, or if child is experiencing no relief, or the child’s overall symptom picture has changed greatly, try a new remedy. Or if the child says that the pain or discomfort is gone and that they are feeling better, stop giving remedies as the vital force is rebalancing itself and nothing more is needed. Good luck and happy healing!