By Em Colley
Homeopathic medicines (also called remedies) can be a wonderful addition to any first aid cabinet. For years before I trained as a homeopath I used the Helios and Ainsworth’s kits (I’m UK based) and travelled many miles with these. During my time in Australia I remember handing out remedies for hangovers (Nux Vomica), splinters (Silica) and bruising (Arnica) to name a few. There were things outside of my remit – I didn’t know how to help a friend with severe tinnitus, and I would have loved to – but I was pleased to be able to help others with minor ailments.
The kits are a tremendous assistance to anyone starting out – I always seem to be recommending them to clients particularly where there are children in the household, and indeed they’re helpful for everyone. To be able to rapidly and effectively help where fingers have been trapped in the door (Hypericum is your go to here), where a toddler has taken a tumble (back to the Arnica) or where food poisoning has hit (Arsenicum Alb is worth thinking of) is a joy.
To those new to homeopathy, the handy booklet included with the kit is a godsend and worth (more than) it’s weight in gold. I’ve clients who start off unsure but then are happily browsing the booklet, learning more about the remedies and prescribing them with confidence. My aim of this article is to cater for those new to homeopathy and to enable you to start out with a few remedies or add to your awareness of what’s in the kit if you’ve got one. I don’t want to overload you so have divided it into two halves and here in part 1 there’s 14 remedies discussed here that I’d want in my house, or even in my car. I’ve a kit in the car and have frequently been grateful of it being there.
As with any home based health advice, if the issue is serious, seek help from a medical professional. The following suggestions are only intended to help in minor ailments and also if you feel you need more homeopathic assistance we strongly recommend working with a practitioner.
I’ve given a flavour below of each remedy, and if you’re intrigued there are many places to go and learn more. The Australian website Homeopathy Plus has lots of Materia Medica (descriptions of the homeopathic medicines), and the British Homeopathic Association website has a wealth of information and cases in their How We Can Help section. Lastly, but by no means least, the National Centre for Homeopathy has many helpful collections with lots of information about remedies.
Without further ado, here goes…
Aconite is a brilliant remedy for shock. It’s also a great remedy to think of at the very start of a cold, which may have come on after being outside in a cold wind.
Arnica for bruising. It’s the one remedy everyone has heard of. I’ve heard people say, I don’t believe in homeopathy but arnica is brilliant. Hmmm. Anyway, moving on… I’d give immediately after a fall, bump or where a bruise is developing.
Arsenicum Album as mentioned above is the first one to think of in cases of food poisoning. People needing it may be anxious and restless. Often there is thirst and the person wants sips of ice cold water.
Bellis Perennis is great for deep tissue bruising. Interestingly a small scale study worked with Bellis Perennis in a hospital setting in Tanzania and found where the women took the remedy they were able to go home in much quicker time as healing happened so much faster.
Bryonia is one to have on hand for those dry coughs. Movement makes things worse for someone needing bryonia and I’ve heard it described as a remedy for a ‘bear with a sore head’. There can be irritability observed and they may wish to be left alone.
Calendula can be great for helping skin to heal. I often give this after operations or if the skin is cut and my observation is that it helps it mend so much quicker.
Cantharis is your top homeopathic medicine to remember for burns. It’s good to have on stand-by in the kitchen just in case, perhaps next to the Aloe Vera plant which is also brilliant in those instances.
Carbo Veg for indigestion following a meal – particularly when there is also flatulence. It’s also a remedy that can be helpful with low vitality, burnt out feeling, and has been known as ‘the corpse reviver’. We’re not suggesting in any case looking that serious you’re looking for your homeopathic kit – get on the phone to an ambulance. But whilst you’re waiting there are remedies that may be helpful – we’ve heard of appendicitis cases sorted with bryonia whilst waiting to get to the hospital, then there’s been nothing to see. It’s not unheard of. But always steer on the side of caution.
Drosera coughing often incessantly, as if it’ll never stop, they can feel persecuted by the cough. The cough is irritating, it can lead to retching and vomiting and may also trigger nosebleeds.
Euphrasia is the first remedy to think of in eye issues. Its herbal name is Eyebright and it kind of does what it says on the tin. A good one to think of in cases of conjunctivitis.
Ferrum Phos – brilliant in fevers. Often useful to give at the first sign of a fever. The tissue salt (which is not homeopathic remedy albeit prepared in the same method, it’s not diluted as far) can also be really helpful for the same thing.
Gelsemium is a brilliant remedy for flu, as well as for performance anxiety or stage fright. The UK journalist Stacey Dooley talks about how it’s a good remedy for nervousness and anticipatory anxiety.
Hypericum, which you may better know as St John’s Wort, is fantastic for nerve pain. You know that one where you trap your fingers in the door, or worse still, your toddler does? Hypericum is the one to go for here.
Ignatia is a great remedy to think of for grief. That hamster that died and your 5 year old is so desperately sad about? The ignatia may help bring things back into balance a little.
As mentioned above, it’s more a flavour that’s been given of the remedies than an in-depth study, and we’ve frequently suggested a top one to think of in certain situations. There are many more from our bank of 4000 homeopathic medicines to choose from! There is so much that could be written about any one of them so we definitely suggest if you’re interested, do read further. Many people have Miranda Castro’s Homeopathy books as a useful tool in their house. It was one of my first texts and I was so excited several years ago to meet Miranda via Skype and tell her so. They’re a good place to start and a helpful source of holistic information alongside getting started with homeopathy.
There also the Homeopathy UK app to mention – and Mary Aspinwall, who was involved in the content of text in the app, has a wonderful facebook group supporting over 30,000 people as well as other online resources. Many places to go and learn more.
Coming soon: The K-Z of homeopathic medicines to have in your first aid kit.