Homeopathy has a long history of use in first aid situations. One of my favorite books on the subject is Homeopathy for the First Aider by Dr. Dorothy Shepherd which was first published in 1945. Homeopathy is well suited to help us with many situations that may occur in rural life. Since moving to the beautiful Portuguese countryside, I have called on the healing powers of homeopathy time and time again, and I would not be without my trusted homeopathic first aid kit.
Arnica Montana is homeopathy’s most famous remedy. For many people, arnica is their first experience of this powerful but gentle system of medicine. Arnica is a plant that grows in mountainous regions where falls are common. This guides us to its use for injuries including bruising, sprains and strains of muscles and fractured bones (which would of course also need medical attention).
Arnica is a soothing remedy to take after accidents of all kinds. It helps relieve physical and emotional shock and trauma. It prevents excessive bleeding and bruising, reduces swelling and promotes rapid healing. Arnica is the first remedy to think of for strains, sprains, muscle tears, blows to the head or any other part of the body, injuries following falls and fractured bones.
Often arnica is the first remedy that is needed after an accident and other remedies may then also be indicated. For example, for a fractured bone, you would immediately give arnica for the initial physical and emotional shock. You may need to repeat the remedy every thirty minutes for a few hours and then reduce it to three to four times daily. After the bone has been medically assessed and set, homeopathic symphytum can be given to promote healing of the fracture.
Arnica is also a restorative remedy for aches and pains following physical work and overexertion. For example, one day after digging on our land, I suffered from severe backache and several of the vertebrae felt inflammed, painful and sensitive to touch. I applied arnica gel topically in addition to taking arnica 200c several times throughout the evening. In the morning my back was considerably improved and I was able to continue working on the land.
Calendula officinalis is an absolute gem of a remedy. It has always been one of my favorites but since moving to Portugal we have often called up its healing powers.
Calendula is the first remedy to think about for open wounds such as cuts, grazes, and lacerations. It helps knit the skin and injured tissues together, helps prevents infection and eases the pain. If the wound is already infected, calendula is one of the remedies that can help to resolve the infection.
One of our dog’s Chewey is often getting himself into scrapes and we have used calendula on many occasions to help heal cuts in his paws. Another memorable example of calendula’s magnificent healing powers is when my partner walked face first into a cork oak tree in the dark. He came in covered in blood and his face was badly cut, scratched and grazed. I immediately gave him arnica for the shock and bruising, followed by calendula 4 times daily. Within a week all traces of his injuries had disappeared.
Calendula is also an excellent remedy for injuries to the eye, especially cuts and lacerations. Earlier this year one of our chickens pecked my partner’s eyeball. As you can imagine, he was in a lot of pain and the eye became swollen and bloodshot very quickly. I immediately gave him calendula internally as a homeopathic remedy and he bathed his eye repeatedly with diluted hypercal tincture. He also used some antibiotic eye drops from the pharmacy for a couple of days. Within a few days, his eye had healed perfectly.
Calendula can also be used topically as a cream or tincture. We love hypercal cream or tincture which is calendula combined with hypericum.
Ledum is a marvellous remedy for puncture wounds. For example, this would be the first remedy to think of if you stepped on a nail that punctured the skin. It helps to prevent infection and facilitates healing. This also applies to puncture wounds caused by bites from dogs, cats, and insects such as ticks.
Many Homeopaths, myself included, recommend taking homeopathic Ledum as soon as possible after being bitten by a tick as it may help prevent Lyme disease. To date, no studies have been conducted to test this. Of course, being bitten by a tick doesn’t always result in Lyme disease as this would require a bit from a tick carrying Borrelia bacteria and susceptibility in the host. However, as Ledum is a safe, non-toxic remedy I prefer to take it as a precaution. Ledum can also be taken alongside antibiotics if you are bitten by a tick and you choose this route.
Homeopathic Rhus Tox, made from poison ivy, has an affinity with the musculoskeletal system, in particular with joints, muscles and, tendons.
It is an amazing remedy for sprains, strains and tears. Rhus tox can help heal strains from overlifting, overstretching and from getting wet whilst perspiring. It is also a great remedy for stiffness after overexertion and to promote healing for repetitive strain and overuse injuries such as tenosynovitis.
Rhus tox can be alternated with arnica for sprains and strains. For example, my dog Feliz seemed to have sprained her ankle earlier this week. She was limping and holding her leg up to avoid putting weight on it. I gave her arnica 200c three times daily alternated with rhus tox 200c three times daily. Within two days she was running around and playing again as normal.
Rhus tox is also a remedy that often helps people with arthritis. The type of arthritis that is worse in cold, damp weather and ameliorated by heat. People needing Rhus tox for arthritis are usually extremely restless as they can’t find a comfortable position and they stiffen up when remaining still. This means that they are usually worse on first motion but as they continue to move around the stiffness eases.
Anyone who regularly works on the land or chops wood will be familiar with splinters. It always amazes me how such a tiny, fine splinter can cause such discomfort! Fortunately, we have a homeopathic remedy for this.
Silica is known as nature’s surgeon as it promotes the expulsion of foreign objects. This makes it a perfect remedy for helping to expel splinters. I also find that applying hypercal tincture to the area around the splinter helps to draw it out.
There is a possibility that silica may cause the body to try and expel medical implants such as pacemakers, pins or gauze as they are essentially foreign objects. For this reason, I would recommend that people with surgical implants avoid using homeopathic silica. In my experience people with dental fillings generally seem to tolerate silica although if there is any discomfort in a filled tooth after taking silica, the remedy should be stopped immediately.
Homeopathic Symphytum is made from comfrey, a plant with a long history of use in herbal medicine. It is also known as knit bone, bruisewort and boneset. This guides us to its use homeopathically for healing fractured bones. It promotes the fusion of the bones following a fracture and also aids the healing of torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Usually, we would give arnica in frequent doses immediately after a fracture for the initial pain and shock. Once the bone has been medically examined and set, we can progress to Symphytum. I usually prescribe it in 30c potency twice daily for about 10 days. It is important that the bone is in the right position before giving Symphytum as we do not want to encourage the bones to knit together whilst it is out of place.
Homeopathic prescribing for first aid situations
Homeopathic prescribing for acute and first aid situations is different from prescribing for chronic conditions. For someone with a chronic illness, we might prescribe a remedy to be taken twice daily for three days and then we give it time to work.
However, in a first aid situation, the remedy generally needs to be given much more frequently and we may need to alternate or change the remedy quite quickly. For example, for a sprained ankle we could give arnica 200c every 20 minutes for the first hour, then twice an hour and then one dose every few hours. The following day we can alternate arnica 200c with Rhus tox 200c, about 4 times daily. As the injury improves we reduce the frequency of the remedy until the recovery is complete.
About the Author
Tanya Artus is a professional Homeopath and Nutritional Therapist with over 15 years of clinic experience. She holds a BSc in Nutritional Medicine and a Diploma in Homeopathy.
Tanya offers consultations in Reliquias, Vale De Santiago and online via video call. She can be contacted on +351 966 583 689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to homeopathy for rural life. If you would like to order a Helios homeopathy kit or a personalised homeopathy kit please get in touch. I can also supply topical arnica, calendula, Rhus tox and, hypercal products. Contact: +351 966 583 689 or email@example.com
Dr. Dorothy Shepherd, Homoeopathy for the First Aider, Ninth Impression 1992, The C.W. Daniel Company Limited.
Emlyn Thomas, RS Hom, DpyhsEd, Homeopathy for Sports, Exercise and Dance, Beaconsfield Publishers, 2000