It was early September. As per my usual daily routine, I was dropping my two kids off at their Montessori school. Aysha, my very mature and independent 5-year-old, bounded up the school steps and greeted the teacher at the door confidently. Her younger sister, Sahara, age four, was not as keen as her sister to get to class. Sahara, who is more goofy by nature, was more interested in hanging and climbing on the metal railing outside of the school. As she placed her hand on the metal bars, her silly smile turned into a painful grimace and she let out a bloodcurdling scream. She started crying hysterically. I ran to see what had happened and discovered the source of her distress, a huge wasp on the railing. Her hand was swollen from the sting, and I could tell by the size of the wasp and by her reaction that she was in a lot of pain.
Other parents were giving me advice such as, “Put some baking soda on it,” but I knew exactly what to do. I rushed Sahara home and promptly gave her a couple doses of homeopathic Apis mellifica. Immediately, the swelling went down, and Sahara collected herself and stopped screaming. Half an hour after she was stung, I sent her back to school with a few doses of Apis in her pocket. Later that night, all traces of the bee sting were gone. (Of course, if you are allergic to bee venom or are showing signs of a severe reaction to a sting, go immediately to the nearest emergency room.)
Homeopathy is a system of natural medicine that has been used effectively for chronic and acute health conditions for more than 200 years. It was first pioneered by German doctor Samuel Hahnemann. It is such a versatile form of medicine that it can also be used for first aid. Unfortunately, homeopathy is not very well known in North America. It is, however, very popular in other parts of the world, such as Europe and India. In London, for example, they even have a homeopathic hospital. Prince Charles is a very loyal and vocal advocate for homeopathy.
Homeopathic remedies come in sugar-pill form, and are therefore very pleasant and sweet-tasting. Parents have no problem getting their kids to take homeopathic remedies because of this. Homeopathic remedies should always be taken dry, with no food or drink, dissolved under the tongue. They can be purchased at local health-food stores or at some homeopathic clinics. Most homeopathic products in Canada are distributed by a homeopathic company based in Quebec, called Boiron. Some homeopathic clinics also sell homeopathic first-aid kits, which I strongly believe no household should be without.
I rely solely on my homeopathic first-aid kit for my children’s injuries. Whenever Sahara and Aysha fall down or get injured, I immediately reach for the Arnica bottle after the normal cleaning of any scrapes or cuts. Arnica is a remedy that is good for any type of injury, especially for the prevention of bruising and swelling after a fall or impact. Immediately after taking one dose of Arnica, my children stop crying. Before using Arnica, my children bruised normally just like other children. Now, because I usually use this remedy, they hardly ever bruise. Also, if they have hit themselves on the head and a goose egg appears, I give them a few doses of Arnica and the swelling goes down and the goose egg disappears within a few hours. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself. I use it only in a high 1M potency. Because of this strength, only one dose is needed. For more severe impacts, the 1M might have to be repeated a few more times in 15- to 30-minute intervals.
When it comes to injuries, Arnica is unbelievably useful. I cannot say enough good things about this remedy. It is like magic. After any type of injury, whether it be a muscle strain, puncture wound, or bruise, take one dose of Arnica first. After that, give one of the remedies listed below for the specific type of injury that is indicated.
Apis was mentioned at the beginning of this article. It is a very good remedy to have on hand, one that is used to take away the pain, swelling, and redness after a bee sting or insect bite. I like to use this remedy in a 200C potency, repeated every 15 to 30 minutes for a few doses.
To prevent infection, homeopaths use a remedy called Ledum palustre. If your child is running around the beach or park barefoot and steps on glass or a rusty nail that pierces the skin, think of Ledum. If the wound looks serious, you can administer this remedy on your way to the hospital. Common sense is, obviously, your best defence. It is also useful to prevent infection after an animal bite. Ledum works best in the 30C potency. It can be given every 15 to 30 minutes in three doses, then can be given three times a day until the danger of infection has passed. If an infection develops that quickly gets worse or does not respond to this treatment, visit emergency.
We also use Calendula cream topically, which is very good for closing minor open wounds.
Hypericum is a remedy that we use for injuries to nerves. The main indication for Hypericum is shooting pain. In cases where there is a wound that is already infected, Ledum will not help. Once a wound is infected and there is shooting pain, you must use Hypericum. It is also a useful remedy for any kind of nerve pain and spinal injuries. This remedy works best in the 30C or 200C potency, repeated every 15 to 30 minutes until there is relief. Of course, if the injury or infection is serious, use your common sense and also visit the doctor or hospital.
Now we are going to talk about two very common sports-injury remedies: Rhus toxicodendron and Bryonia. Rhus tox and Bryonia are for injuries to the muscles, joints, and tendons. Bryonia is the right medicine if the injury is worse from any kind of motion and better from lying down and not moving the injured part. With a Rhus tox injury, the injury might be worse from starting to move, but once the person gets moving the injury feels better. Generally, with Rhus tox, movement brings relief to the injury. For these remedies, use either the 30C or 200C potency. A few repetitions 15 to 30 minutes apart should bring relief. If the problem is more chronic, a 30C potency repeated three times a day may be necessary.
For injuries of the cartilage, bones, and ligaments, we use Ruta graveolens. It can also be a useful remedy for sprains and strains if Arnica, Rhus tox, or Bryonia have not helped. This remedy has a special affinity for the knees and elbows and can be given in a 30C or 200C potency, like Bryonia or Rhus tox, repeated a few times or daily if needed.
There are more homeopathic first-aid remedies, but these are the basic ones that everyone should have in their first-aid kit. Carry these remedies with you to the great outdoors, and you can play and enjoy your summer worry-free. For more chronic conditions, you may have to consult a classical homeopath.
Sonya McLeod is a classical homeopath practising in her private Vancouver clinic. Further inquiries can be directed to her at 604-677-7742.