It is initially startling but ultimately logical to learn that homeopaths use stinging nettle (Urtica urens) to treat people with first or second degree burns. Of course, a homeopath would not recommend actually touching a stinging nettle plant to the burned area. Instead, a homeopath would give a specially prepared, non-toxic dose of stinging nettle. Since stinging nettle causes a burn when exposed to it in toxic dose, it also helps heal burns when taken in small non-toxic dose.
The basic principle of homeopathic medicine is that a small dose of a substance will help cure that which it causes in overdose. Although this principle may be a bit confusing at first, it actually makes a lot of sense. Modern day physiology and biology are confirming a basic premise of homeopathy which recognizes that symptoms are efforts of the organism to adapt to stress or infection. Symptoms are therefore understood as the way the “bodymind” is trying, although not always successfully, to re-establish homeostasis or balance. Since symptoms are the best efforts of the organism to attempt to heal itself, it is best to avoid treating or suppressing specific symptoms, and it is preferred to aid and stimulate the body’s defense and immune processes.
The homeopathic medicines are able to stimulate the defensesystem, since they, like conventional immunizations and allergy treatments, give small doses of what causes a condition in order to stimulate the immune system. Homeopathic medicines, however, are distinctively different from immunizations and allergy treatment, since the homeopathic medicines are more individually prescribed to people, given in much smaller and less toxic doses, and used for both prevention and treatment of a person.
Homeopathic medicine developed much of its popularity in the United States and Europe because of its success in treating people with cholera, scarlet fever, yellow fever and other infectious diseases that were ravaging populations. More recently homeopathic medicine has developed a reputation of suc-cessfully treating people with various chronic complaints. What many people do not know about homeopathy is that it also provides many valuable medicines in treating people who suffer from accidents and injuries. When these medicines are used in conjunction with conventional first aid procedures, the risk of long-term damage from an injury can be significantly decreased and the healing process can be noticeably enhanced.
One must study homeopathic medicine for many years in order to learn how to prescribe the correct medicine for people with chronic conditions. One can, however, learn to use the medicines for first aid very easily. Whereas treatment of a person’s acute or chronic disease requires strict individualization of the person’s total physical and psychological state, treatment for accidents and injuries does not require such individualized presciption. The reason for this difference is that people with acute or chronic diseases have distinct or subtlely different symptoms and causes of their condition, and thus need a different medicine to begin their curative process. People with injuries tend to experience very similar symptoms and usually need a similar metabolic stimulus to heal their complaint. Basically, when different people cut themselves, get burned, break a leg or injure themselves in some other way, they all tend to need a similar stimulus to heal their injury.
Homeopathic medicines for first aid and sports injuries are very easy to prescribe and are usually very effective in reducing pain of the injury and speeding the healing process. It is thus no wonder that many superstar athletes have heard about homeopathy and have begun to benefit from its use. Football superstar O.J. Simpson, tennis player Boris Becker, New York Knick coach Pat Riley, ex-Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton, and pro golfer Sally Little are but some of the athletes who spell relief with H-O-M-E-O-P-A-T-H-Y.
The following medicines are used to treat people in first aid situations. There are other homeopathic medicines that can also used, but these are the most commonly used medicines for the conditions described.
NOTE: Homeopaths use the latin names for their medicines since a similar nomenclature is needed to converse with homeopaths throughout the world.
ARNICA (mountain daisy)
ARNICA is mentioned first because it is a medicine par excellence for the shock or trauma of any injury. It is necessary to treat an injured person for shock first unless the injury is very mild or unless the person is bleeding so profusely that stopping the bleeding should be attended to immediately. Since ARNICA is the first medicine prescribed in numerous types of injuries, it is the most common medicine used in first aid. It helps reduce shock, relieve pain, diminish swelling, and begin healing. ARNICA is a great medicine for injuries to muscles, especially when there is pain from overexertion.
ARNICA is also an excellent medicine before or after surgery since the body experiences a state of shock from these medical procedures. It is used as well before and after dental surgery, and before, during, and after labor to help the mother and infant deal with the shock and stress of birth.
Common conditions for use: Shock or trauma of injury; surgical shock; muscle injuries.
HYPERICUM (St. John’s Wort)
HYPERICUM is an excellent medicine for injuries to nerves or to injured parts of the body which are richly supplied with nerves (fingers, toes, the spine). Generally, such injuries have sharp or shooting pains, and the injured part is very sensitive to touch. HYPERICUM is also good for old injuries to nerves which still seem to both the person.
King George VI of England was so impressed by the effectiveness of HYPERICUM that he named his prize racehorse after it.
Common conditions for use: Injuries to nerves.
URTICA URENS (Stinging Nettle)
As you might have predicted from learning about the law of similars, URTICA URENS is the medicine of choice for burns (stinging nettle, as you may know, causes a burn upon contact with the spine of the plant). URTICA URENS in external application is also helpful in diminishing the pain of the burn and in promoting healing. Such application should be diluted approximately one part of URTICA URENS with ten parts water.
Common conditions for use: burns.
LEDUM (Marsh Tea)
LEDUM is the best medicine for puncture wounds, whether it be from a needle, a nail, or other sharp object. Deep punctures or punctures from rusty nail should receive medical attention, but this should not delay you from taking LEDUM which has no side-effects and which can be helpful in healing wounds and preventing tetanus. LEDUM is also commonly prescribed for insect stings and animal bites. It’s applicable as well to people with severe bruising (black eyes or blows from firm objects), especially if the affected part feels cold and yet feels relieved by cold applications.
Common conditions for use: puncture wounds; insect bites.
RHUS TOX (Poison Ivy)
Although some people cringe when they even hear someone mention poison ivy, it is an obten prescribed homeopathic medicine (in non-toxic homeopathically prepared dose!). It is a great medicine for certain types of skin conditions (since it causes them!) as well as for numerous other conditions which homeopaths have found it causes in overdose. One of the conditions it causes in overdose is the rupturing of ligaments and tendons. Because of this, it is the most common medicine prescribed for sprains and strains, especially the type of sprain and strain that is worse upon initial motion but that is better upon continued motion. It is also a medicine given for dislocated joints. ARNICA is another medicine to condition for dislocations.
Common condition for use: Sprains or strains.
RUTA is the medicine given for severe sprains where the person has a torn or wrenched tendon, split ligament, or bruised periosteum (bone covering). It is also the most common medicine prescribed for recent or old injuries to the knee or elbow. As such, it is one of the medicine prescribed for “tennis elbow.”
Common conditions for use: Severe sprain; injury to the bone.
Homeopaths, like herbalists, use SYMPHYTUM for fractures. Homeopaths, however, give their medicine in potentized dose rather than in teas and poultices as done by herbalists. Although one must go to a physician to have the fracture re-set and placed in a cast, SYMPHYTUM will relieve pain and promote rapid healing of the fracture. Besides its application in fractures, SYMPHYTUM is a great medicine for injuries to the eyeball, bones around the eyes, and the cheekbones.
Common conditions for use: Fractures; facial injuries.
Some homeopathic medicines are used externally,* including:
CALENDULA TINCTURE (in an alcohol base), GEL, SPRAY, and OINTMENT are invaluable external applications in treating cuts and abrasions. CALENDULA is known to have antiseptic properties due to its organic iodine content. CALENDULA helps stop bleeding, inhibits infection, and promotes granulation of tissues to help heal wounds and burns. CALENDULA TINCTURE should not be applied directly on a cut since its alcohol content causes stinging pain. It is best to dilute this tincture with a little water. If you’d like to avoid this effort, you can instead directly apply CALENDULA GEL, SPRAY, or OINTMENT.
Note: CALENDULA works so rapidly in healing the skin that it is not recommended for use in deep cuts. In deep cuts CALENDULA sometimes can close and heal the outside skin before the tissue underneath is completely healed.
Common conditions for use: Cuts, abrasions, burns.
HYPERICUM (St. John’s Wort)
HYPERICUM TINCTURE is recommended as an external application in treating deep cuts since it helps heal internal structures as well as the skin. It also has the ability to close open wounds and thus sometimes prevents the need for stitches. HYPERICUM is also used for septic (infected) wounds (CALENDULA, in comparison, is primarily good for clean uninfected cuts). HYPERICUM TINCTURE, like other external applications which have an alcohol base, should be diluted prior to application.
Common conditions for use: Deep cuts, infected cuts.
General Rules for Determining Dosage
People who are beginners in homeopathy should primarily use the 6th potency (written on the bottom as “6x” or “6c”) or the 30th potency (“30x” or “30c”). The 6x is a dose of the medicine that has been diluted 1:10 six times with vigorous shaking between each dilution, while the 6c has been diluted 1:100 six times. Only homeopathic practitioners who have a great deal more knowledge of homeopathy should use the higher potencies (200x, 1000x, or higher). It is important to remember that homeopathic medicines are more powerful the more they experience “potentization”–the pharmaceutical process of dilution and shaking. Higher potencies thus should be used with great care.
Homeopaths have found that injured people tend to need more frequent repetition of doses shortly after injury. One may need to prescribe a medicine every 30 to 60 minutes immediately after severe injury. After a couple of hours, the frequency of doses can diminish to every other hour or every fourth hour, depending upon the severity of pain. Doses every four hours or four times a day are common when a person has a non-severe injury. A person will generally not need to take a medicine for more than two to four days, except in fractures or severe sprains where one to three doses daily for five to seven days are common.
The basic principle of how to determine dosage is: The more severe the condition, the more often will its repetition be necessary.
It is important to remember that a medicine should only be taken as long as the person experiences pain. Do not continue taking the medicine unless there are still symptoms. The basic idea is to take as little of the medicine as possible and yet enough to lessen pain and stimulate one’s healing powers.
Administration of the Medicine
The medicine should be taken into a “clean mouth.” Food, drink, tobacco, toothpaste, and other substances should not be put into the mouth for at least 15 minutes before or after the dose. It is generally best to place the medicine underneath the tongue.
Homeopaths have found that some substances can neutralize the effects of the homeopathic medicines. Although there is some controversy around which substances are implicated more than others, it is best to avoid the following substances for at least 48 hours after taking the final dose: coffee, camphorated products (including lip balm, counter-irritant muscle relaxing cremes, Tiger’s balm), strong herbal teas, mentholated products, cough drops, and mouthwash.
Care and Storage of Homeopathic Medicines
Special handling and storage of the homeopathic medicines are needed in order to avoid possible contamination. When the medicines are correctly handled and stored, homeopaths have found that they can last for several generations. Since it is very difficult to determine if the medicines have been contaminated, one should take the following precautions to prevent potential problems.
–The medicines should be kept away fraom strong light, from temperatures higher than 100 degrees, and from exposure to strong odors like camphor, menthol, mothballs, or perfumes.
–The medicines should always be kept in the container in which they were supplied and never transferred to any other bottle which has contained other substances.
–The medicine shold be opened for administration of the medicine for the minimum time possible. One should be careful not to contaminate the cap or cork before replacement.
–If, by accident, more pills than the number specified in the prescribed dose are shaken out of the bottle, do not return them to the container; throw the excess away to avoid possible contamination.
HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT HOMEOPATHY?
The best source of homeopathic books, tapes, home medicine kits, and software is:
Homeopathic Educational Services
2124B Kittredge St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 649-1955 (fax)