Homeopathic remedies are perfect to keep at home for “first aid situations:” those ills that eventually pass without needing a doctor, but uncomfortable enough that you need some relief. In these situations, homeopathic remedies act fast, are exceptionally safe–even for children and infants–and as an added bonus, they taste pleasantly sweet!
Unlike conventional or even herbal treatment, in homeopathy, you need to pay attention to the symptoms, not the conventional diagnosis term because no matter what the problem, each person experiences a slightly different set of symptoms based on his or her own unique biochemistry. By paying attention to the symptoms rather than the illness, you can choose the remedy accordingly. Here are 7 of my favourite digestive remedies to keep at home. For dosages, see general guidelines below.
For cramps and colic
- Magnesium phosphoricum 30ch or Mag phos 6x (you’ll find this as a Schuessler tissue salt): For any cramping or neuralgic pains and colic (stomach, intestinal, menstrual), especially pains that improve with a hot water bottle and gentle pressure. Mag phos 6x can be repeated often and for longer periods, whereas the 30ch potency is for short term only (see below).
- Chamomilla 30c: for babies and young children angry and inconsolable with colicky pain. Children want to be carried and rocked constantly and this may offer some temporary relief. Chamomilla is the main remedy for diarrhea and intestinal upset or fevers that develop during teething, especially when that inconsolable anger appears. Crush pellets between 2 spoons and give every 2-4 hours for 3 doses. Stop earlier if symptoms improve quickly.
- Nux vomica 30c: is such an excellent remedy for digestive upset and cramps from overwork, poor eating habits, jet lag and exaggerated irritability and impatience. Colic may cause nausea and vomiting. Symptoms are typically worse in the morning, but better resting and warmth.
For indigestion, nausea and vomiting
- Ipecacuana 30c: When nausea is the overwhelming symptom, Ipecac will help–it’s such a great stomach flu remedy, especially when nausea is persistent and returns soon after vomiting.
See above #3: Nux vomica 30c: Nausea and vomiting from stress and overwork, or due to lack of sleep and poor food choices. Typically the person needing Nux vomica will turn irritable and touchy, feels chilly and mornings are worse. There is not usually much vomiting, but rather more retching. Also for heartburn, with burping.
- Arsenicum 30c for food poisoning-like symptoms: nausea and vomiting, possibly with diarrhea. Symptoms worsen at night. The person needing Arsenicum has an unusual type of thirst, which is for small sips at a time and a preference for warm drinks. Pains are typically burning, and the person feels restless, anxious, and unable to find a comfortable position. Arsenicum is often helpful in cases of simultaneous vomiting and diarrhea, with chills. If symptoms are severe, use this remedy while waiting for a doctor’s appointment.
For diarrhea and gas
See above #5: Arsenicum 30c: for watery diarrhea, with or without vomiting. Offensive, burning stool with anxiety about health. However, if the anxiety is well founded, be sure to get medical attention!
- Lycopodium 30c: For bloating and gas after eating, better passing gas, keeping warm and loosening the belt. Loud rumbling, belching, heartburn. Helpful for the person who instantly feels full after eating ever so little, or the opposite, feels incessantly hungry. Indigestion from onions, beans, cabbages, pastry.
- Sulphur 30c: Useful for the person who experiences early morning diarrhea, with rumbling, gurgling and burning. The stool and any gas passed tend to be offensive. Thirst with flushes of heat, hunger at 11 am and a need to eat regularly all suggest the person needs this remedy! Desires sometimes point to a remedy. In this case, there is a desire for sweets, ice cream, fats and spicy food.
General rules for homeopathic prescribing
Take 30ch potency 3-5 pills, allowing the remedy to dissolve in the mucous membranes of the mouth. Repeat 2-4 times daily for 1-3 days, except when there is improvement–then stop and only repeat if symptoms return. For a 6x potency, repeat every 15-30 minutes for 3-4 doses then 4 times daily for as long as needed.
- Choose the remedy according to the symptoms the person experiences (not by diagnosis)
- To make the remedy stronger, repeat more often rather than giving more pills. Dosages are the same for infants, children and adults because remedies are repeated according to the intensity of symptoms rather than by body weight.
- Intense symptoms: every 30 minutes for 3-4 doses
- Moderate symptoms: every 2-4 hours for 3-4 doses
- Mild symptoms: 2-3 times a day for 3-4 doses
- Stop if symptoms improve or after 3 doses, re-evaluate:
- If symptoms improve markedly: wait, and repeat only as needed
- If symptoms improve slightly: repeat less frequently
- If there’s no change: switch remedies
- If you’re not sure: give another dose
Always use your common sense. If you suspect an illness goes beyond simple home remedy treatment or if there is no improvement from a remedy (but the symptoms fit the remedy well), seek medical attention. For those interested research, an excellent study was carried out on diarrhea of children in Nepal, which showed a statistically significant improvement in symptoms of the children under homeopathic treatment compared to placebo.
Constitutional treatment for prevention
For symptoms that recur, homeopathic constitutional treatment strengthens health overall, prevent recurrences and improve overall sense of well-being. In a 2005 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, of over 6000 patients, more than 70% reported that symptoms of their chronic disease improved. Due to the complexity of choosing a homeopathic remedy for constitutional well-being, you must see a practitioner who practices classical homeopathy. As a general rule, you will need a few appointments to get you on track, but the whole point of classical homeopathy is to need less rather than more remedies over time, so as symptoms improve, the appointments become infrequent. At that point, some choose to make seasonal appointments to keep their health on track, while others wait until symptoms reappear.