Wildfire Season: Protecting your Health with Homeopathy
The world is watching as devastating wildfires burn across BC, the Yukon Territories and other parts of Canada and the world – even now as fall approaches. Homeopathic medicines can work wonders in acute situations like mitigating the effects of smoke inhalation on the body. It’s also a wonderful trauma remedy to help the body recover from the shock and grief for those having to leave their homes and communities. Remember too that homeopathy is entirely non-toxic to people and animals, safe for our natural water systems, and there are no by-products from the manufacturing process. Not only does a well selected homeopathic medicine serve to help our bodies become healthier and more resilient, but it’s entirely planet friendly – and there are lots of home remedies!
Since homeopathy works with the body’s natural ability to heal and rebalance, the best choice of medicine must be carefully selected according to the symptoms a person experiences. Symptoms are clues to your remedy choice. Here are some my favourite homeopathic medicines to consider for an acute situation caused by wildfires.
Top homeopathic medicines for wildfires
Aconitum napellis (Aconite) 30ch is an excellent first choice when symptoms appear suddenly and intensely, especially if anxiety is present. Consider Aconite when respiratory-type symptoms appear out of the blue – usually it’s a dry, tight, croupy or hacking cough. When a person needs Aconite, typically there is breathlessness and some anxiety accompanying the physical complaint. For instance, Aconite is one of the main remedies for croup, where sudden waking early in the night with a dry, barking cough tends to cause breathlessness and fear in small children. If a child (or adult) wakes with fear after a frightening experience – even without respiratory symptoms – just a few doses of Aconite will often be enough to help the body resolve the shock.
For those who enjoy the research, know that it exists for homeopathy too! Often it’s in an integrative healthcare setting, as in this published article, where Aconite produced excellent results – 95% positive – in calming children in the hospital recovery room after they experienced postoperative anxiety. While this is a different kind of trauma, you can see how well Aconite works in an acute anxiety situation.
Arsenicum album 30ch is another one of those top homeopathic medicines for acute situations, though in this case, burning is a key symptom. The lungs burn, the eyes smart and the cough is tight and worsens at night. There may a sensation of smoke in the windpipe on breathing and a feeling of breathlessness and heaviness in the chest. Warm drinks soothe. In most cases that need Arsenicum album, you’ll find even the calmest person will suffer some anxiety and restlessness with an unusual desire to keep things clean and tidy. If there is a general fear around health and welfare along with burning senses, then Arsenicum album is likely a good fit. If you can’t decide between Aconite and Arsenicum, start with Aconite first. Other remedies follow well.
Euphrasia 30ch is a better fit if the smoke mostly affects the eyes, causing burning, streaming, caustic tears. The eyes become red, swollen and sensitive, weeping with the least exposure to wind or bright light. If there is a cough, it’s accompanied by copious tears. Headaches may also develop from sinus pressure.
Ignatia 30ch is better known for its affinity for emotional rebalancing, especially as it relates to grief and grieving, but it’s also a good one to consider here for smoke sensitivity. Just as Aconite is helpful for either a sudden dry cough or a panic attack (or both), Ignatia is useful for acute sensitivity to smoke that develops after exposure to wildfires – or for sudden, intense symptoms of grief after a loss or shock. If you know someone who just wants to be alone and bursts out crying at the wrong moment – or the opposite, just can’t cry at all with a constant lump in the throat – Ignatia can help bring balance back to the emotions. The person who needs Ignatia can’t be missed, as the emotions run extreme – if you’re feeling exceptionally excitable or hysterical even. It’s truly a wonderful remedy and should be part of everyone’s homeopathy home remedy kit.
Kalium bichromicum 30ch is best known as a sinusitis medicine, when the sinuses produce sticky, stringy mucous and sinus headaches that centre on a small area. In the case of smoke inhalation, consider Kali bich if the smoke causes a sinus-type cold or there is a hacking cough and tight chest that comes in fits, producing sticky, tight or rattling, copious mucous. The smoke may affect the voice as well. There are a great many more asthma remedies, but consider Kali bich when asthmatic symptoms develop with thick, sticky mucous after smoke inhalation. A nasal cold/sinus stuffiness may also be present (see Arsenicum also).
Note that there are other homeopathic medicines for smoke inhalation and for fear and grief after experiencing a trauma such as a fire. Among others, the unusual remedies of Natrum arsenicosum and Sulphuric acid could be considered, although you won’t find these in any homeopathic home remedy kit. Since everyone experiences symptoms a little differently, if you don’t see a suitable medicine in the list above, seek the expertise of a homeopath who can guide you through the many homeopathic remedies to support the body’s return to an optimum state of health.
If you’re looking for lung support homeopathically, the Schuessler Cell salt Kali mur 6x is always a good idea. Since the cell salts are low potencies, they can be taken for longer period of time and are thought to offer support on more of a cellular level. Kali mur 6x is the cell salt for mucous membranes, including the nose, throat and respiratory organs. If you’re also feeling super dry and parched from smoke, Nat mur 6x can be added to bring fluid balance back into the affected cells and tissues. With the low potency cell salts, feel free to combine and take frequently, as often as three to four times daily. In this way cell salts are unlike the homeopathic medicines in a 30ch potency, which are ideally taken one at a time in order to better assess the effects – and should be stopped as symptoms subside. For more information about cell salts, see my previous blog here.
How to take your homeopathic medicine for acute care
The 30ch potency is recommended as it’s widely available and acts quickly. For intense symptoms, take a dose – usually 3-5 pills on or under the tongue – every 2-4 hours for 3 doses and then 1-3 times daily as needed for as long as symptoms continue. Some improvement should be noticeable after a few doses or you may need to switch remedies. Of course if exposure or stress continue, you may need to repeat but if you find you are taking the medicines for more than a week, either choose the next best fit or seek the advice of a homeopathic practitioner to help manage your journey back to health.
Smoke and smog can travel hundreds of kilometers away, affecting millions of people in the larger vicinity. Home air purifiers are becoming increasingly popular with good reason since they keep the air clean and fresh inside the house when windows stay closed due to wildfire smoke – they also guard against allergies to dust and cat or dog dander. Make sure you purchase the correct size according to the dimensions of the room, and clean and change the filters regularly.
Research and other resources
I’ll leave you with a couple of research articles and another excellent homeopathy article on wildfires written by Miranda Castro. This published study was carried out in a homeopathy community clinic in the UK showing that the main complaint at the clinic was depression, anxiety and grief with 75-81% showing an improvement. If instead, you find that you’re experiencing more respiratory infections after smoke inhalation, know that homeopathy can help strengthen immunity. Here’s a study which was published in the Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine journal in 2016, examining more than 450 patients and their respiratory tract infections. The conclusion: “reduction in the mean number of RTI episodes during the period of observation vs. the year before inclusion in the study was significantly greater in the homeopathic-treated group than in untreated patients.”