Summer is the time to flock to the lake, or if you’re on the Coast, to the island. Remote locations are part of the great Canadian experience, and first aid kits are a must. While bandages, tweezers and painkillers are essential in case of any emergency, you can support the body’s recovery process with homeopathic medicines, easing the pain, suffering and shortening healing time of most minor emergencies among your friends, family and neighbours while away from home.
There are a number of homeopathic first aid kits available, but if you’re just looking for a handful to take to the cabin, my top three would be Arnica, Apis, and Rhus tox. I wouldn’t stop there of course, but they’re a great place to start!
Homeopathic Summer Trio
Arnica montana 30ch is at the top of the list because it’s the first homeopathic remedy for any injury or accident- whether it’s a fall, sprain or concussion. Arnica helps minimize bruising and supports soft tissue recovery to act as an anti-inflammatory and lessen pain. It can help alleviate the shock of an injury too, even when the injury is relatively minor, helping get back on your feet faster. Also consider Arnica if you’re normally a couch potato and suddenly you’ve decided to hike a Grand Canyon equivalent while on vacation. While this is never a good idea, Arnica can help alleviate muscle soreness and aching and soften fatigue after too much activity.
I remember using homeopathic Arnica for a slight sprain and felt so much better after just a few doses – the swelling reduced and the pain was gone – that I thought maybe I hadn’t injured it after all, so I decided to go on a short run, noticing after just a minute that it was a terrible idea. I find this happens a lot with Arnica, so it’s a great reminder to make sure you rest, rest, rest, no matter how much better you feel after a few doses of Arnica.
Apis mellifica 30ch is the next must have at the cabin. Remember Apis for bites and stings that swell, become very red, hot and burn. Like Arnica, Apis is another remedy that can work quickly, helping the body reduce swelling, redness and stinging seemingly without effort. I’ve given Apis for intense swelling after a sting and stopped repeating it prematurely, as the results were so fast. The next morning however, the swelling and redness were back with a vengeance, and the Apis had to be repeated. Homeopathy never ceases to amaze me even after years in practice – how quickly the body can soothe an injury.
Rhus toxicodendron 30ch – or just Rhus tox for short – is to be remembered in two scenarios. Firstly, it’s a wonderful healer of sprains and strains after Arnica, when the restlessness sets in and you can’t find a comfortable position. The pain and stiffness are worst at night and in the morning when the muscle seize up and feel stiff and sore. Once you get up and get going, the pain and stiffness become more manageable – that is, until you sit down and rest. Unlike Arnica, where cold typically feels beneficial, when Rhus tox is the better fit, applying heat brings temporary relief. I always start with Arnica for a sprain as it really does work on the soft tissue damage to minimize bruising and allay swelling. But iI the symptoms shift to show that restless stiffness and soreness temporarily improved by moving about, that’s when switching to Rhus tox is indicated.
Besides sprains, Rhus tox remedies itchy rashes that form tiny red bumps or itchy clear vesicles. It’s the classic remedy for poison ivy but will help reduce the severity and length of most itchy rashes whether it be due to an allergy, the chicken pox or the like when applying warmth eases the itch.
Remember that sometimes homeopathy works fast – so fast that Dr. Jean-Marcel Ferret, sports doctor for the world cup winning French soccer team mentioned in an interview that he found the greatest benefit of homeopathy was being able to see the results almost immediately. We can’t always expect an instant result however. Because homeopathy works with the body’s ability to heal itself, sometimes when we expect to see fast results we don’t get one. This can be because the injury is more severe than we expected – for instance I’ve had several instances Arnica wasn’t helping as expected, and a subsequent x-ray alerted us to a fracture. Arnica is still the correct medicine, but the results take time. As long as we are getting some improvement, stick with the remedies before switching.
Other remedies for the cabin? Consider taking Cantharis 30ch for the pain of burns that blister, and Hypericum 30ch for injuries to the nerves, like crushed fingers or tailbone falls.
Homeopathy can work so well in these acute situations, the proof is in clinical experience, but for those who need the research, know that it does exist. Some of the best studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of Arnica are on its effects after surgery: here’s one 2016 research study on Arnica showing a reduction in bruising. Then there are studies on the effect of homeopathy to accelerate the healing and lessen pain of fractures, and yet another double blind placebo controlled study on the success of homeopathy for concussions. If homeopathic remedies are not working the way you expect, find a local homeopath to guide you to the right homeopathic medicines and the right dosage and potency.
General recommendations for dosage and potency:
Since the 30ch potency is widely available and easy to use, take 3-5 pills (depending on the manufacturer’s instructions) and repeat according to the intensity of symptoms rather than by the weight of the person. At the beginning of an injury, take the homeopathic medicine frequently for best effects, every two hours for three or four doses, then three times daily as the symptoms improve. Want to learn more, take a beginner’s course with me on homeopathy at home, more to come in the fall!