Clinical Cases

Opioid-free Recovery from Major Surgery with Homeopathy

Written by Swapna Honavar

Homeopath Swapna Honavar shares two surgical cases in which homeopathic remedies greatly enhanced recovery and helped reduce reliance on post-op drugs. Remedies for pain, bleeding, effects of anesthesia and catheter removal were among those used.

Patients are routinely prescribed opioid drugs for postoperative pain relief, and can become long-term users of opioids. “Even when taken exactly as prescribed, opioids carry significant risks and side effects,” says Beth Darnall, PhD, clinical associate professor of anesthesiology and author of the book Less Pain, Fewer Pills: Avoid the Dangers of Prescription Opioids and Gain Control over Chronic Pain.

Homeopathy has a wonderful track record of helping patients heal post-surgery, with no risks of side-effects or addiction. Here are two of my cases to illustrate:

Case 1

Mrs. M, a 45-year-old woman was going to have an abdominal myomectomy (removal of fibroids through open abdominal surgery). This is a major surgical procedure.  It involves making an incision through the skin on the lower abdomen and removing the fibroids from the wall of the uterus.

The uterine muscle is then sewn back together using several layers of stitches. UCLA Health literature says, “…due to the invasiveness of the procedure the surgery requires a larger incision, general anesthesia, and has risk factors associated with abdominal surgery such as blood loss, pain and infection, and longer recovery.”

UCSF pamphlets state, “Blood loss during the surgery may require a blood transfusion…Most women spend two nights in the hospital and four to six weeks recovering at home.”

The patient’s surgeon had discussed the possibility of blood loss with her, since the MRI done before the surgery showed one very large fibroid (18 cm) and numerous small fibroids. She explained that the extent of blood loss depended on how they were embedded in the uterine wall.

She had told the patient that she would probably have a two, or possibly three night stay in the hospital depending on the pace of recovery. For post-operative pain, Mrs. M was prescribed Ibuprofen, as well as a combination pill of Hydrocodone (opioid) & Acetominophen for pain relief, to be taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

Since this was a scheduled surgery, I advised Mrs M. to take the following homeopathic remedies:

Phosphorus 30C the night before, and the morning of the surgery: This was due to the possibility of excessive bleeding and blood loss. Also, while Mrs. M had never had general anesthesia before, she reported that two family members had suffered severe nausea from anesthesia, and she was worried about experiencing that same reaction. Postoperative nausea and vomiting are the most common complications that patients face after surgery.

Arnica 30C the morning of the surgery, after surgery, and twice daily for a week after that: Arnica of course is our great trauma remedy; it helps the body recover from the shock of surgery, reduces pain and inflammation, and also helps with bleeding after surgery.

Calendula 30C after surgery and twice daily for one week: Calendula is the great healer. It heals wounds and helps the skin and deeper tissues to knit back together. It also helps prevent infection.

Staphysagria 30C on the day after the surgery: One of the important markers for recovery is the timely removal of the urinary catheter, and that the patient is able to urinate normally after the removal. Many patients experience pain and have trouble urinating after catheter removal. For this, I advised her to take a dose of Staphysagria 30 on the day after the surgery, when the catheter was likely to be removed.

Carbo veg 30C on the day after the surgery:  The surgeons handout stated: “If you have major surgery, especially to the abdomen, your digestive tract will shut down for several days. Until it starts working again, you cannot eat or drink, and certainly cannot go home from the hospital. Passing gas is the first sign of recovery; once it occurs, the return of digestive function is imminent.”

Carbo veg will help eliminate gas which is one of the important markers for doctors to commence giving clear liquids as nutrition to the patient.  Mrs. M had a family member with her who ensured that she took the homeopathic remedies as planned.

During and Post Surgery: The results were remarkable.

– She had no nausea or vomiting after anesthesia. There was no excessive blood loss during surgery.

– She had been told that she should try walking 24 hours after surgery. Instead, she felt well enough to get out of bed just 9 hours after surgery. The nurse who helped her remarked that she was using hardly any opioid pain medication through the patient-controlled analgesia (PCA).

This is “a computerized pump that permits patients to push a button and deliver small amounts of pain medicine into the intravenous (IV) lines in their arms. In most cases, PCA pumps supply opioid pain-controlling drugs such as morphine, fentanyl, and hydromorphone.  (

– The next morning after surgery (even before 24 hours were up), the resident doctor who checked in on her was surprised to find that she had already walked around the corridors a couple of times, and that she had used a minimal amount of pain medication. The catheter was also removed successfully, and she had started eating a little. The resident decided to consult the surgeon on whether the patient could be discharged on the same day (after just one night in hospital).

– The surgeon agreed and Mrs. M was discharged just 24 hours after the surgery.

– She did not take any of the Opioid/Acetominophen combo pills prescribed to her for pain relief. She took Ibuprofen for 2 days along with Arnica and Calendula as prescribed.

– From day 3, she continued with just Arnica and Calendula for the next few days.

– She had no infections, and the wound healed well.

– When she went for her six-week follow-up, she asked her surgeon how many of her patients were discharged within a day of such a surgery. The surgeon guessed at 20%.

Then she asked her if any of them recovered without taking the opioid pain medication. To this, the surgeon replied that she had never heard of any of her patients not taking the prescribed pain medication!

Homeopathy ensured a smooth, and speedier than normal recovery from major surgery, without the use of harmful opioids for pain relief.

Case 2

Miss D was a 25- year-old woman who was rushed to the ER with severe abdominal pain. She had a large cyst on her right ovary which was the cause of the severe pain. Emergency surgery was needed. The surgeon tried laparoscopic removal but it was not possible, and open-abdominal surgery was performed. As in the previous case, this surgery also involved a large incision, general anesthesia and an expected 4 to 6 weeks of recovery.

Her mother, who was a patient of mine, called me the day after the surgery to ask for my advice, as she was worried. She explained that her daughter had been in so much pain that she had been given high doses of opioids before the surgery.

As a result, after the surgery, her blood pressure dropped significantly. Because the blood pressure was so low, she was not being given any more opioid pain medication, and was only given Ibuprofen which was not helping her cope with the severe post-operative pain.

Her daughter was refusing to get out of bed to try to walk because she was still in a lot of pain. This was worrying, because walking in a timely way after surgery is important since it helps blood to flow normally, reducing the risk of complications developing, such as blood clots in the legs. She was also extremely tired and lethargic after the pain and the shock of the surgery.

I asked the mother to give her a dose of Arnica 200, and to follow it with a dose of Calendula 30. I also asked her to give her a dose of Staphysagria 30 to help with the catheter removal.

A few hours later, I had a very happy and relieved call from the mother. Miss D’s pain was under control. Her catheter had been removed and she had walked for the first time after the surgery. Most importantly, she was chatting with her mother, and seemed to have come out of the post-operative fog that she seemed to have been in. I asked her mother to repeat Arnica and Calendula again that evening.

She was discharged the next morning. She took Ibuprofen for a couple of days, along with Arnica and Calendula 30. After that she stopped taking Ibuprofen, and I asked her to continue with Arnica and Calendula twice daily. She took them for a week until she felt she no longer had any pain. The rest of her recovery was uneventful, and her incision healed perfectly. Homeopathy came to the rescue once again!


About the author

Swapna Honavar

Swapna Honavar switched career paths from marketing and advertising, and studied homeopathy after encountering its amazing power in treating herself and her family. She received her homeopathy education from the School of Homeopathy, UK, and practices in California. She uses homeopathy and cell salts to treat adults, children, and pets. She can be contacted through her website

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