Firstly, a clarification: this is not a story about the birds and bees in the usual sense. This is a narration of the wonderful effects of homoeopathy that I saw firsthand long before I became a professionally qualified homeopath, and during the process of becoming a homeopath. These experiences were part of my evolution to becoming a well rounded homeopath. The following stories will help understand the amazing but simple ways that common remedies like Arnica, Rhus Tox and Bryonia or remedies like Symphytum, Apis Mellifica and Ruta can bring about healing in a simple, gentle and harmless way. The usual tendency these days is to look for rare or exotic remedies. As my teacher and mentor used to say, why look for rarely used remedies when a polychrest can do the job just as well. This does not mean that we don’t use rare remedies. These remedies have been used when the symptom picture matches. In many challenging cases these rare remedies have been of immense help when the polychrests have not given the desired result.
It was a bright and sunny Saturday morning. I was in my teens and my family had just shifted back to my home town. I had just started my homeopathic studies. I was sitting outside with my dad, mum and sister in the garden, when this little stray kitten walked in or should I say limped in. He was whining and groaning with pain. We saw that his left paw was bent and he was unable to walk. We had been using homeopathy in my family for generations and both my grandfather and father practised as amateur homeopaths. All of us in the family had a fairly good knowledge of homeopathy from a young age. We were wondering what to do to relieve this little kitty of his agony. We first gave him a saucer of milk mixed with some pills of Arnica 200. This was continued for 3-4 days. We found that although the pain seemed to have reduced, there was still some swelling in the paw. Well, by now the kitten was moving about and I could see that he was walking with his paw bent.
This seemed to be more than just an injury and could probably have been a fracture. We started giving him Symphytum 200. The kitten improved and gained strength. He started walking and the leg was healed in a few weeks time. We kept him comfortable with a blanket and he slept outside our door. He became completely normal and the leg healed without needing any kind of invasive methods. The cat’s problem was solved but we had a problem! The little kitty refused to leave us. He would be waiting at the doorstep and walk in as soon as we opened the door in the morning. He would jump in through the window and snuggle into my blanket. Unfortunately, not everyone in the family was a cat lover and my dad decided that enough was enough. It was time for the kitty to leave. He put him in a basket and left him at another place far away from our house. Several years later I did see a cat roaming around the garden that looked similar to this kitten. Maybe it was the same kitty who had somehow found his way back here.
Here is another story of the miraculous effect of Arnica. It was December and we were enjoying our winter holidays. I was studying in primary school at that time. We were living on the first floor. One day a crow landed on our parapet wall with a broken wing. It was lying there unable to fly off. The cats and other predators in our neighbourhood were waiting to gobble it up. I saw the bird and wanted to save it. We managed to shoo off the predators but the bird had to recover its strength and the broken wing had to be repaired for it to be able to survive and fly off. We started giving it bird feed and also water in a bowl mixed with Arnica 200 pills two to three times a day. This was continued for a week or 10 days as far as I can remember. We kept a constant vigil and in a few days the broken wing was healed and the crow flew away.
Now I come to the bees or rather bee stings. There are many remedies for bee stings but the most amazing results I have seen is with Apis mellifica. Me and my husband were helping out in setting up a holistic program at a residential traditional cum modern education school called a Gurukul. The campus was at the edge of a forest. The surroundings were beautiful and we were close to a Holy City where the Ganges flowed. There was only one problem in this idyllic environment. There were a huge number of beehives and honeybees buzzing around. The children would invariably get stung while they were playing. The usual anti allergy remedies would do little to alleviate the allergic reactions of swelling and pain. Apis Mellifica 200 in water dose would really help give immediate relief. The pain and swelling would come down very fast and they could get back to doing their daily activities in half the time it would take if the regular methods were used.
One case I can never forgot is that of a two year old child of one of the school’s faculty members who was bitten by an insect. He had a swelling in the lower eyelids and an allergic rash. I first gave him a dose of Natrum Mur 200 in water and asked the mother to bring him back in the morning. In the night there was a knock at my door. It was the child’s mother. She told me that the child was very distressed and crying due to the pain swelling and itching. I changed the remedy to Apis Mellifica. I asked her to give this to him in water every 15 minutes till he goes to sleep. The next morning I visited their house and this child was happily playing without any signs of the distressing symptoms he was experiencing the previous day. I have found that Natrum Mur and Ledum Pal also give very good relief in symptoms caused by insect bites and stings when prescribed according to the symptoms.
The other observation of the quick effect of homeopathic remedies is the water dose. For acute problems I usually prescribe a dosage of 6 pills dissolved in 100ml of water and 2 teaspoonfuls of this water to be taken every half an hour till symptoms subsided or 10 pills dissolved in a half-litre water bottle and two sips of this water to be taken every half to one hour till symptoms subsided. In the residential school the children would be prone to injuries or fractures and sprains. The water dose of Arnica, Rhus Tox or Bryonia, depending on the type of injury, used to give very good results. This actually reduced the number of visits to the emergency room.
One child had twisted her thumb and she had a sprain with swelling and pain. The term exams were going on. She could not take her exam on that day. There was a break the next day but she had to write the exam the day after. Arnica 1M in water dose along with external application of Arnica helped relieve the pain and swelling in a day. She could take her exams the next day including the one she had missed due to the injury.
Babies also respond very well to homeopathic remedies. A three month old baby of a helper at the school had mild eczema on the scalp and just the application of Calendula ointment once a day for two days completely cleared up the eczema. The baby was quite happy and would coo and gurgle when the ointment was applied in contrast to what might have happened if the regular methods were used. Another faculty member whose home town was in the Himalayan regions mentioned that as children they would use the juice of the marigold flower to heal injuries. As we all know, Calendula is a remedy made from the marigold flower.
The holistic clinic became very popular among the teachers, staff and the housekeeping staff as well. The housekeeping staff would come in with aches and pains due to the strain of round-the-clock cleaning and maintenance required for the school. Arnica, Rhus Tox and Ruta proved to be very effective for their backaches, body pains and sprains.
The following is a brief description with some more stories from the clinic of the main remedies that are mentioned in the above stories.
It is considered the best remedy for traumatic injuries. William Boericke calls it a muscular tonic. The other interesting aspect, mentioned in Boericke’s materia medica is that it is a remedy for healing not only the effects of physical trauma but emotional trauma as well. It is useful for any ailments that can be traced back to an injury that may have caused the current symptoms. It is also helpful in relieving muscular sprains or symptoms caused by overuse of any organs. It can also be used for bad effects of grief or sudden change in circumstances. Although it is mostly used in cases of physical trauma there are very few instances of it having been used in cases of emotional trauma. Arnica however may also help healing by relieving the emotional trauma caused by the injury as well. Some elderly patients with a history of insomnia to whom I had prescribed Arnica for muscular sprains or injuries, reported improvement in sleep patterns.
This is a very effective remedy to antidote the effects of bee stings. It can also be used for erysipelas, dropsical effusions, oedema, affections of the kidney and other clinical conditions when symptoms match. There is swelling of various parts, oedema, stinging pains, soreness , sensitiveness to heat and aggravation from slightest touch. This remedy acts especially on the more superficial parts such as the skin, linings of organs and the serous membranes. It produces serous inflammation with effusion, extreme sensitiveness to touch and general soreness is marked. There is puffiness of the eyes, swelling and redness with burning and stinging. It is complementary to Natrum Mur which apart from its other wonderful benefits is also a good remedy for insect bites
This is a remedy for throbbing, stitching and tearing pains. Mostly useful for muscular pains, rheumatic, arthritic and joint pains with swelling. The symptoms are worse with movement and better with rest. The complaints are usually right-sided. Mentally they are of an irritable disposition. There is a tendency of dryness including of the mouth with excessive thirst. This dryness is also seen in the joints where, in some cases, there is crackling in the knee joints which may be due to the friction caused by the lack of synovial fluid. It is also indicated in dropsical effusions into the synovial and serous membranes. The other characteristic modality of Bryonia is worse with warmth and better with cold things. Bryonia is also an excellent remedy to relieve symptoms from work related stress. The following example helps confirm this. There was a gentleman who had a tendency to develop mouth ulcers on a regular basis. The usual remedies such as Nux vomica and Merc Sol failed to give him any relief. On further questioning he mentioned that these mouth ulcers got worse when he had some work related issues or stress. A few doses of Bryonia helped cure his mouth ulcers. Bryonia is also useful as a preventive and curative in viral arthiritis
This is a remedy that helps in relieving all types of affections of the muscles. It is very useful in healing ligament tears. It has its action on almost all the different components of the bones such as the periosteum and the cartilage. Is is also useful in complaints caused by overstraining of the tendons especially the flexor tendons. It is a useful remedy for tennis elbow. Kent says that this is a remedy that is often overlooked and Rhus Tox or Argentum Nitricum are given in its place, as Ruta is not well known. Clinically I have seen that it is very useful in faster healing of ligament tears. I have also found it useful in relieving the severe pain in fractured limbs. Ruta helps in faster healing of the fracture as well as in pain relief This has also helped reduce the number of painkillers that need to be used. The other main action of Ruta is on the eyes. It helps improve myopia. There was a lady who was diagnosed with mild myopia and advised to use spectacles. She was given Ruta 200 to be taken for two weeks. She went to the ophthalmologist for an eye check up after the course of Ruta and he said that her vision had returned to normal. In another case of severe osteoarthritis in an elderly lady with difficulty in walking or even slight movement, Ruta given alternately along with Colchicum and Rhus Tox was able to relieve the pain and restore mobility to the joint.
This is a remedy that has its effects on fibrous tissues. It effects joint and muscles. It has a tendency to inflammation. The patient is sensitive to cold damp weather and once he get warm he feels better. That may be the reason for the amelioration from movement. There is stiffness and lameness of the joints in the morning and on initial movement that gets better with movement and exercise. Kent says that although the patient is better movement, continuous movement makes him exhausted. Ailments from long continued exertion of both the body and the mind. Restlessness is another characteristic symptom. The tendency for inflammation makes it suitable for the treatment of glandular complaints where there with swelling, heat and pain. There is a tendency to suppuration which makes it a good remedy for acne and pimples. Left sided tonsillitis with sore throat that is better with warmth. It is also a useful remedy for urticaria. It is also useful in lumbago and cervical spondylitis when the indicated symptoms are present. It also helps in certain psychological complaints caused due to overexertion of the mind. The external application of Rhus Tox ointment along with the internal dose helps quickly relieve muscle sprains. Another useful external application of Rhus tox is in healing Chicken Pox eruptions without scars. I developed chicken pox when in college and external application of Rhus Tox Q dissolved in water and dabbed on the face with cotton wool helped dry up the nodules without leaving any scars.
The common name of this remedy is Comfrey. The other name for this herb is Bone-set which is self explanatory. This is a very useful remedy to help in faster healing of fractures and injuries to the periosteum. According to Clarke it helps to relieve the severe pain and soreness in the periosteum and bone that remains after Arnica has helped relieve and heal injuries to the soft tissues. It is more useful in traumatic injuries to the bone and periosteum. In many cases of injury Arnica is routinely prescribed but if the cause and type of injury are carefully observed and distinguished and the remedy that is most suited is applied the results would be extraordinary. This remedy has also a very good effect in healing injuries to the eye ball rather than to the soft parts around the eye. One of my senior Lecturers narrated the remarkable curative effect of Symphtum in an eyeball injury caused due to iron filings being lodged in the eye of an iron-smith. The eye injury had become so severe that surgery was recommended to remove the eyeball. Symphytum helped heal the eye such that the iron filings were washed out and the eyeball was restored to its normal state.
This is in essence a brief account of some of my experiences in the journey towards becoming a homeopath. I have been an avid reader of the Sherlock Holmes detective novels written by Arthur Conan Doyle. The notable point is the deductive logic and minute observation that I have tried to incorporate in my practice. The other very important aspect is to keep an open mind. In many cases there is a striking peculiar individual symptom but the general symptoms do not exactly match up or it is the other way round and the generals match but there is a particular symptom that does not match. In both these cases, according to Kent, if there is a striking particular symptom and the generals do not match it is better to prescribe on the basis of the peculiar symptom. If the generals match, you can prescribe on that and ignore the contradiction in a minor symptom. He also says that you can generalise a particular. This just means that you have to individualise and prescribe on the basis of each case.
The interpretation of the remedy is also important. One lady with lumbago which was helped with Causticum is an example of this. She had been suffering from back pain for many years. The present trouble could be traced back to the epidural she received for pain relief during labour. The usual backache remedies failed to give her any relief. She came to the clinic one day and said that she had spent the whole night standing as that was the only position that gave her relief. One of the symptoms of Causticum is “passes stool better while standing”. If this is generalised to, better standing, then Causticum is the remedy.
Many times we get into textbook approaches and miss the forest for the trees. So it is important to look at every aspect of both the patient and the remedy to change our perspective and find different uses for the same remedy. I have spent a long period with homeopathy first taking homeopathy from a very young age to giving homeopathy to my friends and classmates in school to becoming a homeopath and practicing it.
There was this time when I was in 8th grade. I had enrolled for a 13-day trekking camp as part of the National Cadet Corp training. There I was in the middle of the mountains with my homeopathy remedy kit. Many of the children at the camp were curious and I started giving them remedies for their aches, pain and minor stomach upsets. There would be a regular stream of children outside my room for homeopathic remedies. I was nicknamed ‘Homeopathy’ in that camp!