Homeopathy Papers

Tidbits – Part 15 – Your Homeopathy Emergency Kit

homeopathy emergency kit
Written by Elaine Lewis

What remedies should you be carrying with you and why?

I just bought Shana a new pocketbook.

How do you like it?  OK, so we wanted to make sure her homeopathy emergency kit would fit in it.  That was when I realized I couldn’t read any of the labels on those tiny half-dram bottles!  Look at the size of this first-aid kit–it fits in my hand!

Here it is opened up.

Do you see what I had to do?  I had to rewrite the names of each remedy in big black letters because, after all, what good is a first aid kit if you need a magnifying glass to see what’s in it?  The next question is, what good is a first-aid kit if you don’t know what the remedies are for? Many people have asked me that; hence, this article!  I think we all know that Arnica is for injuries, for blunt trauma, falls, etc., but what about the rest of them?

Here are the 18 remedies in Shana’s emergency kit, the first one, going alphabetically, is Aconite.  What is Aconite for?


In a word, fear!  Fear, anxiety and panic (or fear and anxiety as concomitants in the case–meaning that along with the complaint, you have fear).  Think about the panic you feel when you just narrowly miss having an accident on the highway!  That’s a situation that calls for Aconite!  But also the “shock” afterwards, when you feel yourself turning white as a sheet, like you might pass out.  That’s Aconite too!  I carry Aconite in my pocket along with Arnica, as they should always be with you!

But, an Aconite situation doesn’t always have to be so dramatic!  I remember a state of anxiety I was in while driving to a wedding some years ago (come to think of it, I could have used Aconite at my OWN wedding!)  Anyway, I was driving to a wedding and got apprehensive about seeing my relatives since I hadn’t seen them in years, especially my mother who was flying in from Texas.  I took a dose of Aconite 30C and in just minutes I was happy-go-lucky and even singing!  

Now, I know what you’re thinking!  “What song were you singing, Elaine?”  Well, since you ask….it was “I’m So Young” by The Students, recorded 56 years ago this month on the Checker label out of Chicago: 

I have a girlfriend…she says I’m her only one….  

Oh geez, now I’m all verklempt!  Does today’s music sound this good?  Oh, please!  OK, I feel better now.  See?  This is what Aconite can do for you!  No one sings after Valium, I’m pretty sure!

We all know that Arnica is for injuries, but if a person seems to be panicking after an injury and can’t think straight, he may need a dose of Aconite first to calm him down before giving Arnica.  Don’t be surprised if your Aconite patient is restless, wants fresh air and a drink of cold water.  

Aconite is also known as the “Arnica of the Eyes”.  Any injury to the eyes, give Aconite!  Once while sitting in the parking lot at Genuardi’s supermarket, something got in my eye, I don’t know what it was or where it came from but it became increasingly disturbing and then I remembered–oh, right; Aconite!  I took a dose of Aconite 30C and within minutes, the whole problem was gone!  I said, “Wow! It’s really true!”  Of course we all should know about Aconite’s famous indication: “Ailments from cold-dry winds”!  And by that we mean that your cold or sore throat or headache came on after being out in cold, windy weather.  It could even be that your cold or headache came on after you were forced to sit in front of the air conditioner in a restaurant!  That’s Aconite too!



Apis is the honey bee.  So, what do you think you need Apis for?  Bee stings, of course!  And wasp stings and anything similar.  Oh, let me tell you, when you get stung by a wasp, you don’t have time to go looking for remedies or pop into the health food store to pick up Apis, you have to have it with you!  Every summer I have Apis in my pocket along with Arnica!  Plus, it’s for anything that “feels” like a sting–like the time I bumped into a cactus plant at a garden center!  Apis worked for that too, and luckily, I had it in my pocket; and because of that, I was able to go right on with my shopping! 

But what else is Apis good for?  Anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction!  Often the throat swells shut and the person can’t breathe, and what do bee stings cause?  Swelling!!!!  That’s why Apis is just the remedy for this; and more often than not, it’s a bee sting that caused it!  Also, if you need to apply cold applications to feel better, that’s all the more reason the remedy is Apis.  

When you think of Apis, think of bee stings, think of allergies, hives, swelling… especially if cold makes you feel better and heat makes you worse.  Oh, and P.S., I hate to have to tell you this, but, if your child gives a high-pitched scream after a vaccination?  That’s the “brain cry”, it means there’s swelling in the brain, and once again, the remedy is Apis.  For heaven’s sake, give it right away! 

And oh, by the way, did I mention that Apis is also for burns?  And listen, you have to have Aloe vera in your house for burns!  The Aloe vera plant or Aloe vera juice and keep it in the refrigerator for burns, OK?  Cut off a leaf of the plant and rub the sap on, or pour the bottle onto your burns. 

When I burn myself on the stove, I go to the fridge, get the aloe out, pour it on the burn, and in a few minutes or even seconds, the pain is gone!  One day I burned my hand on the oven and nothing worked but Apis.



It’s for any injury, OK?  Internal or external.  Just give it!  JUST GIVE ARNICA!  Don’t even think about it!  Don’t agonize over it or how many pellets to give, etc.  “Is it more appropriate to give Hypericum at this moment?….Or should I give Bellis Perennis, which is from the same plant family as Arnica? …gee, I just don’t know….maybe I’ll call my homeopath.”  No!  For heaven’s sake!  JUST GIVE ARNICA!  Shana’s kit has Arnica 200C in it.  It’s a little stronger than the rest of the remedies, we don’t want to have too low a potency of Arnica in a dire accident situation!  One time the trunk lid of my car fell down on my head outside of Whole Foods; I guess the wind blew it shut; I actually saw stars!  I told myself, “Don’t worry, you have Arnica in the car!”  I hurried into the car, took a dose of Arnica 200C and in five minutes I was driving away like nothing had happened!  The pain and everything was gone!  For the average person, this incident would have marked the end of their day, to me it was practically nothing!

What else is Arnica for?  If you see someone having a heart attack or a stroke?  JUST GIVE ARNICA!  Don’t forget that a woman in labor may need Arnica and so might the baby when it comes out if the birth was difficult or traumatic.  How do you give Arnica to a baby?  Put a pellet of Arnica 30C in a disposable cup of water, pat some water on the baby’s lips, do it just once; that’s it, no swallowing is necessary.  Do that for any unconscious person.

Don’t forget bleeding from an accident, and don’t forget to give as needed after surgery (but don’t be surprised if you need at least a 200C, and better yet, a 1M or higher, due to the severity of post-surgical pain) but here’s another warning: recently a friend of mine had surgery, and her husband wasn’t there in the recovery room, so, no Arnica was given and opiates were started, which weren’t even helping, and by the time my friend finally got Arnica, it wasn’t working, not at all!  And the pain was really terrible!  It wasn’t until she took Nux vomica that the pain went away!  And I figured the opiates were blocking Arnica!  Nux vomica—the great antidoter—canceled out the opiates (my reasoning), clearing the way for Arnica to work.  So, a lot of lessons to be learned here:  Make sure you get Arnica right away after surgery, don’t let them start you on opiates and if they do, you might need Nux vomica first before Arnica will work; and, all of this reminds me… I remember a dental surgery where I could NOT stop the pain of the injection (novocaine)—not with Ledum, not with Hypericum—until I finally took Nux vomica and the pain went away!  

We kind of got side-tracked there; so, back to Arnica now….The Arnica person may be depressed or stuporous after an accident but answers correctly when questioned—only to fall back into a stupor again.  Oh, and if he says, “I’m fine!  No, really, I’m fine!” you can be sure it’s Arnica!  How often should you repeat it?  Don’t repeat it mindlessly.  Give a dose of 200C or higher and wait.  Repeat only as needed.  Subsequent doses should be given in water and “succussed”/shook or stirred before each dose/sip.  

In fact, do this for all your complaints: Subsequent doses should be given as follows:  Drop a few remedy pellets in a disposable cup of water, or a half-filled water bottle; stir the cup with a straw or plastic spoon before each sip, or shake the water bottle before each sip/dose.  Why do we do this?  To raise the potency ever so slightly which makes the remedy more likely to continue working!  What could be more important?  

Arnica is also a flu remedy!  The feeling is bruised and sore as if run over by a bus!  The patient might say, “I can’t get comfortable, the bed feels too hard.”  Actually, the worst flu Shana ever had was an Arnica flu!  You can read about it here:

Tidbits 56–The Flu From Hell!


If you see an indication that the remedy is working, then stop dosing and redose only if the case stalls or relapses.

Let me repeat that!  If you see an indication that the remedy is working, stop dosing and re-dose only if the case stalls or relapses!

 If you repeat a remedy too soon, while the first dose is still working, you could cause an accidental antidote and be right back where you started from, and you won’t know what to do!


Arsenicum Album

It may not look like much, but I can’t say enough good things about Arsenicum.  It’s hard to over-state how valuable Arsenicum is.  First of all, you have to think of food poisoning, you have to think of viruses like the flu when there’s a gastro-intestinal component, you have to think of any illness where fear of dying is part of the case and also a desperate need for company and hand-holding.

You may hear the patient say, “Can’t you stay a little longer?”  Or, “Can you come over and stay with me?”  Think also about agitation as a concomitant or desperation or anguish!  Arsenicum patients often want a glass of water by the side of their bed and they take frequent sips from it but don’t drink it down all at once.  They’re weak, restless and they don’t lie quietly.  They’re usually chilly and may also be fault-finding and irritated over minor imperfections–like pictures being crooked, or a piece of lint on the floor.  Here are some key words for Arsenicum:




Very Chilly, better heat, hot applications, hot tea


Fear of death

Fear of being alone


Burning pains




Burning watery discharges


Food poisoning/bad water



Intestinal flu


End-of-Life complaints

Unbearable pains



Easily offended


Picky, fussy, critical, fault-finding

Begging for help


Do you have to find this whole list in every Arsencicum case before you can give Arsenicum?  No!



In a Bryonia virus or illness of whatever kind, there is almost always some really severe or sharp pain–it could be a really bad headache, sprained ankle, fractured rib, stomach pain, backache, sciatica, appendicitis, mastitis, nausea, etc.–and the thing is that this pain, nausea, etc. is so bad that even the slightest movement can’t be tolerated!  

The Bryonia patient is often found holding perfectly still!  He can’t even lift his head and he can hardly even take a breath or talk!  If he’s lying down, unlike the the tossing and turning Arsenicum patient, Bryonia will not budge!  If the phone is ringing, he may not even answer it.  He wants no company because company asks questions and it hurts him to answer!  However, Bryonia does like firm pressure! They will lie on the side that’s hurting, they will lie on the side of their head pain, or they will ask you to press hard on their head.  

If they have a sprained ankle, they will want an ace bandage wrapped tightly around it for firm support.  A Bryonia patient with a back injury will walk into the doctor’s office bent over, saying, “I can’t straighten up!”

When a Bryonia patient has a cough, it’s always a painful cough, and you can see him holding his chest for support or holding his head.  You can imagine that Bryonia would be a good remedy for bone fractures because a person with a broken bone typically cannot move or cannot move the affected part.  A Bryonia virus is often characterized by dryness of the mucus membranes and a thirst for cold drinks, but he will not ask for drinks very often since having to move to drink makes him so much worse.  Here are the elements of a Bryonia case, regardless of the diagnosis:

Extraordinary aggravation from the slightest motion

Sharp or stitching pains or severe symptoms that make the patient loathe to move

Lifting the head off the pillow aggravates

Better firm, hard pressure

Dryness of mucus membranes, dry lips


Bitter taste

Thirst for gulps of cold drinks at infrequent intervals

Ill-humor because company aggravates

Dry, painful cough

Nausea, worse least motion, worse lifting head, worse rising out of bed

Lies on the painful side or painful part

Chilly but worse in warm room, better in open air

Here are some illnesses that are common for Bryonia:



Digestive complaints


Bone fractures






Typical sensations a Bryonia patient might have:





as if a heavy weight–on the head, in the stomach, etc.



How many of you have Calendula 30C in your emergency kit?  I know most of you have Calendula cream and Calendula ointment for cuts and scrapes–but if you don’t, please get it!  It’s a first aid cream that can’t be beat, can’t be out-done!  You might see it in the health food store as “Calendula Cream” or “Cuts and Scrapes” or “Hypercal”.  But, having it “in potency”, as we say (Calendula 30C) is important too!  

We know that Arnica is for blunt trauma; but, what do you do if you get scratched, cut or scraped? That’s where Calendula comes in!  Drop a pellet of Calendula 30C in a cup of water and pour it on an open wound.  When I last had an infected tooth pulled, I said to the dentist, “Will you drop a Calendula pellet into a cup of water and pour it into the space where the tooth was?”  That was to keep the infection from spreading to all my other teeth!  Germs can’t live in the presence of Calendula, it repels them, it’s an antiseptic!  

Uses for Calendula 30C internally and externally:






Ruptured eardrum

Scratched cornea

Foreign object in the eye

After eye surgery

Vaginal tears from childbirth

Sores that won’t heal


Carbo veg.

Carbo veg. is charcoal.  It’s for ailments from eating overly rich food, bad meat, loss of vital fluids, and over-indulgence in alcohol; also, ailments in old, weak and debilitated people.  There is a vast range of complaints Carbo veg is suited for; anything from a simple cold or flatulent indigestion to death itself!  They call it the corpse reviver!  Its great indicator is stomach gas, stomach distention, better for burping.

My experience with Carbo veg:  One time I had indigestion after eating something that didn’t agree with me; I found myself loosening my belt and unbuttoning my pants and I said, “Uh-oh! This must be Carbo veg!” and it was!  

It’s our big “burping and bloating” remedy!  Whenever I hear Shana burping I go right for the Carbo veg regardless of what the complaint is!  And I’ve also discovered it’s for colds from the night air; so, imagine you went to sleep with all the windows open because it was hot, but got cold during the night, and in the morning you’ve got a runny nose.  Think of Carbo veg.  

The thing with Carbo veg flatulence is that burping or passing gas relieves the person.  China is another flatulent remedy but burping and passing gas do not relieve!  And when I say China, I’m referring to the remedy China, not the country.  It’s homeopathic Peruvian Bark.

A Carbo veg patient with serious disease is very sluggish and weak.  A short walk exhausts him, makes him feel faint, cold and he has to lie down.  “Fainting from slight causes”–think of Carbo veg.  Every draft of air makes his nose run, causes a headache, yet he can’t stand the heat either.  Think of Carbo veg after exhausting acute diseases, very low states; or, chronic ailments that he just can’t shake off or overcome, he can’t raise the vitality necessary.  

Collapse with desire to be fanned.  Burning pains.  The skin is blue and cold, the pulse is thready.  Wants air, wants the windows opened.  Oxygen-starved.  Cold, blue, collapsed and wants air.

Arsenicum looks very similar but Arsenicum does not want to be fanned, does not want a draft of air because cold air aggravates Arsenicum; plus, Arsenicum lies restlessly while Carbo veg lies very still.

Arsenicum lacks the excessive flatulence that Carbo veg has and Carbo veg lacks the fear of death that Arsenicum has.



This is one of our polio remedies.  People are always surprised to hear that we have polio remedies.  Yes, there is very little homeopathy can’t do!  In fact, you can think of it in MS, ALS, etc.  It acts on the spinal cord and causes paralysis–not the remedy, the plant!  And the idea in homeopathy is that what something can cause, it can cure in small doses!  It causes languor, enfeeblement, relaxation of muscles, lowering of blood pressure…. You can often recognize a Gelsemium patient by their drooping eyelids and stupor.  

Here we have the Gelsemium presentation: dizziness, headache, staggering gait, mental dullness, dropped jaw, muscular weakness, trembling/shaking, loss of speech, apathy, coldness, thirstlessness, wanting to lie down and sleep and wanting to be covered. 

Gelsemium is our most often-used flu remedy; because, don’t flu patients look this way?  You bet!  Though, a word of caution, don’t think you have to have all of these symptoms to give Gelsemium.  The last time I took Gelsemium, what struck me was how incredibly cold I was!  I simply had to lie down and get under the covers.  I realized I was getting the flu.  The other thing I noticed was that I couldn’t complete a single sentence!  I would start to say something and then stop.  After taking Gelsemium 30C, the first thing I noticed was that I could talk again!

The Gelsemium etiologies (causes) are: humidity, heat of the sun, hot/muggy weather, bad news, fright, stage fright, anticipatory anxiety, grief and of course, just catching someone’s cold or flu.  Speaking of stage fright and anticipatory anxiety, I remember many years ago, I had to go to court to testify in a car accident matter.  I met my lawyer in his office.  As we were talking, I noticed that I was starting to feel strange.  It got worse once we got to the court house.  As we sat waiting, I was convinced I was getting the flu!  I was sure I wouldn’t be able to testify, that I wouldn’t have the strength!  Thank God the case was inexplicably postponed at the last minute!  As I walked out of the courthouse, I was miraculously 100% better!  That was a Gelsemium anticipatory anxiety!

Any sort of virus where you see the Gelsemium image, give Gelsemium.  Arsenicum is also weak and cold but Arsenicum is restless, wants company and a drink of water to sip, not so Gelsemium.  And while Gelsemium might have anxiety, it’s not the fear of death and desperation that Arsenicum has.  

The relaxation of muscles in Gelsemium can lead to frequent evacuations, loose stools, even involuntary stools, frequent urination and trouble swallowing.  

The sensation is one of heaviness in the head, limbs and body. Head feels enlarged. There can be numbness and tingling.  Very often there are eye symptoms at the beginning of a Gelsemium complaint–blurred vision, dimness of vision, double vision, etc.



This is another injury remedy like Arnica; but, it’s not so much “blunt trauma” as it is “OUCH!! you slammed my finger in the door!”  Hypericum pains shoot upwards. They’re very nervy pains, injury to nerves, there’s a lot of screaming, agony, yelling, think of something heavy falling on your big toe.  Here’s another thing it’s for–animal bites, insect bites or stings with shooting pains; puncture wounds.  It’s for spinal tap headaches, injuries to the base of the spine, falling over backwards and landing on the base of your spine.  Lightning-like pains, electric shock-like pains. Lacerations and wounds are very sensitive to touch; mental depression after wounds.



Ignatia beans.  This is an emotional remedy, the shock of bad news (Ignatia faints a lot; this is probably why we always ask, “Are you sitting down?”)  

Basically, we have ailments from the effects of grief, disappointment, jealousy, bad news, loss, etc.  Usually the person is either sobbing hysterically, or under super-human control but ready to break at the first insensitive, carelessly-spoken remark.

Alternation of opposite moods–laughing vs. crying, hysteria vs. stoicism, anger vs. remorse. The Ignatia person often seeks solitude and broods, takes offense easily. Ignatia does a lot of sighing and there may be facial twitching as well.  

Think of Ignatia as emotional first-aid.




Lachesis is the bushmaster snake.  So what is Lachesis for?  Snake bites, of course!  Some people do live out in the country you know, some people have dogs who are out all the time, some people let their cats out, some people go camping; so, yes, you DO need a snake bite remedy!  And I hope you see now that your Emergency Kit does you no good if you leave it at home!

What else could you use Lachesis for?  Drop a 30C pellet in the drink of an alcoholic who’s becoming angry, especially if he’s in a jealous rage or tends to get jealous, and he will fall asleep instead of attacking you!  

These people are suspicious, stalkers, convinced their spouse is up to no good, cheating, they will follow her, read her mail, tape her phone calls, watch her like a hawk!

What else is it good for?  Menopausal hot flashes, PMS, better when the flow starts.  Menses (the flow) ameliorates.  Wounds are purplish and bloated.  Bed sores.  Bleeding of dark blood, small wounds bleed easily and profusely.  (In contrast, the bleeding of Phosphorus is bright red.)

The complaints of Lachesis tend to be left-sided or start on the left and move to the right.  Fish bone sensation in the throat or lump in the throat.  Sleep aggravates.  Complaints flare up in sleep or are worse in the morning on waking.  Sleepy but can’t go to sleep.  Stops breathing in sleep.  Fear of going to sleep.  Starts to choke on falling asleep.

Tight clothes aggravate, especially around the neck and stomach.  Constriction aggravates (therefore, no ace bandages for Lachesis!)  Sensation of choking and suffocation (they’re very sensitive to the lack of air/oxygen, the least thing coming near the nose or mouth interferes with their breathing).  

Left sided sore throat or tonsilitis, a feeling of constriction, which is better for swallowing food, worse for swallowing water or empty swallowing.  Sore throat pain shoots to the ear, worse hot drinks, prefers cold drinks.  

Springtime aggravation.

Light touch aggravates.

Very talkative, won’t let you get a word in edge-wise.  

Lachesis may refuse to take the remedy as he has a fear of being poisoned—not surprising since Lachesis is snake venom!  

Vertigo—worse closing the eyes, sitting or lying down.  Heat of the sun causes dizziness and fainting.  Swollen glands with a dark purplish hue.  Wounds are purple or blackish.

When you think of Lachesis, think of The Color Purple! 

Some of you may be surprised to hear that Lachesis is listed as a 2 in the rubric “Bones: broken bones, compound fracture”.  Murphy has written the following in his Materia Medica under Lachesis:


The four main characteristics of Lachesis are:

(I) worse by sleep.

(2) Excessive sensitiveness of the surface with intolerance of touch or constriction.

(3) Left-sided and the direction left to right: symptoms begin on the left side and either remain there or proceed to the right.

(4) better From the onset of a discharge.  There is headache better as soon as nasal catarrh comes on.  Uterine pains better as soon as menses appear.

Worse from non-appearance of an expected discharge and it is this which is the foundation of appropriateness of Lachesis to the menopausal state.  Wherever one or more of these features is prominent in any case. Lachesis will most likely prove to be the remedy.  Homeopathic literature abounds with illustrations of the first named: worse from sleep.



Puncture wounds and animal bites.  Insect bites.  Tick bites.  Prevents tetanus.  Black eye.  Mosquito bites.  Ailments from mosquito bites.  Bruising at the site of an IV.  Body aches all over.  Bruising, better cold applications.  Warmth aggravates although the patient is cold, cold all the time, or the site of the injury is cold; but, better cold applications.


Nux vomica

So many uses for Nux vomica!  Ailments from STRESS.  You’re caught in traffic, you’re going to be late, your child is waiting for you at school, you’re having company for dinner and you won’t get home in time….OMG!  I’m sure you get the idea!  Have some Nux vomica 30C!  You’re irritable, short-tempered, hypersensitive to external stimuli like light, odors and noise.  A sensitive nervous system!

Ailments from over-eating rich and spicy food, alcohol and drugs.  The all-American hang-over!  Worse pressure, tight clothing.  Over-sensitive to the effects of medicines of all kinds.  Ailments from coffee, ailments from narcotics.  Constipation with frequent, ineffectual urging.  Sensation of incomplete evacuations.  Ineffectual urge to urinate in bladder infections.  Morning aggravation. Chilly, sensitive to cold, worse draft of air.  Worse open air.  Warmth ameliorates including covers, warm food and drink.

Better in moist atmosphere, rainy weather.

Complaints are worse by eating.  Worse pressure, worse lying on the painful side (except headache may be better pressure).  Worse being jarred.  Wakes at 3 a.m. and tosses and turns for the rest of the night; wakes irritable and perhaps with a headache.

Nux vomica colds: violent fits of sneezing, nose stops up at night and outdoors, nose runs during the day and in warm rooms; thirsty for cold drinks.  Coughing causes a bursting pain in the head.  Sensation of a stone or something heavy in the stomach after eating.



When I think of Phosphorus, right off the bat I think of 3 things: bleeding of bright red blood such as in nose bleeds, a dry cough with tightness of the chest as in serious coughing diseases like bronchitis and pneumonia, and ailments from electricity–an electric shock, getting struck by lightning or even a headache from too much time spent in front of the computer screen; anything that involves electricity, their complaints are worse during a thunderstorm and might even have a fear of thunderstorms. 

And then of course there’s our famous Phosphorus confirmatory symptom–DESIRE FOR ICE COLD DRINKS (cold food too–especially ice cream)!  A person with a Phosphorus virus may crave cold drinks but they throw them up as soon as the drink turns warm in the stomach.  After that, they’re afraid to drink but still feel very thirsty.

They also desire company and are better for sympathy and being rubbed.  Arsenicum also is famous for desiring company; but, they are not better for it!  They want company with them but it does not really help them, it’s just that they’re worse without it; they are not easily reassured, they will ask you endlessly if they’re going to be all right!  Phosphorus, on the other hand, can actually be reassured; similarly, Pulsatilla desires company and can be easily reassured.  

We don’t have PULSATILLA in this emergency kit; but, it’s something to think of for stomach upset due to fatty foods–including cheese, ice cream, creamy sauces and fatty meat; so, make a note of that.  However, I dare say that most remedy kits do have Pulsatilla.  It’s an important remedy for most children’s complaints, especially when you see piteous crying and needing to be held and reassured.  Pulsatilla looks an awful lot like Phosphorus, the difference being that Phosphorus is very thirsty for ice cold drinks while Pulsatilla is thirstless.

Phosphorus has profuse hemorrhaging of bright red blood from any orifice.  Their cough is worse from laughing or talking or going out into cold air.  People often forget that Phosphorus has ailments from too much salt.  In diarrhea, it’s as if the anus is open like a hydrant.

Like with Pulsatilla, there’s an evening aggravation.  (Complaints start or get worse in the evening.)


Rhus tox

Did you know that Rhus tox is our most important and most famous homeopathic remedy, according to me?  In honor of posting my 100th case in the Hpathy ezine, I was eager to determine what my most-often prescribed remedy was!  And the answer, overwhelmingly, turned out to be Rhus tox–in over 1 out of 10 cases!  In other words, 10% of the time, you’re going to be giving Rhus tox!  Gelsemium came in second and Belladonna came in third.

What is Rhus tox?  It’s poison ivy!  Yes, one of the worst plants in the world; but, in homeopathic doses, it has many uses!  When I think of Rhus tox, I think of muscle aches, strains, sprains and joint pains that cause a person to restlessly move about and stretch and rub the painful part.  Of course, you have to also think of a very itchy rash–needless to say!

However, it doesn’t stop there!  What kinds of conditions can need Rhus tox?

Ailments from over-lifting

Ailments from lying on damp ground

Ailments from jumping in a cold swimming pool on a hot day

Sciatica that’s better in a hot shower and better with continued movement

Fear and apprehension at night, can’t remain in bed

Fever blisters

Dry teasing cough with a taste of blood

Thirst with a dry mouth

The flu and other viruses

Sprained ankle

Sprained knee

Lower back pain

Restless legs syndrome

A tendency to cry


How can you know that the remedy needed is Rhus tox?  Because of Rhus tox’s famous keynotes, which are…

1. Stiffness.  People will say, “My neck is so stiff I can’t turn my head!”  “My knee is stiff!”  “My back is so stiff!”  And you ask them what makes it better, which leads us to our next super keynote…

2. Hot showers!  Everything is better in the shower or bath!  Better with hot compresses!  It is so reliable that regardless of what is wrong—it could be an itchy fungus rash, it could be sciatica, it could be a stopped-up nose… regardless of what it is, it completely goes away in the steamy hot shower or bath or with hot applications!  When you see that, you’ve got a good confirmation for Rhus tox.

3. Continuous movement ameliorates, sitting or lying down for too long aggravates.

4. Cold/damp aggravates.  Better warm/dry weather.

5. Worse evening, worse night.

6. Worse in the morning on waking.

7. Storm aggravates, rainy weather aggravates, cold/rainy aggravates, worse before a storm.

8. Worse first motion, better continued motion, better stretching, better massage. 

9. Ailments from getting the head wet, or hair wet.



Another injury remedy, especially to the periosteum–your shins, your forehead–any area that’s just bone covered with skin, is Ruta.  So if you’re playing soccer (also called “football” in some countries) and you get kicked in the shin, that’s Ruta!

People have said to me, “My whole body is in pain!”  That’s Ruta!  After an injury, or even just a sprained ankle, a person needing Ruta will say his whole body hurts.

It’s actually very hard to distinguish Ruta from Rhus tox.  Both have stiffness, both are restless, both have ailments from strain and sprain, both are worse cold rainy weather, both are better from heat, both are better for motion; but, Ruta tires very easily, whereas Rhus tox gets better and better the more he moves; not so with Ruta.  Ruta becomes exhausted after just a short walk, even the injured parts become weak and exhausted; so, for example, a Ruta sprained ankle will not only be stiff but lame as well.

Ankles and wrists are two areas you should associate with Ruta.  Think of carpal-tunnel syndrome, repetitive stress disorder, people whose job requires them to punch the same keys over and over again resulting in lameness of the wrist and very strange pains.  I once had an attack from out of nowhere of bizarre, indefinable pains in my left arm and I thought, “This is certainly weird and annoying!”  That’s when it suddenly hit me: Ruta!  Ruta 30C took care of that “Weird and annoying” sensation.

Ruta is for eye strain–trying to read in dim light, sewing or crocheting…anything you have to stare at could result in a Ruta state: a headache, dim vision or burning eyes.

Tendonitis, fibrositis, neuralgia, strains, sprains, sciatica, low back pain, arthritis, ganglion cyst, bursitis…all could be Ruta if the concomitants and modalities fit: lameness/weakness, stiff/bruised sensation, easily tired, worse cold/damp weather.  I’ve been thinking that Ruta might be a good remedy for Fibromyalgia.  These people hurt everywhere; plus, they are weak and tired, totally without energy.  I wonder if they need Ruta?


Veratrum Album

When I think of Veratrum alb., the first thing I think of is diarrhea.  The next thing I think of is menstrual cramps with diarrhea or frequent loose stools as a concomitant.  The third thing I think of is collapse or fainting with cold sweat and thirst for ice cold drinks.  You know who gets into this last state a lot?  Dialysis patients!  And with diabetes on the rise which leads to kidney failure, a lot of people are on dialysis these days; so, get to know this remedy!  Very often, too much fluid is taken out during dialysis, leading to low blood pressure, dizziness, feeling faint like they might pass out.  If you see the cold sweat on the forehead and thirst for ice cold drinks, be ready with Veratrum alb!

Despite being very cold, they’re still thirsty for cold drinks.  There may be vomiting and diarrhea together.  There may be severe cutting pains in the abdomen, like being cut with knives.  Cold, blue and weak.  Shock.  Surgical shock.  Prostration.  Deathly pale.  Sunken face.  Cold.  Ill-effects of injury, narcotics, tobacco, alcohol, fright, disappointed love, dehydration, viruses, sunstroke.  Craves sour things–vinegar, pickles…craves citrus drinks and salt.  Cold sweat on forehead is considered a constant in all complaints.  There can be electric-like sensations.

So to sum up: shock, collapse, fainting, chilly, diarrhea, vomiting, cold sweat, thirst for ice cold drinks, pale, weak, abdominal pains… or, you might just have diarrhea and none of this other stuff.  And speaking of diarrhea…it brings us to our last remedy, which is….



Diarrhea is just about the only reason I have this remedy, but it’s for something very specific–Ailments From Bad Water!!!  However, the last stomach flu I had, nothing worked for it but Zingiber!!!!!  So, let’s just say it’s all about the digestive tract!  Zingiber, as you might have guessed, is homeopathic ginger!  (You can also try ginger tea as well.)  “Complaints from drinking impure water”–Murphy’s Materia Medica.

Bad food falls under its purview too, as well as “ailments from melons”.  Think of it for food poisoning in general.  The Materia Medica also mentions motion sickness and urinary retention; in other words, kidney failure; person has stopped urinating; but mostly, think of this remedy for food poisoning and ailments from bad water.  If you go traveling, take it with you!

Please see Emergency Kit part-2 for more remedies, click below: 

Tidbits 16: Your Homeopathy Emergency Kit, Part-II


To order a 30C emergency kit, go to HomeopathyPlus.com (though I’m sure there must be many places that sell them, and I’m hearing Dana Ullman is offering one, see his website: www.homeopathic.com). 

How to take them?  Tap a few pellets from your remedy tube or bottle into the cap and then pop them into your mouth.  They melt like candy.  In a true emergency, I would expect the remedy to work in roughly 15 minutes.

May your homeopathy emergency kit always be with you!


Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.

Elaine takes online cases! Write to her at [email protected]

Visit her website: elaineLewis.hpathy.com

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at:
https://elainelewis.hpathy.com/ and TheSilhouettes.org


  • Very helpful. As always, so lucid.
    Liked the bit about Ruta for tendonitis, fibromyalgia etc… Would you think of it for myofascial pain that people that occurs due to excessive exercise, computer use, or other repetitive activity but also relieved by some stretching, gentle movement and massage?
    Thanks, punit

  • Thank you Janice and Punit! Yes, any repetitive stress disorder problem might call for Ruta. Again, you’re always wondering if it’s Ruta or Rhus tox. I’ve noticed that Ruta has some very strange pains. I guess it falls under the heading of “neuralgia”. Also, Ruta is worse from movement unlike Rhus tox which gets better from movement; Ruta gets lameness, weakness the more it moves. Ruta doesn’t seem to have the etiology of Rhus tox–ailments from lying on damp ground, ailments from swimming in a lake or river, ailments from rainy weather, cold damp weather, jumping in a swimming pool on a hot day, ailments from too much exertion–running, sports, racing, etc. The etiology of Ruta seems to be injuries–to bones, joints, tendons, ankles, wrists.

  • GIVE ARNICA (after accidents/injuries) is right on! We can’t stress this enough in the case of head injuries (as with your incident with the car trunk lid). As someone who suffered a serious head injury, I can’t say enough about the importance of Arnica in the case of head injury.

  • Thanks for all of the great ‘tid bits’.. Is there a remedy for ‘not being able to read the labels on those tiny half dram vials’ ? (I have that same issue) 🙂

  • This article was amazingly helpful and a great educational tool. Emergency kits are certainly not a new idea, but with your refreshing explanations this is a must have for every family. It is easy to understand and very thorough. Thank you thank you Elaine.

  • Long live Elaine, there is not going to be an other person like you let alone a homeopathic doctor.
    God sent gift to us all. Thanks once again.

  • I AM SEARCHING FOR APPROPRIATE WORDS. OF. APPRECIATION, BUT…, how to say ? May God bless you many hundreds of years of life span to write more like this.

  • Very informative, if potency is given against each medicine, it will add a feather in the cap. Thank you very much . Regards

    • Oh, wait, I see, you wanted to know what potency to give! Most people have a 30C emergency kit. But I would recommend that people buy Arnica 200C as a serious injury might call for it. Gradually, you should try to acquire each of these remedies in 200C as well so you’ll have something to go up to if the 30C stops working.

  • OK , I am not talking about MT but potency to be administered . You replied as 30 C at least of each medicine as case required.

  • Right, at least 30C. Sometimes I think an acute needs a 200C or 1M; sometimes I’m surprised the 30C worked so well when I thought it wouldn’t be enough, other times I have seen the higher potency cause an aggravation. I guess the ideal situation is that you have on hand more than one potency of these remedies and start with the 30C and if it doesn’t work, go higher.

  • very nice article, one more medicine should be add in emergency kit, RESCUE REMEDY(a bachflower med.) very effective along with homoeopathy.

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