Homeopathy is well known and appreciated for its use in the the treatment of long term chronic illness, and its effectiveness in long standing health problems. Did you know that it is also used in emergency first aid? A well chosen remedy can work rapidly to relieve pain and discomfort.
If you judge that the person should be seen by a doctor (never delay in seeking medical advice and examination if you are concerned), you can also take homeopathic remedies with you and give the appropriate remedy on the way to hospital or walk-in centre.
Here are nine of my favourite emergency remedies.
Aconite responds to situations of shock and fright. This might include the effects of sudden shock (for example, being involved in a car accident, or receiving bad news), or facing a fearful situation (surgery, for example). Those needing Aconite will experience panic and terror, with restlessness. They will often have a fear of imminent death, and feel much worse at night. Aconite also has a strong relationship to the eyes (it is often called the ‘Arnica of the eyes’), and is especially helpful in any eye injury or trauma. Pain is typically intense and distressing, with sensations of tingling or burning.
Arnica is the first remedy to think of in situations of trauma, both physical and emotional. The main symptoms are bruising, swelling and bleeding, and emotionally shock often manifests as playing down or denial of pain (“says nothing ails him”). Give Arnica first after head and back injury, trauma resulting from falls or blows, sprains and fractures and soft tissue injuries of all kinds. Arnica is also indicated after surgical procedures and dental work, and will stop haemorrhage after tooth extraction.
Carbo veg is a wonderful remedy to remember in emergency medicine, and corresponds to states of physical collapse. It is used by professional homeopaths in situations of acute severe respiratory illness, for example, but in first aid it is the first remedy to consider in simple fainting spells, and will restore consciousness rapidly (if the patient is unconscious the remedy can be added to water and used to moisten the lips).
Hypericum is known as the ‘Arnica of the Nerves’ and is indicated and will provide relief in injuries to parts rich in nerves: in other words, eye-wateringly painful injuries to parts such as fingertips, toes, lips, torn nails, eyes, as well as spinal injuries, including injuries to the coccyx (compare Bellis perennis which is also indicated here). Hypericum is also suited to painful lacerations and puncture wounds, and all Hypericum injuries are typically accompanied by intense tearing or shooting pains, with great sensitivity to touch. It can provide great relief where regular intravenous medication must be given, and the injection site becomes painfully sensitive. Use Hypericum tincture (undiluted) on a cotton wool pad and apply to the area beforehand.
Causticum is a wonderful remedy for severe burns. In all such cases seek medical help without delay, but you can give Causticum on the way to hospital if you have it. The pain may be intense, or there may be loss of feeling in severe burns due to tissue damage. In less severe but painful burns, with redness and blistering, give Cantharis, which should relieve the pain rapidly in most cases.
Apis is made from the honey bee. The sting of the bee produces redness, swelling, and burning and stinging pain. The affected part may feel enlarged, as if it will burst. In emergency first aid, a key use is for local allergic reactions triggered by insect bites or stings, or by food or medication. The characteristic symptoms of Apis are rapid swelling and heat in the affected parts, rosy pink discolouration and great sensitivity to touch. The area feels worse for external heat, and better for cold applications. Very typical for Apis is a puffy fluid swelling under the eyes, and swelling and constriction in the throat.
Ipecac is one of the main remedies for acute nausea, and as such can provide rapid relief in complaints where there is constant nausea with no relief from vomiting. This includes pregnancy nausea, and homeopathy can be especially helpful in such cases (if Ipecac does not help swiftly, seek professional care to look at a greater range of remedies to suit your particular situation). Ipecac can also be used for palliative treatment in nausea following chemotherapy.
China is a remedy which has a wide range of uses in homeopathy, but it is especially useful in cases of weakness and exhaustion following loss of fluids (prolonged diarrhoea, for example, or haemorrhage or suppuration). The individual may become excessively weak, oversensitive and nervous. This remedy will often help to restore energy and strength.
Bellis perennis is know by herbalists as bruisewort, and is made from the daisy. It has a similar action to Arnica, and is very useful in trauma treatment with a special focus on sprains, and falls on the coccyx. It is also the main remedy for injuries to soft tissues including injuries to the breasts, and can be very helpful post-operatively following pelvic or abdominal surgery. Consider if swelling remains after treatment with Arnica.
In addition, here are some further remedies often used by professional homeopaths in acute and emergency situations:
Alongside Arnica, Natrum sulph is one of our most important remedies for head injury, and is often indicated in cases where head injury results in mental confusion, dizziness or headache. I always recommend medical observation in such cases, but I have seen Natrum sulph resolve the symptoms swiftly in a number of cases.
Pyrogen is one of several remedies used professionally in the treatment of infected wounds, with redness, heat, swelling and suppuration. Never delay seeking medical advice in this situation, because of the risk of sepsis (especially in children).
Veratrum album is one of the main remedies used in diarrhoea and vomiting bugs. The symptoms are distinctive, often with simultaneous vomiting and diarrhoea, alongside icy coldness of the body and weakness and collapse. Veratrum has a long history as one of the main remedies used in the treatment of cholera.
Would you like to find out more about using homeopathy in first aid, accident and emergency situations? I run regular first aid workshops and short courses in Tavistock. Get in touch with me to find out more.