Chilblains (also known as perniosis), occur when peripheral blood vessels (capillaries) are damaged from exposure to cold, damp conditions. This causes inflammation, with pain, redness and itching, and sometimes blistering or blue/purple discolouration. The hands, feet, face and ears are most typically affected. In severe cases there may be ulceration of the affected parts. A strong tendency to chilblains suggests an underlying constitutional weakness that will often respond to individualised treatment from a homeopath. Self treatment can often provide relief for the chilblains in the first instance. Below are the main remedies I have found useful in the first aid treatment of chilblains.
Agaricus is one of the most frequently indicated remedies, with intense itching and burning. It is also the main remedy for chilblains that occur on the face and ears, as well as the extremities.
Hepar sulph is a very useful remedy in the treatment of chilblains. Chilblains that respond to Hepar sulph are extremely sensitive to touch, and very painful, with a tendency to suppuration. They are very much aggravated by cold, and feel better for covering.
Borax is indicated for chilblains with burning heat and redness, which are better for fresh air.
Nitric acid is a remedy for more severe cases, with intense splinter-like pain, and a tendency to ulceration. The affected parts feel as if frozen.
Petroleum is the indicated remedy when the chilblains are itching and burning, with a purple discolouration (compare the remedy Lachesis here also). In those needing Petroleum, the skin tends to chap easily, and feels rough and dry in the winter. There may be deep cracks along with the chilblains.
Pulsatilla is a well known homeopathic remedy, and may be useful in the first aid treatment of chilblains which are sore and inflamed, and markedly worse in a warm room, with much itching.
Hamamelis is also called Witch Hazel, and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Aconite of the veins’. It has a strong affinity for blood vessels, and will often be helpful in conditions affecting the circulation. Chilblains which are burning, itching, and have a bluish appearance will respond to treatment with this remedy.
Fragaria is a less well known remedy, but is helpful in the treatment of chilblains which occur in warm humid conditions rather than cold humidity.
Tamus communis and Calendula officinalis are useful topical remedies which may be applied in the form of a herbal ointment for symptomatic relief.
If you would like further information about treatment of chilblains, or to book an appointment to see me, please get in touch.