My daughter is about to sit her GCSE exams, and my thoughts have naturally turned to homeopathic support for all those undergoing exams and assessments at this time of year.

Exam season is challenging for many students. For some, pre-exam nerves are incapacitating, while for others, long hours of revision can bring on headaches, or mental exhaustion.  Insomnia is not uncommon.  I have included below the details of nine of the most frequently prescribed homeopathic remedies for symptoms brought on by exam stress and overwork.

It is also worth thinking about other forms of support for yourself or a loved one at this time:  first of all ensure you are well rested, eat regular healthy meals and drink plenty of water.  Skipping meals, eating  on the go, and poor nutrition can actually contribute to feelings of anxiety, especially if you consume alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars – so it makes sense to reduce or cut them out altogether if you can.  Magnesium and zinc are depleted by stress, and increasing your consumption of foods rich in these minerals has been shown to lower anxiety (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-strategies-to-ease-anxiety-201604139441).  Magnesium rich foods include dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts, avocados and dark chocolate.  Zinc rich foods include eggs, cashew nuts and legumes. 

Deep breathing and relaxation techniques can also help, along with regular stretching and good posture.   An Epsom salt bath or foot bath is a good way of relaxing – and it allows magnesium to be absorbed through the skin. 

Regarding homeopathic support, the right remedy for you will be the one that best matches your experience and symptoms.  Here are brief descriptions of each of the nine remedies.  If you know that you or your family member are usually seriously affected by exam nerves, or symptoms from studying hard, consider booking an appointment with a homeopath for individualised support.

Aconite

Aconite is needed where forthcoming exams or tests bring on acute fear. This is the situation where the person experiences an acute anxiety attack, for example, the night before a big exam.  They are restless and panicky, and may pace up and down, fearing the worst possible outcome.  Aconite will settle the nerves and allow them to sleep.

Argentum nitricum

Argentum nitricum (Arg nit) is often indicated in performance anxiety, including that experienced before exams or tests.  The person needing Arg nit is typically nervous and hurried, and prone to diarrhoea and gastric problems from prolonged mental effort and anxiety.  They may have a tendency to lean on sweet foods to keep them going, but these tend to upset their stomach.

Gelsemium

This remedy is one of the best known homeopathic remedies for exam nerves.  It is needed when the person feels apprehensive and ‘paralysed’ by anxiety – every exam feels like a huge ordeal.  They may feel weak, dizzy and shaky, and have difficulty concentrating.  This is one of the main remedies for those who experience bouts of diarrhoea before exams.

Picric acid

Picric acid (Pic ac) is a useful remedy in cases where physical symptoms are brought on from overstudy, especially headaches, which typically start at the back of the head.  Prolonged study can cause mental strain, with an inability to concentrate or collect their thoughts.

Calcarea phosphorica

Calcarea phosphorica (Calc phos) can be helpful in headaches that come on from too much study.  This remedy is also indicated where the student becomes tired and indifferent to their studies, with a growing inability to think, due to exhaustion.

Nux vomica

Nux vomica is often needed for those who are driven when it comes to their work and study, and end up relying on stimulants (eg caffeine) to keep up with a heavy work and revision schedule.  They can become irritable and oversensitive, with difficulty sleeping.  They may wake at 3am and have difficulty getting back to sleep again.  Cramps and digestive upset with nausea can also be typical.

Kali phosphoricum

Kali phosphoricum (Kali phos) is a wonderful remedy for nervous exhaustion.  It is indicated where there is mental or physical weakness and fatigue brought on by overstudying.  It corresponds to various symptoms brought on by nervous exhaustion, including headache, dizziness, and especially insomnia or disturbed sleep.  It is often helpful on these general indications for many of those facing exams.  Consider its tissue salt form, which can be taken twice daily if needed.

Aethusa

This is a less well known remedy, that has a picture which is sometimes useful in cases of exam nerves.  Where Aethusa is indicated, the person has a strong sense of incapacity – they feel they simply cannot do it.  During their studies, they get to the point where they feel they cannot take any more in, resulting in a complete inability to think or concentrate.  

Ruta

Ruta is a well known homeopathic remedy which has a strong causation from overexertion.  It has a place in exam stress, where studying necessitates a lot of close work and reading, resulting in headaches from eye strain.  The eyes are typically red and sore, and the headache is often shooting or pressing in character, and felt in the forehead and temples.

Combinations and Bach Flower Remedies

Helios Homeopathic Pharmacy produce some homeopathic combination remedies that may be useful for you and your family if it is difficult to narrow down the remedy choice to one good match.  Take a look at Helios Sleep, and Helios Stress Relief.

Bach Flower Remedies may also be helpful during exam season.  Among those that may be indicated are the combination Rescue Remedy, along with Mimulus, Pine, White Chestnut and Cherry Plum.

If you would like to see me for personalised homeopathic advice, you can book an appointment here:  https://karenleadbeater.co.uk/work-with-me/