Homeopathy is a health care system that has been around more than 200 years. The principle of homeopathy is “like cures like.” In other words, your body creates symptoms to help fight off disease. By giving your body small therapeutic substances, homeopathic products, and doses of natural plant-sourced remedies that mimic your symptoms instead of drugs and medications, your body may be able to heal faster.
You can typically find them in grocery stores, drug stores, or online. Here are seven essential homeopathic remedies you’ll want to keep in your medicine cabinet.
Arnica, a perennial yellow flowering herb in the sunflower family, is one herbal remedy that can help ease pain and swelling associated with muscle soreness, bruises, and other minor injuries. For example, if your toddler falls and gets a goose egg on his or her forehead, apply arnica cream immediately. If you stumble and fall while jogging, try to apply arnica cream or ointment as soon as you get home.
After applying arnica, an emerging bruise may eventually start to disappear. Arnica can also help relieve injuries to the soft muscle tissue. Keep a tube of arnica not only in your first aid kit, but also in your diaper bag, your car, and your purse or backpack for easy access.
Common Uses: Muscle soreness, bruises, scratches
Also known as English marigold, calendula treats wounds, scrapes, minor burns, and skin redness. Calendula can also be used to help soothe mild diaper rash. It works as an antiseptic and quickly draws dirt and germs out of a wound.
For a deeper wound that starts to become inflamed, treat it externally and take calendula 30c internally. Although there is no official definition of “potency” in homeopathy, the number and letter usually refers to the degree of dilution a homeopathic remedy has undergone in its manufacturing process. For example, calendula 30c has undergone 30 steps of dilution, as indicated by the letter “c” meaning centesimal.
Calendula may also prevent scabs from forming too early, possibly reducing scarring.
Before applying, make sure you gently wash the wound with water to remove dirt from the wounded area.
Common Uses: Minor burns, skin redness, rash
Arsenicum is commonly used for food poisoning, indigestion, and heartburn. Although it is derived from the toxic chemical element arsenic, prepared in homeopathic potencies, it can be used to treat a variety of digestive problems. Arsenicum can also help treat diarrhea and vomiting. In addition, it can potentially ease the fear and irritability that may occur as a result of these symptoms.
Common Uses: Food poisoning, indigestion, heartburn
Pulsatilla, also known as pasque flower, a purple herbaceous plant, helps treat the onset of common cold symptoms, such as a clear runny nose, stuffy nose, and cough. Pulsatilla can also be used for earaches—if ears are stopped up or throbbing, or if their exterior is swollen and red. In addition, pulsatilla may help with faintness or lightheadedness.
Common Uses: Cold symptoms, runny nose, cough, earache
This herb comes from the yellow flowering plant in the family Hypericaceae. Popularly called St. John’s wort, it is commonly known for its antidepressant properties. However, you can use hypericum as a first aid helper for injuries to nerve-rich areas, such as your tailbone, fingers, or lips. Specifically, it is ideal for sharp, shooting pain, and cuts or scrapes. Taken internally or applied externally, hypericum helps prevent infection and can soothe inflamed and painful wounds such as abscesses, cuts, hemorrhoids, scars, insect bites, and animal bites.
Common Uses: Cuts, scars, insect and animal bites
Gelsemium is commonly thought of as a cold and flu remedy. Gelsemium is an Asian and North American genus of flowering plants belonging to family Gelsemiaceae. The genus contains three species of shrubs. Good for treating shivers, body aches, weakness, and exhaustion, it may also ease a headache, dizziness, and heavy eyelids due to inflammation. In addition, gelsemium can also be used for colds, sneezing, and runny noses.
Common Uses: Cold and flu symptoms, body aches, exhaustion
A digestive remedy, nux vomica is often used for nausea, sour stomach, bloating, and discomfort from spicy and/or rich foods. Nux vomica comes from the strychnine tree, a deciduous tree native to India and Southeast Asia. It may also help relieve pain and gas associated with overeating and nausea in pregnant women.
Common Uses: Nausea, upset stomach, bloating
How to Use Homeopathic Remedies
To use homeopathic remedies, you can either apply a cream or ointment to your skin, or take them orally in the pellet, tablet, or liquid form, depending on the remedy. For pellets, find one with a potency of 30c or less. They are small and should melt in your mouth. Take a dose of the remedy 15 minutes apart for two to three doses.
For effective results, try to start treatment at the first sign of illness symptoms. Before trying anything new or if facing a serious health condition, consult your doctor or practitioner. If something doesn’t feel good, stop. Homeopathic remedies are meant to treat mild symptoms, so if you are experiencing serious pain or trauma, see your doctor or contact an emergency physician.
Hopefully, with experience, you’ll see results from homeopathic remedies and ingredients and will start using them to help treat yourself, your friends, and your family.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.