Natural Health Care for Mental, Emotional and Physical Well-Being

Archive for the ‘Acute Illness’ Category

What Can Homeopathy Do For You?: An Explanation of the many ways homeopathy is used.

I have been seeing clients as a practicing homeopath for 13 years.  Over the years I have been, at times, confused about all the ways people use homeopathic remedies.  Some uses don’t seem very “homeopathic” to me.  That is, they don’t follow the concept of Like Cures Like.  Sometimes Like Prevents Like.  Sometimes Like has nothing to do with Like.

Fairly recently, I was able to put it together in a way that makes sense to me and to others who may be confused.  I hope you find it helpful.  I will be sharing this for you in a series of five blog postings.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments section.

Acute Care Homeopathy:  Acute illnesses are viruses and bacteria that we “catch” that make us sick from time to time.

Constitutional Homeopathy:  This is homeopathy for Chronic Care.  It could be used for Mental, Emotional, or Physical dis-ease.

Detoxification:  Homeopathic remedies can be used to help detoxify the body.  A good constitutional remedy will do this.  But there are also specific remedies that can be used to detoxify.

Homeoprophylaxis:  This is the education of the immune system so that you are less likely to be a good host for specific things that are “going around”.

Adjunct care:  This is a use for homeopathy that I have been studying fairly recently.  Historically it has been shown that using adjunct homeopathy helps the constitutional remedies work better.

Lets start with Acute Care Homeopathy, which is the way many people become introduced to the power of Like Cures Like.

A happy germ ready to invade a dis-eased body.

A happy germ ready to invade a dis-eased body.

By definition, an acute illness is self limiting.  This means you either get over it or you die. This can include colds, flu, gastroenteritis, all the childhood illnesses which we, unfortunately, rarely see, just to name a few.  Acute illness can be really good for us, if they don’t happen too often. Like exercise builds the body and makes it stronger, fighting off a few acute illnesses now and again exercises our immune system.  Fortunately, the vast majority of people get over acute illness, especially in this day and age of improved hygiene and knowledge about good food, lots of water, and not giving aspirin or any other anti-pyretics when you have a fever. Remember, fevers are good.  They help the body get rid of the “critters” that are invading you.

If fevers are a good thing, why give homeopathy when you have a fever?  Most garden variety fevers are safe. However, people can get uncomfortable when they have a fever, and are more likely to take Tylenol or Motrin, which only extends the time you suffer from the acute illness.  With homeopathy, you may still have the fever, but you will be more comfortable. For example, you may be less restless, less achy and your internal temperature, whether chilly or overheated, will become more tolerable. Your body will hang onto the fever as long as it is required to heal you. If on the other hand, you suppress the fever of a youngster with Tylenol or Motrin, the child may not get the rest he needs in order to get well.  Suppression doesn’t equal absence of an illness. It doesn’t mean that you get to send the child to school. He or she is still dis-eased.  I have also found as a homeopath that often fevers are repeated in a pattern.  Perhaps a child will get it every other month, or always when the seasons change, for example. By giving an appropriate homeopathic remedy, it often breaks the cycle of illness. I have seen this countless times in my practice, with both children and adults.

However, if you have an infant with a fever you need to be more careful.  An infant’s immune system is not well developed and they can develop pneumonia and meningitis, etc.  My youngest had a fever of 102+ when he was quite young.  It was an ear infection. Homeopathy to the rescue.  Although there may be disagreements, the general consensus seems to be, if your 0-3 month old child has a fever over 100.4, call the doctor.  If your child is 3 – 6 months old, the threshold is 101.  If your infant is older than 6 months old, call the doctor if his or her fever goes above 102.

In addition to going to the doctor, be sure to call the homeopath.  There are many remedies for fevers, but for young children, there are usually just a few to choose from, including Belladonna, Pulsatilla, Aconite, Chamomilla, and more.

Sad Germs, after realizing the host body has taken a homeopathic remedy.

Sad Germs, after realizing the host body has taken a homeopathic remedy.

Influenza and flu-like symptoms are common reasons to use homeopathy for acute illnesses.  During the flu pandemic of 1918-1919, when influenza was killing 30% of certain populations who were infected, homeopathy had an astonishing loss rate of around 1%.  Records show that those who died had tried conventional medicine first and it was too late for homeopathy to help.  It should also be noted that MD’s were enamored with aspirin at the time and many died from basically an overdose of aspirin, because they would bleed out in their lungs from the aspirin and then develop pneumonia and die.  The remedy most folks needed during that pandemic was Gelsemium, followed by Bryonia.  Even an inexperienced prescriber could recognize the Gelsemium symptoms. For more information about the historical success of using homeopathy with influenza, please click here to read this article from 1921.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to find it.

I also include injuries in Acute care, although old injuries often fall into the category of constitutional care.  Arnica is most often the first remedy to take with an injury, but not always.  So if Arnica isn’t helping, you either need a stronger dose or a different remedy.  It may be Bryonia, Rhus Tox, or Ledum, just to name a few of the most common injury remedies.

What about allergies?  Are they acute illnesses?  No.  The seasonal allergies people are experiencing now are representative of a chronic illness with an acute exacerbation.  It can be treated acutely, for a year or two, but eventually, only the constitutional (chronic) remedy will work.

Acute care homeopathy is definitely an example of like cures like.  Often the symptoms of a chronic illness will go away when someone gets an acute illness.  So if the symptom picture changes from the chronic symptoms to the acute symptoms, a different remedy is required.  Once the acute symptoms go away, the chronically ill person sometimes actually feels better for a few days after the illness.  I have seen this in several clients over the years.  At first I got confused and thought the acute remedy was a good chronic remedy.  But I have since realized that it is just the body changing states.  That changed state often sticks around for a few days after the acute illness seems to have disappeared.

Complementary Remedies

Often individuals with an acute illness always feel sort of the same way each time they get sick.  In homeopathy, we call this the Complementary Remedy.  It is the flip side of the Chronic state.  I once had a high energy client who needed a low energy remedy each time he got sick.  We are familiar with which remedies are complementary to other remedies, but not in most cases. Calling a homeopath when you are sick can often help lead to the discovery of your constitutional remedy.

Sometimes, when you are feeling like you are coming down with something but don’t have clear symptoms, you can take a 30c dose of your constitutional remedy and prevent total onset of an acute illness.  This would not be a situation of using a complementary remedy.  If you get acute illnesses too frequently, it is definitely time for a constitutional remedy.  More on this and other chronic uses of homeopathy in the next article in this series.


Top Ten Natural Care Products–Part 5

There are definitely more than 10 “can’t live without” Natural Care Products.

The list in this blog post is for times when you feel like you are coming down with something, or perhaps definitely came down with something. More often than not, I prefer to use homeopathy to help acute illnesses, but sometimes it is hard to get to a remedy, it is the middle of the night and you don’t know what to take or you don’t have the remedy on hand.

I would also add that going to a chiropractor when you are feeling you are getting sick is also on my must do list.  But it is hard to keep a chiropractor in your medicine cabinet….  Did you know your white blood cells become more active with each adjustment?

13.  Your Constitutional Remedy in a 30C

Your constitutional remedy is the remedy given to you by a professional classical homeopath to help heal your chronic

Your constitutional remedy may look like this, if you decide to pour it onto a leaf...

Your constitutional remedy may look like this, if you decide to pour it onto a leaf…

condition.  If you are feeling like you are coming down with something but don’t really have any specific symptoms, having your constitutional/chronic remedy in a 30C can be of great assistance.  You only know your constitutional remedy after having a series of appointments with a classical homeopath.  One of the nice things about a constitutional remedy is that you get sick less often.  But, nothing is perfect and people on homeopathy do get sick occasionally.  So a dose or two of your remedy in 30C for a couple of days may be the ticket to get you back on track.  If you don’t know your constitutional remedy, click here to schedule an appointment with a classical homeopath.  

14.  Zinc Lozenges

If you feel a sore throat coming on, and especially if you know strep is going around, reach for a Zinc Lozenge.  Zinc is bacteriostatic which means that it prevents bacteria from replicating.  It is a handy way to keep the bacteria at bay to give your body some time to kill off the bacteria that may be colonizing in the back of your throat.  You must suck on the lozenge.  Don’t chew it.  There are many brands and flavors of Zinc Lozenges, so read and follow the directions carefully.  It is possible to take too much zinc.  Know what is in your multi-vitamin.

There are also many sore throat remedies in the Homeopathic Materia Medica, so don’t stop there.  Call a Classical Homeopath to get additional help.  If sore throats or recurring strep are a problem for you click here to schedule an appointment with a classical homeopath to get a constitutional remedy.  

15.  Saccharomyces boulardii

Do you feel a bit of digestive distress coming on?  Perhaps you ate something that was a few days past its expiration date?

Get rid of intestinal critters with Sachharomyces boulardii

Get rid of intestinal critters with Sachharomyces boulardii

Or maybe you are traveling and you aren’t used to the local food and beverages?  Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic which helps rid the body of the little critters that may be inhabiting your GI tract.  It is available everywhere you can get vitamins and supplements.  It is extremely popular in the early part of the year as people are preparing to travel somewhere warm.  Take one capsule twice a day, weaning down to once a day until you feel you don’t need it anymore.  Of course, a good probiotic should be taken daily, and this one may appear in your daily probiotic.  Getting it as a single organism is great for those times when no matter how many times you wash your hands, you just can’t avoid the Norwalk virus.

A good homeopathic remedy, such as was described in Part one of this series, can also help and should be included in your get-well scheme.

For local folks, I have $5.00 off coupons for the Vitamin Shoppe if you wish to pick some of this up to have on hand. Call and then stop by.



Its Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature–Part 3 Acute versus Chronic Illness

Somehow, a fear has developed about Acute Illness.  I’m sure that it was borne out of history, when people used to die more frequently from acute illnesses—fortunately, good hygiene and sanitation has made this less likely. The settlers brought over small pox to America and killed the natives.  In turn, the Natives gave the European settlers syphilis.  What a trade.  An acute illness (small pox) for an acute illness which turns chronic (syphilis).  We’ve been trading acute illnesses for chronic ones ever since.

First it is important to explain the difference between Acute illness and Chronic illness.  An acute illness is something like a cold or an ear infection.  A chronic illness might be arthritis or heart disease.

Acute illness, is by definition, self-limiting.  You either get over it (fortunately, most of the time) or you die (rarely).  Chronic illness goes on and on and on.  Acute illness has a short prodrome phase.  This is the time period where you are ramping up to get sick.  We’ve all been there, where we feel we are coming down with something.  You might even get sick suddenly, which is a very short prodrome phase.  Chronic illness, on the other hand, has a long prodrome phase.  Anyone who has gotten heart disease didn’t get it over night.  Most of the time the prodrome phase in chronic illness is not easy to identify, if at all.

Another interesting distinction between and acute and chronic illnesses is that an acute illness actually strengthens your vitality.  A chronic illness only continues to make your body worse.  Have you ever really felt good after having been sick?  I have.  I recently had a homeopathy client report a similar experience to me.  Perhaps acute illnesses are a way for our body to rid itself of chronic dis-ease.

A chronic illness will take a break when an acute illness appears.  When my son was younger, he developed a bad cough.  His constant stomach aches, which we later figured out were caused by a gluten intolerance, went away for two weeks without a change in diet and returned when the cough disappeared completely.  Some people who are seriously chronically ill cannot even produce an acute illness.

Over the years observant parents have noticed that when their child produces a relatively high fever, the episode is frequently followed by a growth spurt.  Because no one has ever explained WHY this happens, it is largely ignored.  Perhaps it is necessary to grow.

And how often do we fool mother nature by suppressing the fever?  If you call a nurse line when your child is sick with a fever, you will always be told to give Tylenol.  Fevers are good.  Why would you suppress them except for a seizure?  Your body generally produces the fever it needs to get over the bug that is present.  If you are uncomfortable with the fever, try homeopathy instead.  It doesn’t suppress a fever, but will make you comfortable.  I was given a book for a baby shower.  It was a western medicine book which was divided by disease name and then told under what conditions you should call the doctor immediately, within 24 hours, or not at all.  It was a really helpful book for a new mother.  It did say not to give your child fever suppressants (and not just aspirin) for certain illnesses because it actually resulted in a longer time for the disease to go away.

Since nature has given us acute illnesses, there is a reason that we get them.  For children, it is pretty clear that they need to exercise their immune system.  Studies have been done which reveal that when parents keep the house too clean, kids don’t develop a strong enough immune system to fight off the bad boys when they come around.  In fact, some believe that it is a source of autoimmune disorders, asthma, and allergies, because the body doesn’t know what needs to be fought off and what doesn’t.  So the body over reacts—which is what all of those diseases are about:  over reaction.  My house is not a shrine to cleanliness by any stretch, and BONUS, I grew up on a farm, so by all accounts, I’m good to go. Here’s a funny take on the whole issue of the exposure to germs:  In fact, a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000 showed that children exposed to a whole variety of germs and infections were less likely to develop asthma and wheezing by the time they are six years old.

But what if children are introduced to the germs via a vaccination?  Well, vaccinations are one way to fool mother nature, so you end up with the same result; that is, children who are vaccinated are more likely to have allergies and asthma than those children who are not vaccinated.  (See an earlier blog for more discussion: .)  So clearly, it is a fine line that we need to tread to make our lives healthy, but not be too miserable in the process of getting healthy.  We don’t want to trade an acute illness for a chronic illness, but we don’t want to be acutely ill so badly that we cannot recover from it.

Our unwillingness to embrace the value of an acute illness is a contributor to the rising cost of health care in this country. People take their children or themselves to doctors when they have acute symptoms that our bodies are perfectly capable of managing without outside intervention.  Our demand for results NOW ends up costing us in the end with more chronic illness because we cannot bear to miss a moment being sick, when perhaps we need to just slow down for a couple days.  Instead, doctors cave to requests for antibiotics when the cough is viral.

No one likes to be sick (I suppose that really isn’t true), but sometimes it is necessary.  There are ways to become sick less often and for shorter periods of time.  More on that later.

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