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What Would You Do To Prevent Cancer?

angelinaLast week we all learned the news about Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer.  Apparently she had the genetic testing done who identify whether she carried this gene which indicates a genetic predisposition to getting breast cancer.  Of course, the percentage increase of likelihood is a subject that is still debated, but it does seem to indicate at least a 50% chance of getting breast cancer.

Since this has occurred, many have asked what I would do if I found out I had this gene. By the way, I am 99% certain I don’t have this gene, as breast cancer is rare in my family.

As a natural health practitioner, I know that people have the right to become as healthy as they want to be, and take whatever steps they choose. I am not criticizing Ms. Jolie. But this is still very disturbing to me on a number of fronts.

First, sometimes we take steps that make us THINK we are getting healthy, but in fact we are really going in the wrong direction. (Here is an example from a local blog writer that is a perfect example.   From a homeopathic perspective, surgery only removes the expression of the dis-ease, not the dis-ease itself.  Thus far, Angelina did not have any expression of dis-ease, but perhaps has some mental/emotional dis-ease which could lead to the physical dis-ease, which in turn leads to disease.  Fear of cancer may be one expression of her dis-ease.  So removing her breasts really only opens up the rest of her body to express the dis-ease somewhere else.  Her mother, for example, actually died of ovarian cancer, not breast cancer.  So is she setting herself up for that?  Ovarian cancer, by the way, is much harder to detect in a timely manner than is breast cancer.

The main stream media (MSM) saw this as an opportunity to praise Jolie for her courage and hope that it would encourage other women who also carried this gene to do the same thing.  I do not necessarily agree that making her a role model in this regard is a good thing.  The MSM should have instead seized the opportunity to educate on other ways to prevent cancer.  Studies done as long ago as 2005 and later show that an appropriate amount of Vitamin D on a regular basis reduces the risk of getting cancer through many mechanisms.   One study showed an 80% risk of reduction in breast cancer.  One interesting fact is that using sunscreen may be preventing us from getting enough sunshine to obtain adequate amounts of Vitamin D, thus increasing everyone’s risk of getting cancer.  Statistics show that dark skinned people have a higher risk of cancer, which could be due to their inability to obtain as much Vitamin D as light skinned people do from the sun. And of course, those of us in Northern Climates also need to be aware of our intake of Vitamin D, especially in the winter when the angle of the sun makes it really difficult to get make enough Vitamin D.

There is a certain part of me that feels like she got fooled, or she didn’t receive all the information she should have received to make an informed decision.  If she really did receive this information, why was this not part of the story as well?  She could have said something like, “I know that Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of breast cancer, but I chose to do this as well.”

Just because someone carries a particular genetic code does not mean that it will express itself.  There are many ways that natural health modalities can assist in this.  Homeopathy has categories of remedies that help with shoring up boundaries that are often weak in people who get cancer.  Cancer is all about lack of boundaries and lack of cell differentiation.  Often it shows up as people being who others want them to be or being over extending themselves on behalf of others and not taking care of themselves.  Diet can also make a HUGE difference.  I am saying all this as someone who comes from a family with the polycystic kidney gene.  Fortunately, my father does not carry the gene, so I am safe.  But I saw many of my aunts and uncles suffer and eventually die from this disease.  I wish I could have done something to help, but at the time, I did not know about homeopathy.

So do your research before you make any life changing decisions.  Look beyond the scope of what MSM or your doctor’s office tells you.  (You may not be aware of this, but doctors are discouraged from learning anything outside the scope of their practice. So the viewpoint that if there were other options, surely you would hear about them from your doctor, is not based in anything but wishful thinking.)  Call me if you have any questions.



A Brief Trip to Hell and Back–All without leaving my kitchen!

A small red mark is all that remains after a painful burn.

A small red mark is all that remains after a painful burn.

The title may be a bit over dramatic, but my recent accident in the kitchen hurt like the devil.

Saturday I was frying some home made breaded onions.   My son and I are both on Gluten Free diets.  I have been thinking a lot about the old fashioned green bean casserole, but it is NOT  Gluten Free, as you may know.

Early last week I discovered that there are some Gluten Free Condensed Soups available and the Gluten Free Store in my town carries them.  I had made a trip and picked up a couple cartons of the Cream of Mushroom variety.  I could have made it from scratch, but I just wanted to try out the soup.  I can’t use the French Fried onions you get in the store, so I was making my own.

Somehow, my finger got dipped into the hot coconut oil in which I was frying the onions.  It hurt like the devil!  I started out running my finger under warm water.  After all, cold water for a burn is NOT homeopathic.  I gradually got to cold water.  That little trick of starting with warm water actually worked!

Quickly my mind went to all the possible remedies.  Causticum, Calendula ointment, Cantharis are the ones most easily accessible.  I considered a dose of Causticum, thinking that this may be too bad a burn for that remedy.  I have used it frequently when I have burned myself on a curling iron or by touching the oven rack, or burned my tongue on hot pizza.  But this burn felt worse than any I had had previously.  Not being able to think too clearly on my own, I grabbed my homeopathy first aid book.  I came up with Cantharis.  In reading it, it seems like maybe I should have used it in other circumstances as well.  But the two key symptoms I had were that it burned without being touched and it is for scalds which are better from ice and cold applications.  I noticed that as long as I had my finger on a bag of ice, it was not painful at all.  But mere moments after removing it, the pain was excruciating.

I took a dose of Cantharis.  Nothing.  Being certain I had the right remedy, I took a second dose 15 minutes later.  Within 10 minutes I felt some relief.  But it only lasted for about 10 minutes.  By then I was at my son’s basketball game–not where I wanted to be with that much pain.  I took another dose.  BINGO!  That did the trick.  I continued to feel less and less pain.  However, I could see a couple of small blisters begin to form.  I thought about the way homeopathy works, sometimes pushing you through the various stages of an injury or illness more quickly than normal.

I went to bed, thinking I may wake up in pain and need another dose.  I kept the remedy on my bedside table.  No need for it.  I woke up feeling barely any pain. The blisters that were beginning to form were gone. I did manage to not have to wash any dishes yesterday because the hot water hurt my finger.

Today, the redness you see in the picture is all that remains of any evidence of a burn.

The lesson:  don’t stop after one dose.  There was probably plenty going on under the surface, so to speak.  My experience with Causticum is that it worked so quickly.  But this was a more serious burn.  It needed more time.

Homeopathy works great when there are first aid injuries that require care.  But don’t give up too quickly!

Remedy of the Week #7

Remedy of the Week is back after a brief hiatus.

This week’s remedy is one of the most common in the homeopathic Materia Medica.  It isn’t surprising, because the source of this remedy is very plentiful on earth as well.

Rotting is part of this remedy

This remedy has a lot to do with decay  and disgust.  Of things wearing out and dragging on so long that they get stale and old.  As one would expect, things then get smelly and stinky and sweaty and gross.

It is a specific for a child hood ear infection that comes on at the end of a stale old cold.  It is also for a cold that won’t seem to go away.  It seems like it is past the acute phase where you don’t really have a lot of symptoms, but the ones you have drag on and on.  You are sick of being sick.

Another symptom of this remedy is that your hair looks greasy and dirty, even if you just washed it that morning.  Definitely a bad hair day.

You might also have skin eruptions of some sort with this remedy.  It might be a rash or hives or just red skin from being warm.

Is this Blog post getting old? Then click here to find out what the remedy is and more about how to use it.



Remedy of the Week #3

In keeping with the spirit of trying to present really useful remedies for the holiday season, knowing this next one, and having it on hand could help prevent an illness in the family from taking over the holiday.

You all know this symptom.  You are sure you are coming down with something.  Your body aches.  Your throat hurts–maybe the worst sore throat you’ve ever had.  You are laying in bed all covered up when suddenly you are sweating and you MUST uncover.  You proceed to kick the blankets off, bringing instant relief.  After a short time, you are shivering and your teeth are chattering.  You cover up again.  Repeat many times.

Your hair looks terrible.  Your tongue may be coated gray or white.  When you bite into your tongue, small dents remain.  Your breath stinks–maybe a metallic smell.  You are salivating.  You are sweating.  You are restless.  You are MISERABLE.

Click HERE to find out the name of this remedy.  Be sure to read the entire answer for more useful information.

Feel Sick?  Call Kathryn


Remedies to Bring Along When You Travel

People ask all the time what remedies they should bring along on a trip.  Obviously, it depends on the time of year, where you are traveling, what you are doing, etc.

The first thing I recommend is that you buy a remedy kit for traveling.  This may or may not be the same kit you keep at home.  If you can have them hand checked, that would be best.  Many people I know replace the kits after they have been through an x-ray machine 8 – 10 times or so.  On the other hand, I have used the same kit for many years and it still works.

Ledum can help puncture wounds, such as you may get from stepping on a sea urchin barb.

Limiting it today to domestic travel, think about what could happen that would really ruin a trip.  Injuries, colds, influenza to start with.  A nice Homeopathy First Aid kit would be handy.  Arnica would naturally be a remedy I would recommend you bring on a trip.  30C and 200C at a minimum.  If you were to sprain an ankle, or sustain some other injury, it could really make a difference.

One remedy you may not think to bring is Ledum.  Ledum is a remedy for puncture wounds.  If you splash in the waves in Hawaii in your bare feet, you may step on a Sea Urchin barb.  The first thing the locals recommend for this situation is to soak your foot in your urine.  If you can’t stand the thought of that, take Ledum 30c, and ice the point of entry.  You will probably have to take several doses of Ledum.  You can take it as needed.  Another handy use for Ledum is if you bite your tongue.  People don’t think that as a particularly burdensome injury, but it can spoil your meals for a few days.  Young children in a crabby mood because they can’t eat could hamper the merriment as well.

Sunny weather often equals sunburn.  Obviously, Sunscreen is the best prevention.  But if you forget to put some one or you miss a spot, there are a few good options.  Calendula creme or ointment can help a mild sunburn applied topically as needed.  If you get a serious sunburn, Causticum or Cantharis could also help.

I recommend that my clients bring along their constitutional remedy in a 30C.  If you feel you are coming down with something, a couple doses of  30C of your constitutional remedy can help ward off a bug.  If you don’t know what your constitutional remedy is, give me a call.

I would also recommend Bryonia and Rhus Tox as well.  They are great injury remedies to follow Arnica.  Bryonia is good for injuries worse from motion.  Rhus Tox can help injuries that are worse on first motion but better on continued motion.

This won’t cover all situations that may arise, but it is a start.



Jet Lag and Homeopathy

Homeopathy can help jet lag.

One of the worst things about travel is the Jet Lag that accompanies that.  One of the best remedies for jet lag is Cocculus indicus.  I have seen it work first hand for my husband who travels a lot for work and for my son.

Two years ago the family went on a vacation to Spain and Portugal.  After finally getting to sleep, my youngest son woke up in the morning and did not feel good.  He was nauseous and didn’t feel like eating at all.  We had a car trip scheduled from Madrid to the Algarve.  It did not look good for my son.

Cocculus is a remedy for fatigue from travels and loss of sleep.  An accompanying symptom is nausea.  Cocculus is a motion sickness and morning sickness remedy as well.  My son had all those symptoms, plus, he refused to talk.  He just wanted to sleep.

Just a few minutes before we packed everything into the car I gave him a dose of Cocculus.  Twenty minutes into the car ride, he started talking and didn’t quit for hours.  The remedy helped save the first few days of our trip.  When we arrived, he slept well.

Arnica montana also helps with jet lag and exhaustion.  If you take a dose when you arrive or when you start to feel tired, it can give you a second wind to make it until bed time in your part of the world.

If traveling for business and you find yourself thinking of business issues while not sleeping, Nux Vomica would be a good remedy to try.

Another option for dealing with Jet Lag is to use an Australian Bush Flower Travel essence.  You can either put the drops or the creme on once an hour while traveling.  My oldest son used it when he went to China with my husband.  It worked very well for him.  He used it, my husband did not (he took nothing) and he recovered from his jet much more quickly than my husband did.

For more Homeopathy and Travel tips, read the blog all week.  PS, I know this is yesterday’s post!



Homeopathy and Malaria

Mosquitoes carry the protozoa which causes malaria.

This is the week for Homeopathy and Traveling, so I thought I would start with a look back in the history of homeopathy and discuss Malaria.  Fortunately, in the US, we don’t have this problem anymore.  But if you travel abroad, you may find yourself in a country where Malaria prophylaxis is recommended. Unfortunately, many of the mosquitoes are carrying a protozoa which is immune to the phrophylaxis drugs.  In addition, the side effects are not pleasant.

Back in the 1700 and 1800’s, physicians used Quinine to treat malaria.  It is still used in western medicine.  Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of the principals of homeopathy, was a physician and a chemist.  He was curious about the way medicines worked.  He was disgusted by the medical practices of his time and so he quit practicing medicine and translated medical textbooks to support his large family.  While translating a book, he found a reference to how Quinine worked.  It said that the reason it treated malaria so well was because it was so bitter.  Being a chemist, Hahnemann knew several substances that were more bitter than malaria.  His curiosity got the best of him and he decided to take a dose of Quinine, just to see what would happen.

What happened is that he developed the symptoms of malaria.  He didn’t develop malaria because he didn’t have the protozoa necessary to develop the actual disease.  In taking the medicine, he stumbled upon the principal of like cures like.  He recognized that if he gave Quinine to a patient who had malaria, the symptoms would go away.  But if he gave it to a patient who did not have malaria, that person would develop those symptoms.  He dedicated the rest of his life to exploring and developing the principals of homeopathy. He recognized that he needed to harness the healing properties of quinine and other natural substances without making people more sick than they had been due to other effects of the drugs.   He even coined the phrase “homeopathy” which means “Similar Suffering.”

So the first homeopathic remedy was made from the bark of the Chinchona bush, commonly called Quinine.  It’s homeopathic name is China.

Fast forward to the present time.  Malaria is a horrible disease which causes many needless deaths annually in Africa.  Homeopaths in Africa successfully treat malaria with homeopathy.  A homeopath in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, has found that when he is able to treat his patients with homeopathy, they don’t get malaria again.

So what if you have a trip planned to Africa and you don’t want to take the Malaria prophylaxis drugs, such as chloroquine, doxycycline and others?  Can homeopathy help?  Yes, it can.  There are a series of high potency homeopathic remedies that can help your body develop a generalized immune response that can enable you to avoid the effects of the mosquitoes.   It is too complex and complicated to put into a blog, and the remedies can only be purchased from a homeopath.  Like other Malaria prophylaxis, you must start a month before you leave for your trip and continue the remedies while in country.  When you get home, you can discontinue the remedies.

If I were going to a country where malaria is rampant, I would bring my mosquito netting, insect repellent and a small kit of remedies to use just in case I got malaria while I was there.  (Many people who do contract the disease don’t actually get the symptoms until they have returned home.)  I would also have my malaria prophylaxis remedies along too.

Let me know if you have a trip coming and would like some help.  You would need to contact me at least six weeks prior to taking your trip.



Emergency Medicine: What Homeopathy Offers–Part 1

Arnica Montana for Trauma

Earlier this week I discussed some Natural Health viewpoints of western medicine.  The view of Emergency Medicine is different.  Most Natural Health providers find ER doctors and nurses to be amazing life savers.  It takes a certain type of person to work in an Emergency Room.  You have to have a clear head and be confident in your skills.  A panicky nurse or doctor won’t be very successful working in a crisis environment.  (Remember this:   a crisis isn’t what happens, it is how you react to what happens.)

However, there are a few homeopathic remedies that should be staples in the Emergency Room that would improve outcomes for the patients.

The first remedy is, you guessed it, Arnica montana.  Arnica is a remedy with no equal when it comes to dealing with trauma such as a car accident, a broken limb, etc.  Studies have shown it to not only be effective in easing pain without the use of narcotics, but also helping people heal faster.  One study was done on Arnica and plastic surgery.  People’s perception of how quickly they healed did not show any difference between those who got Arnica and those who didn’t.  But digital photos of the patients showed a significant difference when the photos were enlarged and the pixels of the bruised skin were examined and counted.  The bruising on the Arnica patients healed more quickly. Of course, no one ever heals quickly enough when they have had cosmetic surgery.  This is not a study on a traumatic situation, but the skin was still traumatized by the surgery.

Aconite for anticipating death

Aconite should be used in all Emergency Rooms, but especially in Pediatric ER’s.  The feeling of Aconite is one of panic.  The symptom is “Can Name Their Time of Death.”  When a child goes to an ER or to have surgery, they frequently feel like they are going to die.  Even my son would need Aconite when he accidentally ate nuts or peanuts, his throat started to close, and he began to think he would die.  Within minutes, he was much better.  Because it is such an intense state, we must match the state with the potency and have high potency (1M, 10M, 50M) doses available.  Children’s hospitals have social workers, nurses and others working to calm children before they have surgery.  Think how much easier it would be to give them some Aconite so they can calm down on their own, rather than having to be talked into being calm.

There are many other emergency remedies, which we will discuss in Part 2.

There are many important elements in making the presence of remedies in the ER successful.  First, the people who would be dispensing the remedies need to be well trained.  They need to know what to look for, learn the symptoms of the remedies, what potency to give, and how often.

Second, many different potencies of the remedies would need to be made available.

Third, the ER staff would have to buy into the idea of using the remedies.  The cost savings would be significant and the outcomes improved.  That would be a place to start.



Homeopathic Alternatives to Tylenol–Part 2

Homeopathic Alternatives for Injuries

Arnica Montana:  This is a remedy for trauma, or anything that feels like trauma.  Aches and pains associated with overuse of muscles. It may hurt to move.  It will likely feel better with ice, but may feel better with warmth. The person who needs Arnica often feels they don’t need anything.  “I’m fine,

Headers in Soccer can cause injuires

really!!”  You may find it helpful after an athletic event to help the body heal itself.  Gardening in the spring after being housebound all winter.  Tripping and falling, bruising oneself, etc.  Arnica is great post-surgery, dental extractions, etc.  Always try Arnica first unless the symptoms are drastically different from Arnica symptoms.

Bryonia:  This is a remedy for anything that feels worse from movement and better from being wrapped.  Often the next remedy after Arnica. Fear of moving may be a component.  The person may be grumpy and wish to be left alone.  The person may be very restless, but the motion makes them worse.

Rhus Tox:  This is a remedy for any injury that feels worse on first motion, better on continued motion, but eventually gets worse from motion again.  Rhus Tox is better from heat—the hotter the better. One may be reminded of arthritis with this type of pain—where someone can’t quite open the jar in the morning, but once their fingers are nimble, they can open anything, until the end of the day.  (Indeed Rhus Tox is one of many arthritis remedies.)  The person may be very restless, and the motion makes them feel better.

Bellis Perennis:  This remedy is for deep trauma and bruises:  deep muscle injuries, abdominal or pelvic trauma, surgery, etc.  Worse from warm bathing, cold drinks, becoming cold.  Better:  Cold applications to the part.  Also a remedy for injuries and inflammation of the nerves.  It is difficult to find this remedy in a store, for some reason.

Hypericum:  Injuries to nerve rich areas—fingers, tongue, genitals.  Sharp pains shoot upward from injured spot.  Great for dental work where the pain feels more neuralgic than traumatic.

Conium:  Injuries, especially to the glands, such as testicles, breasts, etc.

Lachesis:  Serious bruises with throbbing, pulsing pains.  Bruises sells and turn rapidly a dark purple or even black in color.  Worse:  Any amount of heat.  Better:  Cold.

Ruta:  Bruises to the periosteum, where the bone is close to the surface, such as the tibia, iliac crest, etc.  Also good for shin splints, where wrapping aggravates the condition.

There are many more common injury remedies.  The important thing to know is that one size doesn’t fit all in homeopathy.  You must choose the correct, or close to correct, remedy, or it won’t work.


One common use for over the counter pain relievers is for headaches.  I often get asked what to take for a headache.  Will Arnica work? Is the most common question.  Arnica may work, if you got hit in the head with something and as a result have a headache. Nux Vomica will work if you have a headache because you had too much to drink. Belladonna will work if you have a headache from being overheated and your face is really red.

But garden variety headaches that one gets frequently or even occasionally are considered chronic conditions and a constitutional consultation with a professional homeopath is required to resolve them.

For more information on using homeopathy instead of Tylenol, please consider taking one of my classes.  Go to my website to read more about upcoming classes.



Happy Birthday

Twelve years ago today I gave birth to my second son, Dylan.  Since our first topic is homeopathy and family, it seems appropriate to give some time to the topic of Homeopathy and birth and babies.

Homeopathy and Families

Birth is a pretty traumatic experience.  For both mother and baby.  Our number one trauma remedy, assuming the birth process was normal (whatever that means these days in hospital births), is Arnica.  Arnica can be given to the mother after transition, after birth and given to the baby after birth as well.  Definitely give the baby 30c.  Mother, well, it depends on how sensitive she is.  200C seems about right for most.

The story of one’s birth is very important and helpful in coming up with a homeopathic remedy.  I have one client who came to me, full well knowing that her birth story was the source of her health problems.  Her doctors weren’t as interested in it as I was.  If your birth was normal, it won’t really influence remedy choices.  But anything remotely beyond an easy birth with no interventions may produce a story worthy of considering.

Children get sick.  Believe it or not, it is good for children to get acute illnesses.  It is a way to develop a generalized immune response.  Just like getting in shape by exercising, an acute illness can help children’s immune system get in shape as well.  But when your child does get sick, a good remedy to consider is Pulsatilla.  Pulsatilla is the velcro baby.  Baby gets very sad if you put him down.  He may have a cough, or an ear infection.  But if he wants to be held and seems better if you bring him outside, consider Pulsatilla.  A related and rhyming remedy is Chamomilla.  Chamomilla is like Pulsatilla, but not only do they like to be held, they want you to move around.  Just holding them or sitting while holding is not sufficient for the Chamomilla baby.  This baby gets more mad than sad as Pulsatilla does.  She may also have a red face or cheeks, perhaps one cheek red and the other not.  He may have green stools as well.  It is a good teething remedy as well.

Just knowing these three remedies–Arnica for trauma such as birth or injuries, Pulsatilla and Chamomilla for weepy, clingy babies will resolve a lot of heart ache and help you get more sleep.

Happy Birthday, Dylan.



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