For many years I have enjoyed teaching people how to use natural medicines to support their health and the health of their families. Over time it has become easier if we could put together a small kit of useful remedies so that whenever someone in the family is ill they could quickly and easily access what they need. So what would you include in a natural medicine kit?
Each family or individual will have different needs based on what they tend to be prone to in terms of illness so you may want to pick and choose from this list to put together the best options for you. Ideally you want to include support for stomach upsets, coughs and colds and common injuries.
For those families who are adventurous or simply more accident prone then it is important that you include some remedies for bumps, bruises and sprains. In this group usually we would include some homeopathic medicines as well as some topical creams for quick relief.
Bumps and bruises respond well to Arnica, ideally internally as a homeopathic medicine in the form of tablets or small pills plus as a topical cream or gel (which absorbs quickly). Arnica is useful for reducing bruising and swelling and would work well given shortly after the injury. Dosing for acute injuries usually needs to be 3-5 times daily to minimise the extent of bruising or swelling.
If the individual has sprained an ankle or wrist then start with the Arnica to minimise the swelling and follow up with Rhus Tox or Ruta homeopathically. Rhus Tox is better indicated for sprains where initially they are stiff but once they start moving they tend to have less pain. Generally I would recommend start with Rhus Tox three to four times a day and then switch to Ruta if you don’t get good improvement after two to three days.
Another cream that is useful to include is one based on Calendula for scratches and cuts. Weleda make creams with a beautiful texture and they are easy to apply. Don’t use a Calendula based cream on an open sore but use it after its sealed to improve healing.
Coughs and Colds
Generally the ideal is to gently support the immune system to ensure that it can respond to the bug. Naturopathically high dose Vitamin C and Zinc can be a good start and then depending on its location then further support may be needed. Dosing with Vitamin C its preferable to give lower doses more often, so starting at 500mg every few hours can be a good way to dose. Good options from the pharmacy can include Sambucol lozenges which can provide relief for a scratchy sore throat or an irritating cough. The active ingredient is Elderberry so it is very useful for the cold symptoms as it supports the immune system and also has an antiviral action. The advantage of Sambucol is that it actually tastes much nicer than many other pharmacy options.
Homeopathically you look at matching the current symptom picture to the remedies. When you are first feeling unwell and unsure what has started a few doses of Aconite 30c may stop it developing further but you need to use it early in the piece. Its also indicated if you have been chilled or out in the cold and then start coughing or sneezing as soon as you go inside.
If your nose is dripping like a tap but its still clear mucous then Allium Cepa would be a good option. For those who cough because of a post nasal drip which is really quite irritating then consider Nux Vomica. This is usually given with “ripe” colds or often when symptoms have persisted for a little while. Where its more of a barking cough and the mucous is yellowish then Hepar Sulph would be indicated.
Sometimes however you start with yellowish mucous and coughing in the morning whereas in the afternoon its clearer and symptoms keep shifting, this means that Pulsatilla may be more useful.
With any homeopathic medicine its ideal to give it 3-4 times a day for a couple of days to decide if it’s the right remedy. Usually there will be reasonable improvement over that time.
One of the most common types of stomach problems is food poisoning, which is usually only symptomatic for 24-48 hours. Typically the best idea is to allow the body to remove the toxins and make sure hydration is adequate. Then re-introduce food slowly focussing on bland foods initially. Taking a prebiotic called Saccrmyces Boulardii can be useful in reducing the length of symptoms.
Homeopathic remedies that can be helpful include Arsenicum Album for any food poisoning symptoms, this may include vomiting or diarrhea as well as nausea. If the major symptom is nausea then Nux Vomica is often helpful and it its more like Bali Belly with everything shooting straight through then look at Podophyllum.
By Danielle Elliott
Bloating, pain & excessive gas can be a real pain in the bum……pardon the pun. These would have to be the most frequent symptoms my patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) & digestive dysfunction report to me. These symptoms can make work hard to concentrate on, clothes hard to pick out in the morning and social situations awkward & anxiety provoking.
But there are ways to help relieve these symptoms & I feel Natural Medicine truly excels in this area. That is because it helps to deal with the underlying causes that could be causing your bloating, pain & gas.
Digestion actually begins in the brain & not the mouth or stomach as most of us would think. The brain is the one that detects if we are ready to eat and then stimulates saliva production. This is the first chemical digestion that helps us with breaking down carbohydrates in the mouth. Being in a ‘rest & digest’ state before meals is important for this saliva production to occur, as well as blood being redirected to the digestive area to help these organs work.
Mindful eating also means we do a better job at chewing our food, this is the first mechanical digestion of our food. Chewing enough is important as it gives more surface area for the digestive enzymes to work on. Digesting our food really well, means you are able to absorb nutrients effectively, it means less irritation to the immune system and that the bacteria in your gut have access to the right food at the right time. This definitely leads to less bloating & gas.
Some ways to eat mindfully are, taking some deep breaths before, eating at a table, eating in a calm environment without technology or work to distract you, chewing well and tasting all the flavours.
As we touched on in Mindful Meals, digesting your food fully reduces symptoms throughout the digestive system. Sometimes over time our body can produce less digestive enzymes & this can create many symptoms including pain, gas, bloating, reflux, heartburn, diarrhoea & constipation. Some of the reasons for a decreased production of enzymes can include stress, eating when rushed, age, dehydration & medications like acid suppressants.
You can support your digestive system by taking a digestive enzyme supplement to replace the enzymes you are lacking. Most comprehensive formulas will help you break down carbohydrates, fibre & protein. You always want to look at ways of increasing your own enzyme production too.
Specific strains of probiotics have been studied & proven to reduce bloating, gas production, inflammation, functional abdominal pain & can support the normal function of the gut. It is very important to choose the right strains, as only then do you know that you will get the function you are after.
For example one of the probiotics I commonly use is Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 19738 , due to its proven effectiveness in clinical trials. If you took Lactobacillus reuteri without the same letters & numbers following the name, then you can’t expect to get the same results, as you are not using the same strain.
Would you believe that constipation is something I consider with every patient? Even those with a daily bowel motion or even diarrhoea! I have seen many patients experiencing gas & pain who feel they have good evacuation daily but on x-ray they have impacted stool & constipation. I have also seen children with diarrhoea because they are so blocked up only liquid stool can pass the hard masses.
Constipation is one of the number one causes for gas & bloating & natural therapies offer many ways of dealing with this. Lifestyle & dietary measures like enough movement, water, vegetables & fruit & addressing stress are very effective. I also use fibres that normalise bowel function, specific strains of probiotics and herbs that assist forward movement of the bowel like ginger.
Calm your nerves
As previously discussed we want to be in ‘rest & digest’ when eating, the other state we can live in is ‘fight or flight’. This is where our nervous system is excited and we are producing stress hormones. Living in this state is ok some of the time. It can help us perform better, like before an exam, presentation or big game. But if we spend too much time in this state it can reduce digestive capacity, change the forward movement of the gut, have negative effects on the microbiome (community of bacteria in the gut) & increase the production of inflammatory chemicals. This can all increase bothersome symptoms.
So what can we do to support your nervous system? I prescribe herbs that support happy hormone production and make patients more resilient to stress. Herbs like Withania, Rhodiala, Passionflower & Lavender can help. Gentle movement, yoga, deep breathing, gardening & meditation are all other ways to support your nervous system to live in ‘rest & digest’ more often.
As you can see there are so many wonderful natural ways of helping you reduce your symptoms of bloating, pain & gas. It is just a matter of working out which ones work best for you. This will of course depend on the underlying cause of why you are experiencing functional digestive issues.
Please note that more serious diseases should not be overlooked. These symptoms can be due to a functional problem or just as easily to a specific disease like Coeliac Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Diverticulitis. So investigation & ruling out more serious conditions is definitely advisable.
About the Author: Danielle Elliott
Danielle Elliott is a naturopath, herbalist & homeopath with a special interest in digestive complaints. She has been in clinical practice for 15 years and began specialising in gut health 9 years ago. Since then, Danielle has published a book entitled “Gluten Free and Happy”, which helps educate people with Coeliac Disease and Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity on how to optimise their digestive health and overall wellbeing. Danielle also does a lot of work with patients with SIBO and functional digestive disorders as well as running “Tummy Rescue”, an online community for patients with GI disease go to www.tummyrescue.com.au.
So, you are going to see a Homeopath. You’ve booked an appointment with a qualified and registered practitioner and are feeling anxious about it – that’s okay!
Here are the five most important things you need to know to get the most out of your first consultation and experience the healing effects of homeopathy:
- Time: It is a good idea to give yourself plenty of time for your first appointment. Your first consult will take at least 60 minutes so your homeopath can get to know you. It is very likely that you will have to fill in an intake form with your contact details. Possibly there will be a questionnaire about your health and the main reasons for your visit. Taking your case (the interview) is the single most important part of the consult. It can take a while to get through all your symptoms and your health history, so you may as well enjoy it.
- History: Once you are in the consult, it is time for you to tell your story. Homeopaths take into consideration the whole person. That includes all aspects of your life and lifestyle. You will be asked lots of weird and wonderful questions to reveal your peculiarities. Your unique story gives your homeopath the hints and clues to enable them to choose your homeopathic remedy. As there are over 3,000 remedies available, the more information you give your homeopath, the better chance they have at getting it right.
- Symptoms: Homeopaths don’t work with diseases, they work with symptoms. You will be asked to describe your condition or issue in detail. Be prepared to tell your homeopath exactly what type of symptoms you experience, what makes your condition better or worse and how it is affected by heat and cold, time of day, body position, food and drink and anything else you can think of. Your homeopath will want to know when the issue started and what was going on in your life around that time. It all helps to narrow down the medicine selection for your individual treatment plan.
- Family: A big part of what makes you who you are is your family heritage. Your homeopath will want to know the health issues that run in your family. If you can get information about your parents’ and grandparents’ health conditions, that is gold to your practitioner. It gives your homeopath a better chance at putting together the puzzle pieces of your health.
- Other stuff: Are you taking medications, nutritional supplements, natural medicines or Chinese herbs? Whatever you are on, please let your homeopath know. Homeopathy can be prescribed alongside other modalities and it is good practice for your homeopath to take it all into account. If you have any documents that are related to your condition, you might like to bring copies with you. If indicated, a physical examination might be required too.
What next? Armed with the unique picture of your health, your homeopath will now be able to prescribe a treatment. Your homeopathic treatment will support your mental, emotional and physical health. Make sure you understand how to take your remedy. No two prescriptions are alike, even for the same condition. Stay in touch with your homeopath to report any changes in your condition so your prescription can be adjusted.
And don’t forget to breathe! You are not alone. With a homeopath on your side, you are well on your way to recovery. Welcome to well-being.
Tamar Boas BA, Ad.Dip Homeopathy, Dip.Child.Serv., Access Bars® Facilitator and Yoga Instructor (Level one)
Tamar is a qualified and registered homeopath, practicing in Bundaberg, QLD, since 2014.
Tamar completed Advanced Diploma of Homeopathy with Endeavour College of Natural Health and published an article in Similia, The Australian Journal of Homoeopathic Medicine in 2016.
Tamar practices several modalities and enjoys spending her Christmas holidays volunteering at the Woodford Folk Festival Homeopathic clinic.
Visit Tamar’s website at: https://sites.google.com/tamarboas.com.au/tamar-boas/
Or visit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TamiBHomeopathy/
Meet Peter Berryman, ATMS President and homeopathic practitioner of the Clayfield Family Wellness Clinic who has been practicing natural medicine for 31 years.
Specialising in Homeopathy, Peter also advises Naturopathy. Through this approach he helps treat anything from simple health issues to chronic problems.
How did you get into Natural Medicine and why?
My older sibling works in conventional medicine so health care is significant in my family. When I was younger I remember she advised me to find a better way to practice medicine, which is what led me to find Natural Medicine.
Through my international travels, my many years of education and much clinical experience, I believe I’ve found a discipline of health care that provides a unique approach to improving the holistic health of my clients.
Tell us about your modality?
Homeopathy is a holistic and dynamic discipline that especially help with long-term health problems. This is its medical market niche. It offers to uniquely treat each client’s physical, mental, emotional, and lifestyle issues with a personalised approach to their health care.
There is a growing demand in the community from clients with chronic health issues, and there aren’t that many practitioners able to truly help them. I find homeopathy to have the least limitations in clinical practice, whilst also being the most cost effective.
Why are you passionate about Natural Medicine?
I believe Natural Medicine delivers a truly holistic approach to health care, as it looks to the core of the problem rather than just trying to treat the surface symptoms. Through this curative approach we can also help clients to prevent health problems in the future.
We mustn’t forget that Natural Medicine is a complementary discipline to work together with all other medical disciplines, including conventional medicine. What we aim to do is provide patients with the best information for them to make a well-informed choice.
The best patients are the best informed.
Find out more about the Clayfield Family Wellness Clinic, Brisbane. Visit: www.clayfieldfamilywellnessclinic.com.au
Free Homeopathic Clinic Open Day – Brisbane
Tummy bugs can be a real pain however its possible to manage them easily with homeopathic medicines and a few simple dietary strategies.
With any stomach upset it is important to keep up liquids to reduce symptoms from dehydration. Headaches in particular may indicate that the patient is not drinking enough or is losing too much fluid. Consistently heavy diarrhea and/or vomiting may lead to a dangerous change in a patient’s hydration and can require hospitalization.
The diet needs to be bland and food can be avoided for a couple of days if the patient cannot bear the thought of eating. Bland food can include rice, toast, clear soup or a banana. Avoid spicy or acidic foods until the stomach is settled.
Chronic recurring diarrhea or constipation can be a sign of food allergies or intolerances. An exclusion diet or allergy testing will help identify these foods and removal of the foods from the diet as well as treatment for the gut will minimise symptoms.
When travelling I always take along a heat stable strain of sacchrymdes boulardi which is a prebiotic. It can be very helpful at reducing your symptoms if you do pick up a stomach bug but it can also assist by attaching to bad bugs and helping them move out of your system and in that way reducing the length of the episode.
A similar benefit can be obtained by eating the local fermented food if you are staying in the area for a few weeks.
My homeopathic first aid kit consists of the following medicines and remember when choosing a homeopathic you are looking for at least 2-3 symptoms which are similar to your patient.
First remedy to think of for food poisoning or stomach flu. May not be able to bear the sight, smell or thought of food. Worse at midnight to 2am. Generally chilly and desiring frequent cold drinks. Patient may be very anxious and better for warm applications.
Patient is full of gas with flatulence and belching. Weak digestion and may be satiated after a little food. Can’t stand anything around the waist. Usually worse between 4-8pm.
Colic in children. Abdominal cramping better for warmth and pressure, often quite gassy and better for bending over.
Hangover remedy. Over indulgence in food and alcohol. Constipated or with heartburn made worse by spicy food. Grumpy irritable and workaholic people.
Better for rest or discharges.
Good remedy for Bali Belly with explosive diarrhea. Also for constipation alternating with diarrhea. Worse for acid fruits or milk. Sour smelling vomit.
Thirst for large quantities of water.