get well soon - a guide to homeopathic first aid

by The School of Homeopathy

Produced by Misha Norland in collaboration with students and graduates of The School of Homeopathy, this is a self-help guide to first aid using homeopathy. It provides an introduction to homeopathy and use of homeopathic medicines, an index of common ailments with recommend remedies to be used for various combinations of symptoms, and a brief symptom picture of common first-aid remedies. This is a very practical guide, with informative and amusing cartoons of homeopathic remedies to help you remember them.

Below is the middle section of the book looking at a selection of homeopathic remedies. This is a mini Material Medica beginning with introducing the constitutional remedies, Calcarea carbonica, Natrum muriaticum, Lycopodium clavatum and Sulphur, then continuing with descriptions of Aconitum napellus, Antimonium tartaricum, Argentum nitricum, Apis melifica, Arnica montana, Arsenicum album, Belladonna, Bryonia alba, Chamomilla vulgaris, Cantharis vesicatoria, Carbo vegetabilis, Chinchona officinalis, Drosera rotundifolia, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Ferrum phosphoricum, Ipecacuanha, Ignatia amara, Mercurius, Nux vomica, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus toxicodenron.

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Introducing the concept of four homeopathic constitutional types and the remedies suited to them

In homeopathic constitutional prescribing we look not only at the physical symptoms, but also at the mental and emotional state of the person, what the circumstances are surrounding the ailment, as well as what appears to make it better or worse. When recurring attacks are experienced for which acute remedies are selected which bring only partial relief or when they need to be often repeated, then a constitutional remedy is also worth considering. A remedy becomes constitutional when its homeopathic (like cures like) fit approaches close similarity to the person needing it. This is not dissimilar to the approach in acute prescribing, however it is in greater depth and takes an over-arching view of the person, asking. “what makes them tick; what kind of a person are they?”

We are concentrating here mainly on childhood and adolescent ailments, and give below some remedy ‘pictures’ that may fit such a person; if so, give two doses of 200c, one at night, and the other in the morning. If you are unsure, or are dealing with an adult, it is suggested that you consult a qualified Homeopath. Prescribing at this level is a detailed process and experimentation with limited knowledge is obviously not a good idea.

Calcarea carbonica
If your child is a late developer, has been slow to teeth, to crawl and walk - a plodder, not a pusher, then this could be their constitutional homeopathic remedy. Like the oyster from which this remedy is prepared, they are similar to the vulnerable creature within the shell. Homeopathy abounds with such comparisons of states because this is how it works, like curing like because of intrinsic similarity.

Children needing this remedy are usually plump and easy going, happy to watch others or to play by themselves. Their heads may sweat at night, and their bowel movements and perspiration usually smells sour. They can also go without passing a motion for several days, without any apparent ill effects. They like bland foods, especially soft boiled eggs, milk and ice cream, although these may disagree with them. They generally dislike meat. They like cold food and though they are chilly, they do not enjoy hot baths. Cold weather can aggravate them, and they like their hats and scarves. They are prone to coughs and colds, swollen glands, tonsillitis and ear infections. Although they may be slow learners, these children are determined and independent and can be very stubborn. They may suffer from nerves and fear when they are unwell. They are afraid of the dark, and may wake up screaming from nightmares; also they have a fear of some animals, for example mice and dogs. They avoid the rough and tumble of the playground, at sport, they are apt to sprain their ankles. They are not outspoken in class, fearing that others will notice their confusion. Older children may develop a fear of death and become fascinated by religious ideas and the supernatural. This remedy should be considered if the child has had repeated fevers which have been helped by Belladonna.

Worse: mental and physical effort, cold/wet weather, on waking, morning and after midnight, full and new moon
Better: lying down, dry weather, hot applications, rubbing


Lycopodium clavatum
Do your child’s coughs develop easily into bronchitis? Are they cross in the mornings, and have a large head and a thin weak body? Lycopodium children prefer books to football boots, and are happy to be alone, reading, as long as they know someone else is around. They have fears of the dark, of being alone, and are often scared of new people and new situations. They fear failure and that they will not reach their goal. Once they are established in whatever they do, however, then others tend to rely on them because they do it very well. Others can find them bossy and self-opinionated. They need regular meals, or they may feel faint, and prefer hot food and drinks and love sweets. However, they tend to fill up easily and can suffer from wind and constipation. They are chilly, yet love fresh air and will not keep a hat on. They are not keen on the sun, however. Their swollen glands and tonsillitis will generally be more prominent on the right side.

The homeopathic similarity between person and plant (Lycopodium is a creeping moss), is best understood by noting that during the carboniferous era, long before the age of dinosaurs, Lycopodiums were huge, the forefathers of giant ferns, but now still hanging on, are small mosses. This is homeopathic to the type of person who has issues of their self confidence and may develop nerdy characteristics to survive the competition on the sports ground, or later on, in the competitive field of finding a loved one: brains (hanging on, diminished but ruggedly persevering and studying) in place of brawn (as massive as trees).

Worse: right side, 4-8 pm, morning, after midnight, cold and cold food or drinks
Better: cool open air, uncovering, especially the head, warm drinks, wet weather


Natrum muriaticum
These children often suffer from headaches, particularly during the school day; another of their common symptoms are colds, with a clear, salty mucus discharge, a little like the white of an egg, with much sneezing. They are sensitive, and may develop allergies, especially hay fever, and can have cracked lips. Sensitivity runs throughout their Homeopathic picture - they are very easily hurt and because they are aware of vulnerability they are careful not to hurt another’s feelings. They do not find it easy to express how upset they are and will often stay in their rooms, dwelling on painful events, listening to music, as this generally helps them to let go a little. They are actually better left alone when in an upset state, as consolation can make them cry, which they find humiliating. They would find it easier to write a letter or a poem to a friend who had hurt them, but they would probably not post it. For these reasons it is difficult to know the heart of a Natrum muriaticum. This is a major love disappointment and grief remedy. Also, they are often claustrophobic, and can develop an obsession about people breaking in. Another obsession is for salt, which they add to meals, and aversion to wheat and bread.

Once again the homeopathic likeness is easily discerned. This remedy is prepared from table-salt reminding us of salty tears, tearful persons who dry up and cannot cry, who have colds, with a clear, salty mucus discharge, a little like the white of an egg, who love eating salt, who dry out, having cracked lips and who most characteristically, are over sensitive to emotions, we could write, “like the immeasurable salty seas of the soul.”

Worse: heat, sun, seaside, sympathy, mental effort, violent emotions, mornings
Better: fresh open air, dry weather, moderate exercise in cold air, cold bathing, rest


The most noticeable thing about the character who may need this constitutional homeopathic remedy is they have a strong tendency to be scruffy. Even if they have just had a bath, they still manage to look unclean. There are two types of Sulphur: one is outgoing, strong, solid and the other quiet, skinny and unsure of themselves, but both types take little care of their appearance. Both types can have red, dry, flaking skin, which can itch and burn and is worse from washing. They often have dry, unruly hair. They are hungry and thirsty, particularly in the late morning and will crave strong flavoured food, fat and sweets. Milk disagrees with them. They commonly have diarrhoea which has them jumping out of bed for relief first thing in the morning. The fatter child may be constipated. Their runny noses make their skin sore. They feel the heat and often stick their feet out of the bedclothes at night. They are very untidy and they hate to throw old things away because they think that all their possessions are better than anyone else’s. They want to know all the answers and can be very demanding, yet they do learn quickly. They are impatient, hurried and restless, wanting to do things themselves. They will lap up any praise you may give them. Teenagers can be lazy and full of their own opinions. A peculiarity: they hate to stand.

Worse: heat, 11 am, at night, damp, sunshine, scratching
Better: movement, open air, dry warm weather


Homeopathic remedies often used in acute states and for first aid prescribing

This is prepared from the poisonous Monkshood, but is rendered into a wonderful and safe healing medicine thanks to homeopathic pharmacy. These people, often babies and children, usually appear frightened, tossing about and the bedclothes may be thrown off. They may express a fear of dying, unaccountable fear, palpitation and tingling sensations throughout the body, but mainly the extremities. These symptoms come suddenly, as if out of nowhere. If restlessness, heat and redness are observed, ask yourself or the person if they have been out in the cold, especially on a windy day, or have recently had a fright of some kind. This remedy has gained its homeopathic laurels in the nursery as well as in disaster situations such as after earth-quakes. There may be a desire for cold water or bitter drinks.

Worse: from being out in the cold, midnight, tobacco smoke, light and noise
Better: open air, rest


Antimonium tartaricum
For respiratory problems with rattling mucus in wind-pipe, sleepiness and clammy sweat. The child cannot bring up the mucus, the cough turning into gasping and suffocation. Also for pustular skin eruptions, such as occur in chicken pox (cf. Mercurius & Rhus Toxicendron).

Worse: lying down, in cold, damp weather, in the evening and at night
Better: sitting up, from expectoration


Argentum nitricum
For symptoms arising from an over-active imagination. This is homeopathy’s great for stage fright – the high wire act. Great fear of heights. Claustrophobia. Anticipatory states, easily panicked when a time is set, yet impulsive and hurried. Headaches, often in one half of the head, from emotional causes and overwork. Many stomach symptoms: painful distention and belching; diarrhoea after eating and from apprehension.

Worse: warmth and stuffiness, sweets and sugar, from emotions, left side
Better: cool fresh air, belching, from pressure (the headache)


Bee stings, or any swelling which has this look about it, of red rosy , puffy skin under tension. Also for kidney pain, swollen glands, tonsillitis and mumps. The person will be thirstless and complain of stinging, burning pains with restlessness and an aversion to being touched. They cannot bear heat and need fresh air. A state may arise which is dazed, almost stupefied, in which movements are clumsy. Later, in severe cases with brain inflammation, there may be shrieking, boring the head into the pillow and screaming.

Worse: all heat/hot drinks/baths, right side, late afternoon, after sleeping
Better: open air, cold baths, uncovering


For accidents and shock. If given immediately, it will prevent bruising, if given later it will still be a great help for pain, or for bruised aching, following heavy physical activity. This is probably the best known homeopathic remedy, being a first for accidents ranging from children’s bruises to life threatening concussions.

Worse: being touched, even the thought of being touched. For this reason they
may tell you that they are well even when they are obviously traumatised
Better: lying down/head low, movement


Arsenicum Album
May be needed for sudden collapse or when the weakness and exhaustion seems out of proportion to the complaint, as indeed is the person’s concern over their health. They are very cold, very worried and very hard to please; yet have a burning desire for someone to be around, for reassurance, for their worst, and usually unspoken, fear is that they will die alone. Their anguish drives them from place to place, and if they wake at night, as they often do, usually between 2 - 3 am, they pace about. They complain of burning pains. They ask for water which they drink only in small sips. Should they catch a cold, then their runny noses will burn, or if they suffer diarrhoea, as from food poisoning, to which they are prone, it will be offensive and it will leave them feeling sore and totally exhausted. In bygone days, those who feared to be victims of arsenical revenge took refuge in the safety of regularly ingesting the smallest quantities to inure themselves. Like protecting against like - crude homeopathy in action!

Worse: after midnight, over-ripe fruit, bad meat/shellfish, becoming
cold (but wants window open)
Better: hot drinks, warmth, head propped up, sympathy and reassurance


If ever a homeopathic potency turned a poison in crude form into a safe children’s medicine, proving the homeopathic principle of dynamization, then this is it. This person is red hot! Their heat radiates; with the high fever there is crimson redness; often there is swelling and throbbing of affected or injured parts. Usually, the heat is concentrated in the head and torso and the feet and hands may be icy cold. The pupils may be dilated and a drugged expression may be evident, perhaps with hallucinations of wild animals or monsters. These fever terrors may be so intense that the child does not recognise the parent at whom it stares with dilated pupils in fright. They may even try to escape from you! The state can come on very suddenly and is often triggered by being out in the cold and wet, or after having a hair cut. Usually there is a marked lack of thirst or sweat.

Worse: 3 pm - midnight, sudden movement, light, touch, noise, lying down
Better: lying propped up, keeping still


This is a bear with a sore head, whose headaches are so terrible that any movement, even eye movements, are impossible. Movement aggravates is a general theme of this remedy, when they have any pain, which is described as bursting or stitching, they will often feel better for holding on to it, to prevent movement. They have a marked desire to be left alone and are very irritable. They drink copious amounts of cold water (and want you around to provide these) but their lips and tongue will still feel dry. The mental symptom, which is often at the root of their acute symptoms, is money worries and an irrational fear of being destitute. This really can play on their minds and might force them out of bed despite their obvious suffering.

Worse: least movement, eating, hot weather, morning on waking, 9 pm
Better: lying on painful part, rest


This is the most common homeopathic teething remedy. One cheek red and hot, other cheek pale and cold. The child screams constantly and wants to be carried everywhere. The pain is unbearable. They will demand various things, and then throw them away; they are impossible to please. They do not even want you to look at them. Diarrhoea may have the appearance of chopped egg and spinach. But this is equally a brilliant pain reliever for adults when the key idea, ‘cannot bear it’ is there, such as in toothache, when irritability and rudeness predominate. Ailments from anger, coffee and narcotics.

Worse: teething, cold air, being looked at
Better: being carried, cold compress


This is the first remedy to think of after a scald or burn, where the affected area is red and blistered; so painful that it drives the person to distraction. This remedy is also good for sunburn and for insect bites where the pain is intensely burning. Homeopathic burn ointment contains it. The pains may also be cutting, raw and smarting and can be due to acute inflammations, not only on the skin, but in the urinary and sexual organs too, for instance after forced sex (cf. Staphisagria). Violent burning and cutting pains in bladder and urethra and constant, intolerable urging; before, during and after urination. Pain in the bladder is worse drinking even the smallest sip of water, or from drinking coffee.

Worse: urinating, drinking cold drinks, bright objects, sound of water, touch on larynx, coffee
Better: warmth, rest, rubbing


Carbo Vegetabilis
The medical use of charcoal (Carbo Vegetabilis) in treating abdominal wind is well known. The flatulence is extreme with a feeling of great fullness. They cannot bear tight clothing around their waist and they are temporarily better by bringing up wind. Other keynote symptoms of this remedy are extreme weakness, low vitality, sluggishness, indolence, coldness; sensation as if the blood had stagnated; blueness from lack of oxygen, better for fanning and desire for fresh air with icy coldness of limbs. Causes may be shocks, heart attack or accidents or the after effects of exhausting diseases including a protracted bout of whooping cough. This remedy has been dubbed, ‘the corpse reviver’. The greatest homeopath, so it has been mooted, gave the highest potency of this remedy to Lazarus!

Worse: warm wet weather (sultry weather), depletions, high living and rich food, extremes of weather, old age, suppressions
Better: burping, cool air, being fanned, putting feet up


This is the very first remedy ever proved by the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann. He was living in Edinburgh earning money by translating at Edinburgh University when he decided to try China for himself to see what happens – the rest, as they say, is history. Like Carbo. Veg. this remedy is useful for excessive bloating of the abdomen where bringing up wind does not bring relief. Often the troubles, of whatever nature, come on after loss of fluids, this could be from blood loss, excessive menstruation, prolonged breastfeeding, extreme diarrhoea, which cause exhaustion, weakness, headaches with bursting, throbbing pain, extending from the back to the whole head; stomach disturbances; anaemia. People needing China are worse for light touch, rubbing or caressing, but better for hard pressure. They suffer from general oversensitivity, perhaps even from paranoia, feeling themselves to be harassed, unfortunate , that the world is hostile. They may be sleepless from over abundant ideas and plans.

Worse: loss of fluids, touch, regularly, alternate days, wind, cold, draughts,
summer and autumn
Better: hard pressure, loose clothing, bending double, warmth


One of a trio of homeopathic remedies that have a strong effect on croup. Hepar sulph and Spongia are the other two. Drosera is homeopathically indicated for croup, whooping cough and other lung disorders that produce these symptoms: a maddening tickling in the throat with spasmodic coughing that can lead to vomiting, the person struggles to breathe, and has cold sweats. Stitching pains in the chest worse for coughing. The coughing spasms come every 2-3 hours. The patient can be frightened of being alone when ill, yet suspicious that friends and family are deceiving them at the same time.

Worse: after midnight, lying down, warmth, cold food, laughing, vomiting
Better: open air


This person will complain of aching all over, and may feel as if their bones are broken, particularly in their neck, back and legs. The ache extends even to their eyeballs. They have shaking chills but desire ice cream, and acid drinks; beware of cold water though - it makes them vomit.

Worse: cold air, 7-9 am, movement, smell or sight of food
Better: after vomiting, conversation


Ferrum phos
For the early stages of many illnesses which may take several days to develop. They tend to be flopped out. The person is flushed, but not feverish. Face alternately red and pale. They are irritable, excitable, but changeable, and may become depressed. This person will usually have been very affectionate, yet strong willed, even dictatorial, when healthy. Ferrum phos is one of Dr Schussler’s Cell Salts, a user-friendly subset of the complete homeopathic Materia Medica.

Worse: 4-6 am, night, motion, noise, cold drinks
Better: slow movement, lying down


This remedy is used in large doses as an emetic, in homeopathic doses to cure persistent nausea. Ask, has this person overeaten rich foods, particularly pork or ice cream? Perhaps they have been in the sun, or been made angry or indignant over a situation. Are they complaining of feeling constantly nauseous or being constantly sick, or do they have an excruciating stomach ache, and are sulking, irritable and easily offended? If they have these symptoms together with no appetite or thirst, a noticeable improvement from open air, and worsening when in a stuffy room, and a clean tongue - think Ipecacuanha.

Worse: slightest movement, overeating, nausea worse from stooping
Better: open air, rest, cold drinks


This is the first homeopathic remedy to think of for teenagers, or anyone becoming hysterical after bad news, grief, fright, worry, disappointed love, jealousy, or old spinal injuries. Affects the nervous system producing on the physical level spasms, twitches and tremors, contradictory symptoms such as sensation of a lump in the throat better for swallowing. On the mental and emotional level this is seen in hysteria with emotional outbursts that are very quickly controlled: only tears in eyes, short sobs, sighing, constant swallowing, twitching around mouth, silent brooding. They may go off food or eat incessantly.

Worse: emotions, grief, worry, fright, shock, loss of loved one, air, odours, coffee, tobacco, yawning, waking, standing
Better: movement, urinating, company, swallowing, deep breathing, eating


Just about everything aggravates this person: hot, cold, night, covering up, uncovering and so on. Their temperature is unstable and so are their moods. At their worst, they feel so angry they could kill. They may have a keen sense of injustice, feeling that the world is their enemy. They have a bad taste in their mouths and offensive breath, even the discharge from their nose smells, and their saliva stains the pillow yellow. They are very thirsty and sweat and dribble a lot at night. Mercury in dental fillings can cause much mischief, while the homeopathic Mercurious can help repair this damage. Also removal of amalgam is recommended when Mercurious symptoms continue after repeated dosing with the homeopathically prepared remedy.

Worse: heat, cold, damp, extremes of temperature, warmth of bed, uncovering, night
Better: rest, lying down


Nux vomica
Here is another touchy customer, irritated by every little thing, noise, light, touch and even smells can trigger a tantrum. They think they know best, and can be very bossy! They over-indulge, which is where a lot of their complaints begin. Whether old or teenage, they like drinking, drugs, and rock and roll. This is the typical hangover state. Homeopaths describe these people as choleric, zealous types and recognize that their irritability can be intensified from overwork, also from prescribed drugs. It can also develop from being out in the cold. They have sick stomachs, yet although they retch they cannot bring anything up. They find it difficult to pass a stool. They want lots of warm drinks and to be kept in a warm and quiet room.

Worse: morning, cold open air, uncovering, exertion, anger, noise, overeating
Better: heat, evening, rest, damp weather


This is another substance tamed by homeopaths. Used in the manufacture of fertilizers, matches and incendiary bombs, and active as ATP in mitochondria and as the major cellular energy-transport mechanism, we see this theme of activity in those persons who will not show how unwell they are until they collapse. You will often see children needing this remedy playing happily with a high temperature or a stomach ache. Like Phosphorus in ATP, where energy is moved from one site to another, those needing homeopathic Phosphorus, love company and communication. They are warm and pleasant to be with, having a sympathetic and affectionate nature and they thrive on reassurance. They are imaginative. As twilight draws near they may become more anxious, and weak - they fear the dark, ghosts, storms or that something horrible may happen. They ask for icy drinks, or ice cream which is vomited as soon as it warms in the stomach. Often their voices are hoarse which also gets worse in the evening. Their chests are tight and they can have difficulty talking especially when they are out in the cold. They suffer from upset tummies, and have gushing diarrhoea which burns, and they feel sick.

Worse: evening, lying on the left side, excitement, thunderstorms, change of weather, physical or mental exertion
Better: massage, company, sleep, even a short nap, cold food or drink


These people often feel alone and need a friend to share with. They are affectionate, emotional, yielding and tearful; almost always better for a cuddle and kind words. They can be manipulative to get attention. A prominent feature of this remedy is the changeable nature of the illness and the person. They find it difficult to pin down their emotions and symptoms. Homeopaths often find that blue eye and blond girls respond well to Pulsatilla. Children can get into this condition after parties when they may have had quarrels with friends and feel left out, or have overeaten cakes and pastries. They always want lots of sympathy and cuddles and to be in their parent’s bed, to be reassured when they feel alone and scared over the monsters which may be lurking in the dark. Often they feel the cold, yet are absolutely intolerant of any form of heat; they crave fresh air. Their catarrh is thick, and yellow or green, they are prone to middle ear infections after colds, and if they get their feet wet they can gets bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea. They are usually thirstless, despite having a dry mouth.

Worse: twilight, morning, after eating, warm rooms
Better: cold/fresh air, cold food/drink, after a good cry, gentle motion


Rhus tox
This is the most common homeopathic remedy for chicken pox where the blisters look like small jellies on red plates and itch like mad, better for heat and hot bathing. It should also be the first port of call after sprains and strains and rheumatic pains which come on after being out in the cold and damp. The person aches and feels stiff, which is worse at the beginning of a movement but eases up with continued motion. Since the pains tend to return if they stop moving, they become restless, and are generally miserable. Desire to stretch, especially during sciatica, backache or rheumatic pains. Apprehension at night. Feels threatened, without knowing why. Homeopaths have commented that when in health, these people are usually family and community minded, looking after the interests of others as if they were their own. They commonly have a great thirst for cold water or cold milk, and may have a taste of blood in their mouth. In stomach conditions, check the tip of the tongue for a red triangular tip for confirmation.

Worse: when first moving, cold and damp
Better: continued motion



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