A few weeks ago, I had a nagging sore throat for days. The sore throat wasn’t enough to interfere with my life, but it was annoying. I didn’t feel ill in any other way. I had no other symptoms pointing to allergies. I tried a few remedies and had no success. I was stumped.
Then, I bit my tongue and that was the ticket!
One of the beautiful aspects of homeopathy is taking all the symptoms into consideration at one time to find the best remedy.
Mercurius sol is one of many remedies for sore throats, and I didn’t think of it right off the bat. But, when I kept biting my already bitten tongue, the penny finally dropped. Merc sol is also well known for aphthae (small ulcers in the mouth or on the tongue) and aphthous stomatitis, a.k.a. canker sores. Aha!
The niggling pain in my throat was lessened significantly in very short order and the tender little lump on the tip of my tongue was gone. By the next day, the re-injuring of my tongue was a thing of the past and my sore throat was just a ghost of itself.
When looking for the best remedy, remember to include all the relevant information in the case. My generic, not terribly painful sore throat didn’t give me enough information to quickly find the remedy needed. In this case, I had to bite my tongue to fix my throat!
Homeopathy: An A to Z Home Handbook by Alan V. Schmukler
This was my first book on homeopathy. All those years ago, this felt like a book of magic spells that I didn’t have the ability to access. I read through it many, many times. I turned down corners and marked up all sorts of pages. I may have even tried a remedy or two, but I’m thinking I probably didn’t. I was too nervous. It felt completely forbidden and a little scary.
In reality, it’s a straight forward book with good, useable information.
Maybe the introduction scared me off. Way back in 2006, Schmukler says, “I call this a handbook for survival, because in the coming years we may find ourselves in survival situations for the following reasons:
1. Natural disasters
3. Antibiotic-resistant infections
[Where he writes, “The medical system could easily be overwhelmed by thousands of cases of untreatable infections.” That sounds familiar now that we have lived through 2020!]
4. Exotic diseases
5. Chemical or drug sensitivity
6. Genetic engineering
7. No medical insurance"
Maybe this list was too heavy for my relatively young and naïve self when I first found this book and homeopathy was completely foreign to me. I’ve made it to 2021 and am a little wiser to the ways of the world now. But, even before the nightmare of the last 18 months I had discovered the full importance of homeopathy in all these potential scenarios as well as every day life.
Chapter 1 is a nice explanation of homeopathy, why you would choose it, what it does and a brief history. Chapter 2 dives right into the rules for using the remedies and taking the case.
Chapter 3 starts the nitty gritty. Beginning with “Abscess” and closing out with “Yellow Fever,” he doesn’t quite make it all the way through the alphabet (that's because Zika wasn't widely known in 2006!) but the ailments he includes are meatier than other, similar books (as one might expect when one is writing a book for survival situations).
For each ailment he includes a brief description, followed immediately by a list of suggested remedies, each described in just a few lines. He keeps it simple and succinct. He also suggests a few starred remedies which are highly indicated for each condition.
Example from Homeopathy: Ailments A to Z, pages 198-199:
A sprain is an injury to the ligament around a joint. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and sometimes bruising.
* Arnica: Immediately after the injury.
* Rhus tox: Stiffness and pain, which is worse after rest and better from continued motion. Must keep shifting position.
Bryonia: Worse from any motion, better from pressure, better from lying on the affected part.
Ruta: Tendons, especially the ankle, heel and wrist. Repetitive motion syndrome. Worse after rest.
Hypericum: When nerves are damaged and there is much pain.”
You can’t get much clearer than those quick descriptions to get you on your way to healing.
Chapter 4 is a nice addition of “Organ Remedies” not often found in most “consumer” homeopathy books. Chapter 5 is “Remedy Description,” also known as a Materia Medica in homeopathy-speak.
“Pregnancy and Birth,” “Preventing Illness with Homeopathy,” “First Aid Remedies for Specific Occupations and Activities,” “Economizing: Making Your Remedies Last Forever” are chapters that definitely separate this book from its neighbors on the book shelf.
Schmukler rounds out the book with “Homeopathy Around the World” and “How to Use a Repertory” (which is basically a book of symptoms) and includes a mini-repertory. He finishes the book up with “Remedies for Your Home Kit,” which of course has a nod to some unusual remedies for when the survival situations get tough.
Schmukler, A.V. (2006). Homeopathy : an A to Z home handbook. Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications.
While hiking this weekend, I stepped on a twig. Actually, it was bigger than a twig. Does that make it a small branch? Regardless, it snapped and poked 4 holes into my calf. It was less than pleasant.
I cleaned it out with soap and water and it no longer looked as bad as it did when I was in the woods. Nothing appeared to be stuck in there.
I then applied Boiron's Calendula cream and put a band-aid over it. The pain stopped pretty quickly.
If it had been worse, I would have considered either Ledum palustre or Hypericum perforatum. Both of these remedies are the "go-to" remedies for puncture wounds.
How to decide between them?
Hypericum is particular for nerve rich areas (finger tips, toes, tailbone).
Ledum is greatly relieved by cold.
Hypericum has shooting pains.
Ledum has bruising and swelling.
This is not to say a Hypericum wound can't have bruising, but that would be a secondary consideration after shooting pains and nerve-y pains.
I got off easy with my twig snap, but having a remedy kit with me meant I was prepared for most eventualities.
We have an old and delightful dog. Scratch that. We have a dog whose age is unknown but suspected to be old and he is mostly delightful except when he leaves dollops on the floor. Which, appears to be happening less frequently now, I am relieved to say.
Rufus is a big dog, a Great Pyrenees/Mastiff mix. Due to a suspected hard life prior to his arrival with us, at 130 pounds, he's not as big as he might otherwise be. This big fellow likes to sleep under the table on the screen porch. This is also where we find most of the dollops. I suspect that they just kind of fall out when he's trying to get out from under there.
Here is how we have approached the problem: Aloe socotrina 200, once daily to address the (suspected) involuntary stool. And, because in homeopathy, (as in life), it is important to remove any maintaining causes which may be contributing to a problem, we now slide the table to an angle at night to help him get out from under it easier but still giving him enough cover to feel safe.
The dollops were less frequent almost immediately and (touch wood) there haven't been any now for a couple of weeks after they had been there, waiting for us, every morning and sometimes multiple times a day, including when he had not been struggling to get out from under the table.
Aloe socotrina, the common aloe plant, is a strong rectal remedy. It can be helpful (in humans as well as big dogs and other creatures) with diarrhea, especially when there is a sense of urgency with rumbling and gurgling and the feeling of insecurity when passing gas and it is suggested when "every morning, on rising, has a hasty desire for stool" (Murphy 2006).
At the risk of anthropomorphizing old Rufus … on the mental/emotional level, Aloe socotrina can present with ill humor, discontentment and (here's the truly human-like moment) "dissatisfied and angry about himself." We never shamed him, just cleaned it up and got on with the day, but he would sit and watch us with his head on his paws, looking, (dare I say it?), a little upset with himself.
It's a tricky business pretending to know what's in your dog's mind. There is, however, no pretending to know what's going on when the dollops have all but disappeared.