This is a subject I’ve written about in the past and I’m going to update just because it’s interesting!
Those of you who use homeopathy regularly probably realise that a lot of the first aid remedies are made from plants, with a few mineral remedies included in there, such as the tissue salts and things like Arsenicum Album (Arsenic) and Hepar Sulph (Calcium Sulphide), and some animal remedies like Sepia (cuttlefish) and Lachesis (bushmaster snake).
Homeopaths are pretty interested in what substances can cure what and are continually undertaking “provings”. This is the process of giving a new (and sometimes old) homeopathic remedy to a healthy person to see what symptoms are produced. Knowing what symptoms a remedy can produce, shows us what the remedy could cure in a sick person. We obviously don’t do this for long enough to make the “prover” really sick but just to elicit the symptom picture (often on the mental/emotional level) of the remedy!
Because “like cures like”, we know that the symptoms produced in a proving are the symptoms that can be cured in a sick person. Sometimes a proving can even be curative for the prover, where the remedy they are taking is actually the remedy they need for their own health issue!
Food is a big subject these days; what we can eat and what we can’t, what we love and what we hate, and what we are allergic or intolerant to. Consequently there are many homeopathic remedies derived from everyday foods and here are a few of them just for fun!
Allium Cepa (red onion) – Allium is a great representation of the layers of life, which is often what homeopathic treatment will help shed. Cut an onion in half and look at the layers which can be peeled right down to the core. Apart from this great illustration of homeopathy, Allium is also a commonly used remedy for colds and allergies and if we think of the effect of peeling an onion on our eyes and nose, we know exactly what symptoms Allium Cepa is going to help!
Coffea Cruda (unroasted coffee) – Anything an overdose of caffeine can cause (insomnia, excitability, oversensitivity), homeopathic Coffea can help and this is another remedy I often use as an example of how homeopathy works. My favourite Coffea symptom is “ailments from excessive joy” which usually results in all of the above – like the euphoria after giving birth where you can’t sleep for excitement but really need to! Great for that insomnia where your nerves are jangly and you are wide awake as if you’ve drunk a gallon of coffee.
Saccharum Officinale (cane sugar) – This is a great children’s remedy (although I’ve also used it very successfully in adults). These kids are irritable, whingy individuals who are quite difficult to live with and who underneath feel unloved despite often living in a very loving family. They are sensitive little souls in all senses. They are worse all round when they are hungry and alternate between wanting to be cuddled and aversion to being touched. These patients have little appetite and just want to snack, usually with a major sugar craving, although in some cases they have that symptom of being a bottomless pit when it comes to food, so it’s big for comfort eating. There is a tendency to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and they can be prone to candida, as well as dryness on all levels.
Chocolate (made from . . . chocolate of course!!) is another remedy I use a lot, particularly in hormonal cases where there is irritability, desire to have space from the family and craving for chocolate. It is very similar to Sepia but I feel deeper acting like Saccharum. It has a similar underlying feeling of not being loved (nourished) but in a more prickly, unsociable way. These patients can actually have quite an aversion to their children when in this space!
Lac Defloratum (skim milk) – Interestingly, like Saccharum and Chocolate, with which there is obviously a connection in our society, Lac Def also has a feeling of neglect which originates from the early years and the relationship with the mother, and then extends to feeling neglected by friends and community. If you consider the source material, we can understand this is the feeling of the calf which is taken away from its mother or vice versa. Confidence is very low in this remedy and they feel they have no voice. There is allergy and aversion to milk and it is sometimes used to desensitise people to milk when they have an allergy.
Natrum Muriaticum (table salt) – One of my all-time favourite constitutional remedies, which is usually a layer the patient has built up over time to protect a sensitive soul. Like the hard salt pans from which it comes, the patient is walled off and hard to get to know, and often the only strong symptom or experience that comes up is a deep grief far back in the past. Sometimes the grief belongs to the parent and not the child, which is like a trick question! The Natrum Mur patient can manifest a very wide variety of symptoms, but key is usually craving for salt or salty foods, a strong thirst, deep grief and an excessively serious and responsible nature.
Oriza Sativa (organic brown rice) – This is a relatively new remedy and one I haven’t used often, but find interesting because of the rise in allergies and digestive complaints in recent years. Rice in its natural state contains an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, some protein and the amino acid lysine, but when milled to make it white, it loses so much of its nutritional value. Brown rice is easily digested, high in insoluble fibre and therefore helpful in gastric and intestinal care – although I do come across people who find it hard to tolerate. Homeopathically it works on the whole alimentary canal, calming inflammation, cleansing the blood and lymph, and aiding in balancing nutritional needs. It’s a big remedy for people who are comfort eaters and helps with hormone imbalances. Again there is an issue of abandonment, loneliness and fragility in this remedy.
Tea (Thea Sinensis) – Most of us love a good cup of tea but we also know how jittery we can get if we have too much and how it affects our sleep! The symptom picture is similar to Coffea and some of the more interesting symptoms which were cured clinically in the olden days were an impulse to kill (especially her child!), an impulse to jump out of the window and the desire to speak in rhymes. Interestingly one of the things these patients needing Thea may present with is aversion to coffee, tea and tobacco! Overstimulation of the nervous system is a major problem and one writer said that tea has no useful purpose and contains no nourishment. Let’s hope we don’t see any of these symptoms in the clinic and that moderation in our tea drinking allows us to enjoy it for the right reasons.
Many of the herbs and spices we saw growing when we went on a tour of a farm in Bali are also already in use as homeopathic remedies, but maybe that’s another article!