Monday, July 29, 2013

How I Used Homeopathy on my Summer Vacation

My family and I spent last week on a remote lake in northern Maine. We drove an hour on gravel logging roads to a beautiful, mountain ringed lake where the Appalachian Trail hugs the western shore. It was magical and I got more sleep that I have in years. Seriously. Years.

Of course, I brought along my home remedy kit, as I usually do, when we leave home for any extended amount of time (24 hours). Good thing I did! We dipped into it several times. I thought I would share about what remedies I used over the course of the week. I like to write about how I use homeopathy in my own home, with my children, husband, and myself. It was as a mother that I discovered homeopathy and got hooked on its quick, undeniable results. By sharing how I use it in our day to day lives, I hope to make this modality come alive and more accessible to all.

Day 2: Injury with saw! 

My kids both received whittling knives for their birthdays this year, and they are comfortable with many tools. My daughter was using a pruning saw to cut a thin branch when the saw slipped and cut her left index finger- right over the knuckle.

My husband attended to her quickly, instructed her to allow the cut to bleed for a bit and then bandaged it up. He pulled me aside to inform me that a knuckle cut was a mandatory evacuation situation in the backcountry. Because it's over a joint, the potential for knicking a tendon is high, as is the challenge of keeping the cut closed for cleanliness and healing over the joint. Ugh. Evac= emergency room.

(Note- both my husband and I have been certified Wilderness First Responders, but he is by far the bigger first-aid geek of the two of us. I won't go into detail, but let me just say: CUSTOM FIRST AID KIT.)

I was not super worried about her finger, to be honest, but I knew that we should heed that conservative  guideline. I immediately give her a dose of Hypericum 30c. 

Hypericum was indicated for a couple of reasons. Foremost in my mind was the tetanus issue. I knew the hospital would want to give her a booster as it's been well over 5 years since she had her one (and only) tetanus shot. Hypericum is a remedy for nerves and puncture wounds, and is a specific for tetanus. I wasn't really worried about her contracting tetanus, but as a measure of precaution, I wanted to give a dose. Hypericum is also a wound remedy, so it fit the symptom picture anyway. Any cuts or injuries to the ends of digits (think whacking fingertips with a hammer... pounding tent stakes?) is a call for hypericum.

We made the trip to town to the small little hospital where they were fantastic, barely batted an eye when I told them we were not up to date on vaccines because we don't use them, and said not a word when I declined the tetanus booster. Our pocketbook was gouged for a little super-glue and bandaging materials, as well as the affirmation that she did not cut the tendon.

I also followed up with daily doses of calendula 30c to help with healing the skin tissue.

Day 3: Weak Ankles! 
We did a beautiful five-mile loop hike to some upper lakes and "peaks." My daughter didn't have great footwear and was complaining her ankles hurt. She's grumbled about this before, and I haven't done too much about it, to be honest. But it kept coming up and I figured her minimalist shoes weren't helping matters. When we rolled into camp that evening, I gave her a dose of Calcarea carbonica 30c. 

This isn't exactly an acute prescription, but calc carb is a good remedy for weakness after injury and covers chronic weak ankles. So do many other remedies, but my intention wasn't to treat her for any deep constitutional level. I'll mention this to our homeopath who treats us constitutionally and it may play a part in the next constitutional remedy chosen for her. But I knew it wouldn't hurt and may help her feel stronger on her feet the rest of the week.

In fact, she never mentioned her ankles again (we also didn't do any more serious hiking- full disclosure.)

Day 4: Hornet Stings! 
Rain Day!
My husband was the appointed fire-man and always had his eye out for good down limbs that looked dry. He came back from one excursion with a sting from a hornet, whose nest he disturbed while sawing a down tree. The hornet nailed him right on the temple. Remedy? Ledum 200c. It never swelled up and was less sore by the hour. Within 36 hours, he said it was symptom-free.

Dear daughter grabbed for the top of the propane lantern without realizing that it was hot metal. Got a burn on her thumb tip that blistered and turned white. Gave her two doses of Cantharis 30c. Although it continued to bother her for the remainder of the evening, it was "totally fine" the next day. Most burns will be tender and slightly painful for several days after the initial incident.

Day 5: More Hornet Stings! 
Paddling to a far shore, a hornet came along for the ride and stung my daughter on her inner right bicep. She wins the prize for most remedies in a week! I had my top three trusty remedies right in my pack and gave her ledum 200c as well. Her arm has continued to be itchy, though it never swelled up. We've tried both urtica urens and apis 30c for the itching. They both seemed to help immediately, though she mentions it at least once a day. I've given up at this point- it's not swollen or red and she hardly seems to be suffering.
my feet.

Day 7: Dog on a leash + mud= minor head injury! 
On the long slog home, we stopped off at a park to give everyone a stretch. My husband was walking the dog and she got excited about something and pulled, he slipped in mud, and down he went, smacking his head on the ground. Forehead pounding and a headache set it. Arnica, 200c! Never heard another word about it.

Did we need the remedies? 

Could we have gotten through the week without the remedies? We could have, but I'm sure glad we had them. I don't get overly nervous about things like tetanus, but I felt much, much better that I had a remedy to give. The hornet stings would have healed much slower, and especially out on the canoe, having the remedy to give immediately was a life-saver. With 4 people and a dog in a small boat, one kid being hysterical does not a smooth-crossing make. Although my girl is 10 now and (slightly) less prone to major upsets, it would have been way more trying.

Our week was pretty typical of living outdoors for a week, I think. What we didn't have to deal with were tummy aches, illness, or major trauma. Any of these can happen on a camping trip, and can shut the whole thing down. Knowing even just a handful of first-aid remedies can keep the vacation rolling and smiles coming :)


  1. Nice post... I have gone through your blog. The information you have given are really informative.

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  2. Thank you! Let me know if there is anything specific you would like to read about. Have a great summer-