Barbara Seideneck CHom, CCH
Coming from the flat lands, now living at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, I can’t help but whenever possible explore this beautiful and sometimes challenging terrain. Hiking and paddling are my activities of choice, but of course – there is so much more to do outdoors. Like many others I usually feel refreshed and strengthened after a nice time of being physically active outdoors. And then occasionally mishaps can put a dent in one’s planned activities. A slip and fall, a bee sting, or twist of the ankle, usually fairly harmless and easily dealt with – but when away from camp or home a little help can be essential to keep you going.
I do carry homeopathic remedies, just in case. A First Aid remedy kit is usually in the car on camping trips and an assortment of remedies in the backpack gives me assurance on hikes. Homeopathic remedies come in very small tubes containing tiny pellets of milk sugar saturated with homeopathic dilutions. They are very light and easy to take along. Just one remedy, like Arnica Montana (Leopard’s bane) can help many situations. And even when I haven’t needed the remedy myself, Arnica has helped quite a few fellow hikers.
Arnica is the perfect remedy after any fall or injury with bruising. Taking a few homeopathic pellets repeatedly can bring immediate improvement. In combination with a good soak in a cold creek nearby I have watched the swelling and pain disappear very quickly.
Treating injuries with homeopathic remedies is relatively easy and the magic of a homeopathic remedy can be mind-boggling when you get so quickly on your feet again.
Looking at specific symptoms will help you select the most effective remedy. Ask yourself or your outdoors fellow: “What are the sensations and qualities of the pain:” dull, bruised, shooting, stabbing, burning, or tingling? Is the pain better or worse from slight motion? How does hot or cold (the creek) improve the situation? Is it possible to touch the injured part, how does it feel with rubbing or slightly stretching it? Is the injured person fearful, like to be helped or rather not?
With a small self-help guide, or even by closely looking at how symptoms are described on the remedy bottle, an effective remedy can be picked. Homeopathic remedies are usually dissolved under the tongue. For frequent repetitions it’s helpful to drop the remedy into your water bottle and sip it along the way.
Health food stores and pharmacies carry a sufficient number of over-the-counter homeopathic remedies for self-treatment.
Following are remedies helpful to have on an outdoors trip or hike:
Aconite (Monkshood) –The perfect remedy if you’ve been surprised by a high-country storm, gotten cold suddenly, then feel dry, hot, and very thirsty. You may be able to stop an oncoming cold or flu caused by exposure to the elements with this remedy. It is also often used when someone is in shock after an accident.
Apis (The Honey Bee) – This remedy can be used for many conditions that involve the symptoms typically observed with bee stings: burning, stinging, redness and swelling. It can reduce the pain and swelling of a bee sting, but often also reduces swellings from other causes. The key symptoms indicating that this remedy could be effective with a certain condition are: much worse from heat, better from cold applications, puffy red swellings, and thirstlessness.
Arnica montana (Leopards Bane) – The first remedy to think of for any injury when the injured part feels bruised. Arnica treats bruises and swellings from falls or blows, including head injuries. For relief after traumatic or exhaustive events, especially when feeling dazed, cold, faint, confused, and averse to touch. The person says, “I’m fine – leave me alone,” and staggers around in pain or confusion. Generally the person feels better lying down, and being warm, but cold compresses on the affected part help. Do not use Arnica on open wounds – it may cause pain.
Bellis perennis (Daisy) – This is a good remedy to use when Arnica does not improve the condition within one to four hours. It’s also a remedy that works especially well with injuries to soft tissue. The bruises are deep, affect soft tissue and cause intense pain. The injury is better with warm applications; the person can’t be touched.
Calendula (Marigold flower) – Can be used for wounds, incisions and abrasions (road rash). It works as an anti-septic when applied topically. Be careful with alcoholic preparations as they may burn. Also, after disinfecting the wound, Calendula homeopathic pellets can be diluted in water and used as a compress. It speeds up the healing when used internally as well as externally.
Hypericum (St. John’s Wort) – Often called “Arnica for the nerves”. It is mostly used for injuries to parts that are rich in nerve endings: toes, fingertips, spine and tailbone. Also a very helpful remedy when wounds are caused by sharp objects. The typical pain calling for Hypericum is sharp, electric-like and shoots upward.
Bryonia (White Bryony) – Homeopaths sometimes call this remedy “the bear”. Think of it when the person is very irritable, wants to be alone and not move the slightest bit. An effective remedy for injuries that cause pain with the tiniest movement (like rib injuries). The odd symptom listed with this remedy is: much worse with touch but better with pressure. The injured part is red, hot and better with ice-cold applications. Swellings usually come on slowly (two to four hours after the injury) and the person affected seems to be especially thirsty for cold drinks.
Ledum (Wild Rosemary) – Another remedy for swellings that may appear slowly, a few hours after the incident. The injured part feels cool to the touch and the coloration is black and blue (like Arnica and Bellis). It is better with a cold pack. This remedy also works well for bruises that won’t heal, or long-term soreness not cured by Arnica. It helps with a “black eye” and long-term injuries with coldness in the affected part.
Rhus tox (Poison Ivy) – This remedy is sometimes called “The Rusty Gate”. A useful remedy when the injured person feels stiff, achy, is restless and needs to keep moving, for example, changing positions a lot. Even when the initial movement hurts, it will get better from continued motion. Heat and massage also improve the condition. This remedy is known to speed up healing of inflamed joints, injured tendons and ligaments. Injuries could be the result of over-lifting, muscle strain and falls. The remedy is also known to help with the skin irritations caused by Poison Ivy.
For more information I recommend the following books:
Complete Homeopathy Handbook, Miranda Castro
Discovering Homeopathy, Consumer’s Guide to Homeopathy, Dana Ullman
Sports & Exercise Injuries, Steven Subotnick
Barbara Seideneck, CHom, CCH, is a nationally certified homeopath and practices in Boulder, Colorado. She is the director of the Homeopathy School International.