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The Top Homeopathic Medicines for Self-Care



Our children were still young when my husband and I discovered homeopathy, so they were raised on it. Along with healthy food, fresh air and exercise, homeopathy is why our kids were rarely sick and never needed antibiotics or other drugs. If they did develop an illness, it was short-lived.

We were awakened in the middle of the night once by a serious cough coming from our daughter’s room. I grabbed the indicated remedy (Aconite – sudden onset), tossed a dose under her tongue, and went back to bed. She immediately fell back to sleep and was cough-free the rest of the night; completely well the next morning. How easy is that?

Homeopathic medicines are invaluable for first aid and minor illness. They work for any age – birth to over 100 – and are free from harmful side effects. If you give the wrong remedy, nothing happens, but the correct one can often produce spectacular results.

Which of the following homeopathic medicines would you or your family need the most?


Aconite (Aconitum)

  • For the beginning stage of any illness that comes on suddenly
  • Colds that begin after exposure to cold, dry wind
  • Acute anxiety from sudden panic, fear or shock
  • Fever, colic, hoarseness, and croup

This is an excellent remedy to take for fear and anxiety as a result of an accident (even witnessing an accident) or injury, surgery, or a severe storm – including hurricane, earthquake, tornado. It also helps with nightmares. Aconite has been quite useful for our pets, especially while traveling or during a thunderstorm. Works best in the first 12 to 24-hours of an illness or trauma.

Allium cepa

  • Good remedy for the common cold and hayfever
  • Profuse, runny, burning nasal discharge
  • Worse in a warm room and better in the open air
  • Profuse, bland (non-burning) tearing from the eyes – inclined to rub them
  • Acrid and burning nasal discharge – can create a red, raw “mustache” under the nose


  • Insect bites and stings with swelling and redness, heat
  • Hives, with swelling
  • Allergic reaction to certain foods (especially shellfish), medication and bee or wasp sting

Apis is useful for any allergic reaction, including to a bee or wasp sting. Symptoms include redness, swelling, itching, burning, stinging, and sensitivity to heat – better with cold applications.  A severe allergic reaction could result in anaphylactic shock, so take Apis on your way to the ER, not as a replacement for medical care.


  • For the inevitable childhood bumps and bruises
  • Accidents, injuries, sprains, surgery, bruising
  • Sore muscles and joints from over-exertion (great for athletes)
  • After childbirth or dental work
  • Jet lag

Taken immediately after an injury, Arnica lessens shock and promotes recovery by reducing swelling, controlling bleeding, and preventing infection. It is the first remedy to consider for physical trauma to the body, whether past or present – regardless of how long ago it occurred. It can also help with the connected emotional trauma.

Those needing this remedy will feel sore and bruised. Arnica gel or cream may be applied externally for aching muscles, stiffness, and bruises, but avoid open wounds. Other remedies to consider along with Arnica for injury are Bellis and Ledum.


  • Anxious, restless
  • Colds with thin watery burning discharge – may cause raw/redness
  • Nausea with vomiting or diarrhea (flu, food poisoning, etc.)

Arsenicum has a wide range of uses. Those needing this remedy are usually chilly, anxious, exhausted, restless, and weak. Burning pain in the stomach, throat or nose often indicates the need for Arsenicum.


  • High fever with flushed, red face
  • Intense earache, toothache, sore throat or headache with throbbing pain
  • Teething in babies
  • Heatstroke
  • Throbbing headache
  • Sunburn (compare Cantharis)

Belladonna works best during the early stages of high fever and severe pain that comes on suddenly and violently. Look for a bright red, hot face, glassy eyes and dilated pupils.


  • Any condition made worse by movement (colds, flu, headache and other pain)
  • Person is extremely irritable – avoids lights and noise

Bryonia is called the “grumpy bear” remedy. It is easy to tell when someone needs this because they will want to be left alone. This was my very first remedy, taken for the flu. It made a believer in homeopathy out of me!

Calendula officinalis

  • Wounds, cuts, burns, and punctures

Calendula is used externally as a gel, cream or liquid to soothe and promote healing of scrapes and surface cuts. It prevents serious infection, reduces inflammation and suppuration, and controls bleeding. Taken internally in the form of pellets, Calendula promotes healing of existing wound infections.


  • Urinary tract disorders – best in the beginning stages
  • Blistering burns (2nd and 3rd degree), including sunburn, and scalds
  • Insect stings (Try Apis first)
  • Blisters that itch, burn and sting – like cold sores and blisters from breaking in new shoes

Symptoms needing Cantharis are burning pains that often come on quickly and progress rapidly. I keep this one in the kitchen for hot water scalds and other burns from cooking!

Carbo veg

  • Lack of oxygen – Altitude sickness
  • Hypothermia
  • Indigestion – Heartburn – Gas and Bloating


  • Peevish, irritable babies and children
  • Hypersensitivity to pain – good teething remedy
  • Relieves colic
  • Diarrhea or stool with foul odor
  • Earache, fever or colic

Chamomilla is more often used for infants and children than adults.  The child is oversensitive to pain, angry and very irritable. They may complain or even hit or kick the parent and be inconsolable. One interesting keynote is that one cheek may be red and the other pale.


  • Motion sickness and seasickness – works great!
  • Dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, trembling, headache
  • Exhaustion and jet lag


  • Eye wound/pain
  • Burning, watery discharge that causes redness and irritation of the eyes
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Frequent sneezing with allergy/hayfever
  • Bland discharge from the nose
  • Gritty feeling in the eyes

Ferrum Phos

  • Beginning stage of any inflammation that comes on slowly
  • Feel tired and run-down (especially children), but may have no other symptoms
  • Mild fever and fatigue
  • #1 remedy for anemia


  • Weak and exhausted on all levels
  • Difficult to keep eyes open and head up
  • Muscles ache
  • Dizzy, droopy, drowsy cold or flu symptoms
  • Stage-fright, test anxiety with trembling or quivering


  • Heat stroke – works great
  • Congestive headache with pulsating pains (Compare Belladonna)

Hepar Sulph

  • Sore throat, colds, croupy coughs
  • Abscesses, acne and other skin eruptions
  • Sensitive, painful burns prone to infection
  • May help to remove splinters or glass from the body (Compare Silicea)


  • Injury to nerve-rich parts of the body:  spine, fingers, toes, eyes and lips
  • Sharp, shooting radiating pains
  • Good to take after dental work
  • Burns, blisters

Hypericum is indicated for fingers crushed in a car door, stubbed toe, torn fingernail or toenail, falls that injure the tailbone, blisters or cuts on the lips, injury with a sharp instrument, etc. Sometimes helpful for sciatica and other pain that “travels” to other parts of the body. Excessive painfulness and extreme sensitivity are guiding symptoms.


  • Acute grief or emotional shock from recent death or loss
  • Sighing or hard sobbing
  • Oversensitive and nervous
  • Romantic disappointment
  • Homesickness


  • Puncture wounds from sharp objects
  • Animal bites
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Poison Ivy or Oak (Compare Rhus tox)
  • Sprained or twisted ankle and other joints
  • Injury from a blow to the eye (black eye)
  • Deep bruises that are not helped by Arnica

Ledum helps prevent infection from any wound or bite that breaks the skin. The injury may be puffy, numb, cold (Apis is hot), sensitive to touch, and feels better with cold applications. This remedy is a must if you have children. We generally use Ledum and Hypericum together. These two remedies are especially helpful after vaccinations and other shots to help prevent complications.


  • Children who lack self-confidence – may either be easily bullied or cover it up by bullying others
  • Digestive problems with gas and bloating (compare Carbo veg, Pulsatilla, Arsenicum, Nux)

 Mag phos

  • Cramps of all types that are improved by pressure and warmth

Nux vomica

  • Headache
  • Anger or irritability
  • Hangovers and general toxicity
  • Cold and Flu with irritability
  • Insomnia

Nux is called the “birthday party” remedy. You know how your kids act after sugar overload and too much excitement – this is the antidote. It is also a good remedy for food poisoning (compare Arsenicum) and hangovers as Nux quickly clears toxins out of the system.


  • Bleeding, nosebleed
  • Electrical burns (including lightning strike)
  • Nervous pets – especially during a thunderstorm or firecrackers (Compare Aconite)


  • Best remedy for childhood earache
  • Cries easily (soft weeping) and needs reassurance
  • Better from being held and consoled
  • Children can be clingy and afraid to be alone
  • Upset stomach from fatty foods
  • Colds with think yellow-green discharge
  • Headache, usually from fatty foods
  • Loves being outdoors or opening windows indoors

While predominately a remedy for women and children, Pulsatilla works for anyone who is a match to the remedy’s characteristics.

Rhus toxidodendron

  • Stiffness in joints, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues
  • Excellent remedy for poison ivy or poison oak

Rhus tox skin eruptions are inflamed, red and itchy. There may be blisters filled with clear fluid or pus. It is also a leading remedy for arthritis. Keynotes of this remedy are stiffness worse initial movement, but better with continued movement.


  • Soft tissue injury – tendonitis and repetitive strain injury
  • Sprained ankle or wrist, dislocations
  • ganglion cyst (compare Silicea)


  • Removes splinters and other small objects embedded in the body (take one dose daily for a few days)
  • Often given after vaccinations to minimize injury (Compare Thuja)
  • Reduces scarring

Silicea causes the body to expel foreign objects and it really works. For splinters and glass (or aluminum toxicity), this is great, but you have to be careful. I gave Silicea to our cat and it caused his implanted chip to move from the back of his neck to under the ear. If you have any kind of implant or artificial component, avoid this remedy.

Silicea is one of my favorites as it cured the painful arthritis in my spine.


  • Useful after surgery, childbirth and circumcision
  • Mosquito bites

Staphysagria pains are typically stitching or shooting. It promotes rapid recovery from the situations listed above, and is also used for victims of assault and rape.

Purchasing and taking Homeopathic Remedies                  

Most health food stores carry books and homeopathic remedies in 30c (recommended) potency for beginners, but kits need to be ordered online. Potency and dosage instructions are below.


I prefer the 30c potency unless working with skin problems or an extremely sensitive person. In that case, 6c or 6x is best. Homeopathic cell salts come in 6x potency.

If the remedy appears to be effective, don’t repeat the dose unless symptoms reappear. If nothing happens, try a different remedy. If still no response, call your doctor!

Taking the Remedy

It is generally advisable not to eat or drink anything for at least 10 to 15 minutes before and after taking the remedy – if possible. Transfer the remedy from the vial to your mouth without touching the remedy.

Boiron brand remedies come in a tube with a clear cap designed for you to turn and release (one or two pellets), with the cap facing down. Pull the cap off and empty the remedy directly into the mouth with head tipped back.  If you have a vial with a twist cap, gently tap a pellet into the lid and drop into your mouth with your head tipped back.

  • Another way to take a remedy is to put one pellet in water, stirring vigorously with a spoon before taking. The amount is not important; it is the frequency of the dose that works.
  • With both methods, stop taking the remedy when relief begins. Repeat the dose only if your symptoms return. Remember, homeopathy is nothing like conventional medicine. If you don’t notice results after a couple of doses (it works fast in most cases), try a different remedy.

What to Avoid

Most homeopathic practitioners recommend avoiding aromatic oils (especially camphor and mint) as well as coffee. There are also remedies that can antidote each other. However….It really depends on the particular remedy or person (highly sensitive people are more susceptible to antidoting). If you are seeing a homeopath, follow their advice. For self-care with first-aid and minor illness, though, I wouldn’t be concerned about any of this.

Be careful to store homeopathic remedies away from anything aromatic – essential oils, cleaning products, spices, etc. Also keep them away from electrical appliances, cell phones, TV, computers, etc. 


The standard dose of pellets is 1 to 2 large pellets or 3 to 5 if small, but you can’t overdose, so don’t worry if you take more – or less. Instructions on the vial or bottle may tell you to take more pellets, but this is not necessary.  It will work regardless of how many pellets you take – 1 or the whole bottle. Remember, homeopathic remedies are nothing like conventional medications.

Repeating the Remedy

There is no formula for taking a homeopathic remedy; it is more a matter of observing how you feel. If you have chosen a remedy that is a match, you should notice changes after the first dose. Do not repeat the dose as long as you are improving.

If your symptoms become different, but not improved, wait until they stabilize, and then look through the remedies again.  If the original remedy is still the best choice, you can repeat it once more and observe.  If it still isn’t the best choice, consider taking the one that now looks more like what you need.

If your symptoms become worse after taking the first dose, wait and see if they improve.  Often if a remedy exaggerates the symptoms; it is a very good sign that healing is moving in the right direction. If symptoms do not improve, then look for a different remedy.

Timing of doses. Determining when to repeat the dose depends on the severity of your symptoms.  The more intense your symptoms are, the shorter the amount of wait time.  It could be as little as 15 minutes in an urgent acute situation. Otherwise, the wait time is generally 3 to 4 hours, but could be up to 8 hours between doses.  It really isn’t as complicated as it sounds; you’ll usually have a “feel” for when it needs to be repeated.

This information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or replace medical care. If symptoms persist, see your health care practitioner.



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