A homeopathic medicine cabinet
THESE REMEDIES are useful to have on hand for mild, short-term problems. While each medicine is listed under a particular ailment, practitioners believe the real effect is broader. Also, these homeopathic remedies aren't vitamins, and should not be taken routinely, cautions Dana Ullman, M.P.H., co-author of the e-guide Homeopathic Family Medicine and author of Homeopathy A-Z. If there's significant improvement after one or two doses, he says, then stop.
If you're new to homeopathy, use doses in the 6th, 12th, or 30th potency (higher numbers indicate greater potency). An "X" or "C" after the number refers to the dilution ratio (1:10 or 1:100, respectively).
Aconitum (monkshood): FEVER
Useful during a fever's first 24 hours. With a high fever, you should see results within two hours; if not, seek professional help. Beneficial when the fever starts after experiencing cold temperatures or cold, dry winds.
Allium cepa (onion): ALLERGIES AND COMMON COLDS
Best for a burning nasal discharge that worsens in a warm room (and improves with fresh air), profuse tearing with a frequent desire to rub the eyes, or violent sneezing.
Arnica (mountain daisy): BRUISING
Taken internally, or applied topically if the skin is not broken. It's also commonly used for exercise soreness, although a study on long distance runners found no effect.
Belladonna (deadly nightshade): PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME
Suggested when cramps with throbbing pains come and go suddenly. The pains may be worse on the right side, and intensified by movement.
Ignatia (St. Ignatius bean): ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Especially useful after the breakup of a relationship or the death of someone close. People who respond typically try to keep their emotions in check, but end up sobbing uncontrollably or alternately laughing and crying; they also frequently sigh or feel a lump in the throat.
Coffea (coffee): INSOMNIA
Best when a person is overactive mentally and physically, and is extremely sensitive to noise or pain.
Cuprum metallicum (copper): LEG CRAMPS
The primary remedy for cramps in the calves or the soles of the feet.
Gelsemium (yellow jasmine): FLU
Suggested when the patient is fatigued with a pervasive, heavy weakness. Also appropriate for those with little or no thirst, chills up and down the spine, and headache toward the back of the head.
Natrum muriaticum (salt): HEADACHES
Typically used for headaches made worse by sun, heat, reading, or eye strain, and that show a time pattern (e.g., every week or every month).
Nux vomica (poison nut): NAUSEA & VOMITING
Best when nausea or vomiting is caused by too much food, alcohol, drugs, or mental stress. The typical patient must strain to vomit, having to first frequently retch.
Pulsatilla (windflower): INDIGESTION
Suggested for indigestion or heartburn after eating fatty foods, such as ice cream or fried food. Usually given to patients who are very emotional and seek sympathy and attention.
Rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy): ARTHRITIS
Best for the patient whose pain lessens with continued movement, but stiffens again after resting. Those who respond tend to be sensitive to cold and wet weather.