Before the age of manufactured medicines, ancient peoples used plants from their environments to produce remedies.  Although many drugs are based on herbs, there has recently been a resurgence of interest in the use of plants in their natural form.  This may be due to concern about the side-effects and possible addictive nature of some prescribed drugs.  People are returning to remedies that offer a safe and effective alternative to these drugs, especially since herbalists claim the active ingredients that the pharmaceutical industry extracts or produces synthetically may be safer and more effective in their natural state.

Herbalism aims to tailor treatments to the needs of the individual, which may involve eliminating toxic waste products, stimulating the body's defence mechanism or toning the whole body.  Herbs can be administered in a variety of ways and used either as a medicinal drink, a tincture, a herbal ointment or a poultice or compress.  Among the disorders that respond well to herbal remedies are digestive complaints, skin complaints, insomnia, colds and arthritis.

The principle that 'like may be cured by like' is one of the cornerstones of homeopathy.  Remedies are given which, if applied in full concentration, would produce the same symptoms as the disease being treated.  The remedies are thought to accelerate the body's natural healing process.  In contrast, conventional Western medicine, which tends to take a more combative approach, seeks to eliminate the cause of the disease by destroying bacteria.

Homeopathy, as we know it today, was founded by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1788-1843), a German physician, who first published his new theories 200 years ago.  However, the natural principles underlying homeopathic thinking were identified as far back as Hippocrates, in the 5th Century BCE, and were used by the ancient Egyptians.  Indeed, the ancient medical systems of the East, such as Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, bear some resemblance to homeopathy, in their view of treating the whole person and the view of 'vital force'.  

Intrigued by the use of quinine in the treatment of malaria, Hahnemann took a dose and discovered it produces shivering, sweating and fever - classic malaria symptoms.  He deduced that a disease's symptoms were the body's healing mechanism and so, by giving medicines that produced the same symptoms, recovery could be advanced.  He went on to test arsenic, belladonna and mercury on himself and, by observing the symptoms each of these substances produced, he matched them to specific illnesses.  Further tests appeared to confirm that a remedy would help to cure a condition with which it shared symptoms.  The validity of this theory is still disputed, but homeopaths believe that remedies provoke the body's natural healing mechanisms into overcoming the disease.  It is also believed that the weaker (more diluted) the remedy, the more potent it is.

Below is a table of the more popular homeopathic remedies and their uses.  For instructions on the correct usage of these remedies, it is essential to consult an authoritative resource, such as those offered in our Homeopathy Kits.

Homeopathic Remedies and their Uses

Remedy Name Pseudonym

Indicated for:

Aconite Monkshood Anxiety, panic attacks, breathlessness, chills, chickenpox, colds, croup, ear-ache, eye injuries, flu, grief, German measles, insomnia, labour, measles, mumps, neuralgia, palpitations, sore throats, shock, teething
Agnus Castus Chaste Tree Pre-menstrual tension, menopausal problems, headache, cystitis, colic, pains in joints from old injuries, strains or sprains that have not completely healed
Anacardium Marking Nut Anxiety, constipation, cough, depression, headache, morning sickness, painful periods, palpitations, rheumatism
Apis Honey Bee Allergic reactions, bites, cystitis, hayfever, laryngitis, measles, mumps, nappy rash, osteoarthritis, prickly heat, shock, sore throats, stings, wounds
Arg Nit Silver Nitrate Acidity in stomach, anticipatory anxiety, diarrhoea, disturbed sleep pattern linked to anxiety, extreme reactions to stress, headache, heartburn, wind and flatulence
Arnica Mountain Daisy Abscesses, bruising, shock, accident or trauma of any kind, encourages healing of wounds, pre- and post- dental work trauma (emotional, as well as physical), grief, immediate pain and shock fractures, insomnia, muscle aching after over-exercising, muscle cramps, osteoarthritis, strains and sprains, vaginal bruising and shock following childbirth, varicose veins, whooping cough
Arsenicum Alb White Oxide of Metallic Arsenic Addition, anxiety, chickenpox, colds, coughs, cystitis, depression, diarrhoea, digestive disorders, hayfever, headaches, heartburn, indigestion, influenza, insomnia, mastitis, morning sickness, nappy rash, painful periods, vomiting, varicose veins
Belladonna Deadly Nightshade Abscesses, boils, bleeding, chickenpox, colds, croup, cystitis, earache, German measles, headache, high fever, influenza, mastitis, measles, migraines, mumps, nappy rash, sore throats, sunstroke, teething
Bryonia White Bryony Constipation, coughs, croup, digestive disorders, fractures, headaches, haemorrhoids, indigestion, influenza, insomnia, joint pains, mastitis, measles, mumps, muscle over-exertion, osteoarthritis, whooping cough
Calc Carb Calcium Carbonate Chapped skin, chill-blains, cradle cap, insomnia, nappy rash, pre-menstrual syndrome, teething, thrush
Calendula Marigold Promotes healing of tissue, slows down blood loss, helps inhibit infection
Cantharis Spanish Fly Bladder infections, burns, conjunctivitis, gastritis, midge bites, kidney infections, nappy rash, scalds, sunburn
Carbo Veg Vegetable Charcoal Acid stomach, blood loss, bronchitis, collapse, diarrhoea, exhaustion, flatulence, headache, influenza, laryngitis, loss of voice, nose-bleeds, shock, sunstroke, wheezing, whooping cough, varicose veins
Causticum Potassium Hydrate Bladder infections, bronchitis, burns, eye infections
Chamomilla Chamomile Burping, croup, diarrhoea, earache, headache, labour pains, mastitis, mumps, neuralgia, painful periods, sciatica, teething, toothache, vertigo, whooping cough
China Peruvian Bark Anaemia, bleeding, catarrh, constipation, diarrhoea, exhaustion, gallstone colic, influenza, labour pains, neuralgia, period problems, tinnitus, varicose veins
Cimic Black Snake Root Back pains, depression, neuralgia, period problems, post-natal depression, pre-menstrual syndrome, tinnitus
Echinacea Purple Coneflower Acne, boils, allergic rhinitis, bites, stings, chill-blains, cold sores, coughs, bronchitis, earache, influenza, sore throat, tonsillitis, mild asthma, mouth ulcers, urinary infections, fungal infections
Euphrasia Eyebright Allergic Rhinitis, catarrh, conjunctivitis, prevention of nosebleeds
Gelsemium Yellow Jasmine Anticipatory anxiety, diarrhoea, headaches, influenza, labour pains, measles, neuralgia, sciatica, vertigo
Hepar Sulph Sulphide of Calcium Abscesses, boils, chill-blains, cough, croup, earache, laryngitis, sinusitis, sore throat, styes, swollen glands, wheezing, whooping cough

Hypericum St. John's Wort After-pains of labour, bites and stings, bruises, cough, injuries to nerves, neuralgia, pains in scar tissue, puncture wounds, sciatica
Ignatia St. Ignatius' Bean Back pain, exhaustion, fainting, grief, hiccoughs, indigestion, insomnia, lack of appetite, post-natal depression, sore throat
Ipecac Dried root of Ipecacuanha Bleeding, catarrh, morning sickness, nausea, painful periods, vomiting, wheezing, whooping cough
Kali Bich Bichromate of Potash Bronchitis, catarrh, cough, croup, flatulence, German measles, headache, post-nasal drip, sinusitis, wheezing
Kali Carb Potassium Carbonate Anaemia, back pain, bronchitis, catarrh, labour pains, pre-menstrual syndrome, sciatica, thrush, wheezing, whooping cough
Lachesis Surukuku Snake Venom Addiction, after pains in child-birth, croup, depression, earache, headaches, hot flushes, laryngitis, migraines, mumps, periods, pre-menstrual syndrome, sore throats, ulcers, varicose veins
Ledum Wild Rosemary Black eyes, bruises, boils, joint pains, osteoarthritis, prickly heat, puncture wounds, sprains, stings, strains
Lycopodium Club Moss Addiction, anxiety, constipation, diarrhoea, digestive disorders, flatulence, gallstone colic, heartburn, indigestion, pre-menstrual syndrome, sore throat, wheezing, whooping cough
Mercurius Quicksilver Abscesses, bronchitis, catarrh, chickenpox, earache, influenza, mastitis, mouth ulcers, mumps, sinusitis, sore throat, swollen glands
Nat Mur Common Salt Allergic rhinitis, catarrh, cold sores, cracked/chapped skin, depression, eye strain, grief, hayfever, headaches, hives, migraines, morning sickness, prickly heat, pre-menstrual syndrome, post-natal depression, thrush
Nux Vomica Poison Nut Addiction, anxiety, cold, colic, constipation, cough, cramp, croup, cystitis, digestive disorders, gallstones, haemorrhoids, hangovers, headaches, heartburn, indigestion, insomnia, labour, migraines, nausea, over-indulgence, painful periods, pre-menstrual syndrome, vomiting, wheezing
Phosphorous The element White Phosphorous Anaemia, anxiety, blood loss, catarrh, chill-blains, croup, diarrhoea, headaches, heartburn, nosebleeds, post-natal depression, sinusitis, sore throats, swollen glands, vomiting, wheezing
Pulsatilla Wind Flower Catarrh, chickenpox, chill-blains, croup, depression, digestive disorders, earache, German measles, grief, hayfever, headaches, heartburn, hot flushes, indigestion, influenza, irregular periods, labour, mastitis, measles, morning sickness, mumps, osteoarthritis, painful periods, pre-menstrual syndrome, sinusitis, stress incontinence, swollen glands, teething, thrush, varicose veins
Rhus Tox Poison Ivy Chickenpox, chill-blains, cold sores, depression, influenza, insomnia, mumps, muscular over-exertion, nappy rash, osteoarthritis, sciatica, sprains, strains, swollen glands
Ruta Rue Achilles tendon, bruises, eye strain, sciatica, sprains, tendonitis
Sepia Cuttlefish Ink Back pain, depression, eating disorders, headache, indigestion, irregular periods, morning sickness, painful periods, post-natal depression, pre-menstrual syndrome, prolapse, stress incontinence, thrush, varicose veins
Silica Flint Abscesses, acne, boils, dizziness, eating disorders, sinusitis, stress incontinence, swollen glands, ulcers, wounds
Staphysagria Stavesacre After pains in incised wounds, bites, cystitis, grief, joint pains, neuralgia, post-natal depression, prostatitis, shingles, styes, tonsillitis, toothache
Sulphur Brimstone Acne, addictions, boils, bronchitis, catarrh, cradle cap, diarrhoea, dizziness, eczema, German measles, hot flushes, measles, nappy rash, sleep disturbance, swollen glands, thrush, wheezing

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