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Acorn Health Blog

What we love is great health...

...and we like to write about how we can all achieve better health, naturally. Sometimes tips on how you can DIY to better health and sometimes on the therapies that can make a difference to you, your health and wellbeing.
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Homeopathic First Aid for Bites and Stings

General Health & Wellbeing, Therapies Posted on Tue, May 28, 2024 09:57AM

By Jadwiga James, Homeopath at Acorn Natural Health Centre

With the arrival of warmer weather, we often find ourselves enjoying more time outdoors. However, this also increases our chances of encountering various insects that can bite or sting. Homeopathy offers a range of remedies that can provide relief from the discomfort of bites and stings. Here, I’ll share the top eight homeopathic remedies that can help you manage these minor but bothersome incidents effectively.

1. Apis Mellifica

  • Application: Apis Mellifica is best for bee stings, wasp stings, and other insect bites causing significant swelling, redness, and a burning or stinging pain.
  • Modalities: Symptoms improve with cold applications (such as ice packs or cold water) and worsen with heat and touch. The individual may also exhibit restlessness and irritability.

2. Ledum Palustre

  • Application: Ledum Palustre is ideal for puncture wounds from insect bites, animal bites, and injections. Ledum can also be used preventatively before outdoor activities in areas with known insect activity.
  • Modalities: Symptoms improve with cold applications and worsen with warmth and at night. The affected area may feel cold to the touch, even though it is swollen and painful.

3. Hypericum Perforatum

  • Application: Hypericum Perforatum is effective for bites and stings that cause sharp, shooting pains, particularly those involving nerve-rich areas like fingers, toes, and the spine. It can also be used in combination with Arnica Montana (described further down) for more extensive injuries.
  • Modalities: Symptoms improve with warmth and worsen with cold, touch, and movement. The area might be highly sensitive to the touch, and the person may feel tingling or numbness.

4. Cantharis

  • Application: Cantharis is useful for bites and stings that cause severe burning pain, significant irritation, and blister formation. It can be applied topically by diluting several pellets in water and applying the solution directly to the affected area.
  • Modalities: Symptoms improve with cold applications and worsen with touch and movement. The person might experience extreme discomfort, restlessness, and sometimes an urge to urinate frequently.

5. Urtica Urens

  • Application: Urtica Urens is best for stings from jellyfish, sea anemones, and insect bites that cause a stinging, burning, and itching sensation. It can also be used in conjunction with Ledum Palustre for itch relief.
  • Modalities: Symptoms improve with warmth and rubbing, and worsen with cold applications. The itching can be intense and may lead to persistent scratching.

6. Arnica Montana

  • Application: Arnica Montana helps with the bruising, soreness, and swelling often associated with bites and stings. Administer as described for Apis Mellifica. It can also be used in conjunction with Hypericum Perforatum for more extensive injuries.
  • Modalities: Symptoms improve with rest and worsen with movement and touch. The person might feel sore and achy, and there may be a feeling of being bruised all over.

7. Rhus Toxicodendron

  • Application: Rhus Toxicodendron is effective for bites that result in blistering, intense itching, and redness. It can also be used in combination with Urtica Urens for additional relief.
  • Modalities: Symptoms improve with warmth and movement, and worsen with rest and cold applications. The itching is often worse at night, leading to restlessness and discomfort.

8. Silicea

  • Application: Silicea is beneficial for bites and stings that are slow to heal or have become infected. It can also be used as a complementary remedy alongside Ledum Palustre for infection prevention.
  • Modalities: Symptoms improve with warmth and worsen with cold and drafts. The affected area may be sensitive and prone to pus formation.

How to Take Homeopathic Remedies

  • Pellets: Place the recommended dosage (usually 1 pellet) under the tongue and allow to dissolve completely. Avoid eating or drinking anything for 15 minutes before and after taking the remedy to maximize absorption through the mucous membranes.
  • Liquid Formulations: Dilute the recommended dosage in a small amount of water and sip slowly. Hold the liquid in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.
  • Frequency: Repeat the dosage as directed on the packaging or by a qualified homeopath. In acute situations, such as bites and stings, you may need to take the remedy more frequently initially and then reduce the frequency as symptoms improve.

Where to Obtain Homeopathic Remedies

If you don’t have a homeopath, you can obtain these remedies from reputable homeopathic pharmacies. Here are a few reliable options:

These remedies can be a valuable addition to your first aid kit, helping you address minor bites and stings effectively and naturally. For more tailored advice or for treating chronic problems, please consult with a professional homeopath. Enjoy your time outdoors with the peace of mind that you have natural solutions at hand.

Antibiotics vs Gut

General Health & Wellbeing, Therapies Posted on Tue, June 29, 2021 11:08AM

Good health begins with balance in the body.

Friendly Bowel Bacteria
Did you know that there are twenty times more bacteria than living cells inside our bodies?

Having the right kinds of bacteria (often “friendly bacteria”), in appropriate quantities, is essential for virtually everything from healthy digestion and nutrient absorption, to immunity and defence against infections. It’s no wonder that more and more people say that health starts within your gut- it really does!

What can disrupt gut flora?

The delicate balance of healthy gut flora can be disrupted by a range of circumstances, which may include:

  • excess alcohol consumption,
  • diet high in sugar,
  • poor digestion,
  • stress,
  • exposure to toxins and environmental pollutants.
  • antibiotics

For the purposes of this article, we will look in more detail at one of the most common causes of the imbalance of bacterial flora within the gut – the long-term or frequent use of antibiotics.

How do antibiotics affect the digestive tract?

In present times, antibiotics have been arguably prescribed and used far more than they should have been and, a result, antibiotic resistance is, unfortunately, now a fairly common problem.

Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a type of drug resistance where a pathogenic microorganism is able to survive exposure to an antibiotic.

If that wasn’t enough, one of the most notable effects of antibiotics is their negative impact on the digestive system and the fine balance of gut flora since antibiotics destroy both good and bad bacteria within our bodies, with no differentiation between them.

Antibiotics work by either killing bacteria or by preventing bacteria from growing – which great news in terms of ‘bad’, pathogenic bacteria, but really bad news in terms of our ‘good’ bacteria, which help to keep us healthy!

It is somewhat ironic, when you consider that people start taking antibiotics in the first place because they are ill, often not realising that the medicine is destroying one of their bodies primary lines of natural defence.

The most important part of our Immune System resides in the gut, where Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (special antibody-producing cells) works hard to prevent unwanted micro-organisms (such as bacteria or viruses) from entering our body.

I’m not completely dissing antibiotics, they do have a very significant role to play and can certainly be highly effective in resolving bacterial infections but there should be a time and a place for them, when there is no other, less drastic and more natural alternative at hand. It is so important to use antibiotics sensibly and to support your levels of beneficial bacteria both during and after antibiotic treatment, in order to ensure that they won’t cause any longer term damage. This can be done through a specialised rebalancing treatment which can deal with any residual after-effects whilst helping your body to regain the optimal balance.

If your levels of good bacteria fall, you provide opportunistic ‘nasties’ (like bacteria, parasites and yeasts) with an excellent environment in which to thrive and spread. An overgrowth of harmful gut flora (called dysbiosis) increases gut toxicity and can result in a number of unpleasant symptoms and conditions, which may include:

  • bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pains after eating
  • wind
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • and Candida overgrowth

This is one of the main reasons why antibiotic programmes often result in thrush (an infection caused by overgrowth of Candida which is an opportunistic yeast).

Digestive Problems after antibiotic treatment
Research has shown that the damage done to the digestive tract by antibiotics can last for far longer than was previously thought.

Stanford University researchers in America analysed the levels of friendly bacteria in 3 healthy adult women both before and after each of two cycles on the antibiotic Cipro. Following the first cycle, they found that the drug had altered the population of the subjects’ friendly gut bacteria significantly, perhaps even permanently. Following the second cycle, six months later, they discovered that the effect was exponentially greater. As such, antibiotics should never be used as a regular “quick fix” for minor problems and, wherever possible, long courses should be avoided. Where a course of antibiotics is really unavoidable, you may consider the Natural Balancing Therapy or support your levels of friendly bacteria through diet and probiotic supplements, at the very least.

Cultures around the World have observed the health-supporting effects of fermented foods (often referred to as “probiotic foods”) which are often include as a regular part of their diet. These foods include kefir, sauerkraut, miso, tofu and tempeh, to name just a few.

Introducing these foods in your diet on a daily basis is a really good way to promote healthy intestinal flora. However, it is worth noting that most of these foods do not contain strains of bacteria that can actually colonise the digestive tract. Instead, they do good work for a week or two and then pass through. Supplementing with strains of good bacteria that are capable of colonising the digestive tract (such as L. acidophilus, L. salivarius, B. infantis, B. bifidum, B. brevis and B. longum) is arguably a far more effective and powerful means of supporting healthy levels of gut flora for the long term.