Seasonal Advice

Spring Delights – and Pains

Hopefully you will have had the opportunity to enjoy some of the spring sunshine already. Or maybe you are planning a spell over the Easter holidays to get out and about or to work in the garden.

After a long winter your muscles might not be used to the strain you are putting them under, from digging the veg patch or a long hike along the coastal path. A hot bath can do wonders to relax stiff muscles. Homeopathic Arnica is great too!


Keynotes for using Arnica: Muscles feel bruised and sore; the whole body can ache to the degree that even the bed feels too hard. Arnica is the first remedy to think of for any bumps and bruises from injury. Taken internally in tablet form it can help to reduce swelling and pain. Arnica is also available in creams and massage oils, but do not use these on broken skin as they can cause an unpleasant skin reaction.

Another remedy to keep in mind, especially when stiffness is the main feature, is Rhus toxicodendron.

Keynotes for using Rhus toxicodendron: pain and stiffness of muscles, joints or back after over-exertion which is worse on first movement and gets better with continued movement. Then exhaustion might set in, however, the person needing Rhus toxicodendron will not be able to find a comfortable position and is inclined to move and wriggle a lot. The pain and stiffness is commonly much worse in cold, damp conditions and gets better with heat (hot bath, hot water bottle).

If you have been unlucky enough to sprain or strain an ankle or other joint, use Arnica first (internally in tablet form) to reduce any swelling and then continue with taking Ruta.

Keynotes for using Ruta: A great remedy to help heal cartilage, tendons, ligaments or the skin of bones (periosteum) after injury from overuse or accidents. The pain feels bruised, sore and aching and is better for rubbing and massage. There is a sensation of weariness and lameness and the affected limb can feel too weak to hold any weight – even a cup of tea can feel too heavy!

Again, Rhus toxicodendron and Ruta are available in creams which can be applied locally to an injured and aching joint.

Other remedies to keep in mind for injuries acquired outdoors (or indoors):

Ledum: Use for any puncture wound, e.g. from the garden fork, a dog bite or a rusty nail. These wounds can get nasty because they tend to be deep yet can heal over superficially quite quickly. Ledum taken internally in tablet form can help to heal these types of wound from within, with a greatly reduced risk of infection. Wounds requiring Ledum usually feel cool to the touch and there is a blueness to the surrounding area. The pain will be better for cold applications.


Hypericum: This is the Number 1 remedy for injuries to nerve-rich parts, like a fall on the coccyx or fingers squashed in the door. The pain is excruciating (as the nerves are actually damaged) and characteristically shoots up the limb or body rather than being localised. Consider taking Arnica after Hypericum if you suspect that bruising and swelling is present too.

Calendula: Grazes, cuts and abrasions that become inflamed or infected can all benefit from Calendula taken internally in tablet form. Calendula is a common ingredient in creams and ointments. As well as healing the skin it is also a good natural antiseptic.

It won’t be long until the insects are out too. One of the best homeopathic remedies for bee and wasp stings is Apis.

Keynotes for using Apis: Insect bites that swell up quickly, are hot, red and painful; the skin can get stretched so much from the swelling that it looks almost glossy and shiny. There can be itching but the pain is too bad to scratch. The pain is much better for cold applications and worse for heat (e.g. getting warm in bed).

The niggling itch from midge bites, ants or stinging nettles can be greatly relieved with Ledum herbal tincture applied topically. There are a number of aromatherapy oils which are renown for their insect-repelling properties. Personally I use Citronella oil with its lovely lemony smell. It needs to be diluted in a base oil (sunflower oil or almond oil etc.) as it can cause skin reactions if used neat.

If you find that insects always go for you (whilst leaving your partner alone) and/or you react quite badly to them then I would recommend homeopathic constitutional treatment by a professional homeopath. This can help, over time, to reduce allergic reactions (like those to insect bites) and even the tendency to get bitten in the first place.

Pictures courtesy of Nelsons.