Cure? As a homeopath, I was hooked from the first page. Jo Marchant mentions chatting to another mum who spoke highly of how homeopathic remedies cured her child’s eczema. Marchant’s reaction was that ‘Homeopathy is effectively nothing more than water in fancy bottles’ to which the other mother’s retort was ‘nothing measurable.’ Those words were the turning point for Jo Marchant and the beginning of her research into what cure really is and the world of mind, body medicine for this book.
CURE A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body
The book begins with ‘the purest example of mind’s influence on the body – the placebo effect,’ apparently showing a cure for people of their complaints after treatments such as mock surgeries or medicines. Have you ever wondered why a child calms down after his or her injury is ‘kissed better’? How, when faced with an emergency, the rush of adrenalin can make a normal person, superhuman? Or how the mere thought of lemon juice will activate your salivary glands? Marchant covers many examples of how the mind, thoughts and emotions can produce a physical change. Is it cure? She also keeps in mind the power of the negative side of the placebo effect (nocebo), such as voodoo curses or limiting thoughts, which can be equally strong but destructive for the physical body.
Even if a person knows they are given placebo treatment, their brain responds by releasing the same chemicals as if they had taken the pharmaceutical medicine and consequently they feel better. ‘It is a physical mechanism, as concrete as the effects of any drug.’ It was interesting to read that pharmaceutical companies, when making decisions on the presentation of a new medicine, will look at the psychology behind how particular sizes and/or colours of pills or capsules will influence the perception of their effectiveness.
None of this is new. Many alternative modalities based on treating mind, body and soul have been around for thousands of years and supported by many, but also dismissed by many others. Jo Marchant travelled the world to meet with orthopaedic surgeons, neuroscientists, psychiatrists and medical professors, to name a few, who have set up clinical trials and studies of the placebo effect as well as a number of alternative treatments to show how they can be of clinical value.
She looks at acupuncture, spiritual healing, reiki, religion/faith, neuroplasticity, meditation, and eastern medicine, amongst others, which all relate to the body’s innate ability to heal itself. She also writes of the many inspiring people she met during her research who shared the story of their pain and the life altering changes, which came through the help of various therapies.
Jo Marchant has a Phd in Genetics and Medical Microbiology. She writes with one foot soundly placed in science whilst she explores the controversial subject of the connection between the mind, emotions, beliefs and the body.
Using her skills as a science journalist, she examines alternative therapies in a rational and thoughtful manner as she presents current research and trials that support the infinite potential of the mind’s influence on our health and healing. On the other hand, she also shows how stress can weaken the immune system making us potentially more vulnerable to illness and disease or accelerate aging. The book is easy to read, easy to understand and hard to put down.
My hope is that scientists and the medical fraternity read this book. They will relate to the science and be reminded of the importance of empathetic care, the careful use of language and to see patients as individuals and more than just a body of organs and parts.
To also consider that less invasive ‘alternative’ treatments and medicine can work together and support each other for the highest good of the patient and do no harm.
CURE A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant. Book review by Susie Bolton.
Weight Loss and Children
With so many weight loss programmes available on the market, how do you decide which one is right for your child? Because each young person is different, in our experience it’s best to seek professional practitioner advice to gain long-term results. A practitioner of naturopathy/ homeopathy will choose an individual homeopathic medicine, make suggestions for dietary changes, lifestyle modifications and advice on any necessary vitamin or mineral supplements.
Childhood Overweight Problems and Obesity
Apparently, Australia and New Zealand now have one of the highest rates of childhood obesity of all the developed nations, with approximately 25% of children currently overweight or obese. If your child is overweight or obese it is not only their future health that we need to be concerned about but also the state of their current health. Especially their emotional health. How do they feel about their current weight? Are they being teased at school? Are there some activities your child would like to do if they physically could or if they had more energy?
Practical ways to help children lose weight
- Encourage outdoor activities – 30 minutes/day
- Avoid fruit juices and carbonated drinks
- Opt for plain water
- Encourage active chores at home
- Reduce screen time to no more than one hour a day. Change the password every night so that your child has to do an active chore or an outdoor activity before being given the new password
- Encourage family time activities
- Encourage a team sport or active hobby
- You may choose to include a freedom meal once a week
- Makes changes achievable, don’t change too much at once
- Don’t use food as rewards for any of the family
- Avoid hunger and poor food choices by having good quality snacks
- Get your child to eat a substantial meal before going out to an event or a party
- Carry healthy snack options for your child while out and about (e.g.nuts and vege sticks)
- There has been a link found between glue ear, recurrent ear infections and childhood obesity. Perhaps due to altered taste function leading to a craving for sweeter and saltier foods. So make sure to use homeopathic medicine to correct the ear problems to help directly with weightloss.
How Can You Tell If Your Child Is Overweight?
Apparently a lot of parents are getting so used to seeing overweight kids, they don’t recognise that their own children are obese. In 2004, a study from the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, revealed that three quarters of parents failed to recognise their child was overweight. 33 percent of mums and 57 percent of dads considered their child’s weight to be ‘about right’ when, in fact, they were clinically obese. They no longer recognise a healthy body shape for a child. At the same time, it should also be said that one in ten parents expressed some concern about their child being underweight when they were actually a normal, healthy weight.
At first, parents often blame puppy fat and it is sometimes hard to gauge whether kids have crossed the line into long-term weight gain. One clue is that even if your child is a bit chubby, they shouldn’t have rolls of flab on their arms, back or tummy. It’s true children do put on more fat when they’re about to go through a growth spurt. But as a rule, that’s more common with boys when they’re about to produce the hormones that turn fat into muscle.
Ask your doctor to weigh your child as part of a general check-up rather than weigh them yourself, as children can feel judged by their parents. If your child comes up as overweight, or is already in the obese range, you need to take action now. Despite parents’ fears, talking to kids about weight does not sentence them to an eating disorder. We need to be careful how we say it, at the same time children should know life isn’t simple and obesity is an issue they have to address.
Why Are Our Children Overwieght?
It’s pretty straight forward really! Quite simply, many children do little exercise and eat a diet that’s packed with junk food. But once the child is already overweight it’s not that simple or straightforward to make a change (or many changes). The problems start early in life. A survey by Mother & Baby magazine in 2004 revealed that nine out of 10 toddlers eat junk food, with chocolate, biscuits, crisps, fish fingers, chips, cake and chicken nuggets appearing in their top 10 favourite foods.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg – children’s diets generally get worse as they get older and more food is eaten outside the home. Unsurprisingly, most health experts agree one of the most important factors in the fight against childhood obesity is to encourage healthy eating habits from an early age.
Lack of Sleep and Overweight Children
Researchers in Canada, studied the sleeping habits and weights of children aged between five and 10 years. They discovered those who slept for 10 hours or less every night were three and a half times more likely to be overweight than those who had at least 12 hours sleep every night. Even more surprisingly, the scientists found that a lack of sleep was an even bigger risk factor for overweight and obesity than the amount of time spent in front of the TV or computer.
Staying up late often goes hand in hand with snacking – usually on sugary and fatty foods and drinks – which may help to explain why fewer hours in bed results in extra inches around the waistline.
Tired children are more likely to struggle getting out of bed in the morning and skip breakfast due to a lack of time. This means they’re more likely to overcompensate later in the morning by eating fatty and sugary snacks, which provide more calories than a normal breakfast would have.
Meanwhile, further research has suggested that a lack of sleep may affect the production of two hormones that regulate appetite so that tired children are more likely to feel hungry – and therefore eat. Sleep deprivation appears to be linked to lower levels of the hormone leptin, which reduces hunger, and higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which makes us feel hungry.
Portion Size – Weight Loss and Children
Young children can find it as difficult as adults to regulate how much they eat in the food-filled society we live in, according to a study from the University of Cornell, USA. The researchers found that by far the most powerful predictor of how much food a young child eats is how much is put on their plate. Earlier studies had suggested that young children (pre-school age in this case) were naturally much better at regulating their appetite and food intake and ate pretty much to satisfy their hunger.
Dr David Levitsky who led the research said “We found that the more children are served, the more they eat, regardless of what they have eaten or had to drink previously in the day, including how big their breakfast was. We also found that the more snacks children are offered, the greater their daily food and calorie intake.” He added “these findings suggest that the onus for controlling young children’s weight must rest in the hands of parents and other caregivers.
It has often been said that young children are better than adults at automatically regulating how much they eat. But this belief was based on studies that were carried out in more controlled laboratory settings, not at home and at play centres, like this study. This meant that the children were more influenced by the factors that can make weight control tricky for everyone, such as big portion sizes, easy access to high calorie snacks and habit eating.
How Can I talk To My Child About being Overweight?
Under 9 years old – At this age, parents decide what kids eat so changes need to be made to the whole family eating habits. Start talking about making healthy choices as a part of everyday family life.
Age 10 to 12 – at this stage they’re more aware of body shape than we realise. The first question would be if anyone has teased them about anything at school. If so, acknowledge it by saying something like: ‘That hurts’. If your child has been bullied about their size, don’t deny there’s a problem. Parents first response is often to say there’s nothing wrong. But that just confuses the child. When you talk to your child about weight, choose your moment. Look for neutral times, like supermarket trips or the walk to school. Make it clear it is not their fault. It’s not a weakness, they’re not stupid and they haven’t failed. Make sure your child knows you love and support them and you want to help them to help themselves.
Age 12 and over – Be careful not to link being ‘thin’ with being successful and attractive. Make sure they understand that weight is simply a health issue. In our world healthy choices are difficult for everyone. Avoid words like ‘lazy’ or ‘greedy’ and ‘diet’- it’s better to talk about longer-term lifestyle changes than a quick-fix diet. It’s not about controlling what they eat. Point out the benefits of physical health, such as having more energy. It’s about making them part of the journey. Create an environment where a teenager can succeed in losing weight.
Unconventional View of Nutrition
The practice of Homeopathy views the eating, digestive and emotional issues of the child as one problem. Homeopathic remedies work on the whole body, so they are successfully used to automatically improve digestion in order for vitamins and minerals to be absorbed more efficiently. A child receiving a homeopathic remedy at the same time as introducing dietary changes will find their hot chips and junk cravings easier to deal with and parents will find the child or teenager is more compliant with introduced changes. When the homeopathic remedy has made some adjustments the parents find it easier to steer the child away from the old pattern of eating/ lack of exercise/ lack of motivation.
If dietary changes are begun along with a homeopathic remedy, they are easier to maintain in the long term, since the remedy itself will be helping to change habits and cravings.
DISCLAIMER In any long-term or chronic childhood illness, the advice of your medical healthcare professional should always be sought. When you decide to start putting into place some of these Practical Ways To Help Children With Weight Loss Including Homeopathy you are encouraged to ask many questions. Ask your healthcare professional about your child in a wholistic way to explore further your health management options.
For the parents of zippy, complex, independant, sometimes-celebrated but tricky kids it’s an often asked question, “Is there any help offered by homeopathy for childhood behaviour problems? Thankfully the answer is a big yes. Homeopathy gives options where the world of medicine may have few answers or few desirable answers. Using a natural medicine approach, the homeopath provides treatment which is supportive of the child and parents, and non-judgemental of both.
We start homeopathy for childhood behaviour problems with a treatment schedule
Any child who has a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, ADD, ADHD, aspergers or any child with a large medical history will benefit from starting with a treatment schedule. This involves having the first two appointments spread over a few days, for example:
- An initial one hour appointment with the parent or parents without the child present
- A one hour appointment which will focus on listening to the child (the amount of time will vary according to the age and capacity of each child)
The initial appointment with the parents is for discussion of delicate or upsetting subjects without the child present, including diagnosis, certain behaviours or events in the child’s past. This will avoid negative reinforcement and allow the focus of the second appointment to remain on listening to the child as much as possible. The remedy may not be given at the first or second appointment. A short third appointment may even be scheduled to finalise case taking and commence treatment.
We have an unconventional view of nutrition
During case taking during the first appointments, there will be an emphasis on the careful choosing of homeopathic remedies. Though of course, there is no point working out a great remedy and forgetting about what the child is eating. In our clinic, we view the eating, digestive and emotional issues of the child as one problem. Homeopathic remedies work on the whole body, so they are successfully used to automatically improve digestion in order for vitamins and minerals to be absorbed more efficiently. A child receiving (for example) Lycopodium will find their chocolate and lolly cravings, and abdominal bloating all reduce at the same time. This is a good example of the capacity of homeopathy to help a child to bounce back when their diet requires only a few changes.
On the next level when a child receives (for example) Sulphur, the remedy facilitates many changes. Children who will benefit from Sulphur are active, hot bodied ragamuffins who fill up on drinks and won’t eat their dinner. Under the action of the remedy their sweating, thirst, and great desire for sweets diminish. Concurrently, their appetite increases. When Sulphur has made some adjustments the parents find it easier to steer the child away from the additives to which they react.
On the next level again, trying to get children to take a number of supplements and follow a casein/gluten free diet can be a battle: sometimes even self-defeating when it provokes defiant outbursts. If dietary changes are begun along with a homeopathic remedy, they are easier to maintain in the long term, since the remedy itself will be helping to change habits and cravings.
Gentle Starting Dose
All children respond to homeopathic remedies in different ways, so treatment will often be started in a gentle way to accommodate these differences. When a gentle starting dose or test dose is used, it is expected that definite improvement may not be noticed until after the next dose at the follow up appointment. Gentle starting doses ensure that any child whose body has a need for a spring clean, (or a de-tox, or aggravation) does so in a mild way.
After the starting dose has been given, treatment can be commenced and the child will then proceed with the expected ‘two steps forward and one step back’ response. There are some children who are generally very sensitive and their symptoms respond positively even after the gentle starting dose. They have a head start.
The Whole Family
In a family, the children are not the only ones suffering: the father might be working overtime; the mother feels like she is being a taxi driver; and the siblings are feeling jealous that all the attention is on the child with the diagnosis. Meals are happening in the backseat of the car. Nobody has time to talk to each other.
Exhausted parents easily forget to look after themselves or just have no time left in the day. Since children model how to look after themselves by copying their parents this has to involve more than just taking supplements and just directing treatment at the child. It is sound advice for the father to use homeopathy for his eczema which flares up in times of stress, the mother for her asthma and the sibling for their jealousy and bedwetting. In fact, in the work of John Meinychuk an American homeopath it was found that the healthier the whole family was through using homeopathy the quicker the individual child responds to treatment.
Parenting of Challenging Children
There is a lot written about strategies to help parents and their kids get along better. Well meaning advice sometimes makes it sound possible to steer a course over the years without raising your voice, without anger, without parents themselves becoming the four-year old. Some children are easier than others and being with them and guiding them, almost just comes naturally, as if any sensible parenting style would work. Some children take a lot more energy and determination. Guilt can become mixed up with frustration at becoming the kind of parent you never imagined you wanted to be.
With some children, it can feel as if there is no sensible parenting style that works, even after trying lots of them. Many strategies sound wonderful in textbooks, but of course are difficult in real life. It is commonly noticed when a homeopathic remedy has done its work and certain attitudes or behaviours have settled, that parenting strategies become easier to implement.
Environmental Influences on Childhood Behaviour Problems
Environmental toxins, such as lead, cadmium, and carbon monoxide, have been thought to be linked with ADHD etc. This goes hand in hand with the overuse of antibiotics, denatured food, and school pressures that damage our internal atmosphere. For each individual there may be a wide number of possible responses to external and internal stresses. Some resilient children seem to be relatively unaffected by these disturbances — their health and happiness stay in balance without major effort. It is this balance and resilience which homeopathy strives to achieve for every child.
Homeopaths have noticed an increased need to address some children’s health problems with more than homeopathy, nutrition and a good diet. At the Harbord Homeopathic Clinic we will sometimes advise the need for a hair analysis to determine the level of heavy metals and other nutrient minerals in the body.
Awake but not awake, staring blankly, so much more than a bad dream. You will benefit from knowing some practical ways to help a child with night terrors.
Night terrors is a term used to describe the panic when your child wakens in an ‘over the top way’ in the first few hours of sleep. It’s very upsetting to watch because your child looks terrified and you can’t console them. You are not alone, statistics show that five out of a hundred children will at some stage have night terrors. Most often they happen in pre-school and primary school aged children. A child who is having a night terror is stuck halfway between being asleep and awake. They are awake enough to get out of bed, talk/scream and have their eyes open, but they do not respond to a parent trying to console them. They usually do not remember the episode in the morning.
What does a night terror look like?
- Starts with screaming and your child looks terrified
- Thrashing their arms and legs wildly in bed, or start running around the house as if they are being chased by something
- Fast breathing and fast heart beat
- Eyes open but seems to stare right through you
- Can’t recognize anyone
- Can’t be consoled
- Lasts between about five to fifteen minutes, and may be more than once in the same night
What causes a night terror?
- Sometimes there is a family history of night terrors or sleep walking
- Generally night terrors happen in the first half of the night when the child is having most of their deep sleep
- Night terrors may become worse with illness, asthma, fevers, being overtired, or if your child becomes very worried about something
- More common in boys
- Peak onset is three and half years old
- Night terrors have been known since ancient times
How are night terrors different to nightmares?
Nightmares are scary dreams that usually happen in the second half of the night because that is when a child has most of their dream sleep. During a nightmare a child wakes up fully and can remember the frightening dream. Children can be settled by a parent and remember the waking in the morning.
Practical ways to help a child with night terrors
- Stay calm and don’t touch your child unless they are going to hurt themselves. Efforts to rock, cuddle, settle or help your child often make the episode worse
- Don’t wake your child in the middle of it
- Talk in a quiet voice, “you are okay, you are at home, you are in your own bed, it’s OK to go back to sleep”
- Keep your house safe – lock windows and doors!
- Clear the bedroom of objects that you could both step on or trip over
- Have a regular sleep time with a good bedtime routine. Overtiredness and not enough sleep can make night terrors more frequent
- Some parents say if their child misses a nap or stays up late they are more likely to have one
- Don’t make a big fuss about night terrors the next day unless your child asks. Children, and their brothers or sisters, often become upset by your reaction and may become anxious about going to bed
- Night terrors do not have any bad effects on your child in the future and usually your child will outgrow them
- Make sure to warn baby-sitters and other parents when your child goes away overnight, on camp or to a friends place. This will help them to be prepared
- Medications rarely are indicated for sleep terrors and usually provide no long-term help
Can night terrors be prevented?
- Make sure that your child has a good sleep routine and doesn’t miss naps
- Avoid TV and screen time before bed
- Some parents report that night terrors are worse on a night that their child had an evening meal containing gluten/pasta/ or pizza
- Some parents report that night terrors are worse on a night that their child had an evening meal with little protein, suggesting blood sugar problems
When do you need to see a doctor for night terrors?
- You would like the doctor to check there is no underlying medical problem
- The night terrors are very violent and there is a risk of injury to your child or yourself
When do you need to see a homeopath for night terrors?
- Your doctor has ruled out an underlying medical problem
- The night terrors happen a lot and are interfering with the whole family
- Your child is overly sleepy during the day
- If your child does not seem to be ‘outgrowing’ them
There are several homeopathic remedies for night terrors available which need to be differentiated in an individual way.
When do you need to see a chiropractor for night terrors?
We advise that every child should be checked by a chiropractor at least once.
There are some practical ways to help a fearful child that without even knowing it, every parent will probably make use of. They will model situations when the child should be fearful and when the child should be cautious. Touching the hot stove top and crossing the road are two examples. Fear is necessary, to keep the child from harm. However, children can develop fears of situations or objects that aren’t actually threatening. These childhood fears and anxieties may change as the child grows up.
Helping the child to deal with fear includes taking their feelings seriously, encouraging them to talk about their anxieties, telling them the facts and giving them the opportunity to confront their fears at their own pace and with your support. What can parents do?
Practical ways to help a fearful baby
Babies of about six months of age, have formed a strong attachment to their parents or caregivers so when they are separated from them they become anxious. They sometimes have a fear of strangers during this time. Babies grow out of this phase with time.
- If the baby gets upset when you leave, take your baby with you from room to room or talk to them when you are out of sight
- Talk to your baby when you are going out or leaving the room and announce your arrival when you come back. This helps them to trust you
- If your baby seems anxious, reassure them with a calm and confident expression
- Don’t leave your baby to ‘cry it out’ it will make their anxiety worse
Practical ways to help a fearful toddler
Toddlers are starting to learn how to cope with their anger and their strong feelings. A common fear for a toddler is that they will be overwhelmed by powerful emotions. Toddlers also have a different understanding of size and may develop seemingly irrational fears, such as falling down the plughole in the bath or toilet.
- Encourage your toddler to talk about their fears and anxieties
- Try to understand that their fears such as falling down the plughole feel genuine to them
- Don’t force the toddler to confront their fear
- It’s OK to help your toddler to avoid the fear for a while
Practical ways to help a fearful child
As children grow up, their list of fears can grow. Some fears are real and some are imaginary. Common childhood fears include fear of the dark, burglary, war, death, separation or divorce of their parents, ghosts and monsters.
- Explain to your child that you take their fears seriously
- Give your child truthful information on topics such as death or war
- Encourage your child to confront the object of their fear, such as dogs, just one step at a time at their own pace. For example, perhaps start with pictures, then try a very small gentle dog that is tied up, so the child decides how close to get
- Give your child a say in controlling the situation. If they are afraid of robbers, then locking the door at night can be their job
- Daily routines give a child a sense of stability.
When do you need to see a doctor about babies or children who are fearful?
You would like the doctor to check there is no underlying medical cause for an increase in fear, anxiety, restlessness or behavioural changes.
When do you need to see a homeopath about childhood fears?
- Your doctor has ruled out a medical reason
- You have tried lots of these practical parenting methods for the fears and anxieties and they don’t respond
- You have read “Why won’t my child listen?” and tried everything
- Your baby, or toddler or child has anxiety or fears that interfere with their daily life
- Your child has night terrors
The Harbord Homeopathic Clinic, a Brookvale-based natural health clinic, will be initiating the first homeopathic Internship program in Australia, beginning in February of 2016.
“We’ve always had students come through the clinic, but this is our first intern” says Linlee Jordan.
Lorena Mattiolo joined the Harbord Clinic as an intern starting Monday, February 5th. She has been involved with the practice through her homeopathy education at Endeavour College in years past, and is very excited to participate as an intern now.
“I feel that I will benefit from being in this supportive environment, with experienced homeopaths. Even though I graduated a couple of years ago, I’ve taken this internship to build confidence and take away different approaches to go out there and treat people myself,” says Lorena.
Lorena is very interested in the journey that clients go on when they are receiving homeopathic treatment, and her corresponding journey as a practitioner. “It’s such a privilege to help people come to their own conclusions – it’s a combined effort (between the practitioner and client) for them to heal,” she says. She is also looking forward to getting a better idea of how a clinic is run – maybe to open her own in the future.
Homeopathy is growing in Australia as a complimentary medicine, accompanied by other CM’s like Naturopathy and Acupuncture. After being around for over 200 years, homeopathy is in regular use by over 200 million people worldwide.
Chamomilla for teething is part of the the homeopathic first aid kit around the world. Seeing a dose or two of the homeopathic remedy Chamomilla change a fractious child into a calm child is something not soon forgotten. Teething symptoms fade and the pain lessens in such a smooth and simple way that Chamomilla for teething has earned a reputation worldwide. It is used successfully so often by parents and homeopaths that we can all be forgiven for thinking of it as a specific remedy for teething. Yet sometimes there are other teething remedies that may be more suitable. Parents can get the best out of using homeopathy at home by carefully choosing a teething remedy according to an individual cluster of symptoms.
There are some questions that parents may ask: when is the popular Chamomilla going to be the most appropriate remedy and before explaining that, what is homeopathy? And what exactly is teething anyway?
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a form of holistic medicine, which is different from modern medicine because it works on the whole entanglement of symptoms and on the susceptibility to teething problems. It does this by stimulating the body’s innate healing ability.
As a medicine, homeopathy has stood the test of time. The remedies used in modern homeopathic practice have survived for centuries without change in the way they are used or made. The use of Chamomilla for teething first started 200 years ago.
What is a remedy?
A homeopathic medicine is called a remedy. Remedies are made in homeopathic pharmacies from a vast assortment of substances including herbs and minerals. The homeopathic remedy Chamomilla is made from the herb Chamomile that has been used as a herb tea since the 1st century AD. Turning the herb into a remedy makes it capable of treating the emotional, mental and physical symptoms of teething. Some remedies like Chamomilla are used so often in the home situation that parents keep them in a first aid kit to use for immediate problems, especially in the middle of the night. Other remedies, such as Saccharum, are available only after consult with a professional homeopath. Homeopathic remedies can be used alongside basic practical measures to ease teething symptoms and bring the baby back to balance.
Another way that remedies are available is in homeopathic teething formulas that can be purchased from health food shops and pharmacies. They contain a collection of the first aid remedies and always contain Chamomilla for teething. These formulas can be very effective and serve as a wonderful introduction to using remedies. They are designed for blanket coverage of teething problems and give temporary relief from the pain, discomfort and irritability caused by teething. When a formula is sold over the counter of course it is not intended to have the same impact as an individually chosen remedy. Carefully choosing one remedy is not a temporary solution and gives more lasting results. It also allows the opportunity to learn about the remedies as separate entities and is worth the effort in the long term.
What is teething?
Throughout history there have been references to teething causing a wide variety of childhood symptoms. Teething difficulties are mentioned as early as 1200BC in the Homeric hymns and also in 1000BC in the prayers of early Indian literature. Eighteenth and nineteenth century treatments for teething were varied and included doses of mercury salts, leeches, opium, lancing of the gums, purgatives and emetics. In 1839, there were 5016 deaths in England and Wales attributed to teething. With our modern understanding of health we can see it is likely that the babies may have died from dehydration and other problems associated with the harsh treatment of the times.
Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, first marketed in 1849, was an extremely popular teething mixture, which contained a generous level of alcohol and morphine sulfate and could cause coma, addiction or death from overdose. It was removed from the market in the 1930’s. Understandably there was a widespread fear of the role of teething in childhood illness which has disappeared with increasing knowledge of medicine and diseases.
Modern medical opinion varies about what teething entails, with some research finding that teething itself rarely causes symptoms. Bearing that in mind it is in the nature of homeopathy that it is treating the whole child so it will be working on their teeth pain at the same time as their other individual symptoms regardless of whether “teething” exists. However parents, grandmothers and nurses clearly associate teething with symptoms which is borne out by several studies. Other recent research has connected the possibility of the presence of the herpes virus with teething symptoms.
Nowadays teething is the term popularly used to explain lots of problems in babies up to about two and a half years old. Homeopaths believe that some babies find the experience painful and others go through it without an ordeal because each has a different susceptibility to teething problems. Any restless baby with red cheeks, a runny nose, lots of saliva, looseness of bowels, irritability and sleeplessness might be said to be suffering from teething. There is not one typical symptom cluster, which reliably predicts the imminent arrival of a tooth.
There are babies who will have some of these symptoms every time they are teething without going on to produce an illness. However these symptoms can be part of the first stage of some health problems. Consequently, if your baby develops a fever, vomiting, convulsions, diarrhoea or loss of appetite it’s wise to get a health professional to check them.
When is Chamomilla for teething, the right choice of remedy?
The individual way that a baby reacts during teething is the key to knowing which remedy to use. Most important is the way they want to be held, for example a baby who needs Chamomilla demands to be held while being carried around and will cry angrily, hit and kick if put down. If they are reacting in this way and the following symptoms are present then Chamomilla is the best choice of remedy:
- They quieten when the parents walk up and down but even after a while of walking and being held the baby may still start to cry with the parents getting worn out
- The baby demands food, toys and drinks but when offered them will throw them across the room.
- They seem to be abnormally sensitive to pain and don’t like being looked at.
- During sleep they toss and turn and cry out loud and generally cry more at night especially around 9pm to 10pm.
- Their gums are sore so they keep their mouth open. They will dribble and keep their fingers in their mouth. While in this state they are prone to having loose greenish stools and their face is flushed on one side
Cina compared with Chamomilla for teething
Cina is one of the remedies which most resembles Chamomilla because the baby needing Cina is also irritable, capricious and wants to be held. However, the Cina baby will seem to want to be picked up, but when you do it they are still unhappy. Trying to caress or hug them will make them stiffen their body or throw their head backwards so that you almost drop them. Despite the best efforts quietening them seems out of the question. You can’t seem to do anything to please them, whereas the Chamomilla child will at least settle for a while when carried. They may have loose stools but not greenish as in Chamomilla. They may look paler during teething than they normally do.
The baby needing Arsenicum will also want to be carried, the difference is that they like being walked around briskly and will quieten down when you do it. Arsenicum babies are the ones whose parents soon figure out that a ride in the car at 1am may be the only thing that will put them back to sleep. They can be angry just like Chamomilla and Cina but are worse in the middle of the night between midnight and 2am. The baby who needs Arsenicum may have a loose stool, which is burning and gives them nappy rash. If they have a runny nose it will burn the skin around their nose.
If the symptoms are all jumbled together and you are not sure whether your baby has colic or is teething, the remedy needed is Mag phos. The crampy type of tummy pain will make them draw their legs up and the parent will discover that the pains are greatly relieved by the warmth of a hand and the firm pressure of rubbing their belly. Arsenicum babies also like warmth but you can differentiate between the two remedies because Arsenicum is restless and Mag phos will seem too tired and exhausted to move other than to raise their legs up. The Mag phos baby may also have cracks in the corners of their mouth.
A baby who needs Mercurius is sweaty, smelly and very thirsty even though their mouth is moist. There will be redness of the gums, a constant inclination to swallow, flabby tongue, ulcers in the mouth, bad breath and such copious drooling of saliva that there will be a pool of saliva on the pillow. During teething they will be anxious, hurried, restless and have trouble sitting still. Becoming both easily chilled and easily overheated is a characteristic of Mercurius.
Nux vomica will help a baby who is irritable, stroppy, quarrelsome and oversensitive mentally and physically to open air, cold air, drafts, being strapped into their car seat, tight elastic on pants, noise, smell and music. Some of them will even raise an objection if the adults are having a conversation, it seems to be too much noise for them and they certainly will object to having the radio on in the car. Because they are impatient, head strong and self willed they are babies who really seem to know what they want and they want it right now. They get the hiccoughs and burps during teething. An uninterrupted nap will do them the world of good if they could only stay asleep long enough. If your baby is one of those little ones who wakes too early then can’t go back to sleep again, coupled with a hypersensitivity then they will be sure to respond to Nux vomica.
Pulsatilla compared with Chamomilla for teething
The remedies Pulsatilla and Chamomilla are very different because a child needing Pulsatilla is gentler, and will weep and whine easily rather than screaming and will want to be carried slowly and gently. Changing, shifting symptoms and moods from one minute to the next will confuse the parents. They want sympathy and attention and become clingy and weepy. After a cry they will seem to freshen up and be in a better mood. If they have a runny nose it will be bland, thick, a dirty yellow or green and it will not burn the skin. The time of day when they are at their worst is in the afternoon between 3pm and 5pm. They love to be carried outside in the fresh air. The Pulsatilla baby is not very thirsty even though their mouth and lips are dry. They may have a bloated tummy and their stool will be changeable.
All the previous remedies can be given by parents at home and will be found in homeopathic first aid kits. As well as these, there are several indispensable teething remedies, which would be prescribed only after a consult with a professional homeopath. Examples of these other teething remedies are as follows.
These babies get their teeth later than the average and then have much difficulty with them coming through. These babies gain weight easily and are normally contented however while cutting teeth they can be very stubborn. Calc carb babies will quieten quickly when picked up. Parents will notice that they seem to be happier to just sit in their pram than to have their feet on the ground. They sweat easily on their head especially during sleep. Old textbooks of homeopathy say that one third of children require this remedy however modern day homeopaths have noticed that the need for the remedy is decreasing.
These babies also want to be carried and love to be rocked. They really feel better when you carry them with their tummy over your shoulder. Their teething troubles are worse from 2am to 4am. Their face looks puffy and they seem to be weakened by the teething. The Kali carb baby tends to be jumpy and startles easily by unexpected touch or noise, more so than other babies.
Like Kali carb, the babies who need Saccharum love to be rocked. After sweets they are a handful and kick and hit. They demand food immediately on waking and the transformation after getting some food in their mouth is remarkable. Their face looks pale like Cina. Pushing away will be their first response when the parent tries to carry them but if the parent persists they will give in to the cuddle or the rocking which is what they actually really wanted. Saccharum is a remedy needed more and more by children in modern homeopathy.
Thirteen tips about teething and when using Chamomilla for teething will be effective
- Parents naturally hesitate before giving their baby any treatment, but can feel reassured to know that the exceedingly small doses used in homeopathic medicine make them safe.
- A remedy can be given as a dose of two pills or five drops in a strength of 30c once every four hours. If you have given more than six doses and it hasn’t helped then try a different remedy.
- A blissful and common response to a well chosen remedy is having a child being finally able to give in to their sleepiness and have a nap.
- If dribble is causing a rash try using paw paw ointment on the chin as a barrier.
- Massage your baby’s gums with your finger. Some enjoy the pressure in the same way they like to chew on things. Once they are old enough for chewing chunky food you can try letting them gnaw on celery sticks, raw apple rings and dried bananas. The bananas taste great but make such a mess that you will probably decide to use them just before it’s time for a bath or even while sitting in the bath.
- If you can’t avoid going out when it is cold and windy use scarves and beanies.
- Both parents of a teething baby need time out. Ask for help.
- After using a teething formula or different individual remedies at home and they haven’t helped, consult a professional homeopath. Your baby may need one of the less common remedies that are not for home use.
- If you have a friend who says that they have gone through bottles of Chamomilla for teething, chances are they are overusing the remedy. Remind them that it is still a medicine. No matter how gentle homeopathy is, there are still cautions which apply.
- Don’t use chamomile tea at the same time as using Chamomilla or a teething formula. It is giving a double dose. In homeopathy less is better. If you find your baby responds to chamomile tea then just use the tea, there is no need to use a remedy as well.
- Local anaesthetic gel may be washed away too quickly by saliva.
- Any child with recurring teething problems will benefit from having a check up with a chiropractor or an osteopath.
- You don’t have to be a hipster to use Chamomilla for teething 🙂
By taking the time to understand more about homeopathy you can use Chamomilla for teething and the other remedies in the most effective way possible. Homeopathic first aid courses will explain all these points in more detail. To find a course phone your local community college, college of natural therapies or ask your local homeopath to run a course. To find a local, professional homeopath phone the Australian Homeopathic Association in your state or see www.homeopathyoz.org First aid remedies and kits may be available from health food shops, our Australian homeopathic pharmacies, and professional homeopaths.
When to use Chamomilla for teething and when not to? was first published in WellBeing Magazine “Treating the Torment of Teething with Homeopathy” 2004 #98 page 32 -35
Last year a friend of mine travelled overseas for an extensive time and left with me her potted plants, including her orchid collection. She is what I term “The Orchid Whisperer”. Magnificent orchids of all varieties thrived and flowered throughout the year in her home. To say I was nervous was an understatement. My main experience with orchids was maintaining the life of cut orchids in the vase, which I achieved quite successfully.
Time passed and the orchids were flowering beautifully, new growth even appeared! But one day I noticed black spots on the leaves of a few orchid plants, though. A search on the internet suggested a fungal disease, but all the treatments listed were quite severe and used chemicals, which I try to avoid.
I remembered that I had been given a book called “Homeopathy for Plants” by Christiane Maute. I was delighted to discover this book was a treasure trove of gardening hints and homeopathic treatment suggestions. I chose to start with Thuja 30C which was one of the remedies listed for fungal diseases. The remedy was repeated every 3 days initially. I also supplemented with Silica 200C once a week as a tonic. After 10 days I saw a distinct improvement in most of the plants. I dropped the dosage of Thuja to once a week and used Silica once every 2 weeks. Only one orchid failed to recover with the rest, so I increased the potency of Thuja to 200C and gradually the plant developed new growth.
Following the success of homeopathy with the orchids I decided to try a larger challenge. A macadamia tree in the yard had been dropping nuts before ripening, the leaves were curling and there were dark marks on the trunk that made it look like the tree was bleeding. I once again used Silica 200C to promote regeneration. More specifically I chose Arnica 200C for the ‘bleeding’. I kept Calendula in the back of my mind due its use in the treatment of injuries. It took about 6 months (and treatment wasn’t always regular) for the tree to develop new growth and the foliage to look very healthy. The next crop of nuts was much healthier, although not as plentiful as previous years. I have repeated Silica 200C and will wait to see how the tree progresses.
I have used the book repeatedly and very successfully. Old plants have produced vigorous new growth and an abundance of flowers, mould and fungal issues have been treated successfully. Some problems have been eradicated speedily while others have needed more attention and time, but there is no doubt the homeopathic treatment has made a big difference to my plants.
A range of gardening issues are addressed in the book including pests, various diseases, climate influences, neglect, and mechanical damage. The book has a materia medica with keynotes for the remedies covered in each chapter, and there is a chart which can be copied and used to work out the best remedy choice. A master copy is available to keep a record of remedies used. Many of the remedies are useful in both the home first aid kit and the garden which is very handy. I highly recommend this book for all gardeners!
Often referred to as the homeopathic equivalent of paracetamol. These three remedies work together to help support fevers, reduce the pain of teething and earaches, and help the immune system deal better with whatever infection or problem is causing the inflammation. ABC mix contains the remedies Aconite, Belladonna & Chamomilla
Great for the start of any illness where there is a sudden appearance of fever, maybe a cough worse from cold wind with accompanying anxiety. Can be used if symptoms come on after an emotional shock /fright.
Child wakes screaming suddenly with a high fever, red hot and throbbing pressure in ears. Outer ear may be swollen. Teething symptoms such as dribbling may be present, very common for earache, high fever and teething to be seen together with this remedy. Some kids needing this remedy have night terrors brought on by the sudden rise in their temperature, eyes wide and staring with a red face.
Child wakes screaming, inconsolable and irritable. Throws head backwards in frustration. Not happy to be held but demands to be carried around. Nappy rash, burning green diarrhoea. Will ask for something then reject it. One red cheek is often seen, maybe dribbling and a slight fever. The most common remedy for teething symptoms, and also very often used for earaches where there is a high level of irritability and low pain threshold.
General tips to consider when using homeopathic remedies
A dose is 5 drops. If one dose every 4 hours hasn’t helped after more than 6 doses it’s likely to be a different remedy that’s needed. (There are some exceptions but these must be dealt with by a professional homeopath.)