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8 Homeopathic Remedies for Athletes


Everybody who exercises--whether week-end jock or professional athlete--is occasionally sidelined by injurie.

Everybody who exercises–whether week-end jock or professional athlete-is occasionally sidelined by injuries. But how many of us know that homeopathy can speed recovery?

This is not to disparage the usual remedies–namely rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) for injuries involving painful swelling. But if you want even better results, try augmenting your healing repertoire with the eight homeopathic remedies described in this article: Arnica, Bryonia, Calcarea carb, Hypericum, Ledum, Rhus, Ruta and Symphytum.

When you’re injured, your body is "off-track." It doesn’t run as smoothly as it did before the injury. Immediately after the injury, your body sets to making things better, by (for example) creating new cells to replace the damaged ones. Properly-chosen homeopathic remedies can aid this natural healing process, nudging your body back on its rightful track.

The Mysteries of Healing

Nobody quite knows how homeopathic remedies work. A handful of scientists around the world are researching the question now, with some tantalizing results published in peer-reviewed journals.

But, for the moment, all we know is this: people who use homeopathic remedies intelligently–that is, by carefully matching their symptoms to those treated by a particular remedy–tend to like the results.

They find they get over their ailments quicker than do their friends and family members who don’t use such remedies.

Homeopathic remedies have no side effects and no contraindications if used as suggested in this article (and as specified on their packaging). They are equally safe for the very young and the very old. The remedies covered in this article can be found in almost any health-food store.

Here are general guidelines for how to take homeopathic remedies.

Carefully select the remedy that best matches your symptoms. You can’t go wrong using any of the lower-number potencies, labelled 3X or 3C up to 30X or 30C. Take the appropriate remedy (usually Arnica to start) every 15 to 30 minutes beginning immediately after an injury. Continue for several doses. Then lengthen the time between doses as you see improvement. You might take four to six doses within the first two hours, another dose two hours later, another three hours later.

Switch remedies if the symptoms change and begin to resemble those of another remedy. Discontinue all homeopathic intervention when you are clearly on the mend. (Your body does not need continual homeopathic reminders if it is already healing quite nicely. Let it alone to do its job.)

Needless to say, if your injury is severe, see a health care practitioner. But feel free to use these remedies while awaiting medical attention.

I’ve included the full Latin name and the source of each remedy. Some manufacturers shorten the name on the packaging, while others use the full Latin name.

Arnica Aid

Arnica montana from leopard’s bane is one of the most commonly used homeopathic medicines. Moms take it to the playground to treat falls from the monkey bars. Coaches fish it out of first-aid kits during traumatic football games. For homeopathy buffs, Arnica is the first remedy to take following trauma. It comes in pill, liquid and ointment form.

These are the pills that European soccer fans saw some members of France’s soccer team sprinkling into their mouths during the last World Cup. It was perfectly legal--no homeopathic remedy is on the forbidden list for professional athletes. The French soccer players were using Arnica to recover more quickly from the bruising play on the field and to ensure that they would be in top form for their next match.

Taken internally, Arnica promotes the healing of damaged tissues and helps control bleeding. For this reason, some plastic surgeons recommend that their patients take Arnica before and after their plastic surgery. Arnica also helps to settle people following either physical injury or emotional shock. If your 11-year-old daughter--a normally confident girl--is feeling tearfully reluctant to return to her field-hockey game after being bowled over by another player, try giving her some Arnica to help her regain her composure.

Arnica ointment can also be rubbed on bruises and sprains to speed healing.

The Homeopathic Group of Seven

Bryonia alba comes from wild hops. Let’s say you’ve already taken a sequence of Arnica, but 10 hours later your injury remains swollen, distended and painful. If it is worse when you move it–and if firm pressure and cold compresses on the painful spot bring relief–take Bryonia. (Note this distinction: If it is better when you move it, then you need Rhus or Ruta, as described later.)

Some homeopaths consider it acceptable to take Arnica and Bryonia simultaneously, assuming your injury fits the Bryonia description from the beginning. You won’t hurt yourself taking two homeopathic remedies at once. The only issue is effectiveness. You may reduce effectiveness by giving your body mixed signals about how and which symptoms to address.

Calcarea carbonica, from calcium carbonate, is for a long-standing injury–one where weakness has persisted for two weeks or more. Take Calcarea carb to clear up the remaining stiffness and weakness.

Hypericum perforatum comes from St John’s Wort. Anytime your nerves have been crushed, as after (say) dropping a barbell on your toe, reach for Hypericum after settling yourself with Arnica. Hypericum is especially effective for shooting nerve pains, as often occurs when the coccyx or spine is injured.

Ledem palustre, or Ledum (from wild rosemary) is justly known for its healing action in puncture wounds and insect bites. But it also useful for a black eye or any other injury that feels cold to the touch and is relieved by cold applications. Follows Arnica.

Rhus toxicodendron is derived from poison ivy. It’s useful for ligaments and tendons around joints that feel painfully stiff, strains and sprains. A Rhus injury will resist initial movement, but loosen up with continued movement. Use it after Arnica.

Ruta graveolens is derived from rue, an evergreen shrub with bitter strong-scented leaves. If you’ve been kicked in the shin or have tennis elbow, think Ruta after Arnica. It’s for deep aching pain from bruises to the lining of the bones. It’s also good for torn and wrenched tendons. Like arthritic conditions, Ruta-type injuries feel worse in cold wet weather and from resting, better with movement and warmth.

Symphytum officinale is usually second in line after Arnica and sometimes third, after both Arnica and Ruta. It is certainly helpful in knitting broken bones, but it also can help where the bone covering has been damaged, as occurs when something has hit your eye socket (in this last case, take Symphytum, not Ruta, after Arnica).



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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD