It's the most wonderful time of the year. At least, it could be or should be! Too often, the hustle and bustle we experience during the holidays can move even the most cheerful among us into a state of anxiety and apprehension. To get more enjoyment out of the holidays, consider these time-honoured traditional remedies that we homeopaths use to avoid the common pitfalls of the season.
'Tis the Season To Be Sodden
At this special time of year, we look forward to celebrating with family and friends, often with a drink or two or more. The rum hot toddies, the egg nog, the bottle of ice wine that Aunt Betty always brings as a house gift – with so much alcohol a-flowing, it’s hard to remember moderation, and easy to overindulge. The diuretic effect of alcohol and the resulting dehydration, combined with impurities from distillation processes, result in the classic symptoms of 'the holiday hangover.' You can prevent that morning-after state – nausea and vomiting, pounding headache, stomach ache, cloudy thinking and exhaustion – with some practical strategies.
Start by trying to drink responsibly. Then, for every alcoholic beverage consumed, alternate with a glass of water, preferably with fresh lemon. The water will rehydrate your body and the lemon will exercise a gentle, alkalizing, detoxifying influence on the liver. If you must be naughty instead of nice during the holidays, the first homeopathic medicine to reach for is Columbrina, also known as Nux Vomica. This preparation, which is made from so-called 'Poison Nut,' contains seeds that enclose the toxic alkaloid strychnine. Samuel Hahnemann, the clever founder of homeopathy, was the first to "prove" the safety and efficacy of this homeopathic preparation. When the party is over, take a dose of Nux Vomica 30CH before bed and re-dose in the morning as required. Let your symptoms be your guide. As with all homeopathic remedies, stop taking the remedy as soon as improvement is noticed.
Sweets and Fats at Holiday Parties
So we've managed to find relief for the holiday hangover. What about Uncle Albert's famous pecan pie? One slice is never enough, and of course Uncle Albert insists on heaping a huge scoop of ice cream to go with that pie. If you load up on sweets over the holidays, homeopathy can come to your rescue again, this time with Pulsatilla, made from the lovely Pasque flower. Take a dose of Pulsatilla 30CH before bed and add a probiotic for good measure. Sugar can depress the immune system for anywhere from three to five hours, so watch your overall consumption of refined sugar and treats over the holidays.
Homeopathy for Cooking Burns
What if you prefer your pecan pie warm, and the elves borrowed your oven mitts? Homeopathic Calendula Officinalis will soothe any painful burns you sustain while preparing hot holiday specialties. It will also reduce the risk of blistering and scarring. Calendula is prepared from Pot Marigold flowers. Apply the diluted tincture or gel externally. In a pinch, drop five pellets of Calendula into water, stir vigorously and apply the water topically. Burns are classified into first, second, third and fourth degrees. First-degree burns are painful and create reddening of the skin. Second-degree burns involve blistering, and third- and fourth-degree burns involve damage to all skin layers and require immediate medical attention. Also, seek medical attention for burns that cover a large area or become infected.
For minor burns, run cool water over the affected area or apply cool compresses with Calendula tincture, until pain subsides. Never apply ice to a burn. Cover the burn with sterile gauze; never use fluffy cotton or other materials that may stick to the wound. Depending on the severity of the burn, your homeopath may also recommend taking Calendula internally in addition to a topical treatment.
Remedy for Food Poisoning
With so much extra eating, food poisoning is another common hazard during the holidays. Careful preparation and storage of food during the holidays is the key to avoiding food-borne illness, especially in meat products. Food poisoning symptoms vary depending on the type of contamination, but usually include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, fever, and severe abdominal cramping. Although it's best to consult your homeopathic practitioner to match a remedy to your unique symptom picture and state, Arsenicum Album 30CH is a good choice in an emergency. Take a dose of the homeopathic medicine every half hour until symptoms improve. With vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are potential concerns so ensure small sips of water or flat ginger ale are taken often. Ice chips are also a good source of hydration. (Large amounts of liquid consumed at once could aggravate the digestive system and set off more bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.)
Once symptoms have diminished, introduce foods slowly. Avoid caffeine, dairy, sugar, and too much protein for a few days to minimize stomach upset.
Topical Treatments for Tobogganers
A Canadian winter wonderland can be a dangerous place, with ice patches to avoid and mountains of snow requiring shoveling. Strains, sprains, bumps and bruises respond quickly to homeopathic treatment. Apply Arnica Montana or Traumeel topically to speed healing and bring pain relief. Although Arnica is the homeopathic remedy most used in self-prescribing for injury, there are many homeopathic remedies available for this purpose. An indispensable remedy in treating overexertion injuries to fibrous tissue (tendons and ligaments) is Ruta Graveolens, derived from the Garden Rose. And Hypericum (St. John’s Wort) is highly effective in pain management, especially injury to nerves including dental pain, injury to the spinal cord and tailbone, and crushed fingertips. Your homeopath can develop a healing protocol to put you on the road to recovery.