How to Get the Best Results with Homeopathy

Homeopathic remedies are natural medicines that can often work better and faster than conventional ones; medicines that are safe, non-habit forming, without side effects, that do not cause allergic reactions, and are widely available in health food stores and some pharmacies, typically for less than $10 for many doses. These natural medicines, called homeopathic remedies, need to be used according to their own special principles for best results.

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Top Ten Remedies for Your Natural Medicine Cabinet

Wouldn’t you like to have some natural medicines on hand for family emergencies — ones that tend to be safer and work even better than the conventional ones? Here are the ones that I recommend for everyone to have on hand.

Arnica for bumps, bruises, black eyes, sore muscles, sports injuries, sprains and strains, any time there has been soft tissue trauma. It should also be used immediately for a head injury, possible concussion (after calling 911 if indicated).

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Emotional First Aid with Fast-Acting Natural Medicines

Let’s say you get a sudden shock (almost hit by a car) or bad news (your teenager in a car accident) or grief (unexpected death in the family). These sudden emotional shocks often bring physical symptoms including rapid heart rate, hyperventilating, a lump in the throat, insomnia, or feeling totally drained of energy. When they do, you can use fast-acting natural medicines called homeopathy.

Homeopathic medicines are an ideal way to treat emotional trauma, better than conventional psych meds for many reasons: Continue reading

Thumbsucking Can Represent an Underlying Problem

Thumbsucking after the age of five or six can turn into a dental problem, especially if your child is actively sucking rather than passively resting her thumb in her mouth. It can change the shape of the palate and cause overbite as the top teeth stick out.

It can also be hard to break the habit at that point, so let’s consider some natural approaches.

First let’s change the way we think about thumbsucking. Instead of considering it as a “bad habit” which we need to “break”, let’s assume that the child is doing it for a reason. If we can understand and resolve the reason, the thumbsucking will automatically stop.

In my practice, the homeopathic remedy Pulsatilla often works for thumbsucking when it’s part of a larger picture: a child who wants to remain babyish and has the typical Pulsatilla personality (clingy, attached to mom, cuddly and affectionate, generally sweet and mild-tempered but can also be whiny and manipulative and suddenly teary). Children may tend to be like this from birth, especially if they experienced abandonment as a newborn (for example from an induced birth or an elective Caesarean – which to a baby is like being evicted from paradise — or from being dropped off at daycare before they are ready to separate from their mother).

Or they may develop regressive tendencies when a new baby sister or brother starts getting all the attention, and somewhere in their little brain they figure out that acting like a baby might get them back in the limelight again. For these kids, thumbsucking might be part of a pattern that includes forgetting their potty training, wanting to drink from a bottle again, and wanting to sleep in mommy and daddy’s bed again. Not to mention clinging like velcro to mom’s leg when dropped off at daycare.

For a child like this, Pulsatilla is not just about fixing the thumbsucking. It’s about relieving the child’s feeling of abandonment, whether from birth, or from losing their special spot in their parents’ affection when a new baby appears.

There might be a totally different reason, though, with a different fix. Thumbsucking stimulates the point in the roof of the mouth between the hard and soft palate. Above that point is the pituitary gland, which releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relievers and stress-reducers.

Sometimes the system doesn’t work, though, and the child has found that rubbing the palate releases those innate stress relievers. Take your child to a craniosacral therapist or to a non-force chiropractor for a sphenobasilar adjustment.” I learned about this from my very smart colleagues at the Lydian Center, and I recommend our craniosacral therapist, Eve Kodiak, who specializes in babies (

This was adaped from Burke Lennihan’s Your Natural Medicine Cabinet: A Practical Guide to Drug-Free Remedies for Common Ailments and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes with attribution and a backlink to this site.


Natural Remedies for Teething


Kids love taking homeopathic remedies.  That even includes babies! You can simply tuck a single pellet or tablet inside your baby’s cheek, or dissolve it in a little water and dab it on your baby’s lips. When your baby is screaming with teething pain, homeopathy can offer instant relief. The following recommendations are based on my experience working as a professional homeopath, and before that, running a health food store.

Hyland’s Teething Tablets are an old favorite for teething, and they were among the most popular products in my health food store. They are a combination of several possible remedies for teething, which increases the chances that at least one of them will work.

Sometimes, though, the single, specific homeopathic medicine works better than a blend:

  • Chamomilla for pain so intense the child is in a raging fit, demanding things then throwing them on the floor. The cheek is likely to turn red on the same side as the tooth that’s erupting.
  • Belladonna is also for dramatic symptoms: sudden onset, high fever, red face, possibly dilated pupils, possibly angry and biting.
  • Calc. carb. if the teething doesn’t seem to hurt so much and especially if the child matches the Calc. carb. type. These ‘Buddha babies’ tend to have a calm, even lethargic temperament and lots of baby fat. They tend to do everything late — walking, talking, teething — because they like to take their own sweet time.

The cell salt Calc. phos. can make the teething process easier by strengthening the teeth and helping them erupt through the gums faster. Cell salts are minerals which are homeopathically energized for better absorption and assimilation. Calc. phos. is also used to strengthen bones, for example to prevent or even reverse osteoporosis. You’ll know it’s the cell salt form when you see “6x” on the label. This refers to the potency or strength and it doesn’t mean to give it six times a day. Cell salts are given two or three times a day (one tablet for babies and small children, two tablets for everyone else.)

Instant Relief for a Teething Baby

I’ve heard many stories from the parents of my little clients about how much their children love taking homeopathic medicines. It’s not unusual for a four- or five-year-old to have mastered the names of the medicines she usually needs and to ask for one by name when she feels sick. (These Latin names! Can you imagine?)

Here’s my favorite story, though. The mother of a 10-month-old infant was already using Hyland’s Teething Tablets when she brought her baby to see me for eczema. His mom told me this remarkable story about how much he liked the Teething Tablets. He seemed to have learned the sound of the pellets rattling in the tube: he would be crying with teething pain, then hear the rattle of the pellets as she got out the tube.

Instantly cries would turn into a big smile as the baby kicked and waved with glee knowing that relief was on the way. This was before she even gave him a dose!

Positive results from babies, pets and even from plants are one way we know that homeopathy does not work by the placebo effect.

This was adaped from Burke Lennihan’s Your Natural Medicine Cabinet: A Practical Guide to Drug-Free Remedies for Common Ailments and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes with attribution and a backlink to this site.

Cope with Holiday Stress Naturally

(originally published on

Try these safe and effective natural medicines instead of screaming at the kids or dropping from exhaustion. The FDA calls them over-the-counter meds but they are really a support for your body’s healing energy, reminding you what it feels like to function at your best.

A blend of flower essences can act as a universal remedy for stress and anxiety, and you can easily find these blends with names like Rescue Remedy and Emotional Trauma Solution. Flower essences work best for emotional traumas, but sometimes they can help with physical ones too, like dropping a pan of hot kugel on your foot. Use your flower essence blend to stay calm, and it may relieve the burn at the same time. (Normally taken internally — a few drops in a little water — it can also be applied externally to an injured spot.)

For specific stresses you may get better results with a homeopathic medicine. These medicines are made from herbs, minerals and other natural substances using a special process that turns them into informational blueprints or templates for your body’s healing energy. Here are a few of my personal favorites for the holiday season. To determine which one will work best for you, match your physical and emotional symptoms to the remedies described below.

Sepia, the “vacation in a bottle”. This is the real “mother’s little helper!” It’s used for women who are overworked and exhausted, with too many responsibilities, too many people making demands on them or too many kids tugging at their elbow, and no time for themselves. They report feeling “at the end of my rope” and tend to get snappish and irritable with their loved ones. If they do manage to get away, it’s never enough time to restore their energy, because they feel profoundly exhausted.

Women who need Sepia are also likely to be in a state of hormonal imbalance (PMS, menopause, perimenopause or postpartum depression), and Sepia will safely help to restore the hormone balance in women with these symptoms. Physical symptoms include sluggish circulation with cold hands and feet relieved by vigorous exercise, and varicose veins typically caused by standing on their feet for long hours. Women who need this remedy may include nurses on understaffed floors, teachers with oversized classes, mothers of demanding children, and just about any woman trying to cope with shopping, cooking and hostessing during the holidays.

Argentum nitricum, the “what if?” remedy. Do you constantly finding yourself worrying about “what if” a long list of things might go wrong? like, What if I make a mistake in the recipe and everyone gets sick from the punch? What if two relatives who aren’t speaking to each other show up at my open house at the same time? My teenage son isn’t home yet, what if he was killed by a drunk driver? Instead of wasting energy on all this worrying, take Argentum nitricum to help you refocus on enjoying the holidays. It’s especially likely to help if you have its typical physical symptoms of sudden diarrhea; embarrassingly loud intestinal gas; and craving sweets, which make you feel worse. And yes, it can help these gastrointestinal symptoms as well.

Arsenicum, another worrywart remedy. Arsenicum is for people with fears about illness, poverty and homelessness, in other words fears for their survival, when the fears are unfounded. While Argentum nitricum types worry about everybody, the Arsenicum types worry about themselves and who will be there to take care of them. At holiday time they’re likely to worry about credit card bills, the furnace breaking down on the coldest night, and the person sneezing on them around the punchbowl. These two remedies are also distinguished by their typical symptoms: Arsenicum types tend to get colds and shivery chilly flus, both with nose-running-like-a-faucet nasal discharge.

Coffea, for night-before-Christmas insomnia. Coffea is a homeopathic medicine with a funny raison d’etre: it’s for “ailments from an excess of joy.” How does someone get sick from too much joy? They might well have insomnia from happy anticipation, whether a bride the night before her wedding or a child listening up for Santa. Made from coffee beans, this remedy will also address caffeine-like symptoms such as a jittery wired feeling or a nervous oversensitivity to stimuli.

Gelsemium, for performance anxiety. Are you or your child weak in the knees at the thought of singing a solo in your church choir or pirouetting in The Nutcracker? Gelsemium can help relieve your anxiety, even when it’s weeks in advance of the performance. You may feel shaky-trembly inside or deer-in-the-headlights numb at the thought.

Lycopodium, for anxiety when about to go on stage. This natural medicine works better than Gelsemium for people who keep saying they’re not nervous right up to the moment they go on stage and then suddenly they’re a bundle of nerves. I used it for a client who was a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He told me he would be fine up until the moment he took a deep breath, put his instrument to his lips and was about to start his solo, then his mind would go blank! He was getting by with conventional anti-anxiety medications but wanted to try something more natural. Lycopodium helped resolve his performance anxiety and many other typical Lycopodium issues ranging from lack of self-esteem to heartburn and constipation.

Directions. These natural medicines are easily available in any health food store or online. For most people, the 30c potency (strength) will work well. You only need a couple of the tiny pellets dissolved in your mouth, two to four times a day, depending on the intensity of your symptoms. As soon as you feel the medicine working, stop taking it and let it keep working, then repeat when you feel it start to wear off. Hypersensitives (people who tend to overreact to everything) will do better with a mild 6c potency.

May these natural medicines help you enjoy the holidays for their true meaning: peace on earth, goodwill to humanity, and celebrating light even in the greatest darkness. For more information on using these natural medicines for psychological challenges, excellent resources for the general public include Homeopathic Family Medicine: Evidence-Based Nanopharmacology1 and The Homeopathic Treatment of Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, and Other Mental and Emotional Problems.2 For professionals, I recommend Homeopathy and Mental Health Care: Integrative Practice, Principles and Research.3
Research on their effectiveness can be difficult to access from the US, since most research is done overseas where homeopathy is part of the national health care system. You can find it summarized in the above books or in Dana Ulllman’s posts on Huffington Post.4

1Ullman, D. Homeopathic Family Medicine: Evidence-Based Nanopharmacology (2012) Berkeley, CA: Homeopathic Educational Services.

2Reichenberg-Ullman J, Ullman R. The Homeopathic Treatment of Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, and Other Mental and Emotional Problems (2012). Edmonds, WA: Picnic Point Press.

3Johannes C, van der Zee H. Homeopathy and Mental Health Care: Integrative Practice, Principles and Research (2010). Berkeley, CA: Homeopathic Educational Services.


Book Signings

Please join Burke Lennihan for these Barnes & Noble author events (except Mon 10/22 is in a health food store). She’ll sign your book and answer your health questions as time permits.

Friday, Oct. 12, 5-7 pm Union Station, Washington, DC

Saturday, Oct. 13, 1-3 pm, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

Saturday, Oct. 20, 2-6 pm, Cherry Hill Mall, NJ

Sunday, Oct. 21, 1-3 pm, Christiana Mall, DE

Monday, Oct. 22, 12-2:30 pm, Harvest Market, 1741 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, DE

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 5-7 pm, Hadley, MA

Saturday, Dec. 1, 3-5 pm, Hingham, MA