Remedies have relationships with other remedies, and it is for this reason that it becomes clearer and quicker to help someone in an 'acute' situation, once the homeopath is already familiar with all aspects of the person or child's, mental/emotional and physical make-up.


There are two methods of using homeopathy. An “acute” situation is one that is short lived with a quick recovery time, one that will go away of its own accord given time. Here changes can be seen to take place within a few hours or several days. Examples of this may be colds, sore throats, fevers and flu’s. Headaches, including hangovers! Stomach upsets, period pains and indigestion. Cystitis, morning sickness in pregnancy and general muscle strains or sprains.

With “constitutional” homeopathy, where one is considering the total, or whole picture, with an established chronic situation involved, there is a longer recovery time. This is a situation that has no tendency to improve on its own. In this case, changes will evolve over weeks, and sometimes even months, or up to a year or so. For example, instead of suffering from an occasional acute headache, with a quick resolution, someone with a history of migraines can expect to experience a lessening in frequency of attacks, taking place gradually over a longer period of time.

Generally speaking, most homeopaths will not take on someone that they do not know previously who calls with an acute ailment, only because once someone is under their constitutional care, it is much easier to care for them when one is already very familiar with their case. Remedies have relationships with other remedies, and it is for this reason that it becomes clearer and quicker to help someone in an “acute” situation, once the homeopath is already familiar with all aspects of the person or child’s, mental/emotional and physical make-up.

Having said that, it is with acute situations that most people have their first introduction to using homeopathic remedies. Of these, Arnica is perhaps one of the most well known, and is an essential component of even the most minimal first-aid kits. Sometimes, it can truly seem like a miracle because of the quick recovery time from any kind of trauma with the use of this remedy. Arnica can help with sprains, bruises, black eyes, swellings and concussions, whilst also being a good flu remedy. It is used before and after surgery, childbirth or dental treatment. Some plastic surgeons even recommend Arnica for speedy healing with inflammation and bruising.

For children and babies, there are a group of remedies to help them get through the discomfort of chicken pox or colic, others that are helpful for earaches, and another trio that alleviate croup. In adults, there are “acute” remedies that are highly effective for the flu, remedies that take away motion/sea sickness, and ones to help with the recovery and unpleasantness of food poisoning or travelers’ diarrhea.

Below is a simple acute case from my early days of practice, which appeared in Homeopathy Today, a publication of the National Center for Homeopathy.

by Sonam Kushner

A friend of mine called me up with a case of bursitis in the left knee. He said that it was swollen and he couldn’t bend the knee. It was more painful when he stood, walked, or climbed up and down stairs. It was better lying down and resting.

This stemmed from an injury when he was 15-16 years old (he is now 51). He had stepped in a pothole, twisted his knee, and was in the hospital for two weeks, where eventually his knee was drained of fluid.

The pain was mostly a “pressure” type, with a feeling of tightness because of the liquid there. It was also stiff, especially in the morning on waking. This got better when he started to move around, and was also better for warmth. When the knee cap moved there was a sharp, shooting pain like a subtle nerve pain.

In the repertory rubric: “Extremities, Bursae, patella, bursitis praepatellaris, chronic, housemaid’s knee”; there are seventeen remedies. After carefully reading all of them in Clarke’s Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, I narrowed my choice down to four remedies. Antimonium tartaricum — dropsy of the left knee joint, collection of synovial fluid in joints; Kali iodatum — housemaid’s knee, swollen feeling; Silica — knee painful, as if too tightly bound, inflammatory swelling of the knee; and Sticta — considerable quantity of fluid in the knee joint, and, Clarke says, almost a specific for “housemaid’s knee.”

I decided upon the latter — Sticta or lungwort. My friend called me a few days later to thank me for the prescription. He took two doses of 30C, then went for a walk, and ended up walking 4,000 feet up a mountain, and his knee did not bother him!