This post is the first in a series designed to teach you about specific homeopathic remedies and what conditions they can be used to treat. Although homeopathic remedies work superbly for treating chronic illness and disease, that type of treatment needs to be individualized and is generally only successful when undertaken with the help of a well-trained homeopath. For this series, I'll be focusing specifically on ways you can use homeopathic remedies in your everyday life.
The first remedy I'll teach you about is Aconite, also known as Aconitum napellus, which is a remedy made from the monk's hood (wolf's bane) plant. Like all homeopathic remedies, Aconite works by stimulating the body to heal itself. Homeopathic remedies are non-toxic, safe for all ages, and have no side effects.
Homeopathic Aconite is taken internally and works well for:
Aconite for Shock
Immediately after an injury occurs, shock commonly sets in. Although Arnica is most-often indicated for shock, when the shock is accompanied by fright Aconite generally works better. Indications for the use of Aconite in shock include the following:
Distress with anxiety, fear, or panic,
Wailing or screaming,
Skin that is flushed,
Skin that is hot and dry, and/or alternating between hot and cold,
Palms that feel cool and clammy,
In Homeopathy in General Practice, Dr. R.A.F. Jack writes that "Aconite has been my best standby in acute medical emergencies. It is indicated in all cases of mental or physical shock or fright, with any of the following symptoms: tremor, palpitations, hyperventilation or gasping for breath; tight feeling in the chest; feeling cold or hot, collapse, or obvious fright or distress... If asked, 'In what type of illness or emergency do you use Aconite?', I might turn the question to 'When do I not use Aconite?', because I routinely use it on arrival at the scene of road accidents, coronary thrombosis, sudden death, burns, scalds, funerals - any and every occasion where panic, fright or shock are in evidence. "
Aconite for Fright
Homeopathic Aconite excels in treating ailments that come on after fright. Incidents that produce a fear of impending death, such as car accidents, natural disasters, being attacked, or even watching a scary movie can induce an Aconite state. Anytime there are ailments that come on after a fright, Aconite is likely to be of benefit whether the ailments are mental/emotional (such as feeling anxiety or fear), or physical (such as palpitations, trembling, or an illness that develops after fright).
A few examples of the successful use of Aconite in my own practice include the following:
a child who became very fearful and anxious after being nearly ran over by a car,
a toddler who became very clingy and fearful after getting separated from her parents and lost in a crowd,
a woman who became anxious and kept having horrible visions after seeing maggots eating an ill animal, and
a child who remained fearful after being attacked by a dog.
One easy way to remember to use Aconite for ailments from fright is the mantra:
When there's fright, Aconite.
Aconite for Sudden Illness or Fever
When illness or fever develops suddenly, especially after exposure to fright or cold wind, Aconite is likely to help. Illnesses that will respond well to Aconite may have some of the following characteristics:
the illness comes on after exposure to cool winds,
the illness comes on after a fright,
there is sudden fever with thirst, restlessness, and/or anxiety
the illness develops rapidly with strong symptoms, and/or
the illness is accompanied by fear or anxiety.
Aconite generally works during the first 24 hours of such an illness, and can often end the illness entirely such that it never progresses any further.
When I've had this type of illness, the symptoms came on after being in cold wind and I rapidly went from breathing normally to being completely stuffed up and sneezing. One or occasionally up to three doses of Aconite are all that have been required to make the symptoms completely resolve with no further illness.
Dr. Luc De Schepper writes that Aconite works well for illnesses that are "Fast... it belongs to an acute, sudden-onset illness. For instance, the child goes to bed peacefully and wakes up around midnight with sudden high fever (104-105 F), restless and full of fear, screaming for his mother. He feels very hot all over the body and is very thirsty for large quantities of cold water... Aconite is used most often for sore throats, beginning cold with dry hacking cough, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), pharyngitis, sudden fright..."
Aconite for Croup
Croup is an acute infection of the upper airways that is generally characterized by a barking cough which is worse at night. Homeopathic remedies are quite effective at treating croup. The great homeopath Dr. Boenninghausen (1785-1864) found that a trio of remedies, homeopathic Aconite, Spongia tosta, and Hepar sulph, worked very successfully in treating croup. Dr. W.A. Dewey writes that, "Boenninghausen treated croup almost exclusively with these three remedies... He treated, it is said, over 400 cases without losing one. All this emphasizes the value of these remedies in croup. "
The general method used by Dr. Boenninghausen for homeopathic treatment of croup was as follows. Boenninghausen dissolved the homeopathic remedies in water for easy administration.
Boenninghausen began with Aconite.
About once every 2-4 hours, he assessed to see if it was time to give the next remedy. In some cases, it was necessary to give 2 doses of Aconite, depending on the symptoms.
Following Aconite, he used Spongia tosta. Sometimes it was necessary to give 2 doses of Spongia, depending on the symptoms.
Then he followed Spongia with Hepar sulph.
It was not always necessary to use all three remedies; he observed the symptoms to see what was indicated.
Here is some information about the three remedies and which symptoms indicate their use, according to Dr. W.A. Dewey .
Aconite Aconite is always the remedy in the beginning of croup, be it spasmodic or membranous in character. The child is suddenly aroused out of sleep gasping for breath. There is a most anxious distressed countenance, hot skin and much restlessness and tossing about. The cough is of the driest kind, loud and barking, no expectoration. If however, the remedy be continued a little while a little expectoration will appear and with it relief. The remedy should not be stopped too soon; if so the trouble will return the following night. The breathing is loud, especially the inspiratory effort.
Spongia tosta Spongia is the great homoeopathic croup remedy, but it always comes in after Aconite. The breathing is harsh, sawing and hard as if the patient were breathing through a sponge. Hard barking ringing cough with scanty expectoration; in fact, it seems to get tighter and tighter every minute and almost threatens suffocation. It is worse before midnight.
Hepar sulph This is the third of the great croup trinity, and it follows Spongia well. It has the same croupy sound, but there is a certain amount of moisture to it; it has a “loose edge.” The breathing is whistling and there is great sensitiveness to the cold air. There must be some looseness of the cough to indicate Hepar; in fact, the child is apt to have choking fits with the cough.
Aconite for Eye Injuries
Although Arnica is generally the first remedy used for treating bumps and bruises, Aconite has proved to be the Arnica of the eyes. When there are eye injuries such as from a blow, foreign body, or scratch, Aconite generally prompts the body to heal the eye rapidly and effectively. Eye injuries that will benefit from Aconite generally exhibit some of the following characteristics:
sensitivity to light, and/or
inflammation and redness.
One of the students attending my Homeopathic First Aid class shared a story of her own use of Aconite for treating an abrasion to the eye. While in a rush to try on clothes in a dressing room, one of the tags scratched her eye. There was strong inflammation and pain in the eye, which was quickly relieved with Aconite. The symptoms started to recur some hours later, and were fully resolved with one more dose of Aconite.
Potency and Dosing
The most commonly available homeopathic potencies in the United States are 6x, 30x, 6c, and 30c.
30x and 30c potencies are good general-purpose potencies to use in most acute situations (such as first-aid and illnesses), although newborns, hypersensitive people, and frail elderly people may have better results with 6x or 6c potencies. Lower potencies are truly different than higher potencies; therefore, it will not work to administer more of a lower potency to try to achieve the same effect as a higher potency.
While c and x potency remedies are prepared in different ways, a simplified way to think about them is that c potencies have roughly twice the strength of x potencies. For instance, a 30c remedy has roughly twice the strength of a 30x remedy.
In acute situations, if there is no obvious improvement within 2-3 doses, stop using the remedy as it is probably not the right one. Correct dosing is just as important as remedy selection, and can make a huge difference in the results. Please read my article about homeopathic dosing to better understand how often to give doses to increase the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.
I hope this article helps you in knowing how and when to use homeopathic Aconite. Remember Aconite for shock, fright, sudden illness, croup, and eye injuries. This valuable remedy is one of the most-commonly used remedies for acute situations, and deserves a place in every first-aid kit.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or licensed healthcare professional. I am a homeopathic practitioner whose services are considered complementary and alternative by the state of New Mexico. The uses of homeopathic remedies described herein are provided for educational use only.
 Jack, R. (2001) Homeopathy in General Practice, Bucks, England, Beaconsfield Publishers, LTD.
 De Schepper, L. (1998) The People's Repertory, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Full of Life Publishing.
 Dewey, W.A. (1901) Practical Homoeopathic Therapeutics, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Boericke & Tafel.
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