Homeopathy for Pregnancy: Sepia

November 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm (Comfort Measures, Homeopathy)

Sepia is one of the two (the other being Pulsatilla) of the most well-known “women’s remedies”. It has much applicability in the realms of menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and menopause. When used in a person who resonates with the Sepia state, it can relieve many of the symptoms of pregnancy and birth, while increasing the overall sense of well-being. To describe the Sepia state, I’ll create a picture of a woman who carries many of the Sepia characteristics.

Imagine a woman who has had several children in a short amount of time (we’ve all heard of the grandmother who had five children in five years). She is constantly at work, doing dishes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and tending to her little ones. Over time, this mother who was once responsive to each little cry or need has become more and more dull. Her sallow face sags, the expression changing less and less as her feelings of overwhelm deepen. Everything about her seems to sag- her face, her skin, even her internal organs. As she’s working one day on the unending stream of housework, a child comes to her, crying and clinging to her skirt. Full of irritation and depression, she snaps at her child so sarcastically that the little one runs away, crying. In the moment, the mother feels nothing, but later that day, she lies alone in her room, crying from guilt. She feels that she doesn’t love her husband or her children, but she knows she should, and she feels hopeless.

Sepia is made from the ink of the cuttlefish, and like the cuttlefish, she is very responsive in her healthy state. However, if she becomes overwhelmed, she retreats into unresponsiveness, depression, and sarcasm. She feels better with vigorous exercise such as a brisk walk or some energetic dancing. She wants to be left alone, and she cries when she tells others about her troubles.  Everything about her sags.  Here are some of her more specific symptoms:

Nausea: At the thought or smell of food.

Face: Yellow. Brown “saddle” across nose and under eyes.

Headache: With nausea and vomiting. Worse with the smell of food. Better after meals. Stinging pain.

Food: Craves chocolate and vinegar. Dislikes milk, and it makes her sick.

Genitalia: Uterine or cervical prolapse. Feels her organs are sagging out of her vulva. Pelvic weakness.

Temperature: She tends to be chilly. Sometimes experiences flushes of heat.

Sepia in 30 or 6c can be helpful for morning sickness, if the woman has some of the characteristics of the Sepia state.  It can also help rouse a woman out of postpartum depression.  Consult a homeopath if you have chronic symptoms for which you think Sepia might be helpful.

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Homeopathy for Pregnancy: Pulsatilla

June 15, 2009 at 9:00 pm (Comfort Measures, Homeopathy) (, , , )

There are many remedies for the discomforts of early pregnancy.  The nausea, tiredness, emotional swings and psychological adventures can be unsettling, and many women try one thing after another to relieve them.  Over the next few posts, I’m going to introduce you to three remedies that can help to address the overall energy of the pregnant mama, and in doing so, help to relieve the turmoil of the first few months.

In choosing one of these remedies for personal use, there are two different ways you can go about deciding which one might work for you.  The first is to look for your specific symptom within the descriptions of each of the remedies, and see which one lines up best with your headache, nausea, etc.  The other way is to look at the overall description of the remedy and see if it describes you in general, or at least your general experience while you’re having the symptoms.  The more aspects of the remedy that match your experience, the more likely it is to work for you. I’ll explain a bit about dosing at the end, but remember that I’m not a homeopath, and so if you have any questions, it’s a really good idea to consult with a good ND (naturopathic doctor) or classical homeopath.

Pulsatilla

Have you ever had a gentle, flowing friend who could change emotions at the drop of a hat? She might smilingly tell you about the latest funny thing her kitten did, only to begin crying as she’s reminded of her childhood cat who is now gone. Some people think she’s a bit spacey, maybe even a little ungenuine because of the ease with which her mood and outlook changes.  But the better you get to know her, the more you realize that she feels each state she’s in fully and completely- while she’s happy, she is completely happy.  When she’s mad, she is wholly mad.  The same with all her moods, as easily triggered as they may be.  You’ve noticed that, once you get used to her changeability, friendship is fairly smooth with her.  That is, unless you forget a plan you’ve made with her, or make a dismissive comment, or act aloof around her- anything that triggers her fear of being abandoned.  She is as cuddly as the kitten or puppy she loves, as long as she feels safe in her relationships. If she feels she’s about to be abandoned, she can become incredibly emotional and clingy, calling you to find out where you are, if you still like her, and why you’ve hurt her in this way.  Once you make up, though, she doesn’t hold a grudge- she’s back to her former easygoing, sweet self.  She delights in going to great lengths to please you, and she loves creating beauty everywhere she goes.

Pulsatilla is the homeopathic form of the Wind Flower, or Pasque Flower.  As the name implies, this flower grows in meadows, constantly buffeted by breezes and winds.  In the same way, a person who resonates with pulsatilla changes as the winds blow.  In fact this changeability is a key symptom for pulsatilla ailments.  If a pain changes frequently in location or intensity, if a secretion changes in color, scent or amount, or if the characteristic mood swings are present, pulsatilla is a good remedy to consider. In general, pulsatilla symptoms are also better in the open air, and better with mild exercise.  Pusatilla is considered to be one of the main women’s remedies; my Materia Medica describes it as belonging to “females of mild, gentle, plethoric, yielding disposition, who cry readily and weep while talking.  Pale, chilly blondes.”

Now I’ll address some of the specific symptoms within the pulsatilla picture.  All of these descriptions are drawn from Murphys’ Nature’s Materia Medica

Stomach:  Nausea with bitter taste.  Gas.  Belching with taste of food.  Stomach feels heavy. Persistent nausea, better after vomiting.   Vomiting with pale face, chilliness.

Head:  One-sided headaches, pulsating, bursting.  Teary eyes on the side of the headache.  Headaches better with walking in open air. 

Food:  Hunger, but doesn’t know for what.  Thirstlessness.  Craving for rich foods, creamy foods, desserts, but symptoms worse for those foods.

Stools:  Constipation alternating with diarrhea.

Breasts: Milk leaking before she’s even pregnant.   When nursing, she cries as she pulls her baby to her breast. After weaning, breasts remain very full and sore.

Pregnancy:  This remedy is specific for turning breech babies.  Along with acupuncture and chiropractic, it is a good thing to try if your baby is in the breech position after 30-34 weeks.

The standard doses for home use are 6c and 30c.  If you’re having acute symptoms, you can try 30c, one to three times a day (or more or less, as your intuition guides you).  For less acute discomfort, or if your system is particularly sensitive, you can try 6c, up to three times a day.  Check in with your body and your intuition to guide you in taking these remedies, or read about dosing on some homeopathy sites to give you more ideas.  Or, of course, check with your homeopath, who can personalize your treatment and help you track your particular symptoms and reactions.

 

 

 

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Homeopathy in Pregnancy and Childbirth: Part 1

June 8, 2009 at 6:29 pm (Comfort Measures, Homeopathy) (, , , )

I’ll start this post with a disclaimer:  I’m not a homeopath, an herbalist, or a medical practitioner of any kind.  I’ve studied some homeopathy, but I refer all my complex homeopathic questions to my homeopath, and I’d recommend that anyone new to homeopathy do the same.

That being said, I’d like to share with you all some information about one of the most gentle and profound healing modalities I’ve found in my explorations into complementary medicine.  My family uses homeopathy as our first line of treatment in all illnesses and injuries, as well as emotional upsets.  I’ve also seen my pregnant and birthing clients use it with great success.  But what is homeopathy?  How safe is it?  How does it work?

Homeopathy is a system of energetic medicine founded on the idea that “like cures like.”  This may not make sense on first glance, so I’ll begin my explanation with a description of homeopathy’s opposite: allopathic medicine.  Most drugs and treatments used in the Western world are allopathic, which literally means “other (than the) illness/suffering”.  The idea is that if you have a condition, you need to treat it with something that will counteract your symptoms.  So if you have a fever, you take a drug that brings fevers down.  If you have a cold, you take drugs that dry up mucus.  If you have pain, you take a drug that blocks your body’s pain receptors. 

Homeopathy looks at healing in a different way.  Illnesses and injuries are seen as energetic disturbances disrupting the body’s normal harmonic functioning.  If you can isolate the particular offending pattern, then you can give a homeopathic remedy with the same energetic pattern, thus canceling out the troubling energy in the body.  This may sound odd, but think back to your high school physics classes:  two waves with the same wavelength and frequency can cancel each other out (check out this link, it’s complicated, but look at the illustration for Constructive and Destructive Interference- the righthand drawing is what I’m talking about).  This theory can be a bit heady, and it can be confusing to see how it applies to the body, but in practice I’ve found that it works amazingly well.

So how do you find the right homeopathic medicine?  This is where a homeopath can come in really handy.  For some common complaints, there are some standard homeopathic remedies you can use.  I’ll discuss those in another article.  But for more complex complaints, one has to research the specific symptoms in a Homeopathic Repertory (I use Murphy’s) and then decide on the right remedy by studying the descriptions of the first few choices in a Materia Medica.  Again, complicated, but fascinating. 

There are many hundreds of homeopathic remedies described in a good Materia Medica.  Each entry lists symptoms for specific body parts, such as Limbs, Head, Stomach, etc, and also lists mental and emotional symptoms associated with the remedy.  But how do we know which symptoms are alleviated by which remedies?  This is where the history of homeopathy is especially intriguing.

In the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, a medical doctor named Samuel Hahnemann became frustrated with the rough medical techniques of his day (such as purging and bloodletting).  While doing medical research, he noticed to his curiosity that quinine, the herbal drug used to treat malaria, would cause the symptoms of malaria if a healthy person overdosed with it.  He began experimenting with other herbal remedies and found that many of them, in overdose, caused the same symptoms they were purported to treat.  So he then developed a way of taking virtually any substance from its physical state to a pure energetic state. (watch this video to see how)  Then he and a group of brave souls tested each remedy, taking massive doses (way more than we take when treating a symptom) to induce each remedy’s energetic state in their bodies.  Since they were not already ill, the energetic patterns stayed in their bodies instead of canceling out, and they observed the symptoms the remedies caused and painstakingly recorded each minute detail.  The result: a record of the overall symptom picture of each remedy, which is an invaluable tool in treating illnesses today.  Thank you, Home0pathic Cowboys and Cowgirls!

So how does this work in a real-life illness?  I’ll use myself as an example.  About a week ago, my 20-month-old daugher and I weaned.  For the past week, my breasts remained full of milk, and as the week progressed, my left breast got progressively more sore and I began to have a headache, stomachache, and flu-like symptoms.  I tried massage and sage tea, but they didn’t help.  So I looked up my symptoms in my homeopathy books. I found several remedies that addressed breast pain, and I looked them all up in my Materia Medica (the description of each remedy and its effects).  I found Bryonia, a remedy that described pain that was agonizing on movement, and made better by being still.  It addressed headaches, stomachaches, and breast pain.  Cool made it better.  All of those fit my symptoms, so I began taking the remedy.  Soon after, I fell asleep during my daughter’s  nap (something I don’t usually do anymore), and after I woke, I felt the emotions I’d been holding on to surrounding weaning beginning to surface.  That night I took another dose, and then I slept well and without too much pain, and the beginnings of a fever disappeared.  The next morning, I took a dose again, and some milk released from the affected breast.  All my flulike symptoms disappeared.  By the afternoon, my energy had returned and my breast was feeling much better.

My return to health could be seen as a coincidence, something that would have happened without the homeopathy.  But this is exactly how homeopathy works: it provides a clean slate from which the body’s natural healing responses can resolve the symptoms of illness and injury.  In my case, it definitely stopped a disease process that was rapidly developing into an infection.  And it has worked with similar rapidity in many other cases where my family has used it. 

This has been quite a long post!  Thanks for sticking with me.  In another part to this series, I’ll describe some common remedies that pregnant and birthing women have used, and later I’ll also list some remedies that work great on children.

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