Homeopathie

Text and images by Gabrielle.

Pharmacies, and specifically pharmacists, play a different role here in France than they do in the U.S.

From what I can tell, for non-emergency medical issues or questions, like colds, rashes, or congestion, pharmacists are the first stop. They’re incredibly knowledgable and they come out from behind the counter to discuss the options and recommend products. Plus they keep samples of pretty much everything they stock on hand and offer them up generously so you can find the product that’s going to work for you before you spend your money.

Something else you’ll find integrated into every French pharmacy is homeopathic medicine. It seems to be as common as aspirin here! And I should note, not just at pharmacies. It’s also common for any doctor to recommend homeopathie as an option. (Where as in my experience in the U.S., typically only “alternative” practitioners might recommend it.)

Essentially, homeopathie is not considered strange, alternative, quack-y or odd at all. It’s simply an additional option. And it’s readily available at even the smallest corner pharmacy.

As you know, while we’re living here, we like the idea of adopting as much of the French lifestyle as we can manage. So, while I hadn’t had much interest in homeopathic remedies when I lived in the States, since I’m here, I thought: why not give it shot? With guidance from our dear friend Caroline and our helpful pharmacist, so far we’ve tried 4. First is Arnica. It’s for pain and it works like magic with our little kids. If they have a big bump and burst into tears, Arnica will calm them in seconds! Count me a believer on this one.

When I was stressed out during Alt Summit week, I tried Gelsemium. I took it off and on (pretty much whenever I would remember) during the conference, and I think I was calmer than usual — but it’s hard for me to judge. It’s not the sort of week where I can sit calmly and evaluate my mental status. : )

For runny, red noses we’ve used Allium Cepa and all agreed we saw relief. But only when we took it consistently.

Lastly, Caroline recommended Ignatia Amara as an option when you have something you can’t stop thinking about. I’ve had a couple of bummer emails this week and found myself getting obsessed with them; not being able to let them go. So I’ve been trying the Ignatia Amara. Again, this is a hard one for me to tell if it’s working or not. If I’m not thinking of those emails, is it the medicine? Or would I have been able to distract myself on my own?

I’m curious. What are your thoughts on homeopathie? Do you roll your eyes at the thought? Are you curious about it? Have you been using it for years?

P.S. — The homeopathic remedies we’ve tried come in the bright little containers pictured. They’re the size of a lip balm stick and they’re filled with tiny white balls. The balls taste sweet and you hold them under your tongue till they dissolve.

125 thoughts on “Homeopathie”

  1. I think sometimes homeopathic medicine really works and sometimes is just a placebo – but who cares? If my brain is “pretending” it works and my then tells my body it works, and I feel better, then it is effective and I’m happy to use it.

    Amber teething necklaces – I haven’t actually noticed it working that well on my son, but if it makes me feel less stressed by having him wear it, then I’m a happier, more empathetic mum and better able to deal with a cranky teething baby with patience and love.

  2. Sandra Gonzales

    My grandma in Mexico would boil the arnica plants in water and then apply it to scrapes, bumps, …pretty anything that hurts. It’s been passed on from generation to generation and it does work.

  3. My midwife in Canada recommended Arnica for healing after my first baby. I really appreciated that, I am American and I love seeing how midwives in Canada complement with herbal medicine and homeopathy!

  4. My favorite little thing is brewing mint leaves whenever I have an upset stomach. Drain the leaves out for a minty hot water and add a bit of sugar. It’s extremely soothing, a little less harsh than a stronger brewed mint tea, and tends to have the same effects as if I were to take Pepto or something.

  5. Yes! We have those same ones in the states. I find them at the health food stores and they come in the same packaging. We have used them with great results. I use them mainly when we have colds. I have also used the ones for stress at different times and although it doesn’t “cure” the stress, it seems to take the edge off.

  6. I could write a book about how many times homeopathy worked for us, but my experience is that no matter how convincing the story (like a newborn who breathes clearly about 2 seconds after ingesting the pills) that the skeptics won’t believe you, so I’ve stopped trying to convince anyone and just happily use it on my family. (who, by coincidence, are very healthy and hardly ever sick) That being said, they are sick today!

  7. I’m a huge homeopathic fan, and wish it was more common here in the States. Another great thing for sore muscles, pain is arnica gel, they make it so you can rub it on sore tired muscles and the relief is wonderful!

    Sorry for your bummer emails :(

      1. Pamela Balabuszko-Reay

        I used Arnica Gel to help with all of my injection sites when we were doing
        invitro. It did help with the soreness.

  8. Our family uses homeopathy and traditional medicine both. We have had a lot of success with essential oils and some other homeopathic remedies. I think in time they will become more mainstream here in the US, especially with the astronomical cost of health care.

  9. Definitely in the eye-rolling camp.
    My mother used homeopathic pills when I had scrapes and bruises as a child as well, because they made me stop crying. That was pretty much their only effect though, because they’re just sugar pills, and that was fine. I believed they made it better, and it was more effective than her telling me to think about something else.

    The following article goes some way to explaining why I stopped believing they have anything other than a use as placebos: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/nov/16/sciencenews.g

    1. Really enjoyed the article — I’ve never read much about homeopathie and found it fascinating.

      But I can’t say I accept the author or the findings as authoritative. I tend to have a hard time with any source that assumes the western medical community, or any human community, has a rock-solid knowledge of the human body and how it works.

      I realize we know 1000 times more than we knew 100 years ago, but at the same time, we still know so little. Reading the huge variety of comments on this post remind me of that. And so does talking with anyone dealing with unexplained infertility — there’s just so much we don’t know.

      So I’m definitely able to leave room in my brain and my home for both standardized medicine and homeopathie (and acupuncture, herbs, etc). I see and trust my doctors, but I don’t assume they have all knowledge. They are the doing the best they can with what they know.

      1. Ben Goldacre’s position is not that the western medical community has a rock-solid knowledge of how the body works, but rather that science, rigorously applied through tests and trials, gives us the best knowledge available.

  10. Delurking to say that I am pretty much the biggest skeptic you may meet, BUT I was suffering from poison ivy and desperate. I tried Rhus toxicodendron and it is the only thing that gives me relief, besides scrubbing the rash with St Ives apricot scrub, which is temporary.

  11. I’m generally a skeptic, and would rather not take anything at all, but my midwife gave me blue and black cohosh to induce labor (long story), and it was awesome! Labor started within the hour and progressed exactly as my past labors had.

  12. I took three that my midwife recommended prior to having my daughter (starting at 36 weeks). Caulophyllum – a natural source of oxytocin and can be used to initiate or enhance labor (but won’t induce you), Cimicifuga – to ease the fear of giving birth & Arnica – to avoid the physical trauma of giving birth.

    My main reason for taking these was that I really, really didn’t want to be induced. My daughter was born 5 days late (and I did acupuncture the three days leading up to her birth). I couldn’t tell you if any of the homeopaths worked (although, I very little fear of birth). I’d do it again if I was going to have another baby.

    1. I know so little about homeopathie in the U.S., but I hear you can find the same little vials we use at health food stores. I think the trick would be finding a trusted person to tell you which ones to try and how to handle the dosage.

  13. I took a full course of homeopathic remedies when I was a kid and suffering from constant colds. I would miss weeks (and a couple of times, full months) of school because of how sickly I was. It seemed to have worked as I became much healthier soon after.

  14. The French do love their pills. They swallow more than anyone else in Europe. Homeopathy is an easy way of fulfilling a need for a pill when none is required. They have no effect. Those little pillules are just plain sugar – any ingredient has been diluted so much that it is impossible any makes it into the pill. As you say, “works like magic”. Magic is the only way they could possibly work.

    Just a child will respond to the mere act of ‘treatment’, so people appear to be susceptible to so-called placebo effects. These effects do not alter the course of an injury or illness – a bruise will not clear up faster with homeopathic arnica – but they may give comfort that treatment is taking place. As long as they are not actually taken when you need real medicine, there is little harm.

    http://www.1023.org.uk/what-is-homeopathy.html

    1. Then why did homeopathics work on my newborn son almost immediately when he had a strange ailment? A new baby does not know the difference between placebo and real. It is not magic either.

  15. Hmmm, I need to try that Ignatia Amara, it would be nice if something natural helped me stop thinking about a few things. I have used homeopathic remedies for colds and prevention of colds and I believe they work.

  16. I’m a believer!
    When my oldest son was about 5 months old (now 6yrs old) he started developing a rash reaction to everything including my husband. We went to doctor after doctor with no success. Finally, when I started feeding him his first solids (rice cereal) he had the worst reaction; his throat started to close up. After our trip to the emergency room I decided there has got to be something else that will help.

    I then remembered a lady (Lisa Livingston certfied homeopath) from my hometown in southern Utah who saved my brothers leg when he was a child (dry ice bomb accident at fathers and sons camp out) form being amputated by homeopathy. I immediately made the trip home to meet with her. We worked together for a better part of a year . My son has not had an allergic reaction since being a baby. Nor does he have any food allergies.
    I believe it’s more than just sugar pills/placebo. I know it worked for us. In fact we use some of the same brand of remedies you have posted in the picture.

    I must admit I’m jealous of that luxury of alternative medicine right in your pharmacy. I battle trying to find a doctor who will accept my children who aren’t immunized.

    1. I’m glad to hear you’ve had such a history of success with it, Ashleigh!

      Interestingly, here in France, since homeopathie is not considered “altnernative” it doesn’t seem to be associated with the non-immunizing crowd. In fact, there may be one, but I haven’t heard of a non-immunizing crowd here. There are so many countries and people so close together here in Europe that they seem to take their immunizations very seriously.

      At least, I know we keep a careful record of our children’s shots, and our own shots, because we were requested to show that record when we registered for school and to get our visas (permission) to live in the country. In fact, we had to get additional shots once we arrived here to get our official permissions.

  17. I’ve used homeopathy for a few years now for stress relieving purposes and I’ve found it to be a big help. I also recently started seeing a Naturalpathic Doctor for a couple of issues including migraines – things which western medicine wasn’t having much luck with in my case – and a few natural supplements seem to have taken care of everything and with no weird side effects :-). So I’m a big supporter if you find it’s something that works for you!

  18. I like the idea of the pharmacist being such a large help. I am also happy that I’m not the only one who would obsess over a bad email! Aside from that, I’ve been giving my 4 year old a natural syrup for his sore throat. It’s mostly honey. After he drinks it, he yells, “I’m all better!!” I’m sure it works a little but a big part of it is probably mental. He sometimes says that after taking a Flintstone vitamin, too.

    1. As an adult, I still take that cough/throat medicine! It still soothes my itchy throat in a way nothing else can, and I always notice my cough diminishes after I have a dose. Plus the taste is hard to beat :)

  19. Thanks for the reminder about arnica! I used it for postpartum recovery for #2 and need to throw some in my hospital bag for #3 who’ll be coming any day now!!!

  20. We are huge supporters of Arnica as my girls were both very active soccer players. The bruises were numerous and the sore muscles were often. They continue to use it in college as they play inter-mural. I was complaining the other day to my youngest about some soreness after a vigorous workout and she immediately suggested the Arnica gel, even told me where it was in her bathroom.

  21. I nannied for a French family one summer + after I ran my face into a door (hey, it was dark and the hall lights didn’t work), all the moms rushed to me to dig out their Arnica “too keep it from swelling/bruising too much” to dissolve under my tongue. Ever since I’ve been a fan! All the expat moms I know here also are into the homeopathie.

  22. We love homeopathic medicine. We started learning about it after our children were born and we were looking for an alternative to western medicines and their long lists of possible side effects. We use Boiron, too – you can find it at Whole Foods and other natural food stores. (And, Arnica was very helpful for pain and swelling after childbirth!)

  23. I had to have some extensive nasal surgery to improve my breathing. The surgeon recommended arnica to help with the bruising. With over 3 hours of surgery, I experienced very little discoloration under my eyes. I was thrilled!

  24. Melissa Sánchez Manrique

    I am a huge believer since I have been able to control my allergy to the sun light… yes sun light! After seeing several dermatologist and hearing always how rare my condition was and how I should avoid being exposed to natural light, so no beach, no walks on daytime, nothing! I finally end up hearing my dear friend’s advice to try homeophatie and it worked like a miracle!! now I can take walks, go to the beach and do my normal life without looking like a monster or/and itching to death afterwards and the best thing, it’s natural so no side effects!!!

  25. Nux Vomica was a life saver for me. I do the liquid drops. Phenagren for neasea was worthless, it made me high but I was still always sick to my stomach and wanted to vomit. When I couldnt’ get it anymore my alt. Med Dr recommended Nux Vomica and it changed my whole world. I wasn’t high anymore and I had relief when needed. We do quite a bit of homeopathics now.

  26. My daughter suffered from terrible eczema as a baby and I refused to put any cortisone cream on her. I went to see a homeopathe and he recommended some remedies. 3 years later her eczema is under control. I believe that homeopathy works wonderfully for certain conditions. I think Canada fits somewhere between France and the US when it comes to homeopathy!

  27. Gabrielle-

    I am a confident long time user of homeopathic medicine. My mother has a “wonderbox” of tiny little glass tubes. There must be 50 or so in the metal box that she keeps on her nightstand. Each tube is filled with the little white sugar balls you described. And each one is labeled in beautiful script – Stress, Nausea, Fever, etc. And they ALL WORK!

    With some of the more vague ones for example Arsenicum album for stage fright, I’ve often wondered if the effect was simply placebo. But who cares if it really works or if it’s just enough to convince me that it’s working? Either way I get up on stage with dry palms.

    But I can say for certain that some of the more significant remedies (to bring down fever, cure sinus infections) have worked for me 100%. We were raised on very strict organic diets and my mother employed the use of modern medicine only in the direst of circumstances. We survived many bouts of flu, sinus infections, and bad colds only with the aid of those magical little sugar balls.

    To each his own, I suppose. But I do recommend that you keep experimenting! Maybe one day you’ll have a wonderbox of your own :)

      1. My mom also had a ‘wonderbox!’ She and my father were pioneers of alternative medicines in my father’s doctor clinic in Northern New York. He mixed western medicine and alternative medicine and had patients from hundreds of miles away, even, who would come for his special mix of treatments. I grew up thinking that homeopathy, acupuncture, massage, all of those ‘alternatives’ were REALLY part of western medicine, and I was shocked and disappointed when I realized I lived in a little bubble!

  28. I’ve tried a number of things and I don’t think they all work. Arnica gel, however, is a must-have for me. As someone who bruises easily and tends to be a klutz, the gel is a lifesaver. If I put it on quickly, frequently I don’t even get a bruise. Amazing!

    1. The most likely explanation for not getting a bruise is that you were not bruised. Homeopathic arnica has no active ingredient – it has no arnica in it. So even if arnica could heal bruising, homeopathic arnica most definitely cannot.

      1. Andy –
        As someone who bruises easily and has for my entire life, and I’m 40 — so this isn’t new, I can say with absolute certainty Arnica gel reduces the severity of my bruising and helps me heal quicker. It isn’t that I wasn’t bruised, where the bruise is, time or anything else…I know with certainty it works. In fact, my Western doctor is one of the people that recommend I try it. He has seen my bruising and has also ruled out any medical concerns around such bruising and has seen first hand arnica gel work for many of his patients.

        I have also tried Oscillococcium and that does not work at all for me — a waste of money. But Arnica gel is extremely effective.

        You are entitled to post your opinion on this blog like anyone else here. To go through each comment and dismiss people’ s personal experience is not helpful — it is rude and arrogant.

  29. I think there is some confusion here. Herbal and “natural” remedies are one thing and homeopathy another.

    I have taken raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose oil at the advice of midwives in preparation for childbirth and I know plenty of people who use arnica and other herbal remedies. Herbal remedies have some amount, concentrated or not, of compounds extracted from plants in them.

    Homeopathic remedies on the other hand, are literally placebos. The theory of homeopathy (I am no expert, but I’ve had lots of people try to explain it to me) somehow relies on the “memory” of water or some other medium to retain the healing properties of something that it was exposed to prior to distillation or some other purification process. It’s just baffling.

    1. Hmmm, glad you distinguished that. That’s what makes sense to me. Acknowledging that plants, herbs, supplements naturally have helpful substances is just fine. But I had a roommate who had to tap the water 10 times, exactly, before drinking to lower a fever. That was a little too much magic for me. The family I married into is much more herbal than my own. I’m not sold yet, but I’m willing to try it out. As long as I don’t have to dumb my bottle of ibuprofen yet.

    2. Homeopathic remedies are not placebos. Perhaps an explanation from an actual expert would be more informative. They work- many times better than anything a doctor would prescribe. And are completely safe and side-effect free. I had the worst toothache for several days. I couldn’t sleep and was in constant pain. After just one dose of the remedy I began experiencing relief and after a week I had zero pain. Definitely not in my head. And I avoided the much too over prescribed antibiotics. This is just one example. I use them with my children too to avoid all the unsafe over the counter drugs. It may be hard to understand the process but it is legitimate.

    3. I don’t pretend to know how herbal and homeopathic remedies overlap or are separate, but the names of the homeopathic products we’ve tried (like arnica) seem to suggest a relationship.

      1. There is a vast world of difference between herbalism and homeopathy.

        Take the homeopathic flu remedy that you will see in every French pharmacie window during the winter – Oscillococcinum. (The adverts have the man with the red scarf and sniffles.)

        Oscillo works on the principle of ‘like-cures-like’. Since flu can come from birds like ducks, they take the heart and liver of one duck – mash it up, take one drop and dilute it in 100 drops of water. They then bang this mixture ten times. Then they repeat.

        They repeat this 1 in 100 dilution and then banging 10 times 200 times. This is equivalent to creating a dilution of one drop in a sphere of water bigger than the observable universe. One drop of this final dilution is then used to make all the homeopathic remedies sold that year. They make 100’s of millions of Euros from that one poor duck. The most expensive foie gras ever.

        The French buy this stuff thinking it prevents flu or reduces symptoms. Of course it does not because all you are taking are the sugar powders that the magical drop was dropped onto. It is just sugar.

        A group of UK homeopaths tried to make a summary of the best evidence for Oscillo using the strict guidelines of the independent Cochrane Collaboration. The results were resoundingly negative. Of course.

        http://qako.me/WVeCg

        1. I’ve got to ask, Andy. You seem really passionate about speaking out against homeopathie — you’re not a regular commenter on this blog, but you’ve commented on this post 3 times. So what’s your story? If there are people that are seeing healing results and they attribute it to homeopathie, why does that bother you?

          I ask with no snark. I really am curious about how you came upon this post. And since I didn’t know there were actively-anti-homeopathic people out there, I’m kind of fascinated by your comments.

          As for myself, the world of homeopathie is new to me, and I still consider myself skeptical, but dismissing it out of hand seems to me unrealistic and unhelpful.

          1. Hi there, saw your tweet and came to see, especially as my wife is from France and we spend much time there.

            First of all, I do not dismiss homeopathy out of hand. I have a very good understanding of what homeopathy is, the lack of a scientific rationale and the evidence base that shows it is ineffective. That is why I dismiss it. The danger is not in dismissing out of hand but in uncritical acceptance.

            I hope by posting how homeopathy is made, it allows people to make more informed choices.

            There are dangers in homeopathy. Belief that it can cure colds or heal bruises is one thing, but homeopaths then believe they can treat dangerous illnesses such as cancer and HIV. Belief that this is true kills people. That is why careful thought is so important.

            Many people believe homeopathy works after they have tried it for minor or self-limiting illnesses, such as childhood rashes, earaches, hayfever or bruises. But all they are seeing is the natural progression of the illness and attributing better health to the remedy.

            As an example, if I have a bad back, I might see the doctor, who will do nothing for me. I may see a chiropractor who does not help me. I may try acupuncture without success, but when I try homeopathy my back gets better. Should I conclude homeopathy works? Of course not. Bad backs get better over several weeks. It is just that I was taking the homeopathy at the same time.

            Same goes for bruises – they clear up quickly for most people. Colds last a few days. Childhood illnesses get better. But people have such a strong desire to be agents of their own healing that many people make the mistake of assuming that their actions were the cause of their improvements rather than the normal magic our bodies and immune systems doing it on their own.

            So, I do believe such things are important. Ultimately, lives are at risk. And that is why I think it vital for people to have good accurate information so they can make their own informed choices rather than uninformed choices.

            Happy to engage more if you wish, other wise enjoy la belle vie.

          2. Thanks for the response, Andy. The same article was linked to above and I’ve read it and responded.

            “Ultimately, lives are at risk.” seems overly dramatic to me. The comment thread deals mainly in rashes, colds, and bruises. I haven’t seen anyone claim to cure cancer or hiv. Perhaps you’re arguing in this comment thread against something you’ve read somewhere else.

            Please be aware, most commenters on this thread are sharing their real-life experiences. Maybe homeopathie worked for them. Maybe it didn’t. But your comments come off like a lecture — like you believe you know more about the subject than everyone else here. If you’d like to share your own personal experience with homeopathie and let others form their own opinions, that would be great. But this crowd is not in need of lecture.

          3. I think Andy is trying to be as scientifically truthful as possible here, and he may be worried people being lead astray by homeopathie. I, too, think that homeopathie can be dangerous, in that people can trust it to cure things that are simply not possible for it to cure, as it has no active ingredients. I lived in northern California for a few years and had many friends who swore by homeopathie, but after reading the available scientific literature on it, I just don’t buy it. More than that, anything that’s not FDA regulated can be dangerous – there was a big upset a few years back because some popular homeopathic teething pills for babies were found to have actual belladonna in them, which is poisonous. I do know many people who swear by homeopathy, and I myself use natural medicines at times (I use Yogi teas quite often, in fact), but after researching homeopathy, it seems like the placebo effect is in fact at work. However, the placebo effect is extremely useful at times, and can be very powerful. So perhaps it’s okay in some circumstances, but I certainly wouldn’t take homeopathic remedies for anything that can’t be fixed by Tylenol, bandages, or plain old time.

          4. I’m also not a regular reader, but am:
            1) firmly convinced that some herbs/etc. can produce physical effects (c’mon, even aspirin is now a synthesized compound that we used to get from the bark from a tree which I now don’t remember), but
            2) firmly convinced that the field of naturopathy is cluttered and marred by fake remedies (which I’d include homeopathy of the “tiny amount of substance repeatedly diluted until there is none left in the liquid” variety in; many of the remedies people are talking about in this thread as homeopathy really aren’t, but are naturopathy or herbal remedies (like using arnica leaf mash externally for bruises)).

            When these terms get muddled, it’s easy for people who just don’t buy that “water can remember the shape of a molecule that used to be in it” to also dismiss all naturopathy (and anything that is not chemically synthesized and put in a plastic bottle and labeled), which is a pity, because some of those natural items have massive (negative) interactions with traditional western medicine (see grapefruit juice and licorice with heart medication) and some have really positive effects that people are ignoring in favor of something that’s not as good for them.

            And those of us who do use some herbal remedies (ginger for nausea, for instance), many of which do have double-blind clinical trials finally supporting them, get lumped together with those who believe in remedies which double-blind trials have indicated have no medical benefit. That conflation tends to cause people who prefer empirical evidence to dismiss all of it (and us), rather than just the “water will remember molecules” part of it.

            So, I have a strong interest in arguing against the conflation of homeopathy-with-no-active-compounds (homeopathy of the super-diluted-stuff sense) with naturopathy/herbal remedies. If hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure, I suspect it’s a better option for many borderline-hypertensive people than synthesized drugs (cheaper, no known side-effects).

            I’m not sure if the terms are used differently in France, though (as home medicine might result in a similar word as the like-cures-like stuff, and it does all get muddled up), so I have no idea whether what you’ve been taking has active ingredients. Hope all goes well!

  30. We use a lot of arnica gel and tea tree oil (for scrapes and mosquito bites and steaming out a cold). Aren’t western medicines derived from plants, too? At least originally? Or are they made from synthetic materials? You’ve got me thinking now. :)

  31. Totally a believer…. we use it all the time at my house. It has saved me countless hours and $$ that would have been spent on doctors. In one word, it’s amazing. My kids have never had antibiotics; even though they have had their share of ear infections, pink eye, etc. They are so much healthier for my using homeopathy :) And the flu? Who’s scared of the flu? This momma’s got a hand on her family with homeopathy!

  32. Danielle DtotheB

    We’ve got a homeopathic pediatrician and LOVE her. My kids (6 & 8) have been on antibiotics once in their lives – when we were out of town and had to go to emergent care. Otherwise, we treat homeopathically, the Boiron aisle at Whole Foods is our friend. I keep Arnica in the car – helps reduce bruising as well as calming effect. We’ve tried a number of things as well as the influzium (sp?), as an alternative to the flu mist or to treat adult flu symptoms.

  33. My mom’s ‘homeopathic’ remedies (for things other than colds, flus, and strep) were “You’re sick because your body is telling you something. Figure out what it is, and then act accordingly.” So lots of water and sleep for headaches, and, for a monthlong ‘upset stomach’ when I was in the third grade, lots of talking about stress and anxiety in school. Which hasn’t changed much :) Don’t medicate what you don’t need to! She was too suspicious of wasting money on herbal remedies, and understandably so. So my first experience with homeopathy was, unsurprisingly, in France! Little réglisse and propolisse candies from my host parents soothed my sore throat IMMEDIATELY. And I had to Google it to figure out what they were, but I was astonished at how well they worked. I only wish they were more commonplace in the States!

    1. I rather like your mom’s response! Maybe a little harsh, but the idea of being in-tune with your body makes sense to me! I am going to consider this from now on when I get sick (and still take my homeopathic remedies I know and love)

  34. I live in Brooklyn NY. My local pharmacy is Russian owned and operated. They carry an extensive line of herbs, teas, and natural remedies. I always talk to them n barely turn to a dr. For anything.

  35. What I am curious to find out is what is the price for Boiron pills in France? In the USA they run from $4-$7 depending on where you buy them. In Serbia, we do not have any major brand, but homeopethic doctor will make a remedie for you

  36. We have used Boiron’s Camilia teething drops with absolute success on both of our children. How does a five-month-old baby understand the notion of placebo? We are believers in our house.

  37. Yes – homeopathy and herbal medicine is not the same! And it is important to know how to use it. For example, if you use homeopathic remedies, you better don’t drink mint tea or coffee during the whole period you take them. Also other herbs can be contra productive like menthol (toothpaste!), chamomille, camphor, salvia,… So it is not always easy to understand, why homeopathy didn’t work.
    The same with herbal teas: if you don’t put a lid on the top of the mug for the first 5 minutes, all the “goodies” are evaporating… so a chamomille tea is no more relaxing, because the essential oil is gone by the damp/vapour and you just drink flavoured water.

    But to answer the question of Gabrielle: yes, I do use homeopathy and herbal medizine for me and my children. And during labor, it helped me a lot!

    Best, iren

  38. More than anything it works for kids. And that is so helpful. With them, you can even use Arnica (as you said) as some kind of a painkiller.
    I find myself, when I am in urgent pain or I am really annoyed with a disease that I don’t have the capacity to trust in homeopathics. I am just not patient enough and I don’t want small effects, I want a big one. Now.
    I sometimes found it helpful as a menthal stabilizer or for the process of dealing with difficult things.
    But with kids: Magic.

  39. In South Africa the pharmacists are also helpful and a first port of call for non urgent medical questions. Not every pharmacy carries homeopathic remedies but it is not uncommon. But as for arnica – I don’t even think of that as homeopathic remedy, it’s just essential. I have two young boys and it was one of my first purchases for the baby medicine cabinet, hardly a week goes by without using it. I always give it to new mothers of boys.
    I have also always used Bach flower Rescue remedy for anxiety – maybe it is psychological but it does calm.

  40. My go to are essential oils. Find you instinctively know, more often than not, which one will do the job. Sometimes have made mixtures for friends and family as gifts. Interesting results – young grandson (aged 4) who got bad eczema on his legs when visiting rural areas asked his mom to ask nan to bring a bottle of her oil when she visits for his legs, my brother-in-law asked for another bottle of the sress-relief mixture I gave him earlier.

    But buy the good quality oils, not synthetic mixtures.

    Colleen

  41. There are some wonderful homeopathic products that are a staple in my home medical list. Top of the list is Arnica for all bumps & bruises, & even more useful is Lycas Pawpaw ointment which literally works miracles with burns, nappy rash & dry lips. Both permanently in my kitchen draw & I have Lucas pawpaw in my bag & on the change table. I also use aloe Vera for after sun soothing. Not that we get burnt much anymore with all the sunblock we put on.

  42. I’m fascinated by homeopathy and am kind of new to the idea myself.

    They might just be on the West Coast, but there is a newish company called Pharmaca that models itself off of European pharmacies. It’s my first stop when there is an ailment in the family. They have trained naturopaths on staff that will answer all your questions. Love it and am glad that the European pharmacy idea is starting to spread in the States.

  43. These posts you’ve had on beauty/pharmacies, etc… are some of my favorites. I have long turned toward all natural and alternative remedies. I wouldn’t say that I’m hippy or crunchy, but there is something about avoiding chemicals and unnatural substances that really speaks to me, and even more so now that I’m a mom. When I lived in Europe, I noticed that even your average person (people I wouldn’t have expected) seemed more informed about and focused on natural remedies and eating organic or natural foods. Here, I feel like I have to go out of my way and spend lots of money to live that sort of life (but I do, and I think it’s worth it).

  44. I love that! I think it’s great that they have options. And how nice to be able to just make a simple visit to the pharmacist rather than go through the whole hoopla and paying to visit the doctor, and then paying for a prescription after that!

  45. I refer to Arnica is a “miracle worker”. I use it frequently! I am also an advocate of Ignatia Amara. I use it during stressful times in my life when I just can’t seem to let things go! Glad you tried these homeopathic remedies out. Hope you continue!

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