Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

Antibiotic Awareness Week

What would the world be like without Antibiotics? Unfortunately with increasing antibiotic resistance this may be a world that our great grandchildren have to live in. Prior to antibiotics things like infected wounds and pneumonia killed people- in fact Pneumonia was sometimes called old man’s friend, because it assured a quick death, not a drawn out painful and slow death. We have come a long way in standards of living, and nutrition and supplements have a big part to play, but I hope that when that time does come, Homeopathy will be widely accepted and well known as an alternative.

Last year I wrote about skin infections, but today I want to talk about some other common infections I see.

Reminder- please see a Doctor for a diagnosis, and consult a Health Professional for advice and support if you have any concerns.

For any infection, high dose vitamin C is essential- whether liposomal C which has a higher absorption, or sodium ascorbate, you need to take this regularly. For sodium ascorbate or vitamin C tablets or powder, taking small amounts regularly every 1-2 hours, reducing (but not stopping) if you reach bowel tolerance.

Consider using one or more of the following:

Echinacea – this is an immune modulator and will support the immune system functioning. Regular dosing at least four times a day during acute infections is important.

Olive Leaf – this has a direct antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal effect and can be used prophylacticly or four times daily as a treatment.

Garlic – best raw, this is also antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal. Chop a clove and swallow raw four times daily.

Dental abscesses are a common infection, and can be resolved without antibiotics.

Lancing the abscess can be done by a doctor to allow pus to drain. Some dental abscesses have encapsulated pus and even using antibiotics can be ineffective.

Remedies to think of:

Belladonna is for the initial stages of an infection, when there is redness and swelling. They have sudden and intense throbbing pains, and are worse for eating or sudden movements or jarring.

Silica can have abscesses at the root of the teeth. Pain is worse from eating warm food, or from cold drinks or even cold air. They may feel like their teeth are loose, and generally feel worse at night. They may have a painful swollen cheek over the affected tooth, and feel better for wrapping the head or an external warm compress.

Hepar Sulph has severely painful abscesses, with sharp, stitching or splinter like pains. The pains may extend up to the ear. They are sensitive to cold air, any draughty and feel much better for wrapping up warm.

Mercurius has abscesses and infections with throbbing pains in the tooth. They can have painful swelling over half their face. Mercurius will have offensive breath, a dirty or flabby tongue and may complain of a metallic taste in the mouth. They are worse for both heat and cold, but will feel better rubbing the area and applying warmth to the cheek.

Strep throat

Streptococcus is a common bacteria that can cause a sore throat and in a small number of people with Strep throat it can go on to cause Rheumatic Fever which can affect heart, joints, skin and brain. There can also be a post Strep condition called Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infection, or PANDAS. PANDAS is associated with mood changes, anxiety and OCD, behavioural problems as well as physical tics like Tourette’s, and can be both complex and relapsing.

It is worth treating Strep throat in some form and please consider your risk- if you have a higher risk of Rheumatic fever (risk factors include lower socioeconomic groups, ethnicity – in New Zealand disproportionately affects Maori and Pasifika, – cold, damp, or crowded housing) then it is important to have treatment to reduce the risk of long term heart valve damage.

Alternative treatment of Strep throat includes the measures discussed above- vitamin C, and echinacea, olive leaf or garlic. You can also gargle with salt water or apple cider vinegar in water. Lozenges with Manuka honey

Homeopathic remedies to consider:

Belladonna is useful for right sided sore throats, that feel raw. The throat is bright red, inflamed, and dry. It feels constricted, and they have difficulty swallowing, to the point that they don’t want to drink.

Lachesis is for left sided sore throat with pain that extends to the ear. They have a sense of constriction to the point they cannot bear anything around their throat. The throat will be swollen, with a darker purple colour. Pain is worse for empty swallowing and liquids, and they feel worse when they wake up.

Mercurius can be used for raw and burning sore throats, with redness, swelling and a lot of dryness. They have swollen glands, and feel like they need to swallow constantly. They will have offensive breath, and may have a flabby looking or coated tongue.

Phytolacca is for sore throats which feel like they have a burning ball of iron on the throat. The throat is darker red in colour, and pin in swallowing is at the base of the tongue. There is a constant desire to clear the throat, it may be right sided, and frequently they have swollen and sore glands as well.

Ear infections

I am including this one because ear infections often end up at the doctors and with a prescribed antibiotic, but in general 80%+ of ear infections in children are viral and do not need antibiotics. Homeopathy also works effectively whether it is a viral or a bacterial cause.

Other things you can do for an ear infection –

Onion compress – take a regular, brown onion and slice it in half. Roast it in the oven (or if desperate you can heat it in the microwave, but my preference is for the oven where you are not irradiating the active ingredients) and when warm and soft remove it.

Weleda Earache Relief ear drops – this contains Levisticum, which is a great anti inflammatory, as well as Lavender and Equisetum. In my experience is is effective at relieving the pain and swelling from an ear infection, and can help reduce complications.

Garlic oil – this you can make yourself at home by warming olive oil (not hot enough to cook the garlic) and adding fresh, crushed garlic clove. When the oil starts to smell of garlic you can remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely and strain out the crushed garlic before using it in the ear. You can place a couple of drops inside the ear canal, as well as applying externally around the entrance and behind the lobe in the soft part between the skull and the jaw. You may like to put a hot compress over the top of the ear after applying the garlic oil to help it’s absorption. The active compounds in the garlic do degrade over time, so if you have leftover garlic oil after the ear infection has resolved it is best to use it for cooking.

Please note if there is any discharge from the ear (meaning the ear drum has perforated) then do not use any drops (including the Weleda drops and garlic oil) in the ear.

Belladonna is a remedy for early stages of ear infections, which may come with few or no cold symptoms. The ear infection is worse on the right side, with throbbing or pulsating pains. They will be worse at 3pm or 3am, and may have a high fever with a flushed red face with it. They may be explosively angry or even have hallucinations or delirium with the fever.

Chamomilla has a slightly slower onset than Belladonna, but has extreme pain and they are very sensitive to everything. It may come on, or be worse around 9-10pm. They are irritable and capricious, want to be carried and will be better for warmth.

Pulsatilla ear infections come on during the late stages of a cold, when they have thick yellow discharges. The ear infection can be left sided, with redness and heat, be worse at night and they feel better for fresh air. Unlike the anger of Belladonna or irritability of Chamomilla, they are weepy, mild, can be clingy but will be comforted by infection.

Hepar Sulph, like Pulsatilla is for ear infections that come in the late stages of a cold, when they have thick, yellow discharges, that can smell like old cheese. They have stitching or splinter like pains and are very sensitive to pain. The ear drum may perforate also, with the thick, yellow, cheese smelling discharge. They are chilly, need to be covered and worse for any draught. They can be quite irritable.

Reminder, always consult a professional if you are in doubt, and do not persist in using a remedy if it is not helping. Remedy suggestions in this post do not constitute medical advice and for diagnosis and information about when to seek further help see your GP or medical Doctor. I do acute consults at short notice, as often these conditions cannot wait, or you can contact a homeopath at which has Homeopaths available from all around the world and someone there every hour of the day and night.

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