Barbara Roberts, Homeopath


This post is a personal one, and written in loving memory of my Nana who passed away on April 30th.

Loss of a loved one (or job, opportunity or other loss) can cause a wide range of feelings, that all fall under the umbrella term grief. For some it is feelings of numbness, there can be deep sorrow and sadness, uncontrollable weeping, anger – whether at the person, others, or at yourself if you are not dealing with it the way you think you should be, and anxiety and depression. There can be physical effects too, including a lack of appetite, nausea or trouble sleeping.

Grief is a natural process, and an important part of life – happiness is often tempered with times of sadness, and these make you appreciate the good times even more. Connecting with people brings joy and when the pain of grief has lessened the memories still make you smile.

Symptoms of grief come in waves, and while you may be coping and doing fine one moment, the next you may be in the depths and not functioning. In most cases these waves lessen and become less intense with time.

Homeopathy can help take the edge off the acute feelings of grief, but also deal with unresolved grief or when there are physical or emotional consequences, which we refer to homeopathically as “never been well since” grief.

There are hundreds of homeopathic remedies for grief, but I am going to focus on remedies you can take acutely after a loss- long standing grief and ailments from grief are best dealt with by finding a personal remedy in a consultation.

Ignatia is the most often talked about remedy for grief. Symptoms can be changeable and contradictory, there is a lot of sadness, with weeping and sighing but may also be uncontrollable laughter. Ignatia usually want to be alone and are worse for consolation, and even averse to company and conversation. Physically there can be a lump in the throat or spasmodic symptoms, and there is a general improvement from exercise or eating.

Natrum Muriaticum is sometimes used when Ignatia has helped but some of the symptoms are still there. While they also do not want consolation and prefer to grieve in private, they are more melancholic and can dwell on events from the past. They may be unable to cry and have silent grief. Their need for privacy may extend to them not wanting to pee where others can hear them (public toilets).

Pulsatilla will have a lot of sadness and be very tearful, but they like consolation, want people around them and to talk through everything. They often feel better after a good cry. There are also changeable symptoms both physically and mentally- they can be gentle and yielding, and then irritable and easily offended. They are usually thirstless and worse for eating or smelling pork.

Staphisagria does not show their grief (or anger), instead swallowing it down and keeping it inside. This can lead to a violent outburst if there is a lot of frustration or anger about events around the loss. They can be irritable and intolerant of rudeness or perceived rudeness.

Aurum is usually a deeper state of grief, with depression, hopelessness and despair. They may also become angry or even violent if they are contradicted. Restless sleep and anxious dreams may also come on after the loss.

Causticum can also be weepy and has a lot of anxiety- specifically a fear that something bad will happen. They can be over sympathetic, taking on the complaints of others, but even thinking about their own problems makes them worse.

Flower essences can also be a really gentle support in times of grief.

Rescue Remedy is especially good if there has been any element of shock involved, and is a combination of 5 flower essences helping with hysteria and panic, loss of control, stress, shock and not feeling present.

I also have an essence prepared locally from Kauri Gum that is known as Tears of Amber. This helps with inconsolable grief with a deep sense of being lost. It comforts deep pains and strengthens the heart.

Image: Piwakawaka, the fantail. In Māori mythology, the piwakwaka was the cause of Maui’s death and is sometimes seen as the harbinger of death when seen inside a house. However, there are also numerous stories of fantails coming into a house after the death of a loved one, which is believed to be them checking in on you. I had a fantail visit two days after Nana passed- and we have pet cats so we do not often get birds approaching this close to the house!

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