When a little one, or even a big one, has a fever, natural-minded moms reach for their homeopathic remedy kit.
There is an entire chapter in the homeopathic repertory devoted to fevers. That includes 1247 symptoms, and hundreds and hundreds of potential remedies.
In a well stocked remedy kit, however, there are three remedies that stand out as important to consider when choosing the correct remedy to help your child or spouse with a fever. They are:
I was recently asked about a complex remedy that includes all of them. Can just one pellet of each be given? OR does the blend have to be purchased?
The short answer to both of those questions is NO. But it isn’t a simple yes or no question as it seems.
I am a classical homeopath so I use one remedy at a time, generally speaking. The idea that is often offered by proponents of complex dosing is that the body only uses what it needs and ignores what it doesn’t need. This idea is NOT proven in any way and is just a theory or myth.
The answer to those questions is that Aconite, Belladonna and Chamomilla are very different remedies and actually quite simple to tell apart. The best course of action with a fever is to be able to distinguish between the three remedies, the ABC’s of fevers in Homeopathy. And even better, is to be able to recognize when none of the three is needed and something else is needed instead.
Distinguishing Between the ABC’s
A is for Aconite
The long name for Aconite is Aconitum napellus. It is a member of the Ranunculacaea family, along with buttercups, Ranunculus and Pulsatilla. It is one of the remedies that, if taken in a material dose, meaning a tincture or ingesting the plant or flowers, is poisonous. But as a remedy, it is perfectly safe due to the potentizing process.
The symptoms that indicate Aconite include:
- Sudden onset of symptoms, especially a high fever (102 +) which appears without warning.
- The person who needs Aconite is generally very fearful. In fact, Aconite appears in 251 Fear symptoms in the homeopathic repertory. In particular, it is heavy on the Fear of death symptoms, coming in at 32 symptoms. The fear of death symptom that is most characteristic of Aconite is “Fear of Impending Death.” Aconite isn’t fearful of a future death. They are certain they are going to die NOW! I have used it successfully for clients who have called with meningitis. Best to have some 200C on hand if you are concerned about this.
- Although you could need Aconite any time of year, it is very commonly needed after exposure to very cold, windy weather where a fever comes on suddenly within the next 12 hours or so. It’s a great Minnesota winter remedy.
- The client who needs Aconite could be Warm or Chilly with the fever. They are very sensitive to the temperature around them changing, which explains the sensitivity to cold windy weather.
Another handy use for Aconite is not related to fever but is the common, garden variety cold that may come on suddenly. If you are feeling a cold coming on in a short amount of time, take a few doses of Aconite 30c to help prevent it from coming on full force.
Finally, due to fear of death, Aconite is good in situations such as Fear of flying or fear that children experience before having surgery or dental work. Children’s hospitals should have Aconite 200c in the pre-op rooms.
Aconite Story: A friend developed viral meningitis after exposure to cold. I asked his wife what his mood was like. She said he was afraid he was going to die. From a prior experience of viral meningitis, he missed a week or two of work. With the homeopathic Aconite, he missed two days.
Comparison: Arsenicum Album can also have a high fever with chills. However, Arsenicum is more anxious and restless rather than fearful. Their fear of death is more of a distant theory than an immediate concern.
B is for Belladonna
Belladonna is also known as Deadly Nightshade. It is a member of the Solanaceae family and is well known for violence and generally making a big impression.
Like Aconite, Belladonna is known for very high fevers in the 103-104 F + range. But circumstances are different and so is the patient.
Symptoms of Belladonna include
- The patient feels hot to the touch. You can raise your hand just above the skin of the fevered patient and feel the heat radiating off the body.
- The skin on a person needing Belladonna is red.
- Hands AND Feet are cold. If just hands are cold but not the feet, Belladonna is not the correct remedy.
- Mentally, Belladonna is NOT scared, which distinguishes it from Aconite. They can actually be quite calm about the whole situation. As a constitutional remedy, Belladonna can be really angry, but when they have a fever, that is not frequently seen.
- Four o’clock p.m. (could be a.m.) is the witching hour for Belladonna. The person who needs Belladonna often starts out feeling really chilly, but around 3 – 4 in the afternoon, the fever comes on and they start to feel warm to others, but they may still feel chilly internally. Their head may feel hot but the rest of them may feel cold.
The other thing to watch out for with this time period is that sometimes a child will wake up and feel great the next morning, but the fever seems to reappear at 4 p.m. or so. This just means that the Belladonna needs to be repeated. This happens SO OFTEN when Belladonna is the correct remedy that I often recommend that the child be given a dose in the morning even if they feel fine. Belladonna normally does feel fine in the morning, but that is not an indicator that the dis-ease has resolved itself.
Two Belladonna stories: As a young boy, my youngest son needed Belladonna late one August. We were out trying out training wheels on bicycles and roller blades on the hot asphalt. He was not himself and said to me, I feel cold. I made a mental note to keep an eye on him. By 5:00 p.m. he had a high Belladonna fever. He needed the Belladonna the next day at 4 p.m.
Personally, I needed Belladonna when the gastroenteritis bug was going around just before Christmas. I felt it come on as I was driving around, trying to finish Christmas Eve shopping on Dec. 23. When I got home, I laid down and waited for the symptoms to develop before taking a remedy. Pretty soon my head was really warm and my face was really red. I was covered up to my neck with blankets. I took three doses of Belladonna over the evening and woke up feeling well the next morning. By late afternoon the next day, I felt the symptoms begin to reappear. I quickly redosed with Belladonna and within a half hour they were gone and I did not need another dose. I recovered very quickly.
Comparison: Ferrum Phosphoricum 30c is also a remedy where the face appears flushed and pink, possibly red, but not as deep a red as Belladonna. The fever is not a high, and the hands and feet do not need to be cold. For a garden variety fever with a reddish face, I would almost always start with Ferrum Phosphoricum 30c rather than Belladonna. Another option is Ferrum Phosphoricum 6x, one of the homeopathic cell salts, which is an excellent choice if you don’t have the 30c. Dose the 6x once every 15 to 30 minutes rather than waiting an hour as you would with a 30c.
C is for Chamomilla
Almost every child needs Chamomilla for fevers at least once or twice in their childhood.
Chamomile is a member of the Compositae (Asteraceae) family, along with Dandelions, Asters, Arnica, Daisies, Calendula and many other plants that we recognize readily growing wild on the prairies or in gardens. One of the significant symptoms of all the members of this family is the emphasis on how physically painful everything is.
Chamomile tea is available anywhere tea is sold and aids in relaxing and falling asleep.
If you are considering using Chamomilla as a remedy for a fever, keep in mind the pain and the agitation and anger that comes along with it.
Symptoms of Chamomilla may include:
- Cheeks may be red, or maybe only one cheek will be red.
- The child needing Chamomilla wants to be carried. Not just held while sitting in the rocker. Carried. Around. And they get ANGRY if you put them down. This sounds like a good remedy for a colicky baby!
- Inconsolable from the pain.
- The child needing Chamomilla is capricious. This means that he will want a toy, you will hand it to him and then he doesn’t want it. Tosses it down and asks for a different or the same toy. Repeat ad nauseum.
- A baby might also arch his or her back from the anger, indecision and pain. They are basically beside themselves from pain and anger.
- Fever could be high or moderate or no fever at all.
- Useful in teething, because of the sensitivity to pain.
Chamomilla story: My youngest child never really needed Chamomilla, or any remedy, for teething. But he did have an ear infection which required Chamomilla. Interestingly, after the ear infection and remedy, he started taking a bottle of breast milk. Prior to that, he was very angry every time I would leave him and Dad or Grandma would try to give him a bottle. He was generally a good-natured baby except for bottle time.
Comparison: Pulsatilla (related to Aconite). Pulsatilla is also clingy (Velcro baby), but the baby who needs it doesn’t require that you walk around quite so much. The rocking chair is fine. Chamomilla is Mad. Pulsatilla is Sad. They can be quite sweet as long as you hold them. But will cry from sadness if you put them down.
ABC’s of Fevers with Homeopathy Comparison Chart
|Fever||High||High||Moderate to High|
|Face||Fearful looking||Red||Red cheeks|
|Onset||Rapid||4 pm or so||Any time|
If you need help dosing homeopathic remedies, please read this blog post for more assistance.
I hope this blog post has clarified the difference between the ABC remedies for fevers in homeopathy!
PS. I was inspired to write this blog in response to a question that someone asked me. So if you have a question, who knows, I just might write about it. Please contact us with your questions.