Broken bones. Many of us have had them. And its so easy to do: slipping on ice on a winter morning, carrying laundry down some stairs, or as summer approaches – kids playing sports, in summer camp, biking and jogging falls. Not to even mention the osteopenia/osteoporosis 50+ crowd (largely women), where it doesn’t take as much to suffer a fracture.
Once a bone breaks it often must be set in proper alignment and held there in order to heal properly. Setting a bone without surgery is a “closed reduction” and most fractures, especially in children, are treated in this fashion. Serious or complex fractures may require open reduction — repositioning using surgery. And then once a fracture is “set”, the broken part is often immobilized for a period of time to allow the bone to heal through a process of callous formation and “remodeling,” where the body restores the bone to its original shape. The whole process typically takes 6-12 weeks.
How can we help this process with homeopathy?
For close to 200 years, homeopaths have used homeopathic remedies to aid patients with pain, swelling and discoloration from bone breaks, as well as speed healing and bone repair time. Recent medical research[i] has begun to confirm these benefits and health systems at places like the University of Michigan have published recommendations on which remedies to employ.
So how can you use homeopathy the next time a loved one has a bone breaking event? Here are a few remedies to have on hand:
- Arnica: Broken bones typically come with a degree of blunt trauma to soft tissues – which in turn leads to swelling, pain and discoloration. The homeopathic remedy Arnica can be taken immediately following an accident to bring relief on all three fronts – pain, swelling and discoloration.
- Eupatorium perfoliatum: This homeopathic remedy is well-known for its use in flu and fever when the patient feels pains in the bones (“as if broken”) and can be useful to relieve the deep or aching pain of actual broken bones.
- Hypericum: This homeopathic remedy is very useful for crushing injuries to body areas that are well-supplied with nerves like fingers and toes. If these areas suffer a crushing injury (with or without a break), Hypericum can bring welcome pain relief.
- Ruta graveolens: This homeopathic remedy is known for its effect on bone-bruises and on injuries to the periosteum (the covering of the bones); both of these types of trauma are involved when a fracture of a bone occurs. Ruta is also indicated when the pain around a fracture is extreme, and the person feels lame or weak. This remedy is also helpful in many cases when pain persists after treatment with Arnica, or after the cast is removed.
- Symphytum officinale: As new research is showing – this homeopathic remedy is often a great help in accelerating callous formation (bone repair) after a break and it can also help relieve the pain of a break. It is my “go to” remedy after Arnica.
How to dose:
First – I start with Arnica for a few days – 2-3x a day – as I would in any injury situation. Then, once the more external injury is healing well, choose the remedy that best matches the situation, as described above. If no remedy really seems to call out, select Symphytum.
When dosing, take a pellet of the chosen remedy in either a 30c or 200c potency, dissolve it in a half glass of water and stir vigorously 30 or so times before taking a teaspoon dose in the mouth. Cover the glass and repeat the vigorous stirring of the remedy before each additional dose. Take 1-2 x per day, depending on the pain and severity of the fracture. Water dosing saves going through your whole bottle of pellets as you only need to use one, and also the remedy becomes a tiny bit stronger each time you stir it. In a pinch – dry pellet doses may also be employed.
**One caveat – one may alternate Symphytum with one of the other remedies. It is the pre-eminient “bone-knit” remedy and is famous as a topical compress (in plant form) for just that. I advise patients to take Symphytum in a 200 potency once a week for 6 weeks to encourage speedy bone repair, in any case.
As with any medical condition, consult with your health care professional if you have any concerns about the severity of your injury or the progress of your recovery.
Sharma S. et. al. Accelerating the healing of bone fracture using homeopathy: a prospective, randomized double-blind controlled study. Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12(Suppl 1):O61