Homeopathy for Hives & Poison Ivy

OHHH – That Awful Itch!

Homeopathy for Hives & Poison Ivy


Hives are characterized by an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps on the skin that often appear suddenly — as a result of the body’s reaction to certain allergens, emotional stress, temperature changes or for unknown reasons. Researchers believe that approximately 1 in 6 people suffer with them annually.

Typically these lumpy bumps cause itching, but may also burn or sting. They can appear anywhereon the body, including the face, lips and ears. Hives vary in size (from the size of a pencil eraser to the size of a dinner plate), and may join together to form larger areas known as plaques. They can last for hours, or even days before fading.

Poison Ivy, on the other hand, produces itchy, blistering rashes caused by an oil these plants produce called urushiol. A rash develops if one is sensitive to the oil and touches any part of the plant – or something that has come into contact with the oil like a pet, gardening tools or clothing.

The rash that follows contact with the plant is actually an allergic reaction to the oil. Intense itching and fluid-filled eruptions are the most common symptoms. Swelling of the area may also occur.

The good news? Homeopathy can help in both cases!

Here are a few remedies for you to consider if you find yourself with hives:

Apis mellifica:This homeopathic remedy is made from the venom of the common honeybee. Someone needing this remedy typically experiences red, inflamed, raised patches of skin. These patches burn and sting– much like a bee sting. They may also be tender to touch. These raised patches of skin are known to itch intolerably at night, because the itching is made worse from the warmth of the bed.

Arsenicum album: One should think of this remedy when the eruptions are clearly worse at night and accompanied by great restlessness. The eruptions tend to burn more than itch, and usually feel better from heat. The patient often has a lot of anxiety with the rash and is quite worried about it. Generally people needing Arsenicum and chilly, thirsty usually for warm drinks and debilitated from their complaints.

Belladonna: A person needing this remedy will often find themselves with a very red and hotrash which appears suddenly. The hives themselves sometimes can resemble mosquito bites. They itch most in the mornings and the evenings.

Rhus-tox: Someone needing this remedy may find they get hives from getting wet or chilled, or they may find that joint pains accompany the eruptions, or that the hives appear only when they have a fever. It may have small blisters, which are worse from perspiration. A Rhus tox rash itches intensely and typically is worse in cold, damp weather and better from being warm and applying heat. It becomes worse from scratching. The patient may also feel generally restless.

Urtica urens:  This homeopathic remedy is made from the Stinging Nettle plant. A person needing this remedy will experience itching and burning as if the skin was scorched – with plenty of raised, red blotches. The skin may require constant rubbing for the patient to remain comfortable. Cold air and cold bathing will also tend to make this person feel worse.

Sulphur:This is one of the most common remedies to consider with skin eruptions and itch in general. It is characterized by much heat – both in the rash and in the body. A distinct keynote of Sulphur: the rash and itching is worse at night due to accumulated heat in sleep. Often relieved by cold applications. Person wants to uncover feet in bed to cool off, is generally thirsty for cold drinks and prone to skin diseases (eczema, etc.).

As for poison ivy, the remedy of choice is most often Rhus toxbecause this remedy is made from the leaves of the poison ivy plant itself, and is the perfect example of the principle “like cures like.” It is the “go to” remedy if you suspect poison ivy is responsible for your skin eruption. It can also be taken before gardening or a hike to prevent a rash from developing in the first place. You might do this if you know you are very susceptible to getting poison ivy, or if the area you will be hiking in is full of poison ivy and you are likely to be exposed.

Anacardium orientale: This homeopathic remedy can be helpful to a person who has not found relief from taking Rhus tox for a rash that is blistering and very itchy. The blisters often discharge a yellowish, transparent liquid, which hardens to a crust in the open air. In the evening in bed, the patient may experience heat of the skin over the whole body, with burning-itching and irritation, such as arises from much scratching, and after the scratching, the burning increases. The person needing this remedy may feel relief from bathing in very hot water.


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Lisa Samet, Naturopath
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Outremont (Québec) Canada
H2V 2H6

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