1 . ABROTANUM
Southernwood, lady’s love, old man.
Origin : Native to southern Europe.
Background : Containing a strong, volatile oil that repels insects, this plant’s leaves have long been used as a moth repellent when placed among clothes.
Preparation : The fresh, finely chopped leaves and shoots are steeped in alcohol.
Remedy Profile : People for whom Abrotanum is best suited tend to be anxious and depressed. They may feel dull of mind and become easily fatigued when speaking or studying. Alternatively, they can be irritable, excited, and violent, and have an urge to shout.
Key symptoms include emaciation and debilitation of the lower limbs, possibly in children who fail to thrive, or due to polio. A classic feature of Abrotanum is that certain symptoms die away rapidly and are immediately replaced by other symptoms. For example, chest symptoms may develop after skin eruptions have failed to come out, heart disease develops following the suppression of rheumatic symptoms, or mumps is transferred from the parotid glands to the testes.
Symptoms Better : For passing loose stools; for movement.
Symptoms Worse : For cold and damp air; if secretions are suppressed (for instance, by taking drugs to suppress diarrhea).
2 . ABIES NIG
Origin : Resin from the black spruce (Picea mariana), found in northern North America, from Alaska to Newfoundland.
Background : The oil distilled from the wood of this tree is used largely in the manufacture of paints.
Preparation : The resin from the tree is dried and macerated in alcohol.
Remedy Profile : Low-spirited, nervous people who are unable to concentrate or settle are best suited to Abies nig. They are lethargic and dull by day, yet cannot sleep at night. Abies nig. is mainly associated with a sense of “blockage.” It is often used for indigestion with a knotted sensation, as if an egg or stone is lodged in the stomach. The stomach pain always develops after eating and, in an attempt to relieve the discomfort, there may be frequent belching, possibly with constipation, foul-smelling breath, and mild fever with alternating chills and fever. Tea and tobacco are often causative factors behind the Abies nig. symptom picture.
Symptoms Better : For movement; for walking.
Symptoms Worse : For tobacco; for tea; for eating.
3 . ACETIC AC
Acetic acid, glacial acetic acid, ethanoic acid.
Origin : Chemically prepared.
Background : Dilute acetic acid is a principal component of vinegar, and is used in the herbal and culinary traditions of many diverse cultures.
Preparation : Acetic acid is dissolved in alcohol, diluted, and succussed.
Remedy Profile : People who benefit most from Acetic ac. often sigh due to feelings of depression, anxiety, or irritability, and are also prone to forgetfulness. They are often anemic, with pale, waxy, clammy skin and intense thirst. Despite profound sleepiness, they may find it difficult to sleep.
Debilitation and emaciation are the key factors linked to this remedy. It is often prescribed to treat fainting, breathlessness, water retention, diabetes, or great exhaustion following an injury, an operation, or hemorrhaging.
Severe burning pains and tenderness in the stomach can also be treated using Acetic ac., if they are accompanied by symptoms such as sour-tasting belches, vomiting, and profuse salivation, or by the classic debilitation symptoms.
Symptoms Better : For lying on the stomach; for belching; for potatoes.
Symptoms Worse : In the morning; for movement; for overexertion; for lying on the back; for bread and butter; for vegetables; for cold drinks; for wine.
4 . ABIES CAN
Abies canadensis syn. Tsuga canadensis
Hemlock spruce, Canada pitch, Canada spruce.
Origin : Native to North America and eastern Asia.
Background : As early as 1535, native Americans used this plant internally for indigestion, and externally (mixed with castor oil) for gonorrhea.
Preparation : The fresh bark and young buds are macerated in alcohol.
Remedy Profile : Abies can. is best suited to people who tend to be either fretful or quiet and careful. Often weak, nervous, and lightheaded, they may lie down frequently, especially with their legs drawn up, to avoid fainting.
Classic physical characteristics include chilliness and clammy skin, a sensation that the blood has turned to cold water, or a feeling that there is a wet cloth between the shoulder blades.
Abies can. is given primarily to treat digestive disorders associated with inflamed mucous membranes in the stomach and poor absorption of food. Overeating is common in such cases; even after eating there are hunger pains and rumbling in the bowels. Nausea, bloating, and severe burning pain in the abdomen may cause palpitations to develop in the heart.
Symptoms Better : For pressure on the affected area; for passing gas.
Symptoms Worse : After standing for long periods; for sitting; for drinking tea.
5 . ABSINTHIUM
Common wormwood, green ginger.
Origin : Native to Europe, but now grows wild in central Asia and the eastern US, and is widely cultivated in temperate areas.
Background : Common wormwood was originally a primary flavoring in vermouth, and the basis of absinthe, an addictive drink popular in 19th-century France but now illegal in many countries.ARGENTUM METALLICUM (Silver)
Preparation : The fresh flowers, young leaves, and shoots are steeped in alcohol.
Remedy Profile : Those who respond best to Absinthium are prone to nervous overexcitement, experiencing terrifying, horrible dreams and dreadful hallucinations. A kind of brutal stupor or stupidity may even be apparent in them.
Absinthium is primarily associated with the nerves, and key symptoms include trembling, grimacing, and unsteadiness, possibly linked to alcoholism. In children the remedy may be given for terrible dreams, nervousness, insomnia, vertigo, fits or seizures, and epilepsy.
Symptoms Better : For movement.
Symptoms Worse : For rising from bed or from a seat; for staying still.
6 . ACTAEA SPIC
Baneberry, herb Christopher.
Origin : Native to Eurasia, although now found in many temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Background : Herbalists use this plant to treat rheumatic symptoms, especially those occurring in minor joints. Its purplish-black berries are used in dyes.
Preparation : The fresh root, collected after the shoots emerge and before bloom, is chopped and macerated in alcohol.
Remedy Profile : Actaea spic. is most suited to sad, absentminded people who are easily startled and often prey to fear or anxiety. They are prone to a fear of death, particularly when in bed at night. Their judgment is generally poor, and they may feel hopeless, confused, impatient, and restless, especially if they experience a shock. They may even think that they are going insane. They may be egotistical and unreliable in relationships.
Actaea spic. is usually given for this state of mind in conjunction with rheumatoid arthritis that is accompanied by tearing pains, especially if minor joints such as the wrists are affected. The pain may be so severe that the limbs actually feel paralyzed, causing crying out, weariness, and possibly eventual lameness.
Symptoms Better : None known.
Symptoms Worse : For changes in the weather or temperature; for cold air; at night; for touch; for the slightest fatigue; for the slightest exertion; for mental exertion.
7 . ADONIS
False hellebore, yellow pheasant’s eye.
Origin : Native to Russia and the Black Sea region, and now found in much of Europe, growing on mountain pastures.
Background : The plant takes its name from Adonis, a Greek mythological figure linked to the seasonal renewal of plant life. In Russia it is used as a heart remedy.
Preparation : The chopped aerial parts of the plant are steeped in alcohol.
Remedy Profile : People for whom Adonis is suitable tend to be apprehensive and prone to horrible dreams and restless sleep. They generally feel “waterlogged” and uncomfortable.
The classic symptom picture for Adonis is of heart degeneration, perhaps following a bout of severe influenza or rheumatic fever. There may be pain and palpitations in the area around the heart. The heart rhythms may be abnormally rapid or slow and faltering, possibly because of diseased valves or fatty degeneration. Edema (an irregular accumulation of fluid in the body tissues or cavities), which develops as a result of poor circulation and is accompanied by scanty urine, may be treated by Adonis.
The remedy is also used to treat asthma with breathlessness, discomfort, or heart disease. Further symptoms may include headaches that move from the back of the head, around the temples, to the eyes.
Symptoms Better : For exertion.
Symptoms Worse : For cold; for lying down.
8 . AESCULUS
Horse chestnut, conker.
Origin : Native to southeastern Europe, and grown in temperate areas worldwide.
Background : The common name is thought to originate from the traditional Turkish custom of feeding the nuts to horses as an antidote to flatulence.
Preparation : The fresh, ripe, peeled, and finely chopped horse chestnuts are macerated in alcohol.
Remedy Profile : This remedy is best suited to people who are very low, depressed, and irritable, with poor concentration. They may lose their temper easily, tending to brood afterward.
The remedy is given primarily for treating hemorrhoids, especially when the rectum feels dry and uncomfortable, as though it is full of small sticks, or when the hemorrhoids are internal and associated with constipation and pain in the lower back. Often the anus feels hot, dry, and itchy. Lumpy stools may occur, with stabbing, tearing, or splinterlike pains in the anus. Distension in the bowels may develop, with colicky pain and foul- smelling gas. There may be varicose veins, and a feeling of congestion and tenderness in the liver. The hemorrhoids may be associated with pains and chills in the spine, and a dull, constant backache that makes bending down or rising after sitting difficult, and walking almost impossible.
In addition, the remedy is given for a dry, rough, burning throat accompanied by sneezing and profuse catarrh.
Symptoms Better : For cool air (unless it is directly inhaled); for vigorous exercise.
Symptoms Worse : For bending or getting up from a seat; for walking; for standing; for breathing deeply; for swallowing; for passing stools; after eating; for sleep.
9 . AGNUS CASTUS
Agnus castus, chaste tree, monk’s pepper, wild lavender.
Origin : Native to the Mediterranean region and western Asia.
Background : As the name “chaste tree” suggests, this plant was once thought to lower the libido. It was often chewed by monks, and in Italy blossoms are still strewn in the path of novices entering a convent.
Preparation : The dried, ripe berries are macerated in alcohol.
Remedy Profile : People who respond well to this remedy may be anxious about their health, especially their sexual health, and may have a strong presentiment of their own death.
Agnus castus is given chiefly to people with low energy levels, depression, poor sexual vitality, and a low libido. It is helpful for fatigue due to menopause, or caused by alcohol or drug abuse, or following excessive amounts of sexual intercourse. In men, the remedy is generally prescribed for sexual conditions such as impotence, premature ejaculation with sexual arousal, or disinterest, particularly in men who formerly had a high libido. In women, Agnus castus may help where there is a loss of libido, especially during menopause, scanty or excessively heavy menstruation, or an enlarged uterus, possibly with a staining vaginal discharge. Postpartum depression and a lack of breast milk following childbirth may also be helped by the remedy.
Symptoms Better : For scratching or pressing on the affected area.
Symptoms Worse : For sexual excess; for ejaculating.
10 . ALFALFA
Origin : Native to Asia, north Africa, and Europe.
Background : Cultivated for thousands of years as a fodder plant, alfalfa is highly nutritious and detoxifying, and has long been used herbally and in cooking.
Preparation : The fresh aerial parts are finely chopped and macerated in alcohol.
Remedy Profile : Alfalfa is usually given in the mother tincture form as a tonic for conditions associated with malnutrition or great weight loss, such as cancer, anorexia, nervous indigestion, insomnia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. There may be constant hunger or an increased appetite, particularly in the middle of the morning, and a craving for sweet foods. Further symptoms may include a left-sided headache or a heavy, dull sensation in the back of the head.
Symptoms Better : None known.
Symptoms Worse : In the evening.