Homeopathic Remedies Given in Succession:
Homeopathic Remedy Containing
China regia, Raphanus sativus niger,
- Aconitum napellus
- Bellis perennis
- Carbo vegetabilis
- Acetic acid
Surgery, at best, is an unpleasant process. Not only does the surgical wound cause pain, but general anesthesia causes its own side effects.
Homeopathic treatments have been studied for possible benefits in the period around surgery, with some promising results. Even though they have not been proved effective, there is one thing that can be offered in their favor: unlike herbs, which might be dangerous during or after surgery, homeopathic tablets should be entirely safe under all circumstances. (See
A Note about Safety
for more information.)
suggest that homeopathic remedies may help the digestive tract to recover after surgery. Weaker evidence suggests benefits for surgical pain and anxiety. However, a study of homeopathy for reducing bruising after surgery found no benefit.
If you have major surgery, especially to the abdomen, your digestive tract will shut down for several days. Until it starts working again, you cannot eat or drink, and certainly cannot go home from the hospital. Passing gas is the first sign of recovery; once it occurs, the return of digestive function is imminent.
The results of several double-blind studies suggest that homeopathic remedies may reduce the time it takes for the digestive tract to recover.
For example, a
study of 200 people who had undergone abdominal or chest surgery evaluated the effectiveness of the three homeopathic remedies
Raphanus given in succession every 2 hours.1
Bowel function returned more rapidly in the active treatment group than in the placebo group.
Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 80 people undergoing abdominal surgery evaluated the effects on bowel function of a homeopathic remedy containing
China regia, Raphanus sativus niger,
Again, benefits were seen in the homeopathy group as compared to the placebo group.
Similar results were seen in several other studies as well.3,4
A meta-analysis mathematically combined the results of six published trials on homeopathy for speeding the return of bowel function.4
A total of about 750 people were enrolled in these trials. The combined results indicate that the time to first signs of bowel recovery among those taking the homeopathic treatment was on average 7.4 hours less than their placebo counterparts. This difference was
Pain following surgery is a common, if not nearly universal, experience. The homeopathic remedy
Arnica is traditionally used as a treatment for trauma, and therefore has been proposed for reducing surgical pain. The results from preliminary studies have been somewhat promising, but far from definitive.13
A study of 190 people undergoing tonsillectomy compared Arnica 30c (two tablets six times daily the first day after surgery, then two tablets twice a day for the next seven days) against placebo.15
The results showed a mathematically significant but clinically exceedingly slight benefit in favor of Arnica.
Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 59 participants undergoing oral surgery.5
The group that received homeopathic
at 30c potency experienced significantly less pain than the control group.
In yet another double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, use of homeopathic
Arnica D6 tablets for 2 weeks following carpal tunnel surgery led to decreased pain as compared to placebo treatment.6
However, other double-blind, studies failed to find benefit. In a study comparing
D4 and diclofenac sodium, 50 mg, a common analgesic medication,
was less effective for postoperative pain following bunion surgery among 88 patients. Nevertheless,
Arnica was equivalent to diclofenac for postoperative irritation, toe mobility, and the use of other analgesics. Since no control group was included in the study, it is unknown whether either treatment was better than placebo.16
In a placebo-controlled trial, researchers tested
30c in the postoperative recovery of 93 women who had undergone total abdominal hysterectomy. In terms of pain and its relief, infection, and medication use, no statistical difference was observed between the two groups.
In another double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study also failed to find benefit.9
In this trial, homeopathic practitioners selected one of six different remedies to be administered to each participant, according to classical homeopathic principles:
Arnica, Hypericum, Ledum, Phosphorus, Plantago,
all at D30 potency. No significant benefits were seen.
In yet another controlled trial, patients recovering from knee surgery who were given the a homeopathic complex (
5 CH, and
Ruta graveolens 3 DH) were no more or less likely to adjust their morphine dose 1 to 3 days postoperatively compared to patients given a placebo.17
Besides pain, many people experience restlessness and agitation after surgery, perhaps due in part to the effects of general anesthesia.
One double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the potential benefits of homeopathic
Aconite for children who had undergone various surgeries.9
A total of 50 children who had recently undergone surgery were included. Either
(potency not described) or placebo was administered to the children in the recovery room. The homeopathic treatment was reported to provide a statistically significant benefit as compared to placebo.
Arnica is a popular home remedy for bruising, investigators have studied it as a possible treatment for reducing bruising after surgery. However, overall, the evidence for benefit with Arnica is inconclusive.13
For example, in a double-blind trial of 130 people undergoing surgery for varicose veins, researchers found no benefit with homeopathic
Arnica at 5x potency as compared to placebo.10
A second study of
for varicose vein surgery also failed to find
statistically significant benefits.12
Yet another double-blind trial, this one with 64 participants, failed to find
Arnica helpful for reducing pain and bruising after hand surgery.11 The most recent study, involving face-lift surgery, found equivocal benefits at best.14
classical homeopathy, there are many possible homeopathic treatments for surgery support, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment.
If you experience fear and a feeling of panic before surgery, you might fit the
Aconitum napellus. This remedy is said to be especially indicated for people who are afraid that they will die, and who are easily startled by light and noise. Other aspects of the classic symptom picture include dry mouth and excessive thirst.
If after surgery you experience bruising, swelling, or soreness, you may fit the classical symptom picture for
Depending on the type of surgery, the homeopath might recommend other remedies believed to have particular affinities for different organs or circumstances, such as
for breast and abdominal surgeries;
Calendula, Hypericum, Arnica,
for dental surgeries; and
when there is great weakness and loss of fluids. Homeopathic
might be used to help effect a quick recovery from the after-effects of general anesthesia (nausea and wooziness).
For herbs, supplements, and other alternative approaches that may relieve symptoms related to surgery, see the
For a thorough explanation of homeopathy, including dilution of therapies, see the
Aulagnier G. The action of a homeopathic treatment on recovery of postoperative transit [translated from French].
Dorfman P, Amodeo C, Ricciotti F, et al. Postoperative ileus and homeopathy: results of a clinical evaluation.
Cahiers de Biothérapie. 1992;114:33–39.
Chevrel JP, Saglier J, Destable MD. Recovery of intestinal transit following digestive surgery. The homeopathic action of opium [letter] [translated from French].
Presse Med. 1984;13:883.
Barnes J, Resch KL, Ernst E. Homeopathy for Postoperative Ileus? A Meta-analysis.
J Clin Gastroenterol. 1997;25:628–633.
Pinsent RJFH, Baker GPI, Ives G, et al. Does
reduce pain and bleeding after dental extraction? A placebo control led pilot study conducted by the Midland Homoeopathy Research Group (MHRG).
Comm Br Hom Res Grp. 1986;15:3–11.
Jeffrey SL, Belcher HJ. Use of
to relieve pain after carpal-tunnel release surgery.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2002;8:66–68.
Hart O, Mullee MA, et al. Double blind, placebo controlled, randomized clinical trial of homeopathic Arnica 30C for pain and infection after total abdominal hysterectomy.
JR Soc Med. 1997;90:73–78.
Lokken P, Straumshein PA, et al. Effect of homeopathy on pain and other events after acute trauma: placebo controlled trial with bilateral oral surgery.
Br Homeopath J. 1995;310:1439–1442.
Alibeu JP, Jobert J. Aconite in homeopathic relief of postoperative pain and agitation in children.
Pediatrie (Bucur). 1990;45:465–466.
Ramelet AA, Buchheim G, Lorenz P, et al. Homoeopathic arnica in postoperative haematomas: a double-blind study.
Stevinson C, Devaraj VS, Fountain-Barber A, et al. Homeopathic arnica for prevention of pain and bruising: randomized placebo-controlled trial in hand surgery.
J R Soc Med. 2003;96:60 65.
Wolf M, Tamaschke C, Mayer W, et al. Efficacy of ARNICA in varicose vein surgery; results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2003;10:242-7.
Ludtke R, Hacke D. On the effectiveness of the homeopathic remedy Arnica montana.
Wien Med Wochenschr. 2006;155:482-90.
Seeley BM, Denton AB, Ahn MS et al. Effect of Homeopathic Arnica montana on Bruising in Face-lifts: Results of a Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.
Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2006;8:54-9.
Robertson A, Suryanarayanan R, Banerjee A. Homeopathic Arnica montana for post-tonsillectomy analgesia: a randomised placebo control trial.
Karow JH, Abt HP, Frohling M, et al. Efficacy of Arnica montana D4 for healing of wounds after hallux valgus surgery compared to diclofenac.
J Altern Complement Med.
2008 Jan 16.
Paris A, Gonnet N, Chaussard C, et al. Effect of homeopathy on analgesic intake following knee ligament reconstruction: a phase III monocentre randomized placebo controlled study.
Br J Clin Pharmacol.
Last reviewed August 2013 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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