Questions on how to choose the right alternative medicine

vickeym Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭✭

I am having trouble figuring out out to get the information from my husband in order to help choose the right herbs or homeopathic remedies to help him.

They have him on some high blood pressure medicines that have some pretty nasty side effects. The least offensive of which has left his toes tingling, a dry cough, severe fatigue and he has had a few headaches. He rarely had a headache before going on this medicine.

It is hard enough to figure out things for my own conditions, but trying to get straight or helpful answers from his is like pulling teeth from an alligator. lol

We both have knee problems, (torn meniscus, Baker's cyst, etc.)

Does anyone know of an easy way to explain what kind of information we need from them to help choose the right remedy (Herbal or Homeopathic?)

Is there a class or something, if not... may I suggest it might be a topic for one. I understand the idea of the energetics after watching the course about them. But it is hard to make someone else understand in a way they can figure out their constitutions and energetics.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @vickeym Whatever type of system you use, it is always helpful to know a person's base constitution. In TCM you are looking for combinations of cold/hot, dry/damp, etc. In Ayurveda, the different doshas are assigned to 3 basic body types and the combinations of those 3 types; for example, Pitta is hot, moist, light and sharp, but you might be Pitta/Vata or a different combination.

    In homeopathy, the first thing you should try to discern is the basic constitution of a person to match with a remedy profile. Remedies are basically made from plants, minerals and some animal products (venoms, etc.). So you need to decide if the patient/client is an animal, mineral or plant. Animals are in a state of survival; its all about "me". They may have suffered abuse or assaults or have PTSD. They might be very emotional but often in extremes. Extremely angry, extremely frightened. When you ask them how they feel, they will tell you all about it from their perspective. Plants tend to suffer a lot of injuries; mental, emotional and physical but instead of being concerned about "me", its all about the "other". They might be injured but they are more concerned about other's injuries. When you ask them how they feel, they might talk about how others feel and less about themselves. Plants cry easily, especially at the thought of someone else being hurt. Minerals don't communicate as easily; like a rock (like Simon & Garfunkle's "I am a Rock"). When you ask them how they feel, you might get very general or vague answers, or one word answers; I'm OK or fine or I hurt. You have to ask more questions and draw out the answers. They may seem less affected by things going on around them. Its not that minerals aren't emotional, they just have different ways of showing it. I have seen a mineral cry but it was silent tears and they were unable to speak about why.

    There are also programs that you enter information into and it narrows down remedy choices based on the "rubrics" (symptoms) that you enter for the individual. Complete Dynamics is probably the most cost effective program. You pay an annual licence fee for it. You can get a free trial download and use it for 30 days to see if it is something that you might like to purchase. I have the practitioner version and pay just over $300 Euro for 3 years, although usually I wait until there is a sale on. There is a master version, more expensive (I don't have a large enough practice to need this) and an amateur version, much less expensive.

    This is a link to the free trial download.

    If you decide to use this and would like some assistance to get started, I will answer any questions I can.

    There are other repertory programs but most are for sale and cost multiple $1000's. And then you have to pay for upgrades every time a new version comes out. Complete Dynamics upgrades are free within the licence.

    ABC Homeopathy has an online repertory program you can use for free. Its not anywhere nearly as good as Complete Dynamics but its free.

    As to the high blood pressure meds, you could try hawthorn to assist with strengthening the cardiovascular system. You might want to look into some of Dr. Strauss's products. Dr. Strauss is a Canadian company but it is available on This is a link to the website and you can have a look at their products. I take the Heart Drops version but after a few months I will be switching to the Cardio Calm drops which I think is more of a maintenance product. But a caution here. Monitor your blood pressure daily if you are going to try a herbal alternative as an adjunct or a replacement.

    Hope that helps a bit.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you @torey, I will look into these. I understand about the constitutions and energetics. Can be hard, especially for someone without training to put it into actual use and learn to what questions to ask to draw out the information needed.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @vickeym Agreed. First aid homeopathy is pretty easy to grasp but when you are trying to address deeper issues, it becomes tricky. I'm still learning. Sometimes there is more than one remedy that seems appropriate. When I take classes, I'm constantly thinking, "How did the instructor come up with that excellent remedy on such little info or how did they choose between x, y or z remedy when all are recommended".

    Some people don't quite understand what you are looking for with questions, too. For example, if you are trying to find out what a specific pain feels like, people often don't get that you are looking for descriptions. They say it hurts and will give you a number on the pain scale. In homeopathy we are looking for more. Descriptive words like is it a burning pain or stabbing, stitching, prickling, aching, blinding, numbing, etc. Does the pain move up or down? What makes it feel better? What makes it feel worse? Is it worse at a certain time of day? These are all called modalities and can really help narrow down a remedy choice. If you look in a good homeopathic repertory, under pain, it will list all of the different modalities surrounding pain. That will give you ideas with what questions you could ask. Similarly for something like vertigo. Look up all the modalities and ask questions surrounding those. Is it worse going upstairs or down? Is it worse outside? Is it worse or better at any specific time of day? Is it worse or better after eating? Is is worse or better for exercise?

    Do you have any books on homeopathy? If so, which ones? Boericke's Homeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory is mandatory reading at many homeopathic schools. Very old English but a standard that is still widely referred to.

    There is also a system for determining plant remedies that a very brilliant homeopath, Jan Scholten, came up with. But it is very detailed and I have yet to have a full grasp on it.

    I think one could spend a lifetime on the study of homeopathy and still be learning.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,088 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey Thanks---was unaware of this site, I will be checking it out!!

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,411 admin
    edited February 26

    @torey thank you for this extensive explanation. So far my knowledge of homeopathy is more than limited. I am glad to learn a bit more.

    @vickeym what I write is not an answer to your question, as it will not help to choose the right medicine. After reading your post, I just feel like sharing my husband’s story with you. I do not know whether it is relevant, but this is my way to try to help. It is a kind of advice, but I know that all of us are very different and what helps one, does not necessarily help another one. But, whatever way your husband chooses, it is important that HE makes the decision, he believes in it and he himself follows the way. It is his health after all. I always remember what my teacher said in the herbal course: if you already have serious health problems, herbs can help 5%, the rest has to be done by changing the way of life. I believe in it.

    Health wise my husband went down the line with school medicine treatment. That started round 15 years ago or even more. First he got medicine for blood pressure and was taking it for a number of years, then he developed diabetes 2, then cancer… Nobody from the school medicine spoke about the way of life or nutrition. They just prescribed pills. He is a strong personality, he was enjoying eating, so I left him to himself with whatever junk food he decided to eat or numerous stops for coffee and cakes, or junk snacks in the evening and late at night… Only the cancer diagnosis stirred him to the level that he decided to change. Well, life is too good and too beautiful to loose it for the sake of junk food and comfort, meaning almost no physical activities. When he decided to do something about his health himself, we watched and read a lot about healthy way of life and we made decisions. Well, he changed. For blood pressure he did nature walks - the more green the better (forest bathing), the less spoiled the nature, the better. It takes stress away. We do long walks. For lowering sugar levels my husband did physical activities to burn the excess of sugar. We introduced intermittent fasting 16/8, got rid of all junk food, no sugar, no refined flour, because of blood pressure- no coffee. It was replaced by organic green tea and, of course, herbal teas. Lots and lots of herbal teas. We changed radically what we cook and eat and what products we choose. More for him, as I was always more for natural food, especially from the garden. I grew up like that and I always grew part of my food. He was a product of a welfare society with the natural consequences - civilisation illnesses. But, after all the diagnosis he started following my example. We lead this pattern of life for over 7 years. He is 73 now. No medication, not even food supplements. All comes from food and way of life. High quality natural food. We go for long walks, also pilgrimage hikes, we go cross country skiing. Wherever we travel, we never stay in hotels to avoid not proper food and the regime that does not fit us. We rent private accommodations with a kitchen and do our own cooking and keep to 16/8. And walks, walks, walks. In nature. I strongly believe in the healing power of nature. One just has to allow it. It was not an easy way at the beginning as he was already addicted to sugar, to taste enhances, all the unhealthy supplements. Now he is an advocate of healthy way of life and is volunteering to share his experience in my herbal workshops.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @jowitt.europe That is an amazing story of a transition to health.

    You are very correct, though, about the person having to make the decision for themselves. We can try to assist with proper diet and encourage exercise but if the person isn't committed they will invariably cheat or sneak junk behind your back.

    My husband sometimes needs a reminder about why he is "depriving" himself of things he used to like or why we need to go for a walk even if it is raining. I will gently ask if he wants to be like his younger brother, needing a quintuple bypass or like his father on multiple prescriptions a day. Then there are no more complaints.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My vertigo is occasionally when I lay down and mostly affects a left turn and if I turn my head too fast. It is so much better but I am watching for the times it helps to see what needs to be done. I am going to try a physical therapist.

    I have recently rehauled my diet and eating habits. I am not on any medications at this time and want to stay that way.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,411 admin

    @torey yes, I know what you mean. We do have motivation. Both of us. We want quality life. Living long is not primarily an aim. Having a quality life is the aim. And if we can combine both, long and quality, it is even better. And quality means being able to travel, to hike, to walk and do the gardening, follow other interests, hobbies, being independent from any care as long as possible. And then it is easier to go for a walk and not stop in a cafe for a coffee and a cake. We are in a very touristy area. Temptations are at every step, unless you go into wild nature.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you all for the ideas and suggestions. We live on the outskirts of a small rural tourist village, however we don't go into the village itself much except to check the mail or when my job calls for deliveries there.

    We grow a lot of our own food, and rarely go out to eat and don't use much salt. We have a small farm and my husband is outside most of the time. He gets a pretty good amount of exercise between caring for the animals and cutting firewood, trying to clear some of our property so we can build the out building we need, and soon (we hope) to get started on our house. We do it all ourselves and don't have much for equipment, so there is lots of exercise for us.

    He is on board with finding something to get off the prescriptions. High blood pressure runs in his family. We both hate taking medication of any kind so are just looking into natural ways if we can't control his blood pressure without medicines.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I recently learned that magnesium lowers blood pressure.

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A great thread with so much information. I'm so glad you asked @vickeym. I hope you're able to find the answers you seek. I too am looking for answers to health questions that don't use the standard practices.😊

  • sl0j0n
    sl0j0n Posts: 2 ✭✭✭

    Hello, vickeym; No one EVER has a drug deficiency. Drugs are designed to ONLY treat SYMPTOMS, not causes. My blood pressure was not extremely high but it had begun easing up. It is now around 114-117 over 70-71.

    The only way to become 'healthy' & stay that way starts w/ diet. Most know that processed foods have had the 'good' parts removed. (Makes me wonder what do they do w/ it.)

    An example is table sugar, it is 'processed' until it is a 'pure' compound. There is a problem w/ that.

    Sugar has to metabolized in the body, that requires certain nutrients. They are not in the sugar, they were 'processed' out, & removed via processing. So eating sugar means, for our bodies to metabolize it, the nutrients must be in our bodies. The result is it takes more nutrients to metabolize it than there are in it. It is like sugar wrote a check your body's 'bank' of nutrients can't cover. There is a net loss of nutrients. That means if we eat sugar we need nutrients above and beyond what we already have. That is why supplements may help.

    But almost all supplements are artificial. They do not work the same as the natural version. So we need to eat the right foods.This how a low carb diet lowers our nutritional requirements.

    Start by eliminating processed foods. In the old days (I'm 67) people didn't have the foods we see today. Bread was not the same as today, even cake was relatively rare. When I was a young child we were given raw pieces of sugar cane as a treat. It contained the natural 'cofactors' that supplied the nutrients needed.

    Salt is another example, natural salt has some 84 minerals found w/ it. Grocery store table salt has had all that processed out, all that is left is pure sodium cholride.

    To help your husband he needs to eliminate all processed foods. If it comes in a box, bag, etc., w/ a label & an ingredient list it is a poor choice. At least 6 medical doctors have said that at least 96% of all grocery store food is unhealthy. Think of foods that may be packaged but w/out an ingredients list. Eggs, meat, & vegetables are like that, 'whole' foods.

    The best diet for most people is a very low carbohydrate diet. I've learned a lot about it from some Youtube doctors. Dr. Eric Berg, Dr. Sten Ekberg, Dr. Ken Berry, Dr. Boz, Dr. Becky Gillaspy, just to name a few. They give away free health information. If you watch some of their videos youtube will usually suggest more of the same. These doctors all recommend a low carb diet. Berg & Berry both had health issues & both found a low carb diet very helpful.

    Do not let anyone tell you low carb in not healthy. The first treatment for diabetes was to limit carbs to 2% of the diet or less. That was the standard treatment in the 1910s. It will still work today. Over EIGHTY years ago the ketogenic diet was first used as a medical treatment for juvenile epilepsy. It is still used for that condition.

    To answer your question, start by changing what you eat, both of you. Do your own research, use 'alternative' sources, not the medical establishment. Do not expect the 'medical' professionals to willingly help you. That is not how they do things, their 'medical knowledge' is how they diagnose & treat. It is their bread & butter, so to speak.

    I wish you the best but it is up to you & your husband. Choices have consequences. Your choices will determine your future. Think of that the next time you hear "What do you want to eat?"

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbor!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin

    @sl0j0n You are correct to advise to start with diet. It should be the first thing to address. However, I suspect that you may have misunderstood what Vickeym was asking considering her choice of wording ("medicine"). You may find that she would most likely be in agreement with you. I would be surprised if they haven't already considered their diet, but it never hurts to revisit that either. Things can sneak in over time. She wants her husband off the pharmaceutical drugs because of the side effects.

    She used the term "medicine" in the discussion header, but if you read her first comment more carefully, you will see that she is requesting help with trying to figure out how to get information from her husband so that she can determine what herb or remedy would be most useful to him. It is important to match the person to the herb or the herb to the person. Many herbs may work for the undue at hand, but some are more suited to specific people than others energetics and how they work with a person's constitution is what comes into play here.

    To clarify the topic for others who may stumble across this topic in the future and to avoid misunderstandings, I will add "alternative" to the topic header.

    Thanks for adding to this discussion!

  • realhealthsolns
    realhealthsolns Posts: 3 ✭✭✭

    All health starts in the gut:

    Need to start with 'food is medicine' & eliminate all the ultra-, highly-, low energetic processed foods (if any):

    • the industrial processed vegetable seed oils (good - coconut, avocado, EVOO, ghee),
    • store-made pastas, cakes, cookies, breads (better is make own w/coconut/almond/arrowroot flours,....)
    • high fructose corn syrup in drinks, processed foods,...
    • go as organic as possible, grow some of your own organics if possible,...
    • Want a book (Amazon) for herbal/food/nutritional alternatives? "Heal Thyself Naturally"
  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you all for sharing your information and advice. You are correct @LaurieLovesLearning, I do agree with the information about diet and choosing natural cures over pharmaceutical "Band-Aids".

    We do grow a good portion of our food and plan to grow even more as we clear space for a permanent garden area with cold frames and another green house to extend our short growing season.

    I make a lot of our food from scratch now and will be making more as I will be home more this summer than I was in the past.

    I belong to a low carb food group online, so am well versed in that. Part of my husband's issues are hereditary. High blood pressure runs heavily in his Dad's side of the family. They were a military family so he grew up without much home grown foods.

  • sonbyrd
    sonbyrd Posts: 29 ✭✭✭

    I recommend Joette Calabrese's website as she has a lot of free homeopathic information on there, specific remedies for specific ailments. She also has a full-on course for those who want to become homeopaths. Finally, she offers consultations, one-on-one. She's a really good homeopath.

    As noted above, though, homeopathy is complicated. Unlike other modalities, homeopathy looks at symptoms - and you have to get really specific when narrowing them down in order to find the right remedy. I've used homeopathy for decades but still defer to those who have made it their livelihood.

  • sonbyrd
    sonbyrd Posts: 29 ✭✭✭
    edited April 21

    I've tried to leave this comment 3x now but it won't post for some reason.*

    I recommend (she's a long time homeopath and has a school for aspiring homeopaths). She has a lot of free info on her site but more importantly she offers consultations for individuals who are struggling to find the right remedy. I trust her and have used her advice quite a lot over the years. As someone else said, there is so much that goes into homeopathy which treats SYMPTOMS (unlike other modalities), and it can be very confusing for the beginner.

    *NOTE from Mod: This post got caught in spam. Not sure why. I am leaving this try at posting because it has a bit of additional information in it and isn't a true duplicate.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you @sonbyrd I am on her site. Have been watching her videos and reading all I can there.