Home Care, Practical Advice

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By: Mary Kelly Sutton, M.D.

Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another, as he who has but the same wound himself? - Thomas Jefferson

The Skin
The body as a whole is continually molding its outer structure as reflection of the inner condition of the human be­ing. Through all our outer appearances, including movement and speech, we present a picture to the experienced eye, of who we are, and what our body's health is. A rash points to the type of process which has been brought outward from an inner organ. A dry rash reflects a discharge of excess dryness from the deeper organs; a firm rash, of excess hardness; a moist rash, of disordered flu­ids. As people growing in therapeutic skills, we want to learn to read the body, with reverence for the individual human being revealed through this picture.

As you may know, children gradu­ally grow into the ability to sense tem­perature correctly. By approximately age nine they know if they are hot or cold, but not before. We responsible parents / caregivers can judge if there is an abnor­mality of warmth distribution simply by laying a warm hand on the hands, feet, limbs, or flanks (these are the areas which I find most telling). If you find that all areas are as warm as a protected area, such as the tummy, you know the person is healthy and adequately dressed.

To dress a person well—that is, for optimum health, or if there is an illness—two layers on the bottom half of the body, and three on the top are required many months of the New England year. There should be no gaps, the waistline tucked in so liver heat is not lost. Caps at all times when out of doors in cool to freez­ing weather is a requirement. Caps in the summer protect younger children and babies from the harsh effects of the sun and also are a helpful preventative for headache.

Children of all ages and adults should cover their feet. Wool/fleece `houseshoes' are an excellent method of supporting health and should be worn in all but hot weather. Americans are noto­riously casual about dressing warmly, to our disadvantage in the long-term. Natu­ral fabrics breathe best; and if a person sweats, one layer can be removed. The skin gives off its heat (98.6°) to the sur­rounding air unless we protect it. Unlike the animals, we have no fur. Our cloth­ing must provide the barrier to heat loss.

Topical Applications
Pills, potions, remedies and tinc­tures, are used orally and address the body through the metabolism. However, by learning skin treatments, we access the human organism from a totally different angle. To treat the body through the skin is to address the body through the ner­vous system. Picture the embryo, with the ectoderm giving rise to skin and nervous system at once, and the numerous nerve endings in the skin. It seems very obvi­ous that they are intimately related. By using baths, compresses and oils we are addressing a very large perceptive organ.

Immunity and Change
All of the common illnesses are re­ally inflammations. "Infection" is the wrong word for them because it suggests that we get sick because germs invade us. This is misleading. We are always ex­posed to and often invaded by germs and yet we only occasionally get sick.

Why do we get sick when we do? In order to be healthy we must keep an in­ner balance in body and soul while al­ways moving, changing and growing from birth to death. Although childhood is the time of most rapid growth and dra­matic change every remodeling job re­quires some demolition, a breaking down of part of the inherited bodily structure in order to rebuild it better. Every cold, sore throat, earache, fever and rash are indicators of the spirit's strong effort to recreate the body so it can be a more suit­able dwelling. But before it can rebuild, it must first clean up the debris by pro­ducing mucus, pus or a rash that work their way out, or else poison the body.

And just as garbage attracts vermin, so does our bodily debris attract germs. The germs don't cause the illness; they feed on it. The remedies listed here help and promote this cleansing process. Antibiot­ics, aspirin, Tylenol and other anti-inflam­matory drugs obstruct and suppress it.

It rarely happens in healthy people that the inflammatory response of the immune system does not succeed in eliminating the body's debris, its wastes. When it is absent the patient may become toxic, or the inflammation may get out of control. In such cases an antibiotic is indicated. Although an antibiotic may be life saving it never heals an inflamma­tion, it only suppresses it. The causes of the inflammation must still be healed af­ter the antibiotic treatment, otherwise the inflammation will return or worse, may lead to a degenerative disease.

First Things First
The first and best things to do at the onset of any inflammation, fever, cold or "infection" is to cleanse the body as fol­lows:

Give infants a glycerin rectal sup­pository. For adults and children over one year old, give a Dulcolax suppository unless the individual has a "sensitive" stomach/colon. Then stick with glycerin. Keep these on hand with your kit. If you prefer, an enema may be used instead of a suppository (of course, do not use any of these if diarrhea is present). After the initial suppository or enema, it is impor­tant to keep the cleansing going until the illness is all better by giving a dose of Milk of Magnesia once daily before bed­time. There are many varieties of laxa­tives--all open to consideration. The im­portant thing is having at least one more bowel movement per day than usual.

Coming Down With Something
When you know you're starting to "come down with something" and you want to nip it in the bud: stop eating al­together and start drinking hot herb teas, and hot citrus drinks, as much as toler­ated. Empty your bowels, unless you al­ready have diarrhea! An enema or a Dulcolax suppository works fastest. Laxatives are slower and less predictable. Ferrum Phos. and Echinacea every hour, Infludo every two hours. Take a very hot bath* for 20-30 minutes; go to bed and sweat under lots of blankets, then sleep for as long as possible. In the morning you should feel better! If not, repeat the bath every evening until you are better. If you have a fever of 101°F or higher, then do not take a bath, just go to bed.

*The safest method is not to put one­self into a lobster pot, but to start with moderate temperature water and increase the temperature gradually.

Never wake up the ill person to give a remedy. Sleep is the best healer. Rem­edies must be given regularly and con­sistently if they are to work. As the ill­ness improves the frequency of the dose can be decreased from every 1 or 2 hours to 3 or 4 times daily, but do not stop the remedies until two or three days after the fever is gone, and not before the other symptoms are also cleared up.

The Ferrum Phos. powder can be given for one month after this point to strengthen one after a long or severe ill­ness. The Weleda Black Currant Syrup, taken in water as a hot drink, is also a good strengthening tonic for this purpose.

Always dress the patient warmly, this will increase the body's ability to handle inflammation. The body in its wisdom wants and needs to be hot in or­der to burn out its impurities. Give Arg/Carbo/Silicea and Apis Belladonna ev­ery 15-30 minutes, not aspirin, Tylenol or baths. Keep the feverish person warm and quiet in a darkened room. (For pain relief it is, however, a merciful measure to use Tylenol, etc. if natural substances have been ineffective.)

Lemon calf compresses (only if feet are hot!): Soak two washcloths in 1/2 cup tepid water plus the juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon. Wring out the cloths and wrap around the calves. Cover with wool or plastic and put pajamas over them. Chamomilla Comp. fever suppositories (rectal) every 6-8 hours and before bedtime. The normal body temperature in a healthy child or adult should be 98.60 or slightly higher but preferably not lower. A sub-normal temperature indicates that not enough warmth is being produced by the body. Viruses and bacteria grow faster when the body temperature is lower, and they are killed faster by the body's immune system when the body temperature is higher.

While febrile seizures are common in children and frightening to witness they are of no major consequence. They are thought to occur when the body has a rapid temperature increase early in an illness, often before one is even aware of the fever. They occur from six months to six years of age and they do not cause permanent damage. As a rule, if a con­vulsion has not occurred in the first 24 hours of the fever, then it is not going to. In individuals known to have febrile sei­zures, antipyretics have an appropriate place; this decision should be guided by the physician (preferably holistic).

Common Ailments
(see directions in Home Remedy Kit, or consult with your doctor)

Colds: Cinnabar Comp, Echinacea Comp, Ferrum Phos 6X.

Colds with Fever: same as Colds plus Apis Belladonna.

Sore Throat: Same as Colds plus Apis Belladonna, Archangelica/Eucalyp­tus Rub: rub on throat, cover with scarf.

Flu: (Fever, muscle-aching, head­ache, dry cough): same as "Colds" plus Infludo and Apis Belladonna.

Deep Chest Cold and Cough: Same as Colds plus Infludo, Archangelica Eucalyptus Rub on chest and back. Vaporizer with Eucalyptus Oil. Mustard Plaster in stubborn cases is very effective.

Cough: Va­porizer with Eucalyptus oil, horsetail tea. Archangelica/ Eucalyptus rub on throat or chest.

Vomiting or Diarrhea: Al­ways, call the doctor's office for severe vomit­ing or diarrhea, especially under the age of two. The younger the child, the greater the danger of dehydration. For vomiting and/or diarrhea the most important rem­edy is proper fasting. However you must give enough fluids to prevent dehydra­tion, especially in infants. The general rule is this: the inflamed bowels will heal as long as they can have a rest from hav­ing to cope with food or even too much drink. If steady pain, stiffness and ten­derness to touch of the belly are the main symptoms along with vomiting or possi­bly diarrhea then you should always con­sult a physician. This does not apply for intermittent cramps in which the belly is soft and tender between cramps.

First day: chamomile tea and/or Pedialyte (only 1 teaspoon every 20 min­utes)

Second day: Add Cream of Rice, clear vegetable broth, grated apple, rice crackers

Third day: Gradually increase above. No dairy, nuts, beans, eggs or meat until 5th day.

Bladder Spasm or frequent painful urination: (usually in girls) Warm cloth­ing especially over belly, legs and feet. Hot water bottle over bladder. Bearberry tea (uva ursi) to drink hot, as much as tolerated around the clock. Thuja Comp (Rx only) I pea sized portion 4 times daily, for at least 5 (and up to 10) days, then stop.

Earache: Same as colds plus Apis Belladonna and Levisticum IX by mouth. Warm oil or raw onion juice inear, then plug with cotton, but not if ear is draining or discharging. On­ion compress: a l/ 4 inch slice of a onion wrapped in one layer of gauze, applied to the ear and held in place with Kling gauze wrapped around the head. Keep on the ear for about six hours or at least until pain is gone. May be repeated as often as needed, with a fresh onion slice each time. This is very effective in loosening the painful congestion in the ear (just as an onion draws tears from the eye). For an earache it is important to keep the ear and the entire head warm. Keep a wool stocking cap always pulled over the ears (either alone or over the onion compress) and keep a cotton plug in the ear when not using the compress. The onion compress is also effective in promoting drainage of fluid behind the eardrum remaining after an earache, or caused by allergies.

Swollen Glands: Archangelica/Eu­calyptus rub on glands. Cover warmly.

Whenever someone has, or is com­ing down with any type of inflammation, cold or fever, the diet should be re­stricted. When your body is trying to "digest" and eliminate toxic substances it will help if you don't have to digest much food at the same time. Therefore the general rule is to avoid protein foods during the acute illness. These are meat, eggs, dairy, nuts, fish and legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soy). The sick per­son should have a mainly liquid diet of vegetable broth, herb teas and fruit juices, but no colder than room temperature. Fruit, cooked vegetables, grains and light crackers are also suitable. Another gen­eral rule: when sick, eating less is better than eating more. If the patient isn't hun­gry then he or she is better off not eat­ing. The return of appetite is a sign of getting over the illness, but those first meals after the fever is gone should be light ones. Don't be too eager to have your child regain the lost weight. After the illness, reintroduce the restricted foods gradually and carefully.


Dr. Sutton's Home Remedy Kit. (available from Weleda)
This is a selection of remedies for first aid use. It contains:

Cinnabar Comp, for colds in the head and nose, and sore throat: I pea-si/ed portion every 1-2 hours.

Ferrum Phos. D6: for colds and flu: I peasize portion every 1-2 hours. For pro­longed convalescence from any illness, give four times daily until well.

Infludo: for flu and chest colds, 5 drops every two hours (Rx only)

Apis/Belladonna for fever or pain, 5 drops every 1-2 hours. For high fevers over 103°F repeat dose every 30 minutes.

Archangelica Eucalyptus Rub on chest and back for coughs and chest colds. Rub on throat for sore throat or croup. Rub on glands for swollen glands. Cover warmly with cotton or wool.

Chamomile Comp suppositories for high fevers or toxic conditions. rectally every 4-6 hours and before bedtime. (Rx only)

Echinacea Comp - five drops every hour for any inflammations or fever.

Eucalyptus Oil - add to little reservoir or top of steam vaporizer for coughs and colds especially nights.

Combudoron (Burn Care) Jelly. Keep refrigerated. Apply liberally to bums and insect stings. Bandage loosely. Reapply as needed. Keep moist until pain is gone.

Arnica Essence - dilute one teaspoon in 1/2 cup of warm water as a solution to cleanse wounds, or sprinkle about 20 drops on a damp cold gauze pad or wash­cloth to make a compress on sprained ankles, bumps on the head or any injury.

Levisticum I X for earache. 5 drops ev­ery 30-6Q minutes, by mouth.

Please remember that this kit is not meant to treat all illnesses and cannot substitute for the individual diagnosis and recommendations of a physician, who may vary instructions.


Instructions For Use of the Remedies

1-5 years old: 1-2 tablespoons, or 2-4 tablets
5-12 years old; 2- tablespoons or 4-6 tablets.

Over 12 and adults: 4 tablespoons or 4-6 tablets.

Liquid remedies
Give liquid remedies in about 1/2 tea­spoon of water, preferably on an empty stomach. The doses below are for chil­dren from five to twelve years old. Use one drop for infants under six months. Use two drops from six months to two years and after that as many drops as the child's age in years (four years old, four drops etc.) up to the limit of five drops which is the dose for children from 5- 12. Over twelve years old and adults use 7 drops.

This is the same for all ages: a little heap of powder the size of a small pea, on a (dull) knife-tip. The dose for tablets is also the same for all ages.

Be sure you always have on hand the remedies you need for your family's com­mon ailments.

These are basic home remedy instruc­tions, recommended by Dr. Sutton as standard dosages. Individual physicians may vary the dosages.

Mary Kelly Sutton, M.D. has a practice in California.


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