Sharum Sharif, ND
In my general, primary care practice, 1 out of every 4 patients has a skin disorder/condition. As many of you know, treating skin conditions/disorders can be challenging, to say the least. I believe they are even significantly more difficult to treat without the aid of homeopathic remedies. I have researched the homeopathic treatment of skin conditions for many years now, and have gathered numerous “before & after” photos and videos of various skin disorders (from my own patient population), many of which can be found on my website, HomeopathicDermatology.com. My goal in this article is to simplify homeopathic prescribing for naturopathic doctors who would like to have an additional effective tool in their toolbox for treating skin disorders but who are intimidated by the complexity of homeopathy.
According to Savely Yurkovsky, MD, “Even though classical homeopathy, for nearly 250 years, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, for 5000 years, have been rendering consistent observations, tying skin conditions to the health of internal organs, the conventional dermatologists still remain in a dangerous, trigger-happy ‘cortisone mode,’ concerning the majority of skin problems.” I believe that most naturopathic doctors would resonate with this statement.
Treating Skin Conditions Using Homeopathy
In a nutshell, homeopathic philosophy for treating skin conditions can be briefly summarized as follows: Suppression is NOT OK! The skin is where internal diseases manifest. Signs and symptoms (in general, but in particular in the skin) are an expression that the body is trying to heal itself (an attempt to eliminate internal toxicity), and, as such, should not be suppressed. Treating a skin disease by topical applications of steroids and other suppressive topical and internal pharmaceutical medications does not truly address the diseased state at all. Rather, it only prevents its peripheral expression, thereby pushing the disease deeper into the body and, as a result, creating side effects. Often, such suppressive therapies provide only short-term relief, and the cessation of such treatments results in a return of the lesions. Homeopathic remedies, on the other hand, stimulate the body to heal itself (energetically) – the opposite of what happens with suppressive therapies. Homeopathic remedies by themselves are not “anti” anything, such as anti-itching, anti-microbial, or anti-inflammatory, etc. Of course, if used inappropriately, even homeopathic remedies can be suppressive.
Homeopathic Case-Taking of Skin Conditions
In homeopathic case-taking of skin disorders, you should pay particular attention to the following parameters:
- Appearance of the skin, including color, discharge, and consistency. The characteristics of the discharge are particularly important. For example, if the discharge is honey-like (yellow and sticky), you should be considering the remedy Graphites in your differential diagnosis.
- Sensation also provides critical information. Various sensations include numbness, tingling, itching, biting, pricking, burning pain, sticking pain, etc. The sensations are then qualified by a modality. Modality refers to what makes it better or worse. Response to temperature (cold vs hot) is an important aspect of the case. For example, if heat makes the sensation better, I think of Rhux tox; however, if heat makes it worse, I think of Apis or Sulphur.
- The location is sometimes key; whether the location is on hands, feet, or scalp makes a difference in remedy selection.
- Concomitant symptoms are sometimes also very helpful in finding the correct remedy. For example, if severe anxiety is present with the skin symptoms, I would consider Arsenicum album.
- You should definitely be vigilant in asking about and looking for possible allopathic interference, not just during the first visit, but also all of the follow-up visits. Conventional allopathic drugs (topicals as well as oral medications) are extremely suppressive and are designed to make the skin look and feel better than in reality, thereby making the case-taking more challenging. In such cases, you need to go by the diagnosis and the signs and symptoms prior to pharmaceutical treatment.
- Last but not least, note that etiology often prevails over pathology in terms of remedy selection, so you should always ask the patient if s/he remembers “how” the lesion(s) came on. For example, if trauma was the etiology, you should at least consider remedies such as Arnica regardless of signs and symptoms.
Note: Proper diagnosis/assessment is critical in successful treatment. Therefore, if you can’t diagnose a patient’s condition with confidence, you should refer out to a dermatologist.
Selecting the Correct Remedy
How do you select the remedy of choice? Homeopathic “therapeutic” books for a differential diagnosis (top remedies that match the case) and/or homeopathic repertories are your best bet. If you repertorize, you need to find the top rubric(s) to narrow down your remedy choices. Always ask yourself questions such as: What should I focus on first? Or, what is ailing the patient? Is anxiety in the case more of a problem than the rash itself, or vice-versa?
A VERY critical question in homeopathic management of skin disorders is: Does the patient need an acute remedy or a constitutional remedy? A constitutional remedy is based on a person’s mental, emotional, and physical signs and symptoms. In contrast, an acute remedy addresses a few of the patient’s acute signs/symptoms. To treat skin conditions, in some cases you might need an acute remedy, while in other cases, you might need a constitutional remedy. You need to figure out if the skin condition is a local disease (in which case you prescribe an acute remedy) or whether it is due to a constitutional matter (in which case you prescribe a constitutional remedy). How? You must identify the “center of gravity” in your case; ie, is it in the skin, or in the whole person? If the person is generally healthy but suffers from, say, severe acne, then the skin (ie, the acne) is the center of gravity in the case. In this case, it makes sense to prescribe an “acne” remedy (a remedy that has all the KEYNOTES of your patient’s acne). If, on the other hand, the person with acne is not generally healthy and/or has a long history of suppression by drugs (oral and/or topical), the center of gravity is not the skin (ie, acne), but rather the entire person. In this case, you should prescribe a constitutional remedy. If you give an acute “acne” remedy in this case, you are potentially going to further suppress the patient.
For some specific real-life examples of acute prescribing for skin conditions, feel free to refer to my website, www.HomeopathicDermatology.com, and view the following cases: Julien, Linda, Rick, and the “disfiguring” rash. Julien’s case is a great example that illustrates acute vs constitutional prescribing rather nicely: He was a 13-year-old boy with no history of suppressive drugs. His constitution was Natrum muriaticum, and he had a chief complaint of deeply cracked skin on his elbows. The remedy Petroleum (12C) daily improved the eczema by nearly 100% within a week. Later on, Natrum mur would help prevent future outbreaks of eczema.
Note that, as necessary as acute prescribing can often be, it can cause an aggravation if you select a wrong remedy and/or wrong potency and/or frequency. In other words, if we are not careful and we give a skin-specific remedy (vs the core constitutional remedy for the case), we can cause much aggravation without any real healing in the process. This is a particular danger in eczema cases.
You can find more information on how to prescribe homeopathic remedies in skin cases in the book, Textbook of Dermatology for Homeopaths, by Ramji Gupta, MD, and R.K. Manchanda, MD. The authors speak of prescribing based on 1) morphological appearance of the skin; 2) symptoms pertaining to disease as well as general constitutional symptoms of the patients; and 3) miasmatic background of the patient. To find this information, refer to my 2018 AANP PowerPoint presentation on my website.
Treatment & Follow-up
In what order do skin signs and symptoms improve? In addition to following Hering’s Law of Cure, based on my observations, as a rule, skin SYMPTOMS improve much more quickly than SIGNs. First to improve are the various sensations such as itching or heat, then, potentially, the color of the skin, followed by the secretions (liquid matter), and finally the actual lesions (solid matter), as in flakes and tumors. How rapidly can the patient expect to experience changes? If the condition is acute, such as shingles or cellulitis, depending on the urgency of the problem at hand, the patient should expect changes within hours or a maximum of 1-2 days. If it’s a chronic condition, the patient might need to take the remedy for at least a week, or sometimes much longer, before any relief is experienced.
When it comes to treating skin conditions, it is common to not know the exact magical remedy! The reason for this is multi-fold. First, there are numerous remedies for every skin condition in the repertory. Second, sometimes there are not many details in the skin section for each remedy in materia medicas. Third, it is common to not receive all the necessary information from your patient regarding the signs and symptoms of the skin. The solution is to send the patient home with the top 2-3 remedies. Tell the patient to use your first-choice remedy, and if it does not help, to then move onto your second choice, and finally your third choice. Since you have identified the top 2-3 remedies for the condition, there is a high likelihood that you will help the patient even if not completely.
How about aggravations with remedies? First of all, prevention of aggravations is the key! Also note that aggravations do not necessarily mean that your remedy selection was wrong. Even the correct remedy can cause aggravations if taken at too high of a potency or at too frequent of a rate. You can prevent aggravations by prescribing a low potency at a low frequency. A thorough discussion on the proper potency and frequency of remedies is beyond the scope of this article; suffice it to say that I definitely recommend using the lower potencies of 6C, 12C, or 30C when treating skin conditions. Sometimes I use the 200C potency, but I rarely ever use 1M when treating skin conditions, due to the risk of aggravation. A typical safe dose would be 6C daily, or 12C daily, or every other day. For extremely sensitive patients, it is generally safe to prescribe 6C once or twice a week.
To be able to judge what’s truly going on with your patient, I would not start homeopathic care and pharmaceutical medication(s) around the same time, since you will have no way of knowing if the changes are due to the remedy or in spite of the remedy.
Some Basics on Skin Rubrics
A homeopathic repertory contains an entire chapter on the skin. Skin rubrics can also be found under the Generalities and the Extremities chapters, as well as other body parts, such as Head, Face, Genitalia, etc. In my opinion, many of the skin sub-rubrics have too few remedies to select from. If you get sub-rubrics with only a few remedies that don’t seem indicated, you can just go to the main rubric above the sub-rubric that lists more remedy options. Also, many rubrics are too large and with too many remedies listed to be helpful. Finding a good polycrest rubric narrows down your remedies from hundreds to, say, a number less than, say, 50, which is much more manageable. At this point, you take the rest of the case to see which of the remedies in the polycrest rubric best match the case. Finding a “good” rubric is usually simple, but it requires familiarity with the repertory. For example, the rubric Skin-Eruptions-Eczema is too large of a rubric, with over 100 remedies listed. A more helpful rubric for eczema might be Skin-Unhealthy Skin. This is a good-sized rubric (about 50-60 remedies) listing some of the main “skin-specific” remedies that are known to be effective for a variety of skin conditions including eczema.
If your patient’s condition is not in the repertory, the KEY is to translate the modern skin terminology to repertory language. In other words, you will have to find the rubrics that best characterize the skin condition based on its appearance, discharge, sensation, modalities, and location. (Remember, there are other factors, such as etiology, that can sometimes outweigh the other aspects of the case that are listed above.) There are many words in the repertory that are difficult to understand, hence should be looked up, such as “cicatrices,” which means scars, or “excrescences,” which means warts. Don’t let that discourage you, as Google can always come to the rescue.
Top 14 Skin Remedies
Note that every homeopathic remedy can affect the skin. Therefore, the “indicated” remedy could be any remedy. Having said that, I list here the top 14 acute “skin remedies” I use more commonly in my practice for “acute” skin cases. I have pointed out their most important keynotes, in a highly concise fashion. There are numerous other remedies that are critical in treating skin disorders acutely (as well as constitutionally), but it is beyond the scope of this article to cover them all.
The top 14 skin-specific remedies in my practice include Alumina, Antimonium crudum, Apis, Arsenicum album, Calendula, Graphites, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Mercurius vivus (= solubis), Mezereum, Petroleum, Psorinum, Rhux tox, and Sulphur. Here are the highlights of each of these remedies:
- Alumina: The most dry and constipated remedy. Dryness causes itchiness. Itchiness without eruption.
- Antimonium-crudum: For hard and thick skin (eg, corns and calluses), mainly on hands and feet, but could be anywhere
- Apis: Itching, burning, stinging pain, swelling (water retention), << (meaning worse with) heat or even slight touch. Thirstless.
- Arsenicum album: Burning pain and offensive discharges, > (meaning better with) Heat!!!! (opposite of Apis). Ulceration of skin. Intense itching of skin without eruption (similar to Alumina).
- Calendula: Use in potentized form (actually, use in any form, including the pure herb in its various preparations) for trauma and wound healing
- Graphites: Eruptions ooze a thick, yellow, or “honey-like fluid which dries into golden crystals on the skin” (source = Roger Morrison’s Desktop Companion)
- Lachesis: Left-sided signs & symptoms. Skin is of dark, bluish/purplish appearance, with dark hemorrhagic discharge. Mottled skin.
- Lycopodium: Right-sided signs & symptoms. Very poor GI function. In my experience, of the top most common constitutional remedies, Lyc is the one most likely to have skin issues.
- Mercurius: Ulceration, suppuration, offensive smelling and acrid discharge, < night-time (a syphilitic remedy)
- Mezereum: Intolerable itching. Thick, leather-like crusts under which thick, yellow pus collects. Burning with fiery redness… skin is mad!
- Petroleum: Cracked, fissured, painful lesions, especially on hands, finger tips, and soles. Palmo-plantar keratoderma. #1 remedy for deep cracks. Cracks are often deep, painful and bloody; < in winter months.
- Psorinum: Great emotional despair. Chilly. Modalities are similar to Sulphur except that patient is chilly.
- Rhus tox: Not just for joint pain; is the main remedy for shingles. Keyword: Vesicular eruptions; > heat and dry weather; > by motion; < wet
- Sulphur: Used in every type of skin lesion. Marked itching; wants to scratch; burning after scratching; excessive burning everywhere; < heat, bathing, heat of the bed.
Common Skin Conditions
Knowing where to look in the repertory can be a daunting task. In this article, I will cover the homeopathic treatment of some of the most common skin conditions in alphabetical order, as well as tips for where you can find the relevant rubrics for them. I will also share a few important tips on naturopathic detoxification and how it can be an adjunctive therapy in treating skin conditions. Note: Because rubrics can vary somewhat between repertories, I should mention that the sources I used for the rubrics listed in this article include: Robin Murphy’s Homeopathic Clinical Repertory, 3rd edition; Frederik Schroyens’ Synthesis Repertory; and Roger Morrison’s Desktop Companion (his red book).
I did not include a list of all the possible remedies for each condition, since you can look that up in the repertory yourself. I do, however, point out 1 or a few of the most common remedies for some of these conditions; in such cases, please do not automatically use the remedies I suggest here without doing your own work. Now, let’s discuss the homeopathic treatment of some of the most common skin conditions.
Surprisingly, acne is not listed in the Skin section of the repertory. You can find facial acne under the chapter on the face (Face-Eruptions-Acne). If the acne is hormonal (eg, worse during PMS), go to Face-Eruptions-Acne-Menses. Note that Sepia is the main remedy in this rubric, and it is helpful in many of such cases. You can use, say, Sepia 30C daily during PMS to address hormonal acne, or any other PMS-related skin issues, for that matter. Most of the time I treat acne constitutionally, but sometimes acutely, and at other times I combine the constitutional remedy and the skin-specific remedy at the same time, depending on what’s going on for the patient.
You can find bruising, or ecchymosis under Skin-Ecchymosis. Related rubrics include: Skin-Eruptions-Petechiae; Skin-Purpura; and Skin-Purpura-Hemorrhagica. Note: Bruising, varicosities, and hemorrhoids have many remedies in common, since they all feature venous stasis. For bruising, unless you see a better remedy choice, I would recommend Arnica first (80% chance you will get positive results), and then consider prescribing another indicated remedy to address the remaining symptoms.
For skin burns, go to Generalities-Burns; Generalities-Burns-Scalds; and Generalities-Burns-Sunburn. You can serve extremely desperate burn patients with our humble little remedies if you just carefully find the best indicated remedy for the case at hand. The top remedies for burns include Arsenicum album, Cantharis, Causticum, Belladonna, Pulsatilla, Sol, and Urticaria.
Cellulitis, just like acne, is not in the Skin section; instead, it’s under Generalities-Inflammation-Cellulitis. With a skin condition as serious as cellulitis, you should expect positive changes within 12-24 hours. In dire, acute situations such as cellulitis, you need to ignore the person’s “constitution” and instead find a remedy that targets the lesion. A recommended dosing regimen would be the indicated acute remedy in the 30C potency, 2-3 times per day. If no changes occur at all in 12-24 hours, then assume the remedy is incorrect. Sulphur is a well-known remedy for cellulitis, since many of the keynotes of this remedy are featured in cellulitis: burning, red, and warm skin with serous discharge, and worse with heat. Note, however, that there are many other well-indicated remedies in the repertory for cellulitis, and you must find the remedy that best matches the case.
Tired of using lotion for dry and/or cracked skin? Cracking of the skin can occur in many skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. If itching is also present in the case, refer to the Eczema section. You can find Dry, Cracked, Chapping, and similar rubrics in the Skin section, as well as under specific body locations, such as Face. There are many wonderful remedies for dry skin, but the homeopathic remedy Petroleum is often the best remedy for not just dry but also cracked skin. Alumina is also one of my favorite remedies for extremely dry skin (without necessarily any cracks). Remember that some of the other key features of the remedy should ideally also be present in the case for the remedy to be an “indicated” (ie, effective) remedy. Natrum muriaticum is probably the top most common constitutional remedy that features dry skin.
Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis
I would say eczema is the top most common skin condition in a primary-care practice. Although eczema is not the easiest condition to treat, homeopathy has certainly been highly effective in treating a great majority of the cases in my practice. Many of the “skin-specific” remedies listed in this article may be helpful for eczema. A good rubric for eczema is Skin-Eruptions-Eczema, but I believe that a more helpful (ie, smaller) rubric for eczema is Skin-Unhealthy. Note that most of the remedies listed in bold type under Skin-Eruptions-Eczema are also listed under Skin-Eruptions-Crusty. Similarly to many other skin conditions, I would definitely avoid higher potencies in treating eczema. For this condition, you should be aiming for slow and steady progress, thus use lower potencies; otherwise, you might aggravate the skin. I have used low-dose Sulphur (ie, 6C) daily in many of my cases, with great success. The skin literally heals over a period of a few months. The remedy Sulphur involves tremendous itching, scratching until raw, and oozing/bleeding. Typical modalities of Sulphur include: < night, < heat, < bathing, and > cold applications.
Erysipelas is found under Skin-Erysipelas. There are many sub-rubrics under this rubric, including Skin-Erysipelas-Vesicular. As always, find a remedy that best matches the case.
Did you know that we can even help reverse a condition as severe and hopeless as gangrene with those little sugar pills? The answer is yes! We certainly can’t help everyone with gangrene, but we can help many of these cases. Similar to eczema, think slow and long term. Use lower potencies of 6X or 6C, say, twice daily, for many months. Skin-Gangrene has various sub-rubrics that will help you find the indicated remedy. In Murphy’s repertory, the rubric Diseases-Gangrene-Burns From is a good rubric for gangrene, in general (not too large or too small). Also, in Murphy’s repertory, the rubric Diseases-Gangrene-Wounds ties gangrene with wounds (a section towards the end of this article).
Homeopathic remedies are extremely effective in treating herpes simplex. Note that we can use similar remedies for herpes simplex (=fever blisters=cold sores), canker sores (=aphthous ulcers=mouth ulcers), and genital herpes. The main rubric is Skin-Eruptions-Herpetic, with many sub-rubrics, one of which is Zoster (for herpes zoster). According to Robin Murphy, ND, and Roger Morrison, MD, the main remedy for herpes simplex is Natrum muriaticum (Nat mur). It is very specific for the typical fever blister/cold sore as well as canker sore. This remedy is the main remedy for herpes that is brought on by emotions/stress, which is common. Nat mur keynotes for herpes include: painful, transparent (water-filled) vesicles that burn and sting. There are, of course, many remedies for herpes, and you just need to find a remedy whose keynotes are the most similar to your case (remember homeopathy is based on the Law of Similars), symptomatically as well as etiology. According to Dr Robin Murphy, you can cure herpes by curing the patient’s “susceptibility” to herpes. Susceptibility is on 2 levels: miasm AND constitution, a subject beyond the scope of this article.
Regarding genital herpes, even if acute prescribing is effective for treating the symptoms of genital herpes, we must address the patient’s miasmatic predisposition in order to address the underlying cause of the condition and thus hopefully cure it. You can find the relevant rubrics under Male-Eruptions-Herpetic, Vesicular, Penis, Scrotum… and Female-Eruptions-Herpetic, Vesicular, Anus, Perineum. Medorrhinum, Thuja, and Petroleum are some of the main remedies for genital herpes.
(Note: Medorrhinum and Thuja are the top 2 most effective remedies for treating all pelvic infections, in general.) Remedies to consider for prophylactic treatment of genital herpes include: Variolinum, Medorrhinum, Herpes simplex I or II, or the chronic remedy that the person needs.
Herpes zoster (or shingles) can be found under Skin-Eruptions-Herpetic-Zoster-Zona. Treating shingles without homeopathy is often rather difficult, but the “magic of the minimum dose,” as Dr Dorothy Shepherd puts it, impresses us once again.
Hives is found under Skin-Eruptions-Urticaria. Useful sub-rubrics include: Skin-Eruptions-Urticaria-Scratching After; Skin-Eruptions-Urticaria-Warmth and Exercise Aggravates; and Skin-Eruptions-Urticaria-Wet Becoming From. The most common remedy for treating hives, which I have used numerous times with a high degree of reliability and effectiveness, is Apis, since this remedy’s “keynotes” (as outlined in the materia medica) are literally the main characteristics of what we would typically call hives: red, swollen, and irritated skin with the sensation of stinging and burning pain, worse with heat. I usually recommend Apis 30C, 1-2 times daily as needed. In my opinion, no other remedy demonstrates the “Law of Similars” more impressively than Apis; the remedy Apis is derived from bee venom, and the keynotes of this remedy are exactly what a person experiences when stung by a bee. The remedy Apis often reverses these symptoms (whether you are stung by a bee or not) within minutes! Go, Law of Similars!
Impetigo, a superficial bacterial infection of the skin, can be found under Skin-Eruptions-Impetigo. Other rubrics to consider are: Skin-Eruptions-Blisters; Skin-Eruptions-Crusty; Skin-Eruptions-Discharging Moist; Skin-Eruptions-Pustules; Skin-Eruptions-Suppurating; and Skin-Eruptions-Vesicular.
You can also find impetigo in the sections for the various body parts, including abdomen, back, extremities, ear, face, foot, forehead, lips, or head. There are approximately 125 remedies under Skin-Eruptions-Impetigo; however, Antimonium crudum is my favorite – a highly specific remedy for impetigo and indicated for eruptions with the following characteristics: crusts that crack and eventually thicken, yellow appearance, burning pains, bathing aggravates, and sores that run together. These are, of course, the general symptoms of the condition impetigo, which is why Antimonium crudum is such a perfect remedy for this condition. I have seen the lesions improve within hours (refer to Finley’s video on my website).
Obviously, there are numerous causes of itching. Figuring out the cause of itching is absolutely critical for effective treatment, be it due to eczema, food allergies, agoraphobia, or a systemic disease such as liver or kidney failure. The rubric for itching is found under Skin-Itching. There are nearly 200 remedies listed in this rubric – clearly a large rubric. So how do we find the indicated remedy? We need to find the appropriate sub-rubric(s). Other useful rubrics include Skin-Eruptions-Itching; Skin-Itching-Eruptions-Without (for when the skin itches but there are no eruptions on the skin; 2 great remedies in this category should be mentioned: Alumina and Dolichos); Skin-Itching-Bleeding After Scratching; Skin-Excoriation (Intertrigo); Skin-Excoriation-Scratching After-Must Scratch it Raw; and Skin-Intertrigo (Excoriation). As a side note, I find that avoiding one’s food allergies/sensitivities and employing a good naturopathic liver/kidney detoxification program are often extremely helpful for many cases of itching. (Refer to HomeopathicDermatology.com site.)
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral condition that can be found under Skin-Eruptions-Molluscum. Nat mur is considered by some practitioners to be the top remedy for treating this condition, of course assuming that the key symptoms of the case match the keynotes of this remedy. (Recall that Nat mur is also considered to be the main remedy for treating herpes simplex.)
In my opinion, psoriasis must be one of the most challenging conditions (among dermatological conditions or otherwise) to treat. How do we treat psoriasis homeopathically? Similar to acne, we give the general (constitutional) remedy. If the constitutional remedy does not work, then give the specific skin remedy based on the indications; you might have to go back to the general remedy later on.
On my site I have posted a couple of psoriasis cases that might be helpful for your review. There are numerous rubrics and sub-rubrics for psoriasis in the materia medica. Skin-Eruptions-Psoriasis is the main rubric for psoriasis, which includes 3 sub-rubrics: Diffusa, Inveterata (inveterate means deep-seated and unlikely to change), and Syphilitic – terms whose thorough explanation is beyond the scope of this article. Other rubrics that may be helpful include: Skin-Eruptions-Desquamating; Skin-Eruptions-Scaly (different colors of scales); Skin-Eruptions-Crusty; Skin-Cracks; and Skin-Chapping. Note that you can also find more specific psoriasis rubrics and remedies under different body parts in the repertory, including head, eye, ear, face, abdomen, chest, back, and extremities.
According to the Desktop Companion by Roger Morrison, MD, the main remedies for psoriasis include: Arsenicum album, Graphites, Petroleum, Sepia, and Sulphur. In the Textbook of Dermatology for Homeopaths, by Ramji Gupta, MD, and R.K. Manchanda, MD, there is a very helpful section on psoriasis. You can find this information in my Powerpoint presentation of my Homeopathic Dermatology talk at the 2018 AANP convention. According to the authors, dosing should be started with low potencies, and once the medicine is effective, high potency often cures. To avoid aggravations, especially in cases with a long history of allopathic suppression, I would strongly advise against higher potencies, at least initially. The remedy Petroleum is probably my most favorite remedy for psoriasis. All the keynotes of Petroleum match the general symptoms of the condition: Dry skin leading to cracks that may bleed, worse in cold weather, and better with heat/sun.
You can find tinea under Skin-Eruptions-Herpetic-Circinate (herpetic-like eruptions). How were you supposed to know this information? Not sure, really! Another helpful rubric is Skin-Eruptions-Scaly. According to Dr Robin Murphy, 2 of the most important remedies for tinea are Bacillinum and Tuberculinum. According to Roger Morrison’s Desktop Companion, the most important remedy for tinea is Sepia. Clearly, there is a difference of opinion here – not unusual to encounter in the world of medicine. I have used the remedy Bacillinum 30C daily rather successfully in many cases of tinea. Note that pityriasis versicolor (= tinea versicolor) can be found under Skin-Eruptions-Pityriasis Versicolor. Another helpful rubric for pityriasis is Skin-Eruptions-Scaly. The remedy Sepia can be found in many of our books under Pityriasis.
Speaking of tinea, how about vaginal yeast infections? Two helpful rubrics include: Vaginitis-Burning discharge with; and Vaginitis-Candida albicans. There are many sub-rubrics under Vaginitis, such as Chronic, Itching of vagina, Sex during, etc. Note that Medorrhinum and Thuja are often highly effective remedies for genital infections of all sorts. Medorrhinum is the “acute” of Thuja; in other words, you can use Medorrhinum in acute cases, and Thuja in chronic cases of such infections.
The repertory term for scars is “cicatrices,” found under Skin-Cicatrices. Cicatrix means the scar of a healed wound. There are a variety of rubrics and sub-rubrics in this section. You can find cicatrices in many other sections in the repertory, including the Generalities chapter, and under many different body parts, such as extremities, face, back, and chest. In Dr Murphy’s modern repertory, you can find scars under Skin-Scars. Another helpful rubric is: Generalities-Wounds-Reopening of Old-Cicatrices. According to Dr Murphy, 2 of the top remedies for scars are Calendula and Thiosinaminum. Intuitively, one might know to prescribe lower potencies for the treatment of scars – ie, it’s not a quick process.
The repertory contains numerous pages on ulcers, and there are many types of ulcers listed: black, bleeding, bluish, burning, cancerous, discharges (many sub-rubrics), gangrenous, painful, painless, phagedenic, swollen, varicose, white, and yellow. The main rubric is Skin-Ulcers. One of my favorite remedies for ulcers on the skin as well as inside the GI tract (especially in the mouth) is Mercurius solubilis (=vivus). But how about varicose ulcers? Varicose ulcer is found under Skin-Ulcers-Varicose. Note: Pulsatilla shows up in many of the varicose veins rubrics. Of course, the keynotes of Pulsatilla must be present to get any results.
Vaccine-Related Skin Symptoms
What do you do about vaccine-related skin signs and symptoms? The remedies Silica and Thuja are classically known for reversing acute vaccine injuries. With regard to the skin, I have had good success with the above remedies in reversing skin-related symptoms such as itching post-vaccine. Note that in this case, we are clearly basing our prescription on etiology vs present signs and symptoms. In homeopathy, addressing the etiology often prevails over pathology.
How about those warts? (repertory term: Excrescences) Homeopathic remedies can not only effectively and safely treat existing warts, but also can cure a person’s susceptibility to growing warts, once and for all. Unlike psoriasis, treating warts homeopathically is surprisingly easy. I have treated numerous wart cases successfully, and it’s noteworthy that after proper homeopathic treatment, none of these patients has ever experienced even a single wart return. Furthermore, none has experienced any side effects.
Numerous “before and after” warts videos and pictures are featured on my site for your amusement. There are a variety of warts in homeopathy, and each one requires its own remedy. Refer to the appropriate body location in the repertory, such as nose, face, chest, extremities, etc. Note that under Skin-Warts, you will find numerous types of warts: bleeding, brown, burning, dry, flat, hard, horny, inflamed, itching, large, moist, painful, pedunculated, sensitive to touch, small, smooth, stinging, suppurating, and ulcerative (warts that become ulcers, or surrounded by ulcers). Other helpful rubrics include Skin-Excrescences: Condylomata (venereal warts), fungus (cauliflower and hematodes), horny, humid, smooth, and swelling/inflamed. One glance at the repertory in this section reveals that the remedy Thuja is the most common remedy listed under a variety of warts, but it’s certainly not the only one. Some other useful remedies include Antimonium crudum, Dulcamara, Nitric acid, and Staphysagria. I have found constitutional prescribing highly effective for eradicating warts; however, acute prescribing is sometimes very effective as well. I have also found that either the remedies are completely curative or they don’t lead to any improvements at all if the wrong remedy is prescribed.
Thuja is a great remedy for many different, though not all, types of warts. Thuja is specifically indicated for most cases of venereal warts (aka condylomata). You can find condylomata under: Male-Condylomata; or Female-Condylomata; or Skin-Excrescences: Condylomata; or Eye/Mouth/Throat/Rectum-Condylomata. Thuja is very specific for warts that are of the cauliflower-type condylomata. Differential diagnosis includes Sabina and Cinnabaris. Again, Thuja is an important remedy for ALL venereal diseases, including herpes, gonorrhea, prostatitis, non-specific urethritis, and, of course, genital warts. Another great remedy for venereal warts is Staphysagria. Notice that all of the above 4 remedies have an affinity for the genitals.
Lastly, I would like to point out that you should consider naturopathic detoxification/cleansing as a backup or as an adjunctive therapy to homeopathic treatment of skin disorders. Refer to John’s case on my website. “Detoxification” may not be helpful or may even cause side effects if the patient is severely constipated. Additionally, homeopathic remedies might cause aggravations or a healing crisis if you do not first address severe constipation before administering homeopathic remedies. To be safe, I would encourage you to first be assured that the patient has achieved daily bowel movements using naturopathic therapies before you start them on a detox program OR on a homeopathic remedy. If the remedy (such as Lycopodium) itself is meant to resolve constipation, then you do not need to treat the constipation before you administer the remedy.
Note: For exact sources of rubrics listed in this article, as well as for additional information on skin conditions, you might refer to the Powerpoint presentation I used in my 2018 AANP lecture in San Diego, CA. (www.HomeopathicDermatology.com)
Sharum Sharif, ND, is a licensed naturopathic physician and a 2003 graduate of Bastyr University; he is also a graduate of the New England School of Homeopathy. Dr Sharif gave a talk on the subject of Homeopathic Dermatology at the 2018 AANP convention. You can find the video of this talk at www.HomeopathicDermatology.com. He also has an extensive teaching website, www.VisualHomeopathy.com, where you can sign up to watch numerous actual patient videos covering the most common homeopathic constitutional types. Dr Sharif has a primary-care practice in Kent, WA, and is an affiliate clinical faculty member at Bastyr University.