Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sleep Disorders and their Homeopathic Treatment – (Top 10 Homeopathic Remedies for Sleep Disorders)

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“SLEEP” is something one cannot live without. It is as natural as hunger. But if it is a natural response, why do so many people suffer from various sleep disorders? Majority of people at some time or the other during the lifespan suffer from some sort of sleep problem, which affects their general health.

It is concluded that for optimal body functions, good mood, healthy hormonal functions and overall health, sleep is very important. When some type of sleep problem occurs as a result of some external physical or mental barrier like high stress levels etc, once that barrier is expelled, the normal sleep pattern returns. When, however, the irregular / absurd sleeping pattern becomes almost a habit, one needs effective therapy to combat it. Before we go to how to combat sleep disorders, we need to know what different types of sleep problems we humans encounter. There are lot more types of sleep problems once we delve deep into the issue and not just the problem of insomnia or sleeplessness. Let’s see—

Types of Sleep Disorders—

1)   Oversleeping (Hypersomnia)- Medically, the normal sleep is said to be between 7 to 9 hours at night. If you’re sleeping far more than this, you do suffer from hypersomnia. In this problem, people suffer from excessive day-time sleepiness and drowsiness, and also extended sleep hours at night at times. Many people that suffer from this problem may have high anxiety levels, low energy levels or some memory troubles. In people with obstructive sleep apnoea too, in which the person suffers from sudden breathless spells during sleep, might suffer from oversleeping during the day. Also some over the counter medications, anti allergic drugs and alcohol can lead to oversleeping problem.

2)   Insomnia (Sleeplessness) – This is by far the commonest sleep problems and many people today are fighting the problem throughout the world. The list of causes is endless, starting from depression to wrong food habits. Primary insomnia is the one where there is no known direct cause behind insomnia. Secondary insomnia, the problem can be linked to some health disease like asthma, depression, heartburn, arthritis, etc.

The most important causes behind insomnia are –

n  Stress- that may be related to anything ranging from discord between the partners, death of a loved one, job problems etc.
n  Environmental factors like excessive noise, light or excessively hot ot cold temperatures etc.
n  Conventional drugs
n  Irregular sleeping pattern due to variety of causes.
n  Some kind of physical pain
The symptoms of insomnia include irritability, sleepiness during the day, memory or concentration problems, general fatigue etc.

3)   Snoring- Occasional snoring can occur with anyone and may not be significant. However, when it occurs in obese people and leads to some sort of obstruction to breathing, it is a serious issue and needs proper treatment. There are some side effects of snoring that has some kind of obstructive cause behind. They include frequent waking from sleep, poor night’s sleep and strain on the heart if the obstruction is severe.

4)   Night terrors and nightmares- Night terrors are common in children. Episodes of intense crying and fear during sleep with difficulty in arousing the child can almost diagnose the night terrors. There may or may not be any mental and/or emotional cause associated with such episodes in the children. But during homeopathic treatment, one has to consider all such factors very carefully.

5)   Parasomnias- These are sleep disorders that affect during arousals from REM (Rapid-Eye-Movement) sleep or partial arousals from NERM (Non-Rapid-Eye-Movement) sleep. Various sleep problems are encountered under this type, that are, sleep-walking, rhythmic movement disorders, sleep talking, nocturnal leg cramps, sleep paralysis, irregular heart rhythms, teeth grinding (bruxism), enuresis (bed-wetting) etc.  

6)   Sleep Related Eating Disorders- In this problem, the person shows abnormal eating pattern during the night. Night Eating Syndrome (NES) is characterised by eating during the night in full awareness and failing to fall asleep thereafter. People with hard and fast diet rules during the day are more vulnerable to such problem. Excessive work-related or relationship related stress is also linked to NES.

The above mentioned six types of sleep problems are by far the commonest. Recognizing that one has sleep problem and approaching a physician as early as possible can avert many adverse consequences. Also the conventional drug therapy has not quite succeeded in annihilating the sleep problems in their totality without making the patient addicted to the drugs. Also the drugs might act very temporarily and not give lasting relief, while leading to many side effects. That is why more and more people are approaching the safe and efficient homeopathy for treating their sleep troubles.

Before we proceed to "how to apply various homeopathic medicines for sleep disorders", let us be very clear that there is no generalized drug for treating people with insomnia or hypersomnia. Every homeopathic physician must have a detailed case history of the patient with his physical, mental and emotional picture very clear. A proper case evaluation needs to be done in order to track the miasmatic dominance, physical and mental totality, and the constitutional analysis. The aetiology (causative factors) behind sleep disorders should be assessed cautiously. If the causative factors revolve around absurd lifestyle of the patient, a sound and adaptable suggestions must be given in order to see if he improves without medication.

Yes, let’s be very clear in our mind that unless the person absolutely needs medicine, we should not give him; if the removal of causative factor leads to normalcy.

Here are some of the important homeopathic medicines and their signs and symptoms as regards the sleep disorders. Please be very careful while having access to these drugs, as a careful assessment of all the factors by an expert is a must!

Top 10 Homeopathic Medicines for Sleep Disorders

1)   Coffea cruda –
n  Wakeful mind and the person is on constant move
n  Can sleep only till 3 am.; later only dozes
n  Extremely alert sleep. Disturbed by dreams; wakes with a start
n  Excessive mental activity, flow of idea result in nervous excitement.
n  Sleeplessness during pregnancy with flow of ideas
n  Sleep disturbed by itching of anus
n  A sudden joyful news or surprise may cause sleeplessness; associated with irregular violent palpitations

2)   Ambra grisea-
n  Worry is the chief causative factor behind insomnia
n  Dreams full of anxious moments
n  Business troubles leading to sleeplessness (Bry)
n  May be associated with nymphomania in women
n  Cannot sleep in new places and in the presence of unfamiliar people
n  Limbs to go sleep on slightest pressure; arms go to sleep (go numb) while lying down
n  Worse by music, any unusual thing

3)   Passiflora-
n  Very useful and one of the empirically given drug for insomnia, because it has a calming influence on the nervous system.
n  When mental irritation or pain is the cause
n  In wakeful sleep resulting due to exhaustion
n  Especially useful in nervous people and aged people with insomnia
n  Mentally worries, hypochondriac, overworked people with a tendency to convulsions
n  May be associated with night cough

4)   Daphne indica-
n  Absolute inability to sleep
n  Aching of bones leading to insomnia
n  Nightmarish sleep with anxious dreams
n  Dreams of cats - black cats
n  He develops chilliness and clamminess when startled from sleep
n  May be associated with craving for tobacco

5)   Cimex-
n  Irresistible sleepiness
n  With weariness and inclination to stretch often
n  Post-intermittent fevers, the person suffers from excessive sleep
n  May be associated with constipation

6)   Cyclamen-
n  Sleepiness in women with excessive moroseness and lassitude
n  Great disinclination to work with constant desire to lie down.
n  Great dejection and melancholy
n  Worse during evenings; better during menstrual flow, in the warm room

7)   Belladona-
n  The patient imagines to see ghosts and dreadful animals
n  The child starts up very often and gnashes his teeth
n  When he starts from sleep suddenly, goes into spasms
n  Red face in starting up suddenly at night, redness of eyes and semi-stupor condition

8)   Cypripedium-
n  Sleeplessness in young children that are over-stimulated brains
n  Babies wake up and play whole night
n  First the baby wakes up, cries out, is wakeful and begins to laugh and play.
n  Sleeplessness during teething and intestinal troubles

9)   Nux vomica-
n  One of the stalwart remedies for sleep problems due to excessive night watching and alcohol
n  Health troubles start due to insomnia
n  Cannot sleep after 3 am until towards morning and later feels sleepy
n  Awakes feeling wretchedly
n  Dreams full of hustle bustle and hurry
n  Feels drowsy after meals and in the early evening
n  Better after a short nap, unless aroused
n  Snoring (Also consider Hippozaenium / Lemna minor when due to nasal bone problems and nose obstruction)

10)                 Lycopodium-
n  One of the important constitutional remedies in sleep related troubles
n  Feels drowsy during the day
n  Startling in sleep
n  Dreams of accidents
n  Wakes at night feeling hungry
n  Better after midnight

As said earlier, the above 10 remedies are mere a glimpse into how a homeopathic remedy is selected for sleep troubles. One has to be very careful to put an end to a maintaining cause if any (like smoking / alcohol abuse etc) in order to get lasting relief. But yes, as a homeopath, I can assure that with proper selection of a right homeopathic remedy, a person can enjoy his natural right to sleep pretty well and feel refreshed in the morning!

Have a blissful sleep! J

Monday, January 19, 2015

BREAST FEEDING— Needs More Awareness (Homeopathic Treatment of Agalactia)

With in-depth analysis with homeopathic treatment of Agalactia- no/less breast milk--

(For any queries or consultation, please write to

If there is something incalculably important as regards your baby’s health, it’s breastfeeding. Nowadays we read pamphlets about the importance of breastfeeding but when it comes to practical application of the same, we as doctors are coming across more and more cases of low breast milk supply. In a single day in our clinic yesterday, I encountered 3 such cases; felt it’s essential to write in depth about this issue, as it’s certainly in the interest of our future generations.

It does not need much to understand that breast milk is the complete food for the babies. NOTHING can replace breast milk. More importantly, no mammal in this entire world feeds its offspring on others’ milk. It’s only human who unnecessarily uses his freedom to choose in wrong manner.

Here are some of the reasons why a mother MUST breastfeed—

** Benefits to the baby—

1)    Assures baby’s health, immunity, growth and development
2)    Averts problems like childhood obesity
3)    Resistance to infections and allergies is far better in breastfed children than in bottle fed children.
4)    Ensures a very close bond between mother and child.
5)    Breastfed babies have comparatively fewer incidences of diarrheas and vomiting during teething
6)    Breastfed babies have better shaped dental framework (especially incisors)
7)    Reduced chances of adulthood diseases like hypertension, diabetes, arthritis etc.
8)    Breastfeeding has also shown to reduce ear infections in children because of which they need to be on antibiotics recurrently.
9)    Breastfed children have fewer dental cavities throughout their life
10) Fewer psychological, behavioural and emotional problems

** Benefits to the mother—

1)    A mother who breastfeeds her baby well is capable of reducing the fat gained during pregnancy faster (Breastfeeding releases a hormone in the mother (oxytocin) that causes the uterus to return to its normal size more quickly.)
2)    One of the most important benefits is – breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life and also have lower risk of developing breast, uterine and ovarian cancers.
3)    A stronger emotional bond with the baby!

Considering these huge benefits, any mother should definitely breastfeed the child. But why so many patients come to us saying they don’t have enough milk flow and therefore the child has to be fed with bottle?

Let’s face the fact that less breast milk is the biggest myth women try to tell themselves. It is not possible for a woman who has given birth normally or by Caesarean section, to produce less or no milk for her baby, unless there is some obvious physical / pathological reason.

Then why so many mothers complain of low milk supply? Are there any reasons? Yes, here they are –

Causes of Agalactia (No / Less Milk)

1)    Waiting too long to start breastfeeding is by far the commonest cause behind low milk production. A mother should start to feed her baby right after the birth!
2)    Breastfeeding with strict gaps in between- Many mothers tell us that they give strict gaps of at least 3-4 hours between two breastfeeding sessions. Not done! Breastfeed as often and as frequently as you can. Or we can say breastfeed as often as your baby needs. Your growing bundle of joy may need the milk every half an hour or 1 hourly or 2 hourly. When he / she cries for milk, feed them, at least for the first few months. That will surely work as a booster for the enhanced milk production.
3)    Unawareness of the proper feeding techniques—Though this is rare nowadays, considering the hospital staff taking ample care about the proper feeding technique to be taught to the new mom, it is still seen as one of the chief causes behind less breast milk. Proper holding of the baby, having a thin pillow on your lap, etc are some of the important tricks that will allow your baby to suckle properly, which in turn will enhance milk production.
4)    Some medicines like (over the counter) cold or flu medicines can reduce milk production. Also oral contraceptives should be avoided as far as possible, which also can have an adverse effect on establishing a good milk flow.

Sometimes there is an unnecessary concern that the baby is not getting enough milk. One has to understand when we can safely say that the baby is getting well nourished by his / her mother’s milk.

Here are the signs of proper baby’s nourishment on breast milk—

1)    Baby is waking for feeds
2)    Baby is settling between most feeds
3)    Passing yellow soft stools at least once a day
4)    By approximately 2 weeks, the baby is back to the birth weight. Thereafter the baby gains approximately 150 grams or more per week for the first three months of life
5)    The baby needs at least 4 to 6 nappy changes in 24 hours
If your baby shows these signs to a larger extent, do not worry. He is being nourished well on mother’s milk and does not need ANY external means of nourishment.

But in the polluted lifestyles that we live these days, there are still chances that the mothers are suffering from less breast milk for their babies. In such cases, our saviour Homeopathy plays the big role of re-establishing mother’s milk flow. Here’s how—

What is important while prescribing homeopathically for Agalactia (Lack of milk flow in mothers)—

1)    A proper history taking is of utmost important. While treating many such cases, we have seen that majority of women with low milk supply have some psychological / mental / emotional baggage. With the rightly chosen homeopathic remedy, if we are able to brush aside this causative factor, we can establish milk flow in the woman again.
2)    The physical attributes of the woman prior to delivery of the child and after the delivery are very important. Her bowel movements, urine output, water consumption, eating habits and mental picture need to be considered before we prescribe.
3)    Another important aspect is to study family history. In “Sycotic” family traits, often less milk flow has been observed. People with positive family history of diabetes, asthma, some allergic disorders, etc also suffer from such problems at times.
4)    Individualization- Like in every case, one has to be very cautious not to generalize your remedy for agalactia. Take the entire case properly, analyze the constitution, study the remedies, repertorize when necessary and only then prescribe for that PATIENT!

Homeopathic Remedies that Help in Mothers with Less Breast Milk—

Though a thorough case evaluation is necessary, some homeopathic remedies work exceedingly well in such mothers. Let’s see the drugs and their individual features in this regard –

1)    Agnus castus-
·         Post-partum sadness is one of the most important causative factors that leads to agalactia in Agnus mothers.
·         The woman just cannot be made happy.
·         She also suffers from hysterical palpitations.
·         She just hates sex while having totally relaxed genitals.
·         There is yellow leucorrhea.
·         She is so sad that feels she is going to die soon.

2)  Urtica urens-
·         The woman has swollen breasts with lack of milk
·         There is almost always a very excoriating leucorrhea and itching of private parts.
·         The diminished secretion of milk may be the bye product of suppressing urticarial or similar rashes during pregnancy
·         Patients with gout and/or uric acid diathesis
·         Women with rheumatic pains
·         Excessively swollen breasts but no secretion

3)  Lactuca virosa-
·         There is tightness of the chest with reduced milk secretion
·         One of the empirically used drugs for enhancing milk production.
·         Associated with absolute sleeplessness in the nursing mother
·         Dull circulatory system, leading to tremors, coldness of the extremities etc.
·         Restlessness

4)  Asafoetida-
·         Deficient milk with oversensitive breasts
·         Almost always associated with great flatulence and regurgitation of fluids
·         Associated with gurgling sounds in the abdomen which eventually are passed out with loud and difficult eructation
·         Can be due to suppressed eruptions during pregnancy, when associated with above mentioned stomach complaints

5)   Bryonia-
·         Stitching pains and tightness in breasts with sudden decrease of milk
·         Deficient milk in mother after a fit of anger
·         Breasts are so swollen and painful that the mother cannot walk without pain in breasts
·         Due to stagnation of milk, there might be infection of breasts, leading to fever

I need to stress that the above mentioned remedies are just some of the important ones. Especially in the cases with deficient breast milk, we have to identify the causative factor behind it (mental / emotional / physical) and later treat the lady.

For example, I have observed a case of Pulsatilla lady who could not nurse the baby after she came out of the bathroom. Suddenly there was reduced flow of milk. It was due to washing her legs after going to loo and leading to suppression of breast milk. Though rare, such observations are very crucial while finding the right remedy.

What is more important is educating the mothers about the necessity of breastfeeding. It is the right of the baby and one should never sabotage it for anything in the world!