Here are my favorite top ten remedies for common complaints in the elderly. As with all other home prescribing, please use these remedies judiciously and responsibly. If one strikes you as a clear description of someone close to you, you might consider suggesting homeopathy as a safe and gentle solution for some of their problems. If a short course of a homeopathic remedy helps them, you will want to coach them on how and when to repeat the remedy. Use the Home Prescribing Guidelines (below) as reminders.
If you are prescribing for yourself, then do consider asking someone who knows you to help you in this process; it’s difficult to be objective about yourself, and others may notice things that you have missed or discounted.
As always with homeopathy, if the picture isn’t clear, or the symptoms are chronic (long-term) and complex, then you will need to seek the advice of a professional homeopath.
|Remedy||Emotional Symptoms||Common Symptoms in the Elderly||General Symptoms|
|Alumina: dry and slow||Confused and depressed, especially in the morning. Mind slows down, forgetful and absentminded. Easily disoriented: gets very distressed if hurried.||Skin is dry and itches without an eruption. Severe constipation even with a soft stool. Weakness with trembling. Dry, hacking cough. Bladder weak: urination slow, has to wait for it to start.||Aversion to/Aggravation from potatoes. Worse from warmth in general.|
|Ambra grisea: erratic and embarrassed||Many bereavements and losses. Forgetful and confused. Easily embarrassed: shy and anxious in company (especially with strangers). “Prattles” and asks questions without waiting for answers. Prefers to be alone.||Constipation: with anxiety and ineffectual urging and straining. Can’t pass stool or urine if others are within hearing distance. Dry, nervous cough which is worse from talking and is followed by burping. Insomnia: finds it difficult to fall asleep before midnight. Vertigo: with feeling of weakness in the stomach. Numbness, twitching and/or trembling anywhere.||Generally worse from company (from conversation) and from music. Symptoms are erratic and worse when lying down.|
|Arsenicum album: anxious, fussy, and restless||Very scared of disease, of cancer, of death. Fears are worse when alone; to the point of despair. Extremely tidy, cannot rest until everything is in its place.||Indigestion with burning pains and nausea. Loss of appetite and weight. Diarrhea, which is worse in the morning. Involuntary urination: day and night. Insomnia with restlessness and anxiety. Skin eruptions: itching without eruption. Palpitations with anxiety.||Chilly. Burning pains which are better for heat. Symptoms are generally worse from midnight to 3 a.m. Thirsty for warm drinks; sips them frequently.|
|Baryta carbonica: childish and petty||Absent-minded, confused and forgetful. Revisits childhood in old age. Has great difficulty making decisions. Extremely anxious about little (unimportant) things. Gets upset thinking others are talking about them.||Vertigo: when getting up or bending down. Headache when bending. Indigestion and weakness after eating. Constipation with straining and an unfinished feeling. Weak bladder with involuntary urination: frequent urination at night with great urgency. Rattling cough with difficulty coughing anything up. Insomnia: restless sleep, wakes frequently from getting overheated.||Much worse from the cold and damp.|
|Carbo vegetabilis: sluggish and gassy||Great indifference and apathy. Sudden, recurring loss of memory and difficulty concentrating. Rude and irritable, especially with relatives.||Indigestion, flatulence, and diarrhea. Severe, painful bloating with gas, better for burping. Rattling cough with breathlessness, better for burping. Sluggish mentally and physically.||Worse eating rich foods and fats; worse overeating. Much worse for getting overheated. Wants to be fanned; wants fresh air and breezes.|
|Conium maculatum: withdrawn, slow, and dizzy||Absent-minded, forgetful, and confused. Difficulty understanding when reading. Tired of life: becomes withdrawn; doesn’t want company. Superstitious.||Everything is slow: thinking, answering, moving. Digestion, respiration, pulse, healing are all slow.||Vertigo: worse lying down, when rolling over in bed or turning the head, better for closing the eyes; everything swirls. Dry tickling cough which is worse at night. Weak bladder: frequent, dribbling urination.|
|Ignatia amara: loss and grief||Very upset after a loss or a big disappointment. Wants to be alone and doesn’t want any comforting. Finds it difficult to cry but eventually sobs hysterically. Sighs a tremendous amount. Feels as if there’s a lump in the throat.||Headache, indigestion, diarrhea, palpitations, insomnia and/or weakness from grief. Twitches and spasms and unexplained numbness anywhere.||Contradictory symptoms accompany physical complaints (e.g., cough worse coughing). Can’t stand tobacco smoke.|
|Lycopodium: irritable, anxious, and gassy||Depressed and anxious: worries about absolutely everything. Any changes or responsibilities are very stressful. Lacks self confidence. Becomes absent-minded and forgetful. Snappy: irritable and critical. Sentimental: cries when thanked.||Thin and gassy. Appetite poor: feels full after only a few bites. Everything turns to gas, terrible indigestion with bloating. Frequent urination especially with prostate problems (in men). Rattling cough with lots of expectoration (mucus).||Craves sweet things and chocolate. All symptoms are worse between 3 and 4 p.m. and between 4 and 8 p.m.|
|Phosphoric acid: weakness and apathy||Overwhelmed by loss especially bereavements. Ailments from grief and disappointment. Forgetful; mind is too weak to even think.||Severe weakness. Painless diarrhea, palpitation, headache, and extreme weakness after grief. Headache.||Wants refreshing things (like fruit and fruit juices) to eat and drink. Feels better after a nap.|
|Rhus toxicodendron: restless, stiff, and achy||Anxious and forgetful. Terrible restlessness; can’t rest in any position (because of the aching).||Joint and back pains (rheumatism and arthritis) which are worse on first motion and better for continued motion and stretching. Shingles.||Symptoms are worse at night; worse for cold and for damp in any form; better for warmth.|
Home Prescribing Guidelines
- The remedy should be taken in a low potency (6C, 12C, 30X or 30C).
- It should be repeated 2–4 times a day according to the severity of the symptoms (less serious, less often; more serious more often).
- It should be stopped as soon as there is an improvement.
- A homeopathic medicine acts as a catalyst, stimulating the body to heal itself.
- Only the “minimum” dose needs to be taken to stimulate that healing response.
- It can be repeated if the same symptoms return (i.e., as needed/starting and stopping) until there is a more lasting improvement.
- If a remedy has been taken for 3–5 days with no improvement then it is probably the wrong one and should be discontinued.
- Select a different remedy and/or seek professional help.
- Those who are under homeopathic care should check with their practitioner before self-prescribing.
Miranda Castro is a British-trained professional homeopath who has been in practice since 1983. She lives in Gainesville (Florida) where she practices and teaches. She has published three books: The Complete Homeopathy Handbook, Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth & Your Baby’s First Years and Homeopathic Guide to Stress. She also has a background in acupuncture, iridology and humanistic psychology. Visit her website :