Learn About Ledum Palustre
Ledum palustre – Puncture Wound, Insect Bite, Arthritis, Gout
Ledum palustre goes by many names: Marsh Tea, Labrador Tea, and Rhododendron tomentosum. It is another one of our leaders in homeopathic first aid treatment. The genius of Ledum palustre lies in its effects on puncture wounds, animal and insect bites, and in certain rheumatic or arthritic conditions. To understand when to employ this great remedy instead of one of the other first aid remedies or another constitutional remedy, we need to know the characteristics that should be present to make Ledum palustre the remedy we are seeking.
The most striking characteristics of Ledum palustre are: The patient is extremely chilly or cold to the touch, but he wants to be uncovered, feels ameliorated from cold application, or even desires to put his feet in ice cold water.
The chilly Ledum palustre patient may also perspire profusely at night, but cannot bear to be covered. The amelioration from cold is so strong in Ledum palustre that when the patient is suffering from stiffness, his joints will loosen up from cold bathing. This is the opposite of Rhus toxicodendron, which is better from hot bathing.
1) Another striking characteristic of Ledum palustre is that in rheumatic or arthritic conditions the pain begins in the extremities and extends upward. The pain is also much more severe in the lower limbs. In painful wounds the pain originates at the sight of the wound and ascends.
2) The next area in which Ledum palustre has dominance is in puncture wounds. Think of Ledum palustre for someone who has stepped on a sharp object, or has a splinter under the nail. In such injuries there is not much bleeding at the wound, but there is a lot of pain. James Tyler Kent, the great homeopathic teacher, says to think of Ledum palustre “after puncture wounds when the part becomes cold and then pale, paralyzed and mottled.” The amelioration from ice or cold applications has to be present. He says that Ledum palustre is one of the remedies surgeons should know about, for just such conditions. Ledum palustre and Hypericum perforatum are the two remedies that you would think of to prevent tetanus or lockjaw. Think of Ledum palustre for a horse who has stepped on a sharp object.
3) Ledum palustre has to be remembered as one of our principal remedies for the effects of animal bites, from cat and dog bites to the bites of poisonous snakes. Ledum palustre has to be thought of for snake bites, partly because many of its symptoms are so similar to Lachesis muta, with which it can be confused.
4) No less important is Ledum palustre’s positive effects on insect bites, especially mosquito bites, but also spider bites, tick bites, wasp and bee bites, and scorpion bites. In animal and insect bites Ledum palustre, must be compared with Hypericum perforatum and other remedies, such as Apis mellifica. Here the characteristics which I have already mentioned should be present to help select the remedy, such as inflammation at the site of the wound, amelioration from ice and the ascending pains. The injured part is also often swollen, purple and mottled. In serious animal and insect bites Ledum palustre should be administered in high potency.
5) Ledum palustre should also be thought of for negative local effects from vaccinations, such as induration or hardening at the sight of the vaccine. For constitutional effects of vaccinations, think of remedies such as Silica terra and Thuja occidentalis.
6) Ledum palustre has many other uses, one of the principal ones being its positive effects on acute and chronic arthritic or rheumatic conditions. As I said above, here the guiding characteristic would be that the rheumatism begins in the feet and travels upward.
For arthritic pain Ledum palustre runs the gamut from helping with functional pain, to the pain from arthritic nodosities in the fingers, feet and other joints.
7) Ledum palustre is good for the pain of gout. The patient is cold, but he is aggravated from the heat of the bed and the pains are worse at night. The joints are swollen, pale and hot, and the peripheral joints will be affected first. The patient will want to uncover, and the part feels better from ice or cold applications. The feet and the small joints are often affected.
Here is a list of some of the other conditions that Ledum palustre can help with when its characteristic indications are present.
8) Wounds that are very painful to the touch.
9) Abscesses and septic conditions that are very tender and relieved by cold.
10) Like Hypericum perforatum, it can help with crushed fingers and toes, but here the pain shoots up the limb and would be better from cold applications. The fact that it is better from cold applications is what would lead you to Ledum palustre over Hypericum perforatum in injuries to the extremities.
11) Long lasting discoloration after injuries.
12) It can antidote poison oak when the characteristic indications are present.
13) Pain from spinal injuries, and muscular rheumatism of the shoulders.
14) When Arnica montana does not work sufficiently to clear up bruising or ecchymosis, Ledum palustre can complete the cure.
15) Some people believe that Ledum palustre can clear up a black eye better than Arnica montana. If the injury is to the eyeball itself use Symphytum officinalis.
16) Ledum palustre also helps when there is a tendency to sprain ankles, and with ankle swelling, and painful soles of the feet. Remember the characteristic indications of Ledum palustre need to be present to use it for these conditions.
Man with wrist pain: A few years ago I treated a young man who suffered from chronic wrist pain, which he felt may be carpal tunnel syndrome, caused from overuse of the keyboard mouse on his computer and playing the guitar. At first I thought of Ruta graveolens for him, but ended up prescribing Ledum palustre 30C instead, because the wrist was ameliorated by ice and the pain originated from a point in the lower outer edge of his palm and extended upward toward the forearm. The amelioration from ice and the upward extension clued me into Ledum palustre for this man’s chronic wrist pain.
Woman with shoulder pain: I treated a woman many years ago who had severe pain in her shoulders. She had been suffering with this pain for ten years. The thing that helped her deal with the pain the most was applying cold applications or ice packs to the shoulder. Based on this indication I asked her to see if the Ledum palustre cream would help. The cream relieved her shoulder pain tremendously, but she would have to apply it frequently to sustain the positive effects. I decided to move her to a 200C dose of the remedy, and that single dose took away her shoulder pain. I hear from her from time to time and this problem has not returned.
I have given you a good picture of Ledum palustre here. It is up to you to decide when it will be more appropriate to use the internal potentized remedy or to apply the cream topically.
Directions for use: Apply locally. Rub in well. For external use only. Keep out of reach of children. Discontinue use if skin irritation results. The creams are not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.
How Often to Use the Creams:
Some people are helped by a single application of the needed cream. Other people may need to apply the creams frequently. Here is a good guide on how to use the creams: if the affected part feels much better or significantly worse after an application of the cream, that is a sign that you need to pause from it and wait. If the part felt better do not reapply until the symptoms that were relieved start bothering you again, or you feel there has been a relapse.
If the part felt significantly worse after an application of the cream it means that the cream has found the symptom and it is working on it. With homeopathic remedies and creams, there is often an intensification of the symptoms (or aggravation) where the remedy finds the symptom and tries to push it on through. The medicinal reaction has to be stronger than the patient’s own symptoms in order to overcome the patient’s symptoms.
After an aggravation of symptoms, an amelioration, or gradual improvement of symptoms should follow. You do not need to reapply the cream until the process has gone full circle – that is the aggravation has been followed by an amelioration, and then a return of symptoms, indicating that it is time to redose or reapply the cream.
If the patient does not experience a strong aggravation or strong amelioration after applying the creams, then they can continue to apply them one, two, three or even four times a day, until they experience either the aggravation or amelioration of the symptoms, indicating that it is time to stop. If there is no response, the cream may not be homeopathic to the case. At this point it is advisable to consult a homeopath for further guidance. I hope that this will bring some clarity as to how to use the creams.