Lesley came to see me about 15 years ago. She was in her early 20s and said that she felt "frozen" in her life. While she managed to get up and go to work every day, she had little motivation to do much else-she'd stopped going to the gym; avoided family, friends, and visitors; and steered clear of restaurants and other social places. She felt like the world was closing in on her. It was obvious that her fears and anxieties were preventing her from living a full life. The feelings started in childhood, she said. Her parents had left her alone in the house one day at around age 6 or 7, and that was her first experience with anxiety. The anxiety worsened as she got older, leading to heart palpitations and numerous gastrointestinal symptoms.
Aconitum napellus (also called aconite or monk's hood) is the homeopathic remedy I prescribed to Lesley. After a few doses, she started going back to the gym. She also went to a restaurant for the first time in months and even got together with family members. She described the transformation as akin to "being let out of a cage and getting a life back-one that I never knew I had." Her lifelong struggle with panic attacks and anxiety seemed to melt away.
Lesley's story is all-too-common in today's world. In recent years, I've seen more patients struggling with panic attacks, anxiety, and stress than ever before. This includes young people returning from the wars in the Middle East and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Aconite is an especially useful remedy for people with PTSD and/or anxiety resulting from a shock or trauma. This remedy also works well in emergency situations and acute disorders. Aconite is the ideal remedy for sudden-onset symptoms-after an unexpected event such as an earthquake or car accident. You may feel unbalanced. And while you may normally be a calm person, you feel panicked, nervous, and restless after the trauma. Fears can mushroom if not treated and may manifest as being afraid to leave your home, drive on the freeways, or even cross the street.
People who respond well to aconite feel worse when exposed to wind, wetness, direct sunlight, and extremes in temperature, as well as with use of alcohol, stimulants, and/or tobacco smoke. They feel better in open air, after sweating, and after a good night's sleep.
Aconite Dosage Guidelines
For a smaller trauma, I usually suggest starting with a low dose. Increase the potency the greater the trauma. Use the pellet form.
Dosages, from weakest to strongest:
When to Use Aconite
If you experience any of the following symptoms associated with a shocking event, trauma, or PTSD, aconite may help:
- Symptoms that come on suddenly and are intense; they may also be triggered by cold, wet, windy conditions
- Claustrophobia, agoraphobia, and other phobic states
- Acute anxiety or panic following a fright
- Attacks of panic and fear; feeling instantly reactive to people and situations
- Fears, including fear of death, fear of other people, and fear that something bad will happen to you or others
- Physical or mental restlessness
- Sensitivity to atmospheric changes
- Pain described as severe, unbearable, burning, stinging, cutting, or stabbing
- Pains accompanied by numbness, tingling, and "pins and needles"
- Easily startled by noise
- Low threshold for pain
- Hot, sweaty palms
- Face feels hot; red cheeks; sudden hot flashes
- Weak limbs