Urtica: The First-Aid Remedy

Words: Dr Deborah OLENEV

Urtica urens, a homeopathic first-aid remedy for burns, is one of nature’s gifts — it is something that behooves us all to know about. I spend a great deal of my day in the kitchen cooking, for my family, and once in a while I get distracted and get one of those everyday kitchen burns. This is when I reach for the jar of Urtica urens sitting on the shelf above my cereals, so that I have easy access to it when I need it. This cream relieves the pain and repercussions from the common first-degree household burn easily. For more serious burns, I usually combine with Hypericum perforatum and Calendula officinalis creams, and for serious burns I will take a dose of Cantharis 30C, or Arsenicum album 30C internally — to help with the pain and prevent infection.

I had call to use this protocol when my son, who was 20 at the time, burnt himself on a camping trip. He had a third-degree burn that covered the entire area of his right forearm. He had ‘burnt’ himself two days earlier, and unfortunately, he did not have his mom’s homeopathic first aid kit with him, so he suffered with severe pain for about four hours when someone found some Arnica montana cream, which he applied to his arm. This helped take the edge off the pain.

When he came home, I applied a combination of the three creams I mentioned above, Urtica urens and Hypericum to help with the injury to the nerves, and Calendula  for general wound healing. I then wrapped his arm with a bandage.

By the time my son got home he was already out of most of his pain, but all the pain disappeared promptly after the application of the creams. I also decided to give him a dose of Cantharis 30C. This remedy is excellent for scald burns and third-degree burns.

I had a similar burn to my son’s ten years earlier when I poured a cup of boiling hot water on my arm. At that time, I applied the creams right away, as I was lucky enough to have them on hand, but I was still in considerable pain. So, I decided to take Cantharis 30C. It took away the pain within minutes when the remedy dissolved under my tongue, and I was able to carry on my nightly activities as though no mishap had occurred. Only in the morning when I examined my arm and saw the large blisters, did I realise I had a third-degree burn. Would that all hospital emergency rooms and home medicine chests had these wonderful homeopathic remedies and creams on hand to help burn victims effectively and quickly?

Urtica urens has a lot of other uses for general health, which I will mention below:

Urtica urens is the first remedy to be thought of for first degree burns.  For second- and third-degree burns and scald burns, consider taking remedies, such as Cantharis, Arsenicum album, Causticum and others. There are 181 remedies listed in my materia medica software for burns, so it would behoove you to contact a professional homeopath to get help with the treatment of serious burns and their after-effects. Urtica urens can also help with old burns that have never healed well.

Urtica urens has a lot to do with lactation. It has a reputation for helping women build up their milk supply, when it is scanty, and it also helps nursing mothers who have no milk at all — a condition called agalactorrhea. Urtica urens can also help dry up the milk supply in women who are weaning. The remedy also helps with inappropriate lactation, such as the presence of milk in women who have never had children, or are not currently nursing children. Swelling of the breasts is another symptom of this remedy. I have never actually done this, but it would be interesting to experiment with rubbing the cream on the breasts to assist mothers who want to increase their milk production, or decrease it if they are weaning their baby.

Urtica urens has a big reputation for helping with the uric acid diathesis, or lithiasis, which is the presence of stones and calculi in the internal organs. This means it can help with the pain and inflammation of gout, and with the evacuation of kidney stones, calculi in the urine, and gallstones.

Urtica urens, like Apis mellifica, is one of our top remedies for allergic hives.  The word urticarial, or nettle rash, actually comes from Urtica urens. The rash is an allergic reaction characterised by raised red skin welts, with a white central spot that itches intolerably. Swelling and burning of the skin can also be a feature of the urticaria. The allergic reaction can be triggered by contact with an allergen, such as this plant itself, poison oak, or Rhus toxicodendron exposure, or food allergen, such as fish, shell-fish and meat. This remedy is known to help with all of these types of allergens. The rash can also be triggered by emotional stress and cold weather. The hives of Urtica urens are relieved by rubbing, lying down, and aggravated by warm bathing, vigorous exercise and the snow.

Urtica urens can also help with itching or pruritis (another word for itch) in various parts of the body. It is mentioned in the texts for itching of the scrotum, that keeps the patient up all night. It is also listed for intense vaginal itch.

Urtica urens helps to reduce the pain and swelling of bee and wasp bites.  Compare with Apis mellifica and Ledum palustre for insect and bee bites. Urtica urens is one of 93 remedies listed in my computer materia medica software for snake bites. Important: please seek professional help, including the help of a professional homeopath, if you have been bitten by a snake.

Urtica: Unusual Symptoms

  • Chicken pox
  • Sunburn with intense burning and itching
  • Urticaria alternating with rheumatism
  • Urticaria with pinworms
  • Right deltoid rheumatism

Dr. Compton Burnett, MD, used it for the treatment of ague, which is an archaic term for a fever, with paroxysms of sweating and chills, such as a malarial, or typhoid fever.  He used this remedy successfully in a lot of such cases.

The most common types of pains that Urtica urens has are burning, stinging, and stitching.

The primary condition that I would use this cream for is first-degree burns.  For non-first-aid uses of the remedy, I would consider that you take it in potency and consult a professional homeopath to make sure you have selected the best remedy.

Dr DEBORAH OLENEV, CCH, RSHom [NA], is a Classical Homeopath based in Mountain View, California, US. She treats people from all over the world via phone and video conferencing. Dr Olenev has had a passion for homeopathy for nearly forty years and has been in private practice since 1991. She has a vast knowledge of homeopathic Materia Medica, and integrates homeopathy with herbal medicine too. She is the owner of First Aid Cream, where she teaches about and sells homeopathic first-aid creams. She has several years of experience treating autistic children and people of all ages for all manner of health conditions [Subject Photo. Courtesy: H Zell; Wikimedia].

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