Text and images by Gabrielle.

Pharmacies, and specifically pharmacists, play a different role here in France than they do in the U.S.

From what I can tell, for non-emergency medical issues or questions, like colds, rashes, or congestion, pharmacists are the first stop. They’re incredibly knowledgable and they come out from behind the counter to discuss the options and recommend products. Plus they keep samples of pretty much everything they stock on hand and offer them up generously so you can find the product that’s going to work for you before you spend your money.

Something else you’ll find integrated into every French pharmacy is homeopathic medicine. It seems to be as common as aspirin here! And I should note, not just at pharmacies. It’s also common for any doctor to recommend homeopathie as an option. (Where as in my experience in the U.S., typically only “alternative” practitioners might recommend it.)

Essentially, homeopathie is not considered strange, alternative, quack-y or odd at all. It’s simply an additional option. And it’s readily available at even the smallest corner pharmacy.

As you know, while we’re living here, we like the idea of adopting as much of the French lifestyle as we can manage. So, while I hadn’t had much interest in homeopathic remedies when I lived in the States, since I’m here, I thought: why not give it shot? With guidance from our dear friend Caroline and our helpful pharmacist, so far we’ve tried 4. First is Arnica. It’s for pain and it works like magic with our little kids. If they have a big bump and burst into tears, Arnica will calm them in seconds! Count me a believer on this one.

When I was stressed out during Alt Summit week, I tried Gelsemium. I took it off and on (pretty much whenever I would remember) during the conference, and I think I was calmer than usual — but it’s hard for me to judge. It’s not the sort of week where I can sit calmly and evaluate my mental status. : )

For runny, red noses we’ve used Allium Cepa and all agreed we saw relief. But only when we took it consistently.

Lastly, Caroline recommended Ignatia Amara as an option when you have something you can’t stop thinking about. I’ve had a couple of bummer emails this week and found myself getting obsessed with them; not being able to let them go. So I’ve been trying the Ignatia Amara. Again, this is a hard one for me to tell if it’s working or not. If I’m not thinking of those emails, is it the medicine? Or would I have been able to distract myself on my own?

I’m curious. What are your thoughts on homeopathie? Do you roll your eyes at the thought? Are you curious about it? Have you been using it for years?

P.S. — The homeopathic remedies we’ve tried come in the bright little containers pictured. They’re the size of a lip balm stick and they’re filled with tiny white balls. The balls taste sweet and you hold them under your tongue till they dissolve.