Boiron has been a fixture in holistic health since it was founded in 1932, working to help provide homeopathic health solutions to the community. Homeopathy has been such an important resource in my health journey, as it has been for many looking to supplement their health regimens and treatments with resources outside of conventional Western medicine. Whether you’ve been enjoying Boiron products like Arnicare and Occilococcinum for years or are just getting curious about what the world of homeopathy has to offer you, Boiron has so much to offer anyone looking to incorporate holistic treatments into their life. I had the chance to talk to Deborah Kelly, who has worked as the Director of Public Relations at Boiron for over a decade. Deborah had so much wisdom to share with us about Boiron’s passion for homeopathy and the community that has formed around it in its almost century of existence.
Carrie Ann: Thank you so much for being a part of Carrie Ann Conversations and sharing about Boiron with us today. To start, could you speak a bit to Boiron’s philosophy and mission?
Deborah: Since our early beginnings in 1932, our mission has been to provide the purest medicines possible while employing sustainable practices to protect and preserve the environment. Quality has always been our passion, and our ultimate goal is the well-being of our consumers as our vision of health care puts people at its center. This focus on improving the quality of life for each and every person is our true purpose just like our founding pharmacists Jean and Henri Boiron intended. We are committed to the pursuit of a holistic vision of health care for all in a way that’s better for people, the environment, and our community. Our strong sense of obligation and respect for the environment is reflected in our commitment to good harvesting, manufacturing, and control practices that guarantee the quality, traceability, and reliability of our medicines.
Carrie Ann: How would you define homeopathy? What are the roots of homeopathy, and what do you think homeopathy has to offer the modern consumer?
Deborah: Homeopathy is a therapeutic method that uses highly diluted extracts of plants, animals, and minerals to relieve symptoms. Homeopathy largely relies on the ‘principle of similars’ where a highly diluted preparation of an active substance will relieve symptoms similar to those produced by the same substance given in a concentrated dose. For example, a microdose of a coffee bean can help relieve nervousness.
The use of homeopathy in medicine dates as far back as Hippocrates and in modern form since the late 18th century when German physician Samuel Hahnemann first discovered the homeopathic principle of ‘like cures like.’ Homeopathic medicines have been regulated as drugs by the FDA since 1938. Just like their conventional over-the-counter counterparts, homeopathic medicines are clearly labeled for specific indications and are available in a variety of forms such as tablets, gels, ointments and creams, syrups, eye drops, and suppositories.
Homeopathic medicines are considered a mainstream choice in Europe but are now being discovered by more and more Americans. They value that these medicines will not cause drowsiness or hyperactivity or interact with any conventional medications, supplements or herbal remedies that they may already be taking. For those that want to take an integrative or more personalized approach to their health, homeopathic medicines are serving as a complement to other treatments. Homeopathy is also a big draw to busy individuals who can’t afford to lose personal or professional productivity to drowsiness, seniors who are taking multiple medications, and athletes and fitness buffs who need to avoid performance-hindering or prohibitive substances.
Carrie Ann: There are certainly a lot of reasons someone would want to incorporate homeopathy into their health regimen. You mentioned that more and more Americans are finding their way to homeopathy. As of 2019, homeopathy was a 1.2-billion-dollar industry in the U.S. Why do you think homeopathic solutions have been booming so much in recent years here?
Deborah: Homeopathy is booming as it is considered to be one of the safest choices for self-treatment. Parents can give their children homeopathic medicines if they have concerns about medications that might cause drowsiness or hyperactivity or interactions with other drugs or remedies. Homeopathic medicines are not contraindicated with pre-existing conditions, making them ideal for even those considered high-risk. They are also safe for use in small children and older adults. In recent years, consumers have been pulling back on their use of traditional over-the-counter medications because of safety and purity concerns. Research shows that when consumers are given a choice, they will purchase a ‘better for you’ or more natural medicine versus a conventional one. As consumers found themselves spending more time at home during the worst of the pandemic, they realized that keeping their medicine cabinets stocked with homeopathic medicines and at the ready was essential for good self-care and important in managing minor health issues.
Carrie Ann: I’ve definitely found it helpful to stock up on a variety of holistic solutions so that they’re always available, whether I’m going through an autoimmune flare or just feeling worn out. What do you see as the ideal relationship between homeopathy and conventional Western medicine?
Deborah: Many healthcare professionals have incorporated some form of complementary or alternative medicine as part of standard care in their practices. Some of this is driven by patients increasingly asking for something other than conventional treatment. A therapy such as homeopathy allows patients to receive more individualized care which in turn gives health care professionals a better way to serve these patients and differentiate their practices. Naturally, doctors want to recommend the most appropriate tool in their toolbox while adhering to the creed to ‘do no harm.’ Homeopathic medicines can easily and safely be used as a complement with other more conventional or Western medicines, including those available by prescription.
Like all therapeutic methods, homeopathy does have its limits. Its scope is limited to everyday health conditions like allergies, coughs, colds, flu, stress, muscle pain, and teething. When the condition treated is not reversible like Type 1 diabetes where the function of the organ is gravely impaired or when the patient is unable to react to homeopathic stimulation such as a deep-rooted infection, then homeopathic medicines should not be used.
Carrie Ann: What are your most popular wellness products? Some of my personal favorites are Arnicare, Nux Vomica and Oscillococcinum.
Deborah: Those are good choices as Arnicare and Oscillococcinum are two of our best-known medicines! Many consumers are first introduced to Boiron medicines and homeopathy through Oscillococcinum, our flu medicine which has been on the market for more than 75 years. Our Arnicare line of pain relievers has grown so popular that we now offer it in a variety of forms such as meltaway tablets and oral pellets, topical creams and gels, and formulas for arthritis, leg cramps and bruising. In recent years, our Camilia for teething pain, Acidil for heartburn and indigestion, and our StressCalm and SleepCalm medicines have grown so much in popularity that they now can be found in many drug store chains and mainstream stores. Appealing to health-conscious consumers like yourself, our medicines have no known interactions with other medications or supplements, are non-drowsy, and won’t mask symptoms of a more serious condition. We also do not use artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives in our pellets and tablets or use any fragrances, dyes, and parabens in our topicals.
Carrie Ann: I’ve always loved that my favorite Boiron products are effective without having side effects or strong odors or tastes.
Pain management is such a personal journey, especially for those of us who struggle with chronic pain. Can you speak to what homeopathic products like Arnicare have to offer people as a tool in their pain management arsenal?
Deborah: When it comes to pain, many people will try a multitude of products and medicines to bring themselves much-needed relief. Our Arnicare line of pain relief products can be taken alongside conventional internal and external pain relievers, and its use may help to decrease dependency on options that might have long-term use risks. Made with fresh Arnica mountain daisies responsibly sourced from the French mountains, Arnicare can provide relief from everyday muscle aches and pains.* It can easily be used at the first sign of back, neck, knee, shoulder, and leg pain, swelling from injuries, and on bruises.* Our popular topical gels and creams do not have that traditional strong medicine smell and do not contain menthol, camphor, methyl salicylate, capsaicin, fragrances, dyes, or parabens which is especially important when you are concerned about what you put in and on your body.
Carrie Ann: Community is obviously a big part of Boiron— could you speak to the role of community in Boiron’s mission and for homeopathic healing at large?
Deborah: As world leader in homeopathic medicines, Boiron is committed to lead by example. Our employees have a great deal of passion for homeopathy and so much pride in our compassionate, ecological, and comprehensive approach to medicine. You can see it in our interactions with and close connections to our loyal consumers, retailers, medical community, and community advocates. We have a team of people devoted to the public answering live phone calls, email, and social media posts every day. Boiron’s pharmacy education, medical and retail teams are continually educating thousands of retail staff and health professionals representing a variety of specialties.
Our medicines have always enjoyed tremendous word of mouth but this has been amplified on social media by our rich community of enthusiasts sharing with us and the world their positive experiences with homeopathy and our medicines. Moms are especially active and vocal when it comes to learning and sharing information about homeopathy. And let’s not forget our amazing long-time community partners like Rodale Institute, Holistic Moms Network, and National Center for Homeopathy, just to name a few, whose missions mirror our own and center around our values of health, education and green living. With the help of these partners and others, we are able to educate a wider audience on the many benefits homeopathy has to offer and the necessity of modern medicine to heal without harm.
Carrie Ann: Boiron’s mission is clearly grounded in a relationship with and respect for the natural world- could you speak to how this relationship plays out through projects like the Boiron Medicinal Garden and the sustainable harvest of arnica montana, the flower used in Arnicare?
Deborah: One of Boiron’s long-time partners is Rodale Institute, whose mission is to grow the regenerative organic movement through research, farmer training, and consumer education. Our Boiron Medicinal Garden, an educational showcase for flowers and herbs used in manufacturing homeopathic medicines, is located at the institute’s 333-acre farm in Kutztown, Pa. This beautiful garden, which first opened to the public in June 2015, features therapeutic plants like calendula, chamomile, St. John’s wort, rue, comfrey and many others commonly found as active ingredients in Boiron’s most popular medicines. This year, we have partnered with our friend Danny Seo and his Naturally House at Serenbe to create a similar garden as another display of homeopathy’s connection to nature.
As a company, we have a strong sense of obligation to respect the environment not only through our partnerships but the way we conduct our daily business. Preparation of our medicines has a limited impact on the environment, and we promote re-supplying wild and organically farmed plants when possible. This, in turn, improves the quality of raw materials we use and the future of our medicines. We also work with botanist-harvesters well-versed in diagnosing the land and employing harvesting strategies to anticipate continuity of supplies for the future. They generally harvest plants from their natural surroundings. Boiron’s high-quality Arnicare products are derived from the French mountains, where Arnica flowers are hand-picked the way founders Jean and Henri Boiron did in the 1930s. Within 48 hours, the fresh plants arrive at Boiron’s lab. A team of botanists and pharmacists transform this mountain daisy into Arnicare, one of today’s most widely relied upon homeopathic pain relief lines.
Carrie Ann: That’s so fascinating! I love the idea that a product like Arnicare can make you feel good about using it, both for your own health and for its sustainability for the planet. For someone who’s just learning about homeopathy, it can be intimidating to know where to start. What resources or products would you recommend to a newcomer?
Deborah: Our website is certainly a great place to start for newcomers to homeopathy. Our site offers a wealth of information that includes recommended books and guides, online interactive trainings for consumers, retailers and health care professionals, video library and FAQs. Consumers can explore our website for information on the various homeopathic medicines available and the many symptoms and conditions they can treat. They can also access or download our free interactive app, the Boiron Medicine Finder, that helps match hundreds of symptoms to the right medicines for more personalized self-care. We also have a Wellness Naturally blog that is updated weekly and offers a deeper dive into the history and traditional uses of many homeopathic medicines.
Carrie Ann: What are Boiron’s “staples” you think everyone should keep in their cabinet?
Deborah: Keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet is vital to good self-care! Boiron specialties that should be in every medicine cabinet include our Oscillococcinum to relieve flu-like symptoms including body aches, fever, chills, headache, and fatigue.* If it’s a cold coming on then you want to stock essentials like ColdCalm and our Chestal Honey cough syrup. Arnicare is offered in oral pellets and tablets as well as gel and cream topicals for relief of muscle aches, pain, stiffness and bruising.* For first aid needs like cuts, scrapes, bug bites and minor burns, you should always keep on hand a tube of Calendula, available in ointment, cream, or gel.* For occasional bouts of heartburn, acid indigestion, bloating, upset stomach, and other digestive upsets, there are Acidil meltaway tablets.* For those stressful days and restless nights, you can manage them better with StressCalm for occasional nervous tension, irritability, hypersensitivity, and fatigue due to everyday stress, and melatonin-free SleepCalm for occasional sleeplessness, restless sleep, and intermittent awakening.*
We also offer our ‘blue tube’ single-active ingredient medicines for more seasoned users of homeopathic medicines or those wanting a more customized solution. Some of the more popular singles are Nux vomica when you have indulged in too much food or drink, Hypericum perforatum for nerve pain, Histaminum for hay fever and hives, Ignatia amara for hypersensitivity, irritability, moodiness and apprehension, and Arsenicum album for diarrhea and vomiting relief.*
Carrie Ann: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today and share all of the ways Boiron is working to make a difference in people’s lives and in the future of the planet. I love the products I’ve been stocking up on for years and I’m excited to try more in the future!
For more information about Boiron, you can visit the Boiron website here.
* Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.