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Know Your Remedies: Petroleum (Petr.)

Common Names: Crude rock-oil; coal oil.

General Information

Complaints that respond to Petroleum (Petr.) mostly involve the skin, and to a lesser degree, mucous membranes with increased secretions. The skin is very dry – to the point of deep, bleeding cracks, and is always worse in Winter. The person needing Petroleum (Petr.) usually dislikes fat and meat, is affected by flatulent (gas-producing) food and the inhalation of petrochemical fumes. Symptoms also worsen before or during a thunderstorm.

Mental-Emotional Symptoms

  • Excitable, easily irritated, and quick tempered.
  • Argumentative, especially after alcohol.
  • Irresolution and lack of confidence.
  • Lose their way in well-known streets.
  • Imagine they are double, or that someone is lying beside them in bed.


  • Tremendously dry skin that is prone to deep, bleeding cracks.
  • Dry, rough and leathery skin.
  • Types of eczema, psoriasis, herpes, and chilblains.
  • Eczema with cracking, or eczema with herpes.
  • Skin conditions worsen in Winter, and improve during Summer.


  • Cracks around the ear.
  • Chronic mucous discharge from the ear.


  • Dry cracked hands of those who work with petroleum products.
  • Dry cracked hands and finger tips.


  • Respiratory problems with skin problems.


  • Constant hunger (during diarrhoea, nausea, or immediately after stool).
  • Hunger at night – gets up to eat.
  • Diarrhoea only in the daytime or from suppressed skin eruptions.
  • Motion sickness – sea, land or air – that may involve diarrhoea.


  • Genital herpes that may spread to the anus or thighs.
  • Moist eruptions and excoriation of genitalia and inner thighs.


  • Offensive perspiration.

Where do I find it?

Petroleum (Petr.) is available from our online store as a single remedy in either pills or liquid, and as part of the following Complexes (combination remedies): Chilblains; Motion (Travel) Sickness.


While above self-limiting or acute complaints are suitable for home treatment also contact your healthcare provider during emergency situations or if symptoms worsen or fail to improve. Chronic or persistent complaints, which may or may not be mentioned above, require a different treatment and dosage protocol so are best managed by a qualified homeopath for good results.

Dosage Instructions (suitable for babies to adults)

For the home treatment of acute and self-limiting complaints take one pill or five drops of the remedy every 1 minute to 4 hours (1 minute for intense or emergency symptoms (plus seek emergency help), 4 hours for milder ones). Once an improvement is noticed, stop dosing and repeat the remedy only if symptoms return. If there is no improvement at all by three doses, choose a different remedy or seek professional guidance.

Note: Chronic symptoms or complaints require a course of professional treatment by a qualified homeopath to manage the changes in potencies and remedies may be required.

More Information

Guidelines on which potency to use

From Past Masters

Homeopathy is a 200-year system of medicine. Early medical homeopaths recorded initial provings, remedy relationships, and their early experiences with each remedy in great detail.

These writings were then shared with others to advance homeopathic knowledge and practice.

Today, these same writings give a fascinating insight into the symptoms and clinical conditions for which each remedy was used.

The following extract, with minor editing, is one example.

Leaders In Homoeopathic Therapeutics by E. B. NASH M.D.

Petroleum (Petr.)

Eczemas, on scalp, behind ears, scrotum, anus, hands, feet, legs; hands chap and bleed; all < in winter; get better in summer.

Diarrhœa preceded by colic, only in the day-time.

Headache, or heaviness like lead in the occiput; sometimes with nausea on vomiting; < by motion, as in riding in boat or carriage.

* * * * *

One of our best anti-psoric remedies. The eruptions that it causes and cures are very similar in appearance to those of Graphites. They appear on different parts of the body, as scalp, behind ears, on scrotum, female genitals, hands, feet and legs, etc.

There is one very marked characteristic symptom that guides to this remedy out of a large list having similar eruptions, and that is that the eruption is worse during the winter season (Aloe, Alumina, Psorinum). There is no other remedy that has this so prominently.

The hands chap, crack and bleed, and are all covered with eczema during the winter and get well in summer. I have cured a case of eczema of the lower legs of twenty years’ standing, always worse in winter, with one prescription of the 200th. I have cured chapped hands the same way.

I once had a very obstinate case of chronic diarrhœa, but as soon as the fact that he had eczema of the hands in winter came to light I cured him quickly of the whole trouble with Petroleum 200th.

Chilblains (Agaricus), which are moist, and itch and burn much in cold weather, are also cured by it.

Petroleum; also has a symptom similar to Hepar sulphuris, viz., the slightest scratch of abrasion of the skin suppurates. You remember that Hepar sulphuris is also worse in cold weather or cold air. Petroleum has headache in the occiput, which is as heavy as lead, also vertigo in the occiput.

Again, Petroleum is one of our best remedies for seasickness. In this it resembles Cocculus.

Another curious symptom is cracking of the joints. This is like Causticum. Both of these remedies are valuable in chronic rheumatism, especially where this symptom is present.

Petroleum has, with Chelidonium and Anacardium, a symptom, pain in stomach, relieved by eating. Again it is valuable in diarrhœa and dysentery, which is worse during the day.

Petroleum deserves to be classed with the leading anti-psorics, such as Sulphur, Graphites, Causticum and Lycopodium.