There are as many opinions on the subject of how to take homeopathic remedies as there are homeopaths. Understanding homeopathic posology is not easy, and it really takes years of practice to get a feeling for it. The goal of Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, was to prescribe in a way that would be as gentle as possible, while keeping the healing moving forward.
In fact, his advocacy of the minimum dose, which is one of the cornerstones of homeopathy, was to try to find a way to eliminate the toxic side effects that people would experience from crude doses of substances, hence his use of highly diluted and succussed remedies. He tended to work with lower potencies throughout his life, like 6C’s and LM potencies. Only toward the end of his life did he begin to use 30C potencies, and I believe he only used the 200C a few times.
The use of higher potencies, such as the 200C, 1M, 10M and higher were popularized by homeopaths such as James Tyler Kent. Nowadays the full range of potencies are used by homeopaths, and there are various guidelines and philosophies about choosing which potency is best indicated for the individual.
Useful Things To Know About Taking Homeopathic Remedies
Never follow the dosage instructions on the vials of homeopathic remedies that you buy in the health food store or on-line. The FDA requires this information to be printed on the bottles, but it is overdosing for homeopathic remedies. Also do not pay attention to the indications on the bottle. Any remedy can have hundreds or thousands of symptoms that it can help with, but there is only space to print one symptom on the remedy vial.
For constitutional treatment a single dose of a homeopathic remedy can hold for many weeks or months without needing to be repeated. The sign I am looking for to know it is a good time to repeat a remedy is the return of symptoms that had improved after the first dose of the remedy. When a person takes a homeopathic remedy there is usually an initial reaction period that can last hours, days, weeks or months, depending upon the circumstances or how deeply rooted a symptom is. Unless the patient is in pain or distress, I prefer not to interfere with this initial reaction period.
I stress the above point, because many people treat the fluctuations in the initial reaction period as indications that it is necessary to repeat the remedy, or change the prescription. This is not accurate and slows down or interferes with the healing process.
In most cases, I like to evaluate the response to the remedy at seven weeks from when the patient received the remedy, That is when I usually schedule the first follow up consultation. At that time I make a base-line chart of the patient’s symptoms that tracks what changes have taken place. I would then only repeat the remedy, if the symptoms that had improved on the base-line chart begin to relapse, as that is an indication that the dose of the remedy has gone full circle, exhausted its action, and it is now safe and advantageous to repeat.
In many cases a remedy is not needed at the follow up consultation, because the patient is doing well, there is no evidence of a relapse and the healing process is unfolding well. In other cases at the first or second follow up consultation or some time down the road, there may be a sign that the remedy given has worked well, but that symptoms that had gotten better are starting to return, and the patient feels ready and the homeopath feels that repeating the remedy would be a good idea.
A Second Prescription that is Not a Repetition of the Previous Remedy
Another scenario would be that we discover that the dose given has cleared off a layer and a new symptom picture has emerged underneath. This layer has always been there, but now it stands out in full relief and we can see it clearly. We now have a reliable basis on which to make a second prescription, which is not a repetition of the previous remedy. The homeopath recognizes this symptom image as one corresponding to a particular remedy, and in accord with the patient moves forward with a new prescription.
Treating Acute Illnesses
After administering a remedy during an acute illness, I observe the patient for 48 hours. In most cases there should be noticeable improvement within 24 hours. In other cases it can take longer. I only repeat the remedy if symptoms that had improved following the initial dose show signs of relapsing, and the relief the patient felt initially is waning.
If a repetition of the remedy is required during an acute illness, then the remedy can be repeated in water, but I vary the quantity of water used and the number of succussions given, per my description below about how to repeat the remedy in water.
Alternatively I may recommend that the patient do a pocket or room dose of the remedy to bring them easily and gently back under the influence of the remedy. Please read the article I wrote about the pillow, pocket and room dose. Here is a link to the article.
What to Expect After Taking a Homeopathic Remedy
When a person takes a homeopathic remedy, the remedy will cycle through the patient’s repertoire of symptoms as it looks for what it needs to work on. It will find the most recently experienced symptoms first, and it will work on older symptoms later on. The patient may experience a brief intensification of the symptoms as the remedy works to address them. This aggravation should be followed by an amelioration of the symptoms, and an improved sense of well being in the patient.
Many people misinterpret the aggravation that occurs in the first few days or weeks after taking the remedy as a sign that the remedy is not working, and then change the remedy, or repeat it too soon. This is a very common mistake. When changes are taking place, whether you interpret them as good or bad, the rule is not to interfere, but watch and wait to see how things settle. Do not interfere during transitions.
Evaluating the Sensitivity Level of the Patient and Adjusting the Remedy Accordingly
Following the advice of Samuel Hahnemann in the Organon of Medicine*, I prefer to administer the remedy diluted in water. When given in water reactions are more gentle and aggravations are minimized. Many homeopaths use the dry dose method and that is also fine, but from my experience administering the remedy in water is more gentle.
The potency of the remedy used, the quantity of pellets used, the amount of water used to dilute the remedy in, the quantity of the liquid dilution that the patient drinks are all factors that the homeopath can adjust based on his or her intuition about the strength of the vital force of the patient, or the sensitivity level of the patient. The goal is to keep aggravations or reactions to a minimum while moving the healing forward in as gentle a manner as possible.
Highly Sensitive Patients
For a highly sensitive person, I would use a low potency remedy, choosing between a 6C, 12C or 30C potency or LM potency, or a pillow or pocket dose of the remedy.
If I am treating a highly sensitive person with a water dose, I would use only one pellet, diluted in two, four or more ounces of water and give one teaspoon or more of the liquid to start with. As I observe the response of the patient to the remedy, I will reassess the quantity used when a repetition is needed.
The Size of the Pellets and the Quantity to Use
From my experience quantity often does make a difference. If more pellets are used the remedy tends to hold longer. If I am using the larger sized pellets, which are more common these days, I tend to use one pellet for sensitive people, and between two and four pellets for everyone else. For children I tend to use two pellets.
The reason I pay attention to the quantity of pellets used is that I want to be gentle and effective, and at the same time I do not want to cause an unnecessarily strong reaction, which can happen if too many pellets of the remedy are given. It is a balancing act.
If the pellets are the medium sized ones, I tend to use eight of them. If they are the tiny ones, I tend to use ten to twelve pellets as a dose.
Selection of the Potency for People Who Have Average Sensitivity
Guidelines have been developed over the centuries about how to determine the potency for the patient. Here are some Guidelines:
Take into consideration how much experience the person has had with homeopathy. The goal is to be efficient, effective and gentle. It is good to test the waters with a new client and start low or with a medium strength potency, unless you have great confidence in the prescription and in the vitality of the patient. The 30C and 200C strengths are considered to be medium strength potencies.
The weaker the person is, the older the person is, the sicker the person is, and the lower their vital energy is, the more appropriate it is to use the lower potencies, such as a 12C or 30C strength.
The younger a person is, the stronger a person is, the more vital a person is, the more clear their symptom picture is, the more the patient can benefit from medium to higher strength potencies, ranging from the 30C to the 200C to the 1M and the 10M strengths. I very rarely venture into potencies above that.
Selecting the Remedy Potency Intuitively
The way I select the remedy and potency for my clients is an intuitive process, which is backed up by many years of experience. The reason I go deeper than my intellect to do this work is that I have been shown time and again that the ego is not a completely reliable guide for selecting the remedy and potency. One of the ego’s functions is to take a position and defend it. It can defend a correct position and an incorrect one. This is why I rely on study and analysis, but ultimately intuition and higher or inner guidance to make sure that I am not being led by my ego in making a prescription. I place top priority in nurturing my intuition through a daily meditation practice, because it is crucial to my doing my work as a homeopath well.
One Should Never Repeat the Remedy in Exactly the Same Form
According to Samuel Hahnemann one should never repeat a homeopathic remedy in exactly the same form. He recommended altering the dose slightly when it is repeated. I accomplish this in several ways:
I vary the quantity of water used, so if I used 4 oz. of water to dilute the remedy for the first dose administered, I will use 6 oz. of water for the second dose, and 8 oz. for the third dose, 10 oz. for the fourth dose, and then I start over again at 4 oz.
I always succuss for the second and subsequent doses. I do not succuss for the first dose, unless I am using LM potencies. The way I succuss is that I dissolve the remedy in a glass jar or plastic bottle that seals tightly, and then I hit the jar against a book.
I ask the patient to drink the amount that I feel would be appropriate for them, with the intention of keeping aggravations to a minimum. For people of average and high vitality I usually ask them to drink all of the liquid. I also instruct the patient to swish the liquid in their mouth for 15 to 20 seconds before swallowing each sip, so that the mucous membranes in the mouth are bathed in the liquid. I may also recommend taking the remedy by olfaction, which would be to breathe over the solution as it is dissolving in the water.
In the past I used to use dry doses. What I found was that dry doses do tend to hold quite a bit longer than doses dissolved in water, but they can cause unnecessarily strong aggravations. When I switched to dosing in water, I found that the remedies work much more gently, even if they need to be repeated sooner than they would with a dry dose.
People Who Are Afraid to Take Homeopathic Remedies
There are some patients who are very afraid of taking homeopathic remedies. One way I have found to help them get comfortable with the remedy and overcome the fear is to take a pillow dose, pocket or room dose of the remedy. Here is a link to an article I wrote on how to take the remedy in this way.
Here is a sample of a first prescription of a typical 30C strength remedy in a person with average sensitivity:
Instructions for Taking the First Dose of a New Remedy
1) Please dissolve (number of pellets) of (name of the remedy) in 4 oz. of water in a small cup. You can use a disposable cup if you wish. (The quantity of pellets depends on their size. If they are the large ones, please use 3 or 4 pellets. If they are the medium sized ones, please use 8 pellets; if they are the tiny sized ones, please use 12 pellets).
2) Allow the remedy to thoroughly dissolve in the water. It may take half an hour or longer to dissolve. (Stirring is optional. My reasoning is that the water receives the information from the remedy as soon as it comes in contact with it, so I do not believe stirring makes any difference).
3) Please drink all of the liquid and swish it around in your mouth before swallowing each sip. Please do not eat an hour before or after taking the remedy. It is okay to drink water. (I adjust the amount of water I recommend the patient drinks from the solution, based on my perception of their sensitivity level).
4) In addition to taking the remedy orally, you can take the dose by olfaction. You can do this by holding the cup and breathing over it while you are waiting for the pellets to dissolve.
5) Please dispose of the disposable cup.
You may experience a time in the first weeks after taking the remedy when your symptoms might be up and down. This is the remedy cycling through your repertoire of symptoms and looking for what it needs to work on. I wanted to make you aware that this is a normal process after taking a homeopathic remedy.
Here is a sample of a second prescription of a typical 30C strength remedy in a person with average sensitivity.
Instructions for Taking the Second Dose of the Remedy in Water
1) Please dissolve (number of pellets) of (name of your remedy) in 6 oz. of water in a glass jar or a small disposable water bottle container. Please wait 30 minutes to make sure the pellets have completely dissolved.
2) Please give the bottle 10 firm succussions. You do this by hitting the bottle or jar against a book.
3) Please drink all of the liquid. Hold the liquid in your mouth for 15 or 20 seconds before swallowing each spoonful. Please do not eat an hour before or after taking the remedy. (I adjust the amount of water I recommend the patient drinks from the solution, based on my perception of their sensitivity level).
4) You can also take the dose by olfaction, which would be to breathe over the bottle while you are waiting for the pellets to dissolve.
5) Please dispose of the bottle or jar.
You may experience a time in the first weeks after taking the remedy when your symptoms might be up and down. This is the remedy cycling through your repertoire of symptoms and looking for what it needs to work on. Each time you take a remedy the cycling process gets easier, but I wanted to make you aware that this is a normal process after taking a remedy.
Instructions for Taking the Third and Subsequent Doses of Your Remedy in Water.
For each subsequent dose, I add 5 succussions to the bottle, as follows:
1st dose – no succussions
2nd dose – 10 succussions
3rd dose – 15 succussions
4th dose – 20 succussions and so forth.
Alter the amount of water used with each dose to further change the stimulus slightly.
1st dose – 4 oz. of water.
2nd dose – 6 oz. of water.
3rd dose – 8 oz. of water.
4th dose – 10 oz. of water
5th dose – 4 oz. of water.
6th dose 6 oz. of water, and so forth.
These are methods of exposing yourself to the remedy, which I developed over the years of my homeopathic practice and which I find to be very effective. I find the pillow dose, in particular, to be equally as effective as the traditional dry dose or water dose of the remedy. Here is a link to an article, which goes into depth on how to take remedies in this fashion, and explains when one method may be better than the other.
I have written extensively about LM potencies, as I used them quite a bit in the past. These days I no longer use this method, because I find it puts many people on something of a roller coaster ride. It is extremely difficult to work with, and requires a lot of supervision by the homeopath. This is a method that Hahnemann came to in his later years and which he wrote about in the 6th Edition of the Organon of Medicine (which goes by various names, depending on who translated the book).* Link to article about LM Potencies.
I am sharing this information about homeopathic posology with you, because there is a lot of confusion about this subject amongst homeopaths and the public.There is always more to learn about homeopathic posology. My understanding of this subject is constantly evolving. I am sure that if I were to rewrite this article a year from now, I would find many things that needed to be changed, because of having acquired more experience.
I would love people to have positive, safe and gentle experiences with homeopathy. I have said this before and I will say it again. Homeopathy is Divine Medicine. It is Spiritual Medicine. It is Non-material medicine. It is Effective Medicine. I see miracles every day in my practice. Why? Homeopathy is also Miraculous Medicine.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Deborah Olenev CCH RSHom (NA)
* There are many translations of this book and the titles are different. Here are a few translations on Amazon.com
This one is called the Organon of Medicine and combines the Boericke and Dudgeon translations.
A recent translation is Wenda Brewster O’Reilley’s translation called The Organon of the Medical Art.
There is another translation by Kunzli and others, also called the Organon of Medicine:
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