How to Take Homeopathic Remedies
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 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 American homeopaths, such as James Tyler Kent, tended to use much higher potencies, because they wanted quick and dramatic results, and were not as concerned about gentleness as Hahnemann was. I was very influenced by Kent in the early years of my practice, but now I am leaning more toward the gentleness that Hahnemann advocated. Please read below to understand how I try to achieve that gentleness.
How Soon to Repeat the Remedy
– Never follow the dosage instructions on the bottles of homeopathic remedies that you buy in the health food store. The FDA requires this information to be printed on the bottles, but it is overdosing for homeopathic remedies.
– For constitutional treatment a single dose of a homeopathic remedy can hold many months without needing to be repeated. I would only repeat a remedy if the symptoms that had improved after taking the remedy begin to relapse. After taking a remedy there is usually an initial reaction period that can last several weeks or months, depending upon how deeply rooted a symptom is. I allow this initial reaction period to unfold without any interference. At six to seven weeks after taking the remedy, I evaluate the response and make a base-line chart of the patient’s symptoms. 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 remedy has gone full circle and has run its course, and it is now safe and advantageous to repeat.
-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. This is not accurate and slows down or interferes with the healing process.
-For acute ailments after administering the remedy, 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 do not repeat the remedy frequently during acutes, as many homeopaths do, because I have found that if the remedy is working and the person is feeling better, repeating the remedy can aggravate the situation unnecessarily. I find it very rare that a repetition of a remedy is needed during an acute illness. I would only repeat if the symptoms that had gotten better were definitely moving backward for quite a while.
-When a remedy is taken, 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. Generally, you will know that the remedy has located a symptom and is working on it, because you may experience a brief intensification in that symptom. That is a sign that the symptom is being worked on and that it will be better soon. Many people misinterpret this and regard 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 Mediine*, I always administer the remedy diluted in water. When given in water reactions are more gentle and aggravations are minimized.
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.
For a highly sensitive person, I would use a low potency remedy, choosing between a 6C, 12C or 30C potency or LM potency. 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 the patient gets accustomed to the remedy, and then reassess the quantity used when a repetition is needed.
For very strong people I would use a 30C potency, or possibly a 200C. I tend not to go to higher potencies unless the person has worked up to it over time. In this case I may dissolve 2 to 3 pellets of a 30C or 8 pellets of a 200C, as the 200C pellets tend to be much smaller than the 30C pellets from certain pharmacies in 4 ounce of water, and have the patient drink anywhere from a teaspoon to the entire amount, depending upon what I perceive to be their sensitivity.
-I have found that the quantity of the remedy taken can affect the duration of action of the remedy, but not always. For some people one teaspoon of the remedy can hold longer than a year, and for other people three to four ounces only holds a few months. In general, however, I have found that the quantity of the remedy consumed can affect duration of action of the remedy, and how soon a relapse occurs.
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 taken, 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 bang the jar against a book. Then 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. I ask them to swish the liquid in their mouth for 15 to 20 seconds before swallowing each spoon. I also recommend taking the remedy by olfaction, which would be to breathe over the solution for a minute.
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 have found that the remedies work much more gently, even if they need to be repeated sooner than they would with a dry dose.
-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 put the entire vial or a few pellets of the remedy in an envelope under their pillow for an hour or so, or even the whole night. In this manner they enter the energetic field of the remedy, without needing to ingest it. Once they feel the benefit of this, they are more likely to accept taking the remedy orally.
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 2 to 3 pellets of (Name of the remedy) in 4 oz. of water in a small cup. You can use a disposable cup if you wish.
2) Once the remedy has thoroughly dissolved in the water, please stir it well. It may take 15 minutes for the pellets to thoroughly dissolve.
3) Please drink 3 oz. of the liquid. Hold the liquid in your mouth for 15 or 20 seconds before swallowing each sip. You may drink regular water after that if you would like. Please do not eat an hour before or after taking the remedy.
4) In addition to taking the remedy orally, you can also take the dose by olfaction, which would be to breathe over the cup for one minute.
5) Please discard the remainder of the liquid on the ground outside, and clean or dispose of the cup carefully, so as not to expose anyone else in the household to the medicine.
The remedy will begin to cycle through your repertoire of symptoms while it looks for what it needs to work on. When it does so the symptoms may intensify for awhile before they get better. That intensification is a good thing, as it shows you that the remedy has located what it needs to work on and is addressing the symptoms. The cycling process can take weeks or months depending upon how deep rooted the symptoms are. It is normal for symptoms from the past to show up during the cycling process, but they should resolve on their own in a short time.
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 Your Remedy
1) Please dissolve 2 to 3 pellets of (Name of your remedy) in 6 oz. of water in a glass jar or a small disposable water bottle container.
2) Please give the bottle 10 firm succussions. You do this by hitting the bottle or jar against a book.
3) Please drink 3, 4, or 5, oz of the liquid. You should hold the liquid in your mouth for 15 or 20 seconds before swallowing each spoon. Please do not eat an hour before or after taking the remedy.
4) In addition to taking the remedy orally, you can also take the dose by olfaction, which would be to breathe over the bottle for 1 minute.
5) Discard the remainder of the liquid on the ground outside, and clean or dispose of the bottle carefully, so as not to expose anyone else in the household to the medicine.
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. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the initial reaction period.
I am sharing this information about homeopathic posology and how I dose with you, because there is a lot of confusion about this amongst homeopaths and the public. I have had many years of experience with homeopathy and I would love people to have positive, safe and gentle experiences with it. This is the way I have found to accomplish this goal.
In love and healing,
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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Deborah Olenev CCH RSHom (NA)