What does your homeopathic remedy look like and how much do you need to take?
The remedy is often in the form of a small pill or a drop of a liquid, which you take either just once, or monthly, weekly, or daily, depending on what your homeopath thinks you need.
The Minimum dose of a Homoeopathic Remedy necessary
The main thing to remember is that homoeopathy believes in giving the patient the minimum amount of remedy that is required to bring about cure. Homoeopathy does not believe in overdosing: it is a gentle and non-invasive method.
More on Remedies
‘Homeopathic Remedy’ is the name used for a homeopathic medicine. Remedies are made from substances that produce a reaction in the body. Most remedies are, at base, poisonous substances, such as Arsenic and bee venom.
However, they are administered in such minute quantities that they have a stimulating effect on the body rather than a destructive effect.
vegetables (digitalis, from deadly nightshade), and
animals (Vespa, from the sting of a wasp.)
They also include what we regard as foods, such as
Coffea from coffee, and
Allium from onion,
because these can produce quite strong reactions in susceptible individuals. (For example, peeling an onion produces smarting in the eyes with tears.)
Basic Idea behind your Homeopathic Remedy, and how it compares with orthodox medicine
A substance becomes a homeopathic remedy only when it would produce in a healthy person symptoms like those suffered by an ill person. Even if ‘potentised’, a substance is not a homeopathic remedy unless it would produce the symptoms you are trying to cure.
This is the basic theory behind homeopathy, that ‘Like Cures Like’. (Similia similibus curentur – ‘let similars be cured by similars’.)
It is a wonderfully simple and elegant idea. And it reverses the basic idea in orthodox medicine, which is based on allopathy. Allopathic medicines, the type Western, Orthodox doctors prescribe, are given because their action is opposite to the symptoms. In other words –
if you have a pain, you take a pain-killer, an analgesic
if you have a bug, you take an anti-biotic
with a virus, you take an anti-viral
if you have a fever, you take a medicine to cool you
if you have dry skin, you take an emollient, a moistener
These medicines seem to make sense but they overlook what is called the secondary effect of medicines.
Primary and Secondary Effects
Suppose you have a headache. You take a medicine that scientists have shown reduces the pain, an analgesic.
Read the list of possible side-effects of that medicine. Very often you’ll find that a medicine given for headaches is listed, under its side-effects, as sometimes producing headaches.
How can this happen? The reason is that the primary action of the medicine, to reduce the pain, uses up your body resources so that the secondary effect is your body lacks the means to prevent another headache.
Take coffee. If I want to feel like Superman, I take 2 double Espressos on an empty stomach. I feel wonderful and powerful and I can charge through work. (Mind you, my concentration may not be stable, I may be easily agitated, I certainly won’t be able to get to sleep, and my heart might even palpitate!)
That’s the primary effect, and during it I’m powering through my supplies of adrenalin.
What happens next?
About 3-4 hours later, however, I fall out of the sky, flat. For several days I may find my sleep is disturbed and restless, my appetite is affected, my circulation upset, my temper frayed, my energy low.
These secondary effects are, near enough, the opposite of the primary effects. So, of course, I have another coffee to pump me up again.
But homoeopathy works on the opposite principal. It works on the secondary effects of medicines. So here if you are feeling over-active, mind restless, hyper, wired, etc, take something that would produce similar symptoms, like coffee. And you wouldn’t need much of it either, just enough to make a change.
The primary effect of the coffee remedy is the same, it works to make my symptoms even worse – temporarily and very mildly, because we didn’t take very much of it. (In fact, the reason homoeopathy gets a bad press from many scientists is because they can’t accept that the diluted dose of the remedy is enough to make a change.)
The secondary effect of the very small dose of the remedy we took is that our body repairs itself and starts to increase our energy so we feel as we wanted to: healthy, energetic, poised and calm.
So it makes no sense to say that a toothpaste is homeopathic. It would be homeopathic only if it produced – in healthy volunteers – bad teeth!
However, many toothpastes are sold as ‘homeopathic’ by which is meant that the toothpaste is either compatible (ie will not antidote the remedy you have taken) with a homeopathic remedy or that it contains substances thought to have a beneficial effect on the teeth.
It is probably better to avoid the latter kind of toothpaste if you are receiving professional homeopathic treatment as the herbs and other substances in the toothpaste may actually confuse your symptom picture for the homeopath.
Isopathy and Vaccination
Homeopathy is based on the theory that ‘Like Cures Like’. It does not say that ‘Same cures Same’, which is ‘Isopathy’!
Isopathy means samesuffering, and vaccination is based on Isopathic principles, about which, for homeopaths, there is no generally accepted opinion, except that, when treating an illness, the isopathic substance is not usually the best approach, compared with the remedy that is homeopathic, ie the homeopathic remedy.
Nosodes and Immunisation
Isopathic substances are based on toxic materials (called ‘nosodes’) taken from diseased individuals. They are sometimes used in the belief (not a homeopathic belief) that they may be preventative, like a vaccination.
Tuberculinum, for tuberculosis
Morbillinum, for measles
Parotidinum, for mumps and swollen neck glands
Syphillinum, for syphilis
We urge you not to rely on a nosode to prevent the disease associated with it. Nosodes play an important part in homeopathy, and are frequently used, but mainly for reasons other than to prevent the illnesses associated with them.
It is therefore, strictly speaking, not correct to say that immunisation is homeopathic or that, say, a ‘flu vaccination will always cure, or even prevent, influenza.
Indeed, experience by homeopaths over two centuries has tended to show that vaccination sometimes causes as many problems as it appears to prevent.
For example, a homoeopath recently wrote to me saying:
“10% of my patients have come directly because of vaccination with a clear aetiology. Another 20% were probably worse due to vaccination but less obvious aetiology. Then another 10% came to me for treatment for something they thought they were vaccinated against. These are high percentages.”
I myself have patients who assert most definitely that their improvement began after I gave them a remedy to antidote the ongoing side-effects of an earlier immunisation.
Modern Medicine thinks Vaccination is Safe
Modern medicine refutes this, insisting that long-term side effects of vaccination are rare and, in any case, statistically, the numbers can only be due to chance.
That’s not what many parents think. We have many conditions nowadays that weren’t much encountered or at least discussed in the past, but which have started since the introduction of massive programmes of immunisation.
Babies in the UK usually receive up to 20 different injections before they are 2, to get in ‘under the wire’ before their immune systems have matured.
The trouble with assessing the onset of modern conditions is that it may be difficult to find a control group to compare them with, except older people. Why? Because everyone young has been immunised!
By the way! This is not to denigrate all vaccinations. But many people will need to be re-vaccinated (expensively) throughout their lives to maintain immunity from childhood diseases such as mumps or measles which, though of course they occasionally produced unpleasant results such as blindness, usually bestowed lifelong immunity.
This is a huge and difficult subject. We suggest you look it up on the internet for more views and arguments.
Storing and keeping Remedies
Your homoeopathic remedy should be kept in an airtight bottle, preferably of opaque or dark glass, and away from sources of electromagnetic energy, such as
televisions, and also
strong smelling substances like perfume, disinfectants, nail-polish, cleansing agents etc.
The bottle should be opened for as short a time as possible when removing a remedy.
Do not breathe into the bottle.
If an extra pill or tablet falls out other than into the cap of the homeopathic remedy bottle, do not replace the pill or tablet back in the bottle: instead, discard it.
Never put anything else in the bottle unless you use it for something other than for homoeopathic remedies.
When the bottle is empty, if you are making your own remedies, start a new bottle.
To store remedies, do not re-use bottles that are empty but have been used for storing other things or substances, even homeopathic remedies, even the same homeopathic remedy!
If you are extracting a remedy from a bottle with a top, unscrew or remove the top or cap of the bottle, tip the pill into the cap and from there into your palm or a clean spoon, then into your mouth. (We presume you have clean hands!)
Immediately replace the bottle top. Try not to do this where there are strong smells, or chemicals, or cooking odours nearby, because these odours may enter the bottle and contaminate its contents.
Having put the homeopathic remedy in your mouth, let it dissolve there before swallowing it. Have nothing else in your mouth for at least 15 minutes on either side of taking the remedy.
That means, do not take food, drink, tobacco, drugs, herbs, medications or toothpaste – or anything else in your mouth! – for 15 minutes before, and 15 minutes after taking the homeopathic remedy.
Some homoeopaths prefer you make it 20 minutes on either side.
Samuel Hahnemann – the man who discovered homeopathy, considered that, such being the minuteness of the dose used in homeopathic remedies, it was unwise to take anything that might upset its action.
Possibly anti-doting substances include:
coffee, (whether or not decaffeinated),
peppermint or other strong mints,
eucalyptus, and any strongly smelling or medicinally-active substance.
Nowadays, our general advice is to avoid those substances which are highlighted in the above paragraph for the duration of homeopathic treatment. Remember that your treatment is continuing even when you are taking a homeopathic remedy only occasionally, such as once a month, or even if your homeopath decides to wait, rather than prescribe another remedy.
However, life being what it is, this is not always possible. People forget the suggestions, and sometimes the remedies work despite this. However, if the action of a homeopathic remedy has been anti-doted or partly anti-doted, it can be difficult for the homeopath to choose the next remedy. You may need to start again.
Once you are better, by all means take coffee etc, unless you have found that it has a detrimental effect on you.
Response to a Homeopathic Remedy
Keep a note of how you react to the remedy.
Unless the situation is acute, remedies are usually allowed to act for about a month before the follow-up appointment, though we sometimes ask to see you after two weeks to make sure that progress is being made.
When keeping notes, write down changes on a daily basis: it is not that we want to see the notes – in fact we don’t: we want your oral, edited version! – but it is easy to forget how you were.
If you are taking remedies in ‘LM potencies’ (eg LM1, LM2, LM3 etc), the directions are different. Your homoeopath will tell you what to do.
After taking a homeopathic remedy, you sometimes notice a worsening of some or all of the symptoms you are trying to get rid of, or the return of earlier symptoms which you might even have forgotten about.
This happens for some people, and if it happens to you, do please keep careful notes of the order and severity of the symptoms, as this is often an important pointer to future improvement. As a general guide, aggravations tend to happen more when you have had a lot of ‘orthodox’ treatment over a long period of time that has ‘suppressed’ your symptoms.
Click Suppression for more on what the word means in this context.
If you are in doubt, do ring us: one minute’s reassurance on the telephone can make all the difference!
SELF-PRESCRIBING – A WARNING!
Avoid prescribing a homeopathic remedy for yourself if you are having homeopathic treatment from a professional homeopath: and for six months after you stop having treatment for a long-standing condition.
Why? Because what you give yourself can interfere with the action of a remedy given for the chronic condition, even some time after taking the remedy.
Relationship between Chinese medicine, Acupuncture and Homoeopathy
Chinese medicine has roots going back to the Neolithic era: certainly a period of 3000 years! Compared with that homoeopathy is a baby: its progenitor Samuel Hahnemann (1755 – 1843) nevertheless recognised that one way of looking at health and treating disease was as an expression of what we now call Vitalism. Vitalism in the West goes back many hundreds of years. (Read about it here.)
Vitalism almost certainly informed the authors of the basic textbooks of Chinese medicine such as the Huangdi NeiChing written around 2500 years ago. Modern Chinese medicine and its theory still regard that book as their main source.
I learned both systems pretty well at the same time. In fact the first school of acupuncture I attended was established by Jack Worsley who taught Five Element acupuncture. In its recognition of a central ‘causative factor’ it bears a strong resemblance to the homoeopathic idea of a ‘constitutional remedy’.
In both systems of medicine there is a lot to learn. Then follows a long period of application in practice with patients, who help one gain experience!
Their ways of treating are very different.
Normally I do not mix them, though in recent years I have done so more often. The difficulty is that homoeopathy, in particular, when used in a ‘classical’ way, may produce aggravations which confuse the acupuncturist.
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