Perhaps you’re someone who’s seen racks of little bottles and a reference to homeopathy in the health food store.
Or maybe you’re someone who heard from another parent that homeopathy helped their child with some challenging health problem.
Or maybe you’ve read something on the internet about the dangers of OTC drugs and are anxious to try a safe and effective natural alternative for an acute problem.
Whatever the reason – here you are, ready to try homeopathy (one of the safest forms of medicine known), but unclear as to how to use it. Hopefully this article will help get you started on a journey to better health using this remarkable form of medicine – one relied upon by tens of thousands of physicians and over 500 million consumers worldwide.
The good news?
You don’t need to be a physician or an expert in homeopathy to get started. You need only be a careful observer.
Why is that?
Homeopathy is based on a very simple law of nature - that “like cures like,” also known as ‘the law of similars.”
What does this mean? Simply put, for thousands of years, it’s been known that substances capable of causing symptoms in a healthy person can be used to relieve the suffering of those ill with similar symptoms.
Let me give you two examples of this to illustrate the point. If you cut an onion, the streaming, burning eyes and watery nose that exposure to the onion causes indicates that “homeopathic onion” (or Allium cepa) would be a great remedy choice in the case of someone with, for example, allergies that have symptoms resembling that same picture: burning, teary eyes and watery discharge from the nose. (Of course, not everyone with allergies experiences the same symptoms…. some have more sneezing, some have mostly itching, etc… These folks would need a different remedy.) If a person’s allergy symptoms are well matched with that which the onion causes in a healthy person, one could expect that taking homeopathic onion would help “cure” the allergic reaction.
A second example of this principle is a bee sting. If you get stung by a bee and your arm swells up, gets hot, red and painful… and feels better from a cold pack, you could confidently use the homeopathic remedy Apis mellifica, which is made from bee venom. The remedy actually has only a microdose (or some number nanoparticles - to use the technical term) of bee venom in it. However, because we know that the actual venom causes that reaction described above, We also know it can “cure” it in homeopathic form in a person with those same symptoms. Is it getting any clearer?
This can be a complicated matter to understand, but once you get it, it all becomes much easier to comprehend and gets us back to what you need to have success with homeopathy - good skills of observation!
Let me explain further:
Your child comes to you complaining of ear pain and a fever and after consulting with your medical or naturopathic doctor, you decide to give homeopathy a try.
Taking the Case
You first job is to very carefully observe your child’s behavior, their emotional state, and what’s happening with them physically. Your goal is to find the unique symptoms that ‘match’ with a homeopathic remedy (or more precisely, the symptoms that the remedy substance in its crude form would cause in a healthy person, as discussed earlier).
Note down anything that is peculiar about your child at this moment. Has their mood changed compared to when they are well? Are they clingier or more irritable than is normal for them? What is the nature of their physical complaints (and can they describe in detail any pain they are feeling?) and what conditions or circumstances seem to make them feel better or worse (very important information, known as “homeopathic modalities”). Are they worse at a particular time of day? Are they hot and perspiring or just hot? Are they thirsty or thirstless? Does hot or cold feel better on the pain?, etc.. In order to gather this information well, you have to be a good observer and a good interrogator!
With this information in hand – you are now ready to find the remedy needed by comparing the symptoms that seem most intense and peculiar for your child to those of the various homeopathic remedies that can be matched with those symptoms. Remedies for you to consider along with their descriptions can be found in my articles in Dr. Samet’s Insights on this website. They are also available in any number of homeopathic self-help books like The Complete Homeopathy Handbook.
Remember - the key to choosing the correct/helpful remedy is ALWAYS the same. One must match the “characteristic symptoms” (i.e., particularly intense, unusual or peculiar) of the person you are caring for to a remedy capable of producing similar characteristic symptoms to have success. If you choose a remedy with characteristics most similar to the characteristic symptoms of your patient, you should have a successful outcome. If you don't - you or they will either feel no effect, or one that is mildly positive at best, but there is never a bad effect from choosing the “wrong” remedy.
You have chosen a remedy you think may work… now what?
Homeopathic remedies come in a variety of strengths. For home prescribing, a 30c or 200c potency remedy is often your best bet. The potency of the remedy is not selected by age or body weight like conventional medications, so either of these medium strength potencies is a good place to start.
How to Dose
It’s best to give a single pellet of your chosen remedy either as a dry pellet dissolved under the tongue or dissolved first in water and given in single teaspoon doses after stirring vigorously. After that, wait to observe how the patient reacts. If there is no improvement at all within 60 minutes, give another dose.
How does one define improvement?
First – positive change is sometimes evident in minutes. In other cases, more time is required. Sometimes the first thing you and/or they will notice is they just feel better even though they are clearly still under the weather. They may have a bit more energy or just feel more at ease. Or they may feel sleepy and nod off for a few hours. You may also see their fever dissipate, their cough become less frequent, their stomach upset ease. If you see anything that looks like a change for the better – cease your dosing and dose again only if their condition starts to worsen. Also, always try two doses (2-4 hours apart depending on severity of symptoms) before deciding to change to another remedy.
Don’t give up if the patient’s symptoms don’t improve with the first remedy you selected. It sometimes takes a couple of tries to find the “best match” remedy for them – especially if you’re brand new to homeopathy.
Finally, if you continue to have difficulty finding the right remedy or you have a medical problem that is chronic, consider consulting a homeopathic professional. NEVER go off your prescription medicine without talking to your doctor first.
Homeopathy is truly a gift. It works beautifully and has a record for safety that is unparalleled in the history of medicine. It never interacts with other drugs and can be given to the very young and the very old safely. Feel good about the fact that you have made a choice for yourself and your family that is truly restorative – and that encourages the body to do what it knows best how to do – make itself well.
About Dr. Lisa Samet:
Dr. Lisa Samet N.D. provides Washington Homeopathic Products with a regular column on using homeopathy for the family. She's a naturopathic physician who specializes in homeopathic medicine and she's a partner with Dr. Andre Saine N.D. Dr. Samet graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1998 and has been practicing in Montreal since then. She was born and raised in New York.
Dr. Samet has chosen to focus on homeopathy because in her experience it is the deepest healing modality available in that it does not just soothe or palliate symptoms but can actually stimulate the body to start to heal itself. Dr. Samet sees patients in her Montreal office as well as long distance using Skype. Learn more here: Dr. Lisa Samet. You can follow her on Facebook as well.