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Rising Tide Natural Medicine
Liam McClintock, ND, MAcOM, DHANP
Naturopathic Doctor, Master Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine,
Board Certified in Homeopathy & Acupuncture

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Notes on the Practical Application of Homeopathic Medicines

by Liam McClintock, ND, MAcOM

Homeopathy is a practical science, based upon observation of symptoms and of results in curing symptoms. Although any avid followers of a belief system may be inclined to base their beliefs on theories rather than observations, I propose here to give some simple and basic guidelines from which the beginner in homeopathy may derive their own observation of results.

Homeopathic medicines may be used both curatively and preventively. Curative use of homeopathic medicines is most effective when a remedy's symptoms (found in a repertory, materia medica, or other practical guide book) are most closely matched to a patient's symptoms. Acute (recently acquired) symptoms are often effectively treated with higher potencies (12C, 30C, and higher), while chronic (long-standing) symptoms are often more gently treated starting with the lower potencies (6x to 30x, 3C, 6C, and 9C). When a remedy action is favorable, the remedy should only be repeated when symptoms return. When a remedy works well at a lower potency, but stops working, and the symptom picture has not changed appreciably, then the remedy should be repeated in a higher potency. A good rule of thumb is: the best homeopathic medicine is the best remedy indicated by the symptom picture, and the best second prescription is the same or higher potency of the same remedy if it helped. In other words, always base a remedy choice on the symptom picture, and do not change the remedy until you are sure that the previously effective remedy has finished its work. If a remedy does not work at all, it is most likely that the wrong remedy or the wrong potency was chosen.

Homeopathy can be astoundingly effective and deceptively subtle, but it is most often limited only by the knowledge of the prescriber, and occasionally by the habits of the recipient. Practices which are most likely to interfere with homeopathic treatment, and which should be avoided by the patient whenever possible are the following:

  1. taking remedies with food, drink, brushing the teeth, or anything else in the mouth within 15-30 minutes of taking the medicine
  2. exposure of the pellets or the patient to strong perfumes, colognes, chemical smells, essential oils, mint and camphor
  3. drinking coffee, consuming recreational drugs, and using other homeopathic or unnecessary medications or therapies
  4. trauma such as dental work, surgery, large stresses, and emotional traumas
  5. treatments which suppress rashes or discharges, especially topical steroids

Preventive use of homeopathic medicines may take many styles, all of which are only considered effective before or at the very early stages of illness. The best form of homeopathic prevention is the use of a well prescribed constitutional remedy from a trained homeopathic physician. A constitutional remedy will strengthen a person's ability to ward of and fight disease. The second most effective form of prevention is to give the remedy which has been effective in treating others with the same illness (called the genus epidemicus). For example, if a child gets a flu which responds favorably to Gelsemium, the other members of the family may be given Gelsemium as prophylaxis (disease prevention). The third most effective form of homeopathic prophylaxis is to give a general or nosode remedy (such as oscillococcinum, influenzinum, pertussinum, etcetera) or a combination remedy (tablets which contain several homeopathic ingredients).

The use of single remedies (Classical Homeopathy) is a more elegant style of medicine, which allows observation of the effects of specific medicines upon the patient. This method allows both the prescriber and the patient to learn more effectively the specific medicines which are successful in treating any number of conditions. Although Classical Homeopathic treatment demands more knowledge and commitment from the prescriber, it also allows for increasing the potency of the specific effective remedy when the lower potency fails to act, and therefore more chance to permanently cure the condition. Use of combination remedies demands less knowledge of the prescriber, since the condition is treated in a "shot-gun" style. With all the major medicines used to treat the condition present in one tablet, it is presumed that at least one of the remedies will act. The ingredients are usually remedies of low potency, and therefore have a limited ability to deeply cure the condition. With a scarcity of prescribing knowledge, few good clear symptoms upon which to prescribe, or little time, a combination remedy may, however, confer quick (if temporary) relief.

Homeopathy is like any difficult subject - the more people commit themselves to learning and observing, the greater the returns will be. Whatever the style of homeopathy a person decides to practice, observation is the one necessary element which must not be foregone. In all methods of medicine, observation and elucidation of symptoms is critical to effective treatment, but in homeopathy it is paramount.

I wish you the best in your adventures with homeopathy.


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