The last installment of the Homeopathy 101 series, describing homeopathy in general and how I typically use homeopathy for self-care.
#1 – History
#2 – How remedies are made
#3 – Tools for selecting a remedy
#4 – Process for selecting a remedy
#5 – Selecting a potency
#6 – Forms of dosing
Generally speaking, both for constitutional and acute dosing, my goal is to keep as onward and upward a trajectory as possible.
The sooner you start treating homeopathically, the swifter and more complete the cure can be. However, homeopathy can help even when an ailment is well under way–sometimes it is more palliative in those situations, sometimes it simple stalls progress of the ailment then slowly treats, and sometimes it parts the clouds after days and days of the flu with nausea/diarrhea/fever/mallaise [yes, I have been there, while pregnant; my thanks to Oscillococcinum for clearing the clouds].
So my goal, as in life, is for the progress to be as onward and upward as possible. That means a trajectory as close to this as possible, where time is on the horizontal axis and wellbeing is on the vertical axis:
For acute prescribing, my general guidelines work like this:
Take a dose. Take a moment to make a note of when you take the dose.
Make note of the improvement–quality, quantity, and length of time.
If the remedy helps, you have the right remedy.
If the remedy doesn’t help at all, you might have the wrong remedy.
If the improvement lasts two hours or longer, stick with that remedy and potency. You will know when to re-dose if you have a long plateau [time of no improvement] or a dip / regression in your improvement, as shown below.
If it helps the teeniest tiniest bit, you probably need a higher potency. I call this a ping. A ping is something like, “It took the edge off the pain for a few minutes but that’s it.” With pings, my experience is that you really will not get significant benefit from the remedy unless you go up one stop in potency [i.e., from 6c to 30c, 30c to 200c, or 200c to 1M]. If you do not have a higher potency, you can either try to palliate or stall progression of the ailment using the potency you have or by using a loading dose [one dose every 10-20 minutes for one hour] or you can try to increase the potency of the remedy by dissolving a dose of the remedy in 2-4 oz. of water and plussing [shaking / pounding] it 10-30 times before each dose-sip.
Here’s an example of a ping: A friend’s young daughter was ill on Christmas Eve day. She was just laying on the sofa all day. She had flushed cheeks and fever. I suggested homeopathic Belladonna but my friend thought she had only 30c so she tried to work with that, but the only visible benefit was that her daughter sat up for the first time all day. Locating some 200c in the cabinet, my friend gave that a try, and by the next day, her daughter had recovered and was well enough to fully participate in Christmas Day festivities, attend church, etc.
If the improvement lasts less than two hours, chances are that you could [but do not need to] go up one stop in potency if you have it on-hand [i.e., from 6c to 30c or 30c to 200c]. If you do not have a higher potency, you can continue working with the potency that you have. It’ll just take a bit longer to get to cure. I read a story of a beekeeper who had a systemic reaction to a bee sting and pulled out his remedy kit [all in 6X potencies, which is really low] to take with him on the drive to the hospital. One dose of Apis 6X seemed to last him about 5 minutes, so he took one dose every 5 minutes while they were en route to the hospital. By the time he arrived at the hospital, he was fine!
On the other hand, here is an example of the relevance of potency in dosing, though in this example the potencies differed by two stops, which is much more dramatic: I fell down the stairs while carrying my daughter. Of course, I tried to take the brunt of the fall, but she did hurt her ankle. I hurt my arm, wrist, ankle, knee, and thigh. At least I wasn’t pregnant that time. Sigh. Anyway, we were each under the care of different homeopaths at the time.
My homeopath advised me to take some Aconite immediately for the fright, then Arnica 1M. I took a few doses over a few days and was quite fine within a few days, though I made sure not to over-do it either–to make sure that the actual tissue healed as fully as it felt it was healing. My daughter’s homeopath believed that only 30c remedies should be used in acute situations. It took my daughter two weeks to regain full functionality. We both recovered, but at different rates.
In the rare circumstances where you took too high of a potency, your symptoms might get temporarily worse. This is termed an aggravation. Typically, aggravations last a short time and are followed by significant improvement. For this reason, some homeopaths actually seek to aggravate–I do not! If you don’t want to ride-out the aggravation, you can either take the same remedy one or two stops down [i.e., from 200c to 30c or 6c, from 1M down to 200c or 30c]. If you do not have a lower potency, put a dose of the remedy in 16 oz. of purified water. Take a sip-dose and wait a smidge [like 10-15 minutes]. If that does not bring down the aggravation, you can dump out the water, refill it [the remedy’s energy remains in the few water droplets that cling to your vessel] to dilute it some more, take a sip. Keep dumping and diluting then sipping until your aggravation subsides.
So, you can see that you can use the means by which remedies are made to add or reduce potency. Pretty cool, huh?
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