I have been seeing clients as a practicing homeopath for 13 years. Over the years I have been, at times, confused about all the ways people use homeopathic remedies. Some uses don’t seem very “homeopathic” to me. That is, they don’t follow the concept of Like Cures Like. Sometimes Like Prevents Like. Sometimes Like has nothing to do with Like.
Fairly recently, I was able to put it together in a way that makes sense to me and to others who may be confused. I hope you find it helpful. I will be sharing this for you in a series of five blog postings. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section.
Acute Care Homeopathy: Acute illnesses are viruses and bacteria that we “catch” that make us sick from time to time.
Constitutional Homeopathy: This is homeopathy for Chronic Care. It could be used for Mental, Emotional, or Physical dis-ease.
Detoxification: Homeopathic remedies can be used to help detoxify the body. A good constitutional remedy will do this. But there are also specific remedies that can be used to detoxify.
Homeoprophylaxis: This is the education of the immune system so that you are less likely to be a good host for specific things that are “going around”.
Adjunct care: This is a use for homeopathy that I have been studying fairly recently. Historically it has been shown that using adjunct homeopathy helps the constitutional remedies work better.
Lets start with Acute Care Homeopathy, which is the way many people become introduced to the power of Like Cures Like.
By definition, an acute illness is self limiting. This means you either get over it or you die. This can include colds, flu, gastroenteritis, all the childhood illnesses which we, unfortunately, rarely see, just to name a few. Acute illness can be really good for us, if they don’t happen too often. Like exercise builds the body and makes it stronger, fighting off a few acute illnesses now and again exercises our immune system. Fortunately, the vast majority of people get over acute illness, especially in this day and age of improved hygiene and knowledge about good food, lots of water, and not giving aspirin or any other anti-pyretics when you have a fever. Remember, fevers are good. They help the body get rid of the “critters” that are invading you.
If fevers are a good thing, why give homeopathy when you have a fever? Most garden variety fevers are safe. However, people can get uncomfortable when they have a fever, and are more likely to take Tylenol or Motrin, which only extends the time you suffer from the acute illness. With homeopathy, you may still have the fever, but you will be more comfortable. For example, you may be less restless, less achy and your internal temperature, whether chilly or overheated, will become more tolerable. Your body will hang onto the fever as long as it is required to heal you. If on the other hand, you suppress the fever of a youngster with Tylenol or Motrin, the child may not get the rest he needs in order to get well. Suppression doesn’t equal absence of an illness. It doesn’t mean that you get to send the child to school. He or she is still dis-eased. I have also found as a homeopath that often fevers are repeated in a pattern. Perhaps a child will get it every other month, or always when the seasons change, for example. By giving an appropriate homeopathic remedy, it often breaks the cycle of illness. I have seen this countless times in my practice, with both children and adults.
However, if you have an infant with a fever you need to be more careful. An infant’s immune system is not well developed and they can develop pneumonia and meningitis, etc. My youngest had a fever of 102+ when he was quite young. It was an ear infection. Homeopathy to the rescue. Although there may be disagreements, the general consensus seems to be, if your 0-3 month old child has a fever over 100.4, call the doctor. If your child is 3 – 6 months old, the threshold is 101. If your infant is older than 6 months old, call the doctor if his or her fever goes above 102.
In addition to going to the doctor, be sure to call the homeopath. There are many remedies for fevers, but for young children, there are usually just a few to choose from, including Belladonna, Pulsatilla, Aconite, Chamomilla, and more.
Influenza and flu-like symptoms are common reasons to use homeopathy for acute illnesses. During the flu pandemic of 1918-1919, when influenza was killing 30% of certain populations who were infected, homeopathy had an astonishing loss rate of around 1%. Records show that those who died had tried conventional medicine first and it was too late for homeopathy to help. It should also be noted that MD’s were enamored with aspirin at the time and many died from basically an overdose of aspirin, because they would bleed out in their lungs from the aspirin and then develop pneumonia and die. The remedy most folks needed during that pandemic was Gelsemium, followed by Bryonia. Even an inexperienced prescriber could recognize the Gelsemium symptoms. For more information about the historical success of using homeopathy with influenza, please click here to read this article from 1921. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find it.
I also include injuries in Acute care, although old injuries often fall into the category of constitutional care. Arnica is most often the first remedy to take with an injury, but not always. So if Arnica isn’t helping, you either need a stronger dose or a different remedy. It may be Bryonia, Rhus Tox, or Ledum, just to name a few of the most common injury remedies.
What about allergies? Are they acute illnesses? No. The seasonal allergies people are experiencing now are representative of a chronic illness with an acute exacerbation. It can be treated acutely, for a year or two, but eventually, only the constitutional (chronic) remedy will work.
Acute care homeopathy is definitely an example of like cures like. Often the symptoms of a chronic illness will go away when someone gets an acute illness. So if the symptom picture changes from the chronic symptoms to the acute symptoms, a different remedy is required. Once the acute symptoms go away, the chronically ill person sometimes actually feels better for a few days after the illness. I have seen this in several clients over the years. At first I got confused and thought the acute remedy was a good chronic remedy. But I have since realized that it is just the body changing states. That changed state often sticks around for a few days after the acute illness seems to have disappeared.
Often individuals with an acute illness always feel sort of the same way each time they get sick. In homeopathy, we call this the Complementary Remedy. It is the flip side of the Chronic state. I once had a high energy client who needed a low energy remedy each time he got sick. We are familiar with which remedies are complementary to other remedies, but not in most cases. Calling a homeopath when you are sick can often help lead to the discovery of your constitutional remedy.
Sometimes, when you are feeling like you are coming down with something but don’t have clear symptoms, you can take a 30c dose of your constitutional remedy and prevent total onset of an acute illness. This would not be a situation of using a complementary remedy. If you get acute illnesses too frequently, it is definitely time for a constitutional remedy. More on this and other chronic uses of homeopathy in the next article in this series.