Homeopathy – A Guide to Self-Prescribing - What is homeopathy?

by Urenus .

Homeopathy has been in existence for more than 200 years and is one of the

most widely used forms of medicine in the world today. The fundamental

principles for it's use have remained virtually unchanged. For the home

prescriber a basic understanding of these principles is extremely helpful for it to

be used effectively.

Homeopathy works by triggering the body's own healing mechanisms and works

on the principle known as 'law of similars'. This law states that a substance

which can cause symptoms in a healthy person can also be used in minute doses

to relieve those symptoms. An example of this is the common Stinging Nettle.

Contact with a stinging nettle usually results in a red, itchy skin rash. The

homeopathic preparation of nettle, known as Urtica Urens, can be helpful in

relieving skin conditions with the same characteristics.

Many and varied substances are used to make homeopathic preparations,

including plants and minerals. The remedies are prepared in a homeopathic

pharmacy using a process of repeated dilution and vibration known as

'potentisation'. The potentisation process intensifies the healing power of the

substance whilst at the same time removing any toxic effects.


Homeopathic remedies are available in a number of different strengths known as

‘potencies’. The number before the letter ‘C’ denotes the potency. So for

example Arnica 30C denotes the remedy Arnica in a 30C potency. The 30C

potency is the most commonly used in acute conditions and first aid situations.


What can homeopathic self-treatment be useful for?

Homeopathy can be used safely and effectively by anyone including babies and

children. Self-treatment is safe for simple, uncomplicated conditions such as

colds, coughs, sore throats, indigestion and teething babies. For anything more

serious, if symptoms persist or if you are in any doubt always seek professional



Homeopathy can also be helpful in minor first aid situations such as bruises,

sprains, insect bites and stings. It can be used in some more serious first aid

situations until help arrives but never delay calling an ambulance or seeking

medical advice if necessary.


Homeopathy can be used alongside conventional medicine, however never make

changes to your medication without first consulting your doctor.


How to prescribe

Each remedy has a unique ‘picture’ i.e. a particular set of symptoms and

conditions which are characteristic of that remedy. The success of homeopathy

relies on individualisation. No two people will experience an illness, or even the

same symptoms, in exactly the same way. In order for the remedy to work

effectively you need to select the remedy which most closely matches your

individual combination of symptoms. It is best to base you remedy choice on

symptoms that stand out clearly and strongly rather than those which are vague

or unclear. However, if you are finding it difficult to decide which remedy to use

the less clearly defined symptoms may help you to differentiate.


When deciding on a remedy for your condition first make a note of the most

noticeable symptoms. Examples of things to consider include:


State of mind – anxiety, fear, grief, depression, panic, agitation.


Location in the body – left or right sided headache, pains moving up or down.


Characteristics of the symptoms – is the pain stabbing, burning, nagging,

aching? Does skin feel hot, cold, itchy? Is the cough loose or dry?


When symptoms first appeared and what brought them on – getting cold or

overheated, a shock such as bad news, injury.


What makes symptoms better or worse – hot or cold environments, specific time

of day, motion, touch, noise, eating certain foods.


Once you have made a note of your symptoms carefully read through the

remedy pictures on the website and select the remedy which most closely



Taking the remedy

Remedies are supplied in the form of small, white pillules. The pillules should be

sucked until it completely dissolves in the mouth. For babies and small children a

few pillules can be stirred into a glass of spring water and a teaspoonful given as

a dose.


Avoid food and drink (other than water) for fifteen minutes before and after

taking the remedy.


Avoid handling the pillule if possible, tip the remedy into the lid of the bottle or

use a clean spoon.


The frequency of the dose depends on the severity of the condition. In relatively

minor complaints where there is not a great deal of discomfort take one dose

every two to three hours. For more urgent conditions accompanied by

unpleasant symptoms such as nausea or moderate pain take a dose every one

to two hours. If there is a great deal of distress or pain the remedy can be

repeated every 5-30 minutes.


As symptoms start to improve the time between does can be gradually

increased. The aim is to trigger the body’s own healing systems to take over and

then to taper down the dose accordingly.


If improvement continues stop taking the remedy. If symptoms return the dose

can be repeated.


If absolutely no improvement is seen after six doses it is likely that it is the

incorrect remedy. In which case review the symptoms and select a different

remedy. If the original symptoms have improved but the picture has changed

slightly or new symptoms have appeared you may also need to change to a

different remedy.


Care of remedies

As with all medicines, homeopathic remedies should be stored in a cool, dark

place out of the reach of children.


Avoid strong smelling substances such as mint, menthol and camphor as these

may interfere with the action of the remedy. It is also advisable to avoid coffee

for the duration of treatment as this is is known to antidote remedies in some



Avoid opening remedies in the presence of strong odours such as perfumes and

air fresheners.