Classical Homeopathy
Orly Bernstein, DHom, CCH

Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of things does homeopathy treat?

The homeopath treats two categories of disease, acute and chronic.  The acute disease is self-limiting; in other words, it is not deep-seated and given time, will usually clear on its own accord.  Coughs, colds, flues, food poisoning, and children’s illness such as chicken pox are all examples of acute illnesses.  Well-chosen homeopathic remedies will speed up recovery, alleviate pain, and help ensure that there are no complications.

Chronic disease is more deep-seated than acute disease.  It develops slowly, continues from a long time, and is often accompanied by a general deterioration in health.  An acute illness that is followed by complications can develop into a chronic, long-term illness.  Arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and mental illness are all examples of chronic illness.  Homeopaths believe that the increase in incidence of these conditions we are now seeing is in part due to the chemical stresses the individual has to put up with; including the over-use of orthodox medicines and environmental pollution. 

How long does it take for homeopathy to work?

There is, unfortunately, a false impression that homeopathy is slow acting. Much of the initial time is spent by the homeopath reviewing the case. The patients, unused to the need for so much research before prescribing, usually find the whole process rather slow or long and drawn out.

After the similimum (i.e., the correct remedy) is chosen and administered, the results are generally quick, often immediate, and sometimes instantaneous especially in an acute case. The remedies usually work faster than the homeopaths. However, it is usually the long lasting, chronic illnesses that naturally take some time to be relieved or cured. A chronic case took years to get to this stage and return the results will not take place over night.

What will happen when you take a homeopathic remedy?

Homeopathic cure usually follows a very prescribed pattern called the (Constantine hering’s) Law of Cure. Cure moves from within to without. As someone is cured, symptoms move from the innermost organs of the body (those most vital to life) to the outer organs. For example, someone with heart disease may experience stomach or bowel problems and then eczema or a runny nose during the entire process of cure. Cure can also move from above to below, so that symptoms usually ‘drip off’ the body. Starting from the head and clearing downwards, with the hands and feet being the last to be effected. Cure occurs in the reverse order from their original sequence. For example, if a patient comes in with stomach problems but has developed headaches last, the head aches will be the first to go.

As current symptoms improve, old previously unresolved symptoms often arise. (like peeling the layers of an onion). Symptoms that have been suppressed in the past often resurface during the process of cure and usually do so in the reverse order from their original sequence as well.

The suppression of a disease usually leads to a more deep-seated illness surfacing. For example, many children whose eczema has been ‘successfully’ treated with steroids may suffer from asthma at a later date. Homeopaths believe that the suppression of the eczema has caused the asthma. Consequently, successful homeopathic treatment involves the eczema reappearing at the some point. These are good signs and, if possible, no external application should be used. However, the practitioner should always be kept informed of these new symptoms.

Do homeopathic medicines produce any side effect? 

Homeopathic remedies have no side effects because the remedies are not aimed at killing organisms and therefore they cannot destroy any healthy part of the body.  Secondly, the quantity of the medicine is so little that it can only stimulate the body’s powers, not act against it.  Consequently, if used correctly, there can be no side effects.

What are homeopathic remedies made and how do you take them?

Any substance occurring in the universe might be used as the source of a homeopathic remedy.  However, most remedies are made from pure, natural animal, vegetable or mineral substances.  The substances are highly diluted and potentized to different strengths in a very specific manner in modern, scientific laboratories in accordance with FDA approved guidelines.  They come in the form of granules, tablets or liquids. 

The remedies are sterile and therefore, one should avoid handling them to prevent contamination.  The patient can touch his or her own tablets, but if you are giving the remedy to someone else, try to avoid touching it.   To prevent possible contamination of the entire bottle, never put back tablets that have fallen out of the cap or that have been touched any anything or anyone. 

Homeopathic medicines get absorbed from the inner lining of the mouth.  Any substance eaten or drunk leaves a coating in the mouth and /or an odor.  These will hinder the absorption of the remedy.  For that reason, it is preferable not to eat, drink, smoke, or put strong smelling substances into your mouth immediately before or after taking a remedy.  A waiting period of at least 10-15 minutes before eating or drinking and an hour after eating or drinking anything except water is preferable.  If possible, coffee, peppermint, camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol should also be avoided when taking a course of homeopathic treatment.

It can also be dissolved in some water and sipped slowly.  Remedies for babies and animals or semi-conscious patients can be dissolved in some water and fed with a spoon slowly. 

How should you store your homeopathic remedies?

Homeopathic tablets will keep their strength for years.  If they are stored in cool, dark, dry place with their tops screwed on tightly, will away from all strong-smelling substances, they will remain effective.  Strong smells do make the pills lose their potency.  Consequently, it is not a good idea to keep them in a bathroom cabinet alongside perfumes, cough mixtures, etc., or in a spare-room closet with the mothballs.

What will happen if more pills are taken than advised or if the remedy is repeated more than advised? 

It is the number of times that the medicine is repeated that is important and not how many pills that are taken.  Every repetition stimulates the body; therefore, it is imperative that the remedy is not repeated more than prescribed.  Repeating the remedy indiscriminately may actually increase the present complaint.  However, any symptoms would subside on their won as soon as the medicine is withdrawn.

What is a “homeopathic aggravation”?

Oftentimes there is an immediate worsening of symptoms after a remedy has been taken.  Or old symptoms may surface temporarily.  This “aggravation” can last for minutes or for days.  Each person’s reaction is completely individualistic.  There may be more general clearing out, or a “healing crisis,” as it is often called, in the form of a streaming cold or diarrhea.  The aggravation can occur on a mental/emotional level, as well.  Some patients may feel very weepy or restless or angry.