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  • To teach and explain homeopathic concepts in plain and easy to understand language that makes sense. For the newbie and even those who are more familiar with this centuries-old, rapid, and gentle way of restoring and maintaining health, there is a learning curve. I will present a series of short articles designed to identify, explain, and promote that learning curve for those wise and curious users … Feel free to suggest topics as I roll out intermittent occasional posts.


The Learning Curve

Getting comfortable with Homeopathy

It’s not homeopathy unless…..


               As I was watching a Christmas movie, I accidently watched a commercial for a product Nerve Pain Away, advertised as a homeopathic topical remedy. It is aimed at folks with nerve pain related to diabetes. I was both pleased and distressed to hear this commercial.


               I am pleased that homeopathy is increasingly in the hands of everyday people. Most of us need a little help with aches and pains and injuries that do not call for potent prescriptions. So often those prescribed medications come with side effects and high costs. Many of our minor ailments can be easily managed with safe, effective, and inexpensive homeopathic remedies. I am so happy to see increased awareness about Arnica Montana for bruising, Nux-vomica for hangovers, and Chamomilla for teething. These OTC substances are earning their place in our household medicine cabinets. ~


               My distress is about the marketing; the designation as “homeopathic.”  Homeopathicity is not determined by the ingredients. Philosophy is what drives the success of homeopathy. In my opinion, the shortcut that permits new products to go to market through a grandfathering arrangement of the HPUS is the problem.


               Over-the-counter (OTC) products labeled as “homeopathic” can be marketed under the longstanding regulations of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS).   Many medicines, like aspirin, nasal spray, or Neosporin are permitted to be sold OTC because they are used for self-limiting, acute, and non-serious conditions. There is an emerging group of OTC combination “homeopathic” medicines. They are, at best, combination remedies carefully formulated by professional homeopaths. At worst, they are poorly designed recipes of potentized* herbal substances combined with “non-active” ingredients. The random choices of non-active ingredients are odd and some of them are known antidotes to the useful ones.  Calling these combinations “homeopathic” creates confusion, disappointment, and even suspicion about traditional homeopathy. *Potentized ingredients are those that have been carefully prepared according to Hahnemann’s detailed specifications.


               Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) has been in continuous publication since 1897. It is a designation that guarantees, “…safety, efficacy, and standardization” as explained on the official website of the HPUS, www.hpus.com/what-is-homeopathy.php. The necessary standards are rigorous, and are stricter even than those of today’s FDA. It is because of these high standards that products labeled homeopathic are assumed safe, gentle, and non-harmful. It does not ensure that newly created combinations containing these safe ingredients make sense or follow the critical philosophical requirements. Commercial products that do not follow the philosophy are not homeopathy.


               I am not criticizing Nerve Pain Away or ANY of the other combination remedies being sold. On the contrary I want to know more from those who have used them. Many of you may not care about what the word homeopathy means. I hope you find and include homeopathy in any way it fits your lifestyle. As a professional homeopath, I care. I want homeopathy to mean what Samuel Hahnemann the father of Homeopathy established. It is his brilliant philosophy constructed through painstaking observations, detailed experiments, and immaculate documentation that defines homeopathy.  HPUS, the governing body over the namesake substances defines homeopathy as: “…the art and the science of healing the sick by using substances capable of causing the same symptoms, syndromes and conditions when administered to healthy people.” Superficially chosen combinations of ingredients have not been tested on the sick. It is not homeopathic unless it follows the principles of homeopathy. It is not homeopathy unless it follows Hahnemann’s philosophy and the Law of Similars.


~ Please remember two things: my list of remedies may sound like specific choices for named dis-eases, but they are just the top of the list of homeopathically chosen choices; and I urge us all to leave serious and chronic ailments to the professionals.

 all information presented is strictly for educational use and will never constitute medical advice. ©2017

Selecting Remedies, It’s Complicated

What do you have for a headache? What would you use for my skin rash? These are the sorts of questions asked of homeopaths. The answer probably frustrates many potential users of homeopathy because the short answer is something like, “nothing” or “figure out which of about 3000 or more remedies will help.” This prompts the homeopath’s question, do you want to get rid of this headache or would you rather stop the tendency to get headaches at all?

The longer answer becomes: Unlike allopaths or herbalists, homeopaths work with the very specific expressions of one person’s headache or the unique characteristics of another’s skin eruption. For example one person’s headache feels like it is, “  … bursting, maddening, heavy. … as if a thousand little hammers were knocking on the brain…” These pains are often over the eyes or in the temples and frequently are worse at 10am. Sun can cause the headache that might be worse from frowning, reading, or studying. Grief is a common factor in the headaches of one who MIGHT benefit from Natrum Muriaticum. But wait, there is more.

When it comes to skin and the multitude (good opportunity to use the word plethora!) of ways it can break out, the homeopath is very interested in information like, hot water makes it better or bathing makes it worse; or “it itches like crazy and there is nothing there!” Eating salt makes it itch more; or sweating relieves it.  Does the rash come at a particular time of day, week, month, or even year? The careful observation and recognition of what makes symptoms better or worse is really important and all the various possibilities are called the modalities.

The headache I described is pretty specific. However, itching skin with nothing visible could indicate any one of 31, or more, different remedies. According to the software program I use, there are 756 remedies that might be used for “headache.” What is important to the homeopath is detail, modalities, AND the bigger picture. We want to know about not only the main complaint but also what accompanies that change from health. What happened in your life right around the time this ailment started? How does this current symptom affect you? Are the additional effects physical, mental, emotional, or functional? “Together they form the true and only conceivable portrait of the disease.” ~ Hahnemann in The Organon of Medicine.

The goal of a homeopath is not to temporarily relive or suppress (!) a symptom but to gently and permanently remove it. The result of the careful and investigative teamwork between the patient and the homeopath is about much more than one symptom, more than the name of a disease, more than the sum of its parts. Done well, a complete case taking shows the bigger pattern of this distress. The fuller the information, the better the remedy will match, and the deeper and more permanent the resolution will be.

all information presented is strictly for educational use and will never constitute medical advice. ©2016


Ledum to the Rescue or Lead ‘em to the Principles

In considering the Learning Curve in Homeopathy, my mission is to put the concepts of homeopathy into easily understood terms. Do users of homeopathy need or want to understand the underlying principles? Does our dominant system of medicine (allopathy) have an underlying philosophy? How many of us ask? I would love your feedback and to hear questions you may have.

When homeopathy is used for acute ailments like beestings, household accidents, bumps/scrapes/contusions, even; some of the curious among us wonder. Some of the more practical of us care only IF it works, not how. The reason I believe it is useful to understand at least some of the principles is to understand how to use it most effectively; to gain the most benefit. And in those cases of chronic or more serious ailments, understanding is critical, and much more complicated. That is when a lay user who wants to be safe and effective needs to consult a professional. So let’s start here:

Less is more ~ The minimum dose is the best dose. Only one medicine at a time in the smallest amount that works.

Use similars ~ The remedy is LIKE the ailment, not opposite from. Red onion might be used for a cold or allergies that make one’s eyes burn and run.

Individualize ~ treat the patient, not the disease name.

To begin with these 3 ideas let me give one example:
My daughter was stung by a wasp. It really hurt and because she was already experienced in how to describe what was happening, she ran in from outside to report, “It is at a 7 (meaning pain on a scale of 1 – 10) and getting worse!! I quickly gave her a cube of ice until I could find the remedy I wanted, Ledum Palustre. I gave her a dose and the pain started to subside, “… going down … now it is at a 4” as she want back out to play. In about 10 minutes she returned saying, “It’s going back up!” So it was time to redose. The pain subsided and this time it did not return. In this example, I used one remedy (the ice was a temporary fix and also gave me more information). I used one dose until indications were that she needed the next dose. Ledum given to a healthy person can cause stinging, boring pains. We have learned it is good for stings of insects and it fit her case when she was better by cold application. The importance of individualizing her reaction helped find a helpful remedy even in a simple case like this one.

                   all information presented is strictly for educational use and will never constitute medical advice. ©2016

Increase your Learning Curve about Nux Vomica and hangovers:

As per an earlier post on my Facebook account about a top 10 list of household remedies, let me speak of Nux Vomica. While I will assume that most of you reading this are taking good care of your health by eating well, exercising, and avoiding as many toxins as you can, some of you may have succumbed to a bit too much fun on New Year’s Eve.

One ace-up-the-sleeve that folks who use homeopathy have is Nux Vomica for relief from hangovers. Based on the Law of Similars, which says that like treats like, some of the symptoms that Nux Vomica can cause in a healthy person are:

“Addictions/Alcoholism … Belching … Biliousness … Breath, sour … Delirium tremens … Diarrhea … Dyspepsia … Headaches … Heartburn … Indigestion … Liver, disorders … Morning, sickness … Motion, sickness … Nausea … Sleep, disorders … Stomach, disorders … Tobacco, habit … Urination, frequent … Vertigo … Vomiting … Yawning.“ 

            ~ Robin Murphy’s Nature’s Materia Medica – 2007, from Reference Works, Synergy Homeopathic (formerly KHA)

Hmmm, sound similar? Can you see how the Law of Similars can be used in considering the concept of a hangover?

Keep in mind that Nux Vomica isn’t the only remedy that might help a specific person’s “hangover” but it is a pretty good bet that it will work for many people. This remedy can be used sparingly in the hopefully isolated situation of a hangover. This might be termed situational use of a remedy that can be used in a broader context too.

The person who may benefit from using Nux-v generally, is very busy, productive, driven even. In work they may be seen as a workaholic. Chilled easily, physically oversensitive, they enjoy a certain amount of excess. They can be have a gruff exterior with a marshmallow center.

Keep in mind that acute, situational use of homeopathic remedies can be very helpful. Have you ever had flu-like symptoms that remind you of a hangover? Nux-v might help in that situation, too, because it is Law of Similars that rules, not the NAME of the ailment.

For using remedies for more than acute, self-limiting complaints please see a qualified homeopath. There is much more to be considered than one event or acute situation. Using remedies over and over again goes against the principal of less is more.

**Over use of a remedy may not only worsen symptoms over time it can create new ones.**


I wish you all a healthy, productive, fulfilling 2016!

      all information presented is strictly for educational use and will never constitute medical advice. ©2016


LEARNING CURVE ~ repetition

I would like to explain why homeopathic remedies do not need to be repeated as often as those your M.D. might prescribe or as often as those over-the-counter (otc) pills you take. This is especially true for acute illness. There will be a future article comparing acute to chronic situations.

Allopathy is the name for that system of medicine most Americans grew up with. It is the one we associate with seeing a Primary Care Physician and with organizations like the AMA. In America, and many other countries as well, patients have been born into and take for granted the allopathic use of medicines. A doctor prescribes medications to be used for a specific length of time, or even indefinitely. Using headaches as an example, many folks head for the bottle of NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) at the first sign and may even use them on a routine basis.

Homeopathy is the name for the system based on similarity and stated as “like treats like.” Correct use of homeopathic remedies is, among other principles, to use the smallest amount of medicine that will give the best result. This may mean homeopathic remedies are repeated, like allopathic medicines. More often, though, even one dose of a well matched remedy may be all that is needed. How easy and safe this simple and cautious dosing can be! Compared to our past experiences and learned expectations this dosing seems wrong, insufficient. Adjusting to infrequent doses can be confusing. That is why I call it a learning curve. In homeopathy, less is more.

Because Allopathy is based on a system of anti’s: anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-biotic; the medicines work against (anti) the symptoms and need to be repeated. Homeopaths call this suppression. The [stop] message or information the drug carries to the system has to be repeated again and again until that symptom is suppressed. Suppression stops the symptoms by fighting homeostatic adjustments. Homeopathy acts differently.

A well-matched remedy will support and increase those natural abilities and processes. Homeostasis is the result of the body’s self-regulating, natural, and automatic processes that reach for and establish stability. Those bodily efforts are what we think of as symptoms. For example, when we are hot, we sweat in effort to keep our normal body temperature; when cold, we shiver for the same reason. When the body recognizes a foreign invader our Vital Force chooses the quickest elimination available whether it be diarrhea, vomit, sweat, fever, or otherwise. With the assistance of a “similar” substance that we call a remedy, our body’s efforts at stability become more effective. Better functioning begins to eliminate the need for symptoms. 

When I was a child, my mother used to do something that was counter-intuitive; she piled on the covers when we had fever. Each time I remember this I am surprised and proud that she went against the usual approach of cooling the child. Instead, by intensifying the fever, she was encouraging that homeostatic mechanism to do its job, and to do it even faster. A fever is an important tool used to burn out what we might call germs, viruses, or bacteria. Tylenol, ibuprofen, aspirin were not used routinely - these types of medicines suppress the fever and prolong recovery time.

Over time, and for a variety of reasons, we have forgotten that there are more tools than just pills that can support the body when it is thrown out of balance. While I never heard of homeopathy as a child nor did anyone in my family as far as I know, the treatment of fever with heat was an example of like treats like. Once the fever broke, it was the sign that the patient’s natural healing ability had been stimulated, had done its job efficiently, and that person was now moving toward health. A good homeopathic remedy sends the right message to a basically healthy immune system that takes over the work. The remedy does not need to nag the system to do what it is already good at doing, and as long as the action continues, no repetition is needed. In fact, repeating too soon can have a stalling effect. Much like the ripple in a pond that continues in a harmonious wave; dropping another pebble into that pond of our vital force, may be confusing, even disruptive.

This is the power of a well-selected remedy and why it may not necessarily need to be repeated.


What are Homeopathic Remedies

Often when I mention homeopathy or homeopathic remedies, folks get a knowing look. Initially I am delighted that they have some experience with Homeopathy. Whether it is a pleasant memory or not, they then share experiences they had while using vitamins, supplements, “that bee stuff,” or “St John’s Wort.” Consumers and sellers of products often use the term “homeopathy” as a fuzzy, buzz word for holistic or alternative or supplemental health. This misuse of the word in combination with a particular blind spot of my own created one regrettable situation for me. Based on my own professional learning curve, I want to explain what homeopathic remedies are.

The incident that I will never forget,or what I might more kindly call my opportunity to learn, came with a new client. She arrived for our initial meeting confident and insistent that she knew what homeopathy was. She explained that she had been using remedies “for years.” Rather than provide my usual introductory spiel because I believed it would be repetitious and boring for her; we launched into a session. After some sessions, some confusion on both sides, some lackluster results, we came to understand she was expecting something much different. That something was in the line of a quick supplement (this) for her condition (that). Sadly to say that misunderstanding undermined a relationship that never really got off the ground. Regardless of the product, its name, the way the substance was prepared, or the form it is in, what determines the quality of homeopathicity is the philosophy.  

It is the philosophy, the rules, the guidelines that really distinguish homeopathy from allopathy, or the system widely used in America.  Like treats like. The Law of Similars - is the guiding principle. Any substance that is used in a This-for-That application is NEVER homeopathic. Over 250 years ago, Samuel Hahnemann used his observation, insight, understanding, research, and brilliance to discern this futuristic philosophy that is at the core of homeopathy. His rules and principles have been updated and reviewed continually over the years and the underlying philosophy remains the same and just as valid. Homeopathic means the use of any remedy is based in its similarity to the presenting condition or Like treats Like.

Allium Cepa, or red onion, can be used for conditions and symptoms that look like, that mimic, are similar to what happens when you chop a red onion. Some, and I emphasize not all, springtime allergy sufferers find help in this remedy. The symptoms of the person who benefits from Allium Cepa will be runny nose and weeping eyes. The nasal discharge can be burning and the nose becomes red and raw. The eyes water as if and feel like there are onions in the air. Onions can cause sneezing, too. This overly simple example describes what similarity might look like in homeopathy. The professional homeopath takes much more than one symptom under consideration when they and work to individualize the remedy to the individual and all of his or her characterizing symptoms. 

What a substance like red onion can do in a healthy person, shows us what that substance can do to help a symptomatic person. This is application of the Law of Similars. So the Learning Curve in homeopathy starts at the very definition of the word. Homeopathic remedies are correctly called homeopathic only when they are based on the Law of Similars. 

all information presented is strictly for educational use and will never constitute medical advice. ©2015


Homeopathy and Addictions

 I see strong connection and possibilities for the use of homeopathy to support recovery from addictions and to support the organs as an individual heals.

 Whether one is seeking help for withdrawal; bodily/organ support during withdrawal and recovery, or a way to heal the emotional difficulties uncovered by sobriety, homeopathy can help.

 When an individual sincerely wants to quit or has already entered sober living, that commitment is necessary to success.  Homeopathic remedies can help fluctuating moods, feelings of loss and the guilt or regret that can become debilitating. Remedies will not take away appropriate feelings, they will help the person cope with and process feelings that have been numbed or suppressed, as they move through change.

 They can also help with the underlying issues that may have led one to use drugs and alcohol to suppress difficult memories or emotions.                                                                                                                                                            ©2015