Homeopathic remedy reactions – clients often want to know whether there are going to be side-effects from the remedy. What will a remedy do? And, what does this or that reaction to a remedy mean? Confusion about a remedy reaction is understandable since they are vastly different than reactions to conventional drugs. The key thing to remember is that a good remedy triggers a curative (healing) response by the body itself — it does not force a suppression of the symptoms of a disease. The remedy just provides a stimulus, the body is inspired to do whatever it needs to fix itself.
A homeopathic remedy does not produce chemical side-effects like conventional drugs. But, it does produce reactions, otherwise how would you know whether it is doing anything? To a homeopath, remedy reactions represent the response of the vital force to the information received in the form of the energetic pattern of the substance in the remedy. She/he understands the meaning and significance of these reactions in a much more profound way than conventional doctors do. As I often tell my clients – when I suggest the first remedy and you take it, I start a conversation with your vital force. It responds back with reactions in the form of changing symptoms, guiding me, giving me insight. It speaks loud and clear. Even if there is NO reaction, it is still telling me something. The art of making good remedy suggestions is in understanding this “voice of the vital force and and identifying its greatest complaint” (as Karen Allen, CCH aptly puts it).
Broadly speaking, reactions from a good remedy can be of three types – 1) Aggravation of the existing symptoms. 2) Return of Old symptoms. 3) New symptoms. There is also another remedy reaction that I see very often that I want to mention here, 4) Cleansing Response, where the vital force decides to get rid of some toxins, and boost the immune system in the process. These are usually quick and short lasting, and dissipate in a few days,and usually follows with a more vibrant state of health. Fevers, colds, diarrhea, skin rashes, emotional outbursts such as crying or anger, etc. Some of these take the form of an acute disease such as a viral or bacterial infection. It is important to understand these for what they are, and not be quick to initiate a suppressive treatment for these acute symptoms. Of course, you can definitely take some steps to keep yourself comfortable, and support the organs while the body completes this important healing step. Below are suggestions of what to do for some common scenarios, that actually apply to any acute disease state. The best possible scenario in terms of remedy reactions, of course, is 5) where symptoms simply ameliorate without a fuss, and I usually see this happening more consistently in the younger age group, with a great diet, and who have not received suppressive treatments in the past.
How to support uncomfortable remedy reactions, including acute infections:
In case of 1) and 2) above, usually you need to do nothing, and just ride it out. If there is an exacerbation of existing symptoms, it is usually short lived, and things should get back to normal within a short period of time. In the case of 3) where new symptoms show up, that usually indicates that the body needs the support of another remedy to further process its healing. It’s still good to wait and watch, and report these symptoms at the follow-up. If any symptom becomes unmanageable, an intervention may be needed before the scheduled follow up, which can be arranged. The art and skill of the practitioner lies in interpreting the symptoms that come up following a remedy, as these are clues that the vital force gives us to show in what way it needs our help and support.
For the case of 4) when acute symptoms develop following a remedy, my go to for these remedy reactions are CELL SALTS, GEMMO extracts, VITAMIN C or sometimes low potency homeopathic organ supports or an individually selected remedy based on the presenting acute symptoms, if all the other stuff does not push it through. Some cell salts to keep on hand are –
Ferr Phos 6x + Calc Phos 6x – Fevers
Kali Mur 6x – Colds with clear to white dicharge
Kali Sulph 6x – Also, colds, but if the discharge has turned yellow
Nat Phos 6x – For digestive disorders
Nat Sulph 6x – Generally for liver, lung and kidney support.
Kali Phos 6x – Nerve tonic, helpful for calming, helps sleep
Cell salts are available in Vitamin Shoppe, and other local natural health food stores, or online at 1800homeopathy. Also found online at Amazon, and Vitacost.com.
A very useful cell salt handbook that I recommend to parents with young children is the – Homeopathic Cell Salt Remedies: Healing with Nature’s Twelve Mineral Compounds – Lennon and Rolfe
If you have to keep just one Gemmotherapy tincture in your natural medicine cabinet, then I’d suggest that to be Black Currant (Ribes Nigrum). Great for any acute. I usually keep a few of these in stock in my office, but they can be found online as well (check the bottom of my Gemmos page for resources). If you order from me, I can get them to you at a discount (especially the Herbalgem), but you are free to get them on your own.
Some useful gemmos are as follows –
Black Honeysuckle – for the start of a cold, for scratchy throat, and also for thinning the mucus if it gets too dry or thick.
Dog Rose, Common Alder, Black Currant – Used together to drain the mucus membranes and provide effective support during the duration of the cold. Dog Rose is a great immune system booster for children who tend to get frequent colds.
Fig , Walnut – For indigestion and digestive disturbances.
Oak – For Flu like symptoms
A very useful gemmo handbook for acute care is – Gemmotherapy For Everyone: An Introduction To Acute Care – Lauren Hubele.
I recommend following Dr. Suzanne Humphries’ guidelines on the use of Vitamin C for acute infections (please check the link). Basically, I recommend keeping an assortment of Vitamin C in your natural medicine cabinet, natural as well as synthetic. By the way, I am very selective in choosing interventions when dealing with acute infections, and my goal is to help the microbiome / immune system successfully navigate, negotiate, integrate the infectious agent into it’s profile, thereby diversifying and strengthening it in the long run. Therefore, I do not recommend overwhelming the system with a ton of supplements, vitamins, essential oils (some of these may actually damage the microbiome as they are biocides), herbs, etc. But, Vitamin C is one that I have cautiously allowed into the repertoire because of its ability to relieve oxidative stress, and its widespread use in detoxification in the orthomolecular community. With biochemic cell/tissue salts, and the gemmos, the goal is the same – that is to support the body at the physiological level while it goes through a cleansing cycle during an acute infection. Thus, here are the different kinds of Vitamin C you can combine and use, according to your needs and circumstances –
Organic True Whole Foods Vitamin C – http://www.traditionalfoods.org/organic-true-whole-food-vitamin-c-3-5-oz.html – For those who prefer to use a whole foods based vitamin C rather than a synthetic one. I generally am in favor of using this, however, it is quite expensive, and it can add up when needing to take high doses for a serious infection.
I haven’t found negative effects from using the synthetic ones listed below and therefore recommend these as well. ( I don’t know if that is going to change in the future.)
Nutribiotic Sodium Ascorbate Powder (available on Amazon) – This is a buffered form of vitamin C and is preferable over plain Ascorbic Acid for high doses, since it is not as acidic. It’s the most cost-effective of the list, and does the job quite well in all cases of acute infections.
LivOn Lypo-spheric Vitamin C (available on Amazon) – This is the best one to administer to infants and babies, you can simply take the paste on your finger and swipe it on the inside cheek of your child. Also good for topical applications, and for travel purposes, as these come in little sachets that can be used right out of the box.
Sufficient-C® High Dose Non-GMO Vitamin C – Lemon Peach Immune-Ade drink mix (link from Amazon) – This is probably the best tasting of them all, and therefore useful for picky older children, and teenagers. Recommend it for the college dorm.
Dosing: It can vary. In the midst of an infection, one can take up to 1000 mg every two hours, until symptoms improve. You will know if you are taking too much, if your stomach starts to rumble and you get a flush of diarrhea. If that happens it is a one time thing, and not like the diarrhea that will keep you going into the bathroom all day long. Ideally, it is recommended to maintain a dose that will produce two loose stools in a day.