Homeopathy Papers

Dosing In Acute Cases: How Often to Take the Remedy and in What Potency?

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Elaine Lewis
Written by Elaine Lewis

Questions answered about acute prescribing.

This is a tough one because there is no formula per se; nonetheless, we do have a general guideline: Take the indicated remedy in a 30C potency 3 or 4 times a day for two or three days, and here’s how to do that: 

Drop one or two pellets of the remedy into a small bottle of spring water (pour some of the water off the top first for the sake of succussion), succuss (pound the bottle into your opposite palm) five times before each dose; a dose is a sip; OR, you can pour water into a disposable cup, drop a remedy pellet in, and stir vigorously with a plastic spoon or straw before each dose/sip.  Don’t use the good silverware or good glasses.  Here is a youtube video showing how to do the things I just described:

(P.S., no need to wait for the pellets to melt before dosing.)

Now, here come all the “buts”!


1. If after an hour or two (I really hesitate to give a specific time) there is no indication that the remedy has had any effect whatsoever, and you’re having active symptoms, it’s probably either the wrong remedy or too low a potency.  If you’re pretty sure you have the right remedy and it’s not working, try going up to 200C.  If the complaint is recent and intense, the correct remedy should work within half an hour and maybe even in less than 15 minutes.  I really hate to give a time table.  I remember taking one dose Nat-mur 30C for a painful shingles rash, and I didn’t notice improvement until the next day.  I just don’t think there is a hard-and-fast rule about when you will start feeling better, other than what I said about recent and intense.   During such times, improvement can be felt within minutes.  And here’s the other thing about that.  An acute case can resolve quickly but often with a “discharging” event preceding it.  Don’t let that throw you!  Almost always the patient is completely better afterwards!

2. As soon as the remedy starts to work in a significant way, which may be as soon as 5 minutes, Stop Dosing!!!!!  

The homeopathic remedy is like the ignition key that starts your car, once you’re moving there’s no need to start your car again, that’s not going to make it go any faster!

 (Unless, of course, you stall; in which case, yes, repeat your remedy.  And by “stall” I mean that the improvement comes to a stand-still.)


3. If you’ve taken the remedy and have gotten only slight improvement, continue to dose three or four times a day.  Always succuss the bottle five times before each dose or stir the cup before taking a sip.

4. As I said before, if your complaint has come on suddenly, you should see the remedy work fast.

5. If you’re in a very severe state, please don’t think you have to wait 24 hours after a taking a dose to see if it’s going to work.  The acute remedy, when you’re in a lot of pain or distress, should work in roughly 15 minutes, especially if it’s a recent occurrence, as in, just happened.  (And the more severe your situation is, the more likely you are to need the 200C, BUT, save it!  Try the 30C first!  Don’t play your high card right off the bat unless you have reason to believe that a 30C won’t even touch the case because of how bad or severe it is.  More often than not, a 30C will cover just about any acute case; so, don’t be afraid to start with it and see what happens; but, if nothing happens, you’ve always got your 200C to go up to.  

Now remember, a lot depends on what’s wrong.  If it’s, let’s say, an ordinary cold that you have, here’s what my teacher Robin Murphy always says, “Give a few quick hits of a 30C and then stop and wait.”  By that he means, put the remedy in water, of course, and take a sip once an hour for maybe 3 hours, always succussing the bottle before each dose, or stirring if you’re using a cup, and then just wait.  Needless to say, if you get worse during that time, stop dosing; if you get strikingly better, stop dosing.  If nothing happens after a few hours or by the next day, it’s the wrong remedy.  

On the other hand, if it’s something sudden and severe like an injury or ingesting bad food or water, take your 30C remedy, and you should fully expect that in 20 minutes or less, you’re going to find out if it’s the right remedy or not!  If not and there was another remedy you were considering, take a dose of that.  If you’re out of options, try a 200C of a best-fitting remedy that you already tried.  

If all you have are 30C’s you might want to think about purchasing a 200C Emergency Kit and having it ready.  Let’s take an injury, for example.  Within 15 minutes, some relief should be felt, if only in the sense of feeling relaxed and centered.  That’s enough of a sign that the remedy was correctly chosen, is working, and you simply need to wait; you may even become drowsy.  Don’t repeat it.  Repeat only on an as-needed basis, meaning whenever you start to relapse.

6. Let’s say you’ve had a cold for 2 weeks.  We would not expect you to be better in 15 minutes!  This situation is better suited to the “3 or 4 times a day for 2 or 3 days” guideline.  Here is a range of responses I get from people who have been helped in this way: “In 6 hours my sore throat was better!”  “By the next day I knew I was getting better.”  “I only took one dose, because I forgot to take the remedy after that, and the next day I was better anyway!”

7. Whenever you’re repeating a remedy, it’s OK to take the first dose “dry” (a few pellets on the tongue), but try to take subsequent doses in water as explained above and always succuss 5 times, or stir, before each dose.  This protects you from accidental “provings” (a kind of aggravation) and accidentally antidoting your previous dose.  But again, if you’ve improved from the first dose?  Don’t Repeat The Remedy unless the improvement only goes but so far, or the case starts to relapse.

8. If your symptoms get worse (aggravation) after taking a remedy, don’t despair.  This has happened to me.  It only means that the potency was higher than necessary, but the good news is that this is almost always a sign that the remedy chosen was correct and an improvement is sure to follow.  Just make sure you stop dosing!  Give the case about half an hour to settle down and don’t repeat the remedy unless an improvement follows and then relapses.  Don’t repeat the remedy during an aggravation, the aggravation is a sign that the remedy has acted, which is all you can ask of a remedy!  Meanwhile, if an aggravation is troublesome and distressing, you can “zap” it.  See my “FAQ” article which is on my website and scroll down to “How To Stop an Aggravation”:  https://ElaineLewis.hpathy.com

9. The wrong remedy: The wrong remedy generally will do absolutely nothing, meaning you’ll have to check your acute prescribing book and make another choice, or tell your homeopath that the remedy did nothing. However, sometimes the wrong remedy may cause an unsettling feeling, not the same as when the right remedy causes a temporary worsening (aggravation) of the symptoms in the case. The way to antidote any disturbing remedy reaction is to do the “Aggravation Zapper” (see link above).  But remember this, when you say a remedy didn’t “work”, you have to look at the whole case, not just the local complaint.  Are you better mentally and emotionally?  Are you feeling more “centered”, more calm and relaxed?  Then the remedy did work!  You just have to wait and the physical complaint will no doubt follow.

10.  What about chronic cases you may ask, or “constitutional” cases?  People attend homeopathy school for years to learn how to do this, and even then it’s not so easy!  Chronic cases are usually layer upon layer of unresolved, caked-on, hard-to-remove complaints that give the homeopath a headache!  There is no magic way out of these cases, I’m afraid, the way there often is for an acute case; so, I couldn’t possibly give you an answer to this question other than to say: ask the person or yourself what is the worst thing that’s wrong right now, and take the case of just that and treat it like it was an acute, and if you’re lucky enough to get that to go away, you can ask again: what’s the worst thing right now, and so on until you finally get to the bottom which is where the constitutional layer ought to be.  But when I say “worst thing”, people will often answer “cancer” or “Parkinsons Disease” which is not the answer we’re looking for.  What you want to know is, “What’s bothering you the most right now?  Is it dizziness?  Is it the cough?  Is it the pain?”  These are the things you can help a chronically ill person with.  

Good luck. 

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at:
https://elainelewis.hpathy.com/ and TheSilhouettes.org


  • hi there, just wonder what would be the right dose of ruta 200 in tendinitis situation which is more than a year old. any hints would be appreciated.

    • If you want to try Ruta 200C you should just try one dose. One dose is plenty. If it’s the right remedy, it will do something. There are 7 remedies listed for Tendonitis. Are you sure Ruta is the right one? What does the pain feel like? What are the modalities?

  • Hi, I started taking five pellets zinc met yesterday, every 4hrs (2 doses yesterday) for shingles day 10. I’m pretty sure it’s the correct remedy. This morning my pain was down from 8/9 to 1 and zero but I took two more doses. My symptoms came back (milder) and so I’m wondering if this is aggravation and I should’ve stopped taking the remedy this morning , and also if I should stop taking right now. Can you please comment?

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