Homeopathy Papers

Questions Patients Ask-22

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Written by Elaine Lewis

Questions patients and students ask about homeopathy

Elaine, how long does a remedy (X or C) stay in a person’s body?

The C potencies are stronger, so I would have to believe that a C potency is going to have more staying power than an X-potency.  However… the answer to everything in homeopathy is, “It depends.”  For example, it should be obvious that almost any potency given for a case of the flu is going to be used up very quickly and be gone! 

I once tried to take Arsenicum 30X for a flu-type illness and it didn’t work at all, not even slightly, even though it was clearly an Arsenicum case–with the burning pains and tossing and turning and wanting company, and hot tea, and so on!  I was quite devastated thinking, “Homeopathy has failed me!”  No, it wasn’t homeopathy, it was me not having any 200C’s in the house!  That’s what I needed for that illness.  That’s why I always tell people, buy your higher potencies now, don’t wait til you get sick, thinking you’ll go to the store…no you won’t, you’ll be too sick to go to the store! 

Anyway, the X’s are only half as strong as the C’s!  A remedy given for an acute gets eaten up fast by the disease and it’s gone.  So, if I were to answer your question in that sense, I would say remedies only stay in the body just long enough to overcome the illness and then they’re gone.

But, then there are the chronic cases!

The idea is this:  If you start out, as Hahnemann says, with the lowest appropriate potency so that you don’t cause an aggravation, but high enough that the remedy still has an effect on what you’re treating, then when the effect of the remedy wears off, you know to take the remedy again.  And that way, you never have to wonder, “Where is the remedy?  What is it doing?”  No, you will know your remedy’s where-abouts at all times!


Can a remedy stay indefinitely and then one day decide to have an aggravation?

Well, yes, that’s what I was trying to explain in the last paragraph; it can do that if you prescribe too high.  This is pretty much what most homeopaths do, they give a 200C or higher to just about everyone, and they fully expect that it may take a month for it to work!  That’s why they tell you to come back in a month or 6 weeks.

Just as it may take up to a month for a remedy to work in a positive way, it could also conceivably take up to a month for it to work in a negative way.  This is why it’s better to start a chronic case off with a low potency because you know exactly what it’s doing at all times!

If you take Kali carb 6C three times a day for low back pain, you know it’s not going to blow up in your face 6 weeks later–because it’s a low potency!  It has a short action, hence the need for frequent repetitions!

A possible scenario is this: you give the remedy, the patient reports nothing happened, so the next day you say, “Then go to twice a day.”  If by day 3 the patient is still reporting no results, you say, “Go to 3 times a day.”  By day 4, the patient may say he’s starting to notice an improvement, so you say, “Then stay with 3 times a day until you feel like you’re over 50% better, then cut back to twice a day and see if the momentum continues, but as soon as you start to relapse, go back to 3 times a day.  If the effect of 3 times a day starts to wear off, you need to plus your bottle (raise the potency) to 8C.  (The instructions for “plussing” are in my FAQ article on my website.)

So you see, in doing it this way, you always know where you stand with regard to the action of the remedy.  You don’t have to wonder, “Is the remedy still there?  Is it lying dormant, waiting to do something?”  You know exactly what it’s doing!  You always know where you stand.  Take for example a current patient of mine, suffering with terrible anxiety, I gave her Arsenicum 30C.  It seemed to help briefly, then stopped, so I told her to raise the potency, she raised it too many times, got an aggravation, and after that we had a heck of a time getting her case under control, so I said, “Maybe you should buy Arsenicum 6C and take it just once.”  She did, and she just wrote back to me, saying,

For me I can’t tell if the Ars 6c is working or not as there isn’t a dramatic change after I take it but it may be just enough overall because I’m not quite as bad as I was and I’m thinking a bit more clearly.

So, this shows me that it’s working and that it’s the right remedy, and more importantly, no aggravation!  And also, look how fast it worked!  One day!  So I said, “That’s good enough!  Maybe you can go to twice a day if you feel you’re not yet at 50% improvement.”  People think they have to give 200C’s in chronic cases for some reason, but, look at how fast this patient got results!

So, even though this is a constitutional case and a chronic case at that, (the kind of case a “normal” homeopath would prescribe a 200C for and say “come back in a month”) you can see how, in reality, prescribing this way moves the case along much faster with much less drama and freaking out, and you always know where you are in it!  None of this, “Where is the remedy that I took a week ago, did it not work?  Am I supposed to just wait?  Did it accidentally get antidoted by my toothpaste?”  And then, even worst of all, is when the remedy finally kicks in, so long after it was taken, that the patient doesn’t even attribute the improvement to homeopathy!  “Oh, I just got better all by myself!”  They’ll never come back to you if they relapse!


Besides having to “zap” each and every remedy individually, is there a way to eliminate all remedies from the body?

Now, again, this is what happens when you give a high potency and you’re not getting any feedback from it!  “Where is the remedy?  Is it working?  Is it there, just waiting around?  Or has it simply ‘passed through’ my body due to being the wrong remedy and not resonating with my case at all?”

Generally, here’s what I say about that, and this I learned from my teacher, Robin Murphy:  Robin says, “People have said to me, ‘I really messed up my case!  I’ve taken too many remedies!’  And I say, ‘So how did your case change after taking them?’  And they say, ‘Nothing, my case hasn’t changed at all!’  And I say, ‘Then you haven’t taken ANY remedies!'”

I hope you got the gist of that.  In other words, something has to change.  You can’t be thinking, “I took a remedy so therefore, I have to antidote it.”  You only have to antidote a remedy that’s aggravating.

People say the same thing about drugs they’ve taken, or dental X-rays they’ve had.  “What can I take to antidote the dental X-ray?”  “Are you sick since the X-ray?” I ask.  “No.”  “Then there’s nothing to antidote!”

But again, general rule, give the lowest appropriate potency and you won’t have to worry about these questions!  These issues come up with high potency constitutional prescribing–and, I might add, too frequent repetitions, repeating the remedy just for the sake of it, because that’s what they do in allopathy–every medicine given on a schedule, 3 times a day for 3 weeks, etc.; but remember, our motto, “The Minimum Dose!”  And you’re certainly not practicing by that motto if you’re giving remedies on an arbitrary schedule!

Now, returning to what I said above about the “lowest APPROPRIATE potency”, we have to talk about that because in an acute illness, the lowest appropriate potency, in my opinion is 30C.  That’s because acute illnesses or injuries often have a very high intensity and you need to match that intensity with a potency that approximates it.  But chronic cases often lack the intensity that would suggest a 30 or a 200C.  Of course, if you’re wrong, you can always raise the potency until finally the remedy kicks in!  At least you got there by trial and error and not by some arbitrary decision that might result in an aggravation!

So, you asked, is there some way to antidote all remedies you’ve taken if such a problem ever arose.  Well, I would have to assume that you didn’t know which remedy was aggravating and consequently, which remedy to “zap”.  What would you do?  Well, they say Nux vomica is a universal antidoter, they also say that about Camphora.  But other antidoters, I hear, are:

1) coffee

2) Vicks Vap-O-Rub (rubbed on your chest and breathed in) and

3) mint or peppermint essential oil.

So, I hope That answers all your questions.  One other thing, I’ve referred to “The Aggravation Zapper”.  Instructions for that are in my FAQ article on my website.  See link below.

FAQ Article


Oh look!  It’s Wonder Woman again!


Dear Doc,


I wanted to thank you for teaching me the basics of homeopathy for handling emergency cases.  I want to share 5 recent examples where homeopathic remedies helped immediately:


1) Wonder Husband, the skeptic, was grilling outdoors one evening and he got bit by mosquitoes all over.  His skin was swollen on multiple places.  I gave him one dose of Ledum 30c and itching/swelling vanished in few minutes!


2) Wonder Boy was biking outdoors on Saturday and a bee stung him.  He had swelling too.  One dose of Apis 30c and he felt totally fine!


3) My friend had severe sore throat and pain on the left side.  She was on heavy antibiotics for 10 days.  I met her at a party on Sunday Eve, luckily I had my emergency kit with me and gave her a dose of lachesis 30c.  Her pain was almost gone by next morning and she could swallow normally.


4) Another friend at same party had upper back pain which was worse on rest, better with movement.  I gave her Rhus tox 30c and she was fine by morning.


5) My mom got violent sneezing in morning, followed by irritation in throat and phlegm, also sniffing with cold.  I suggested a dose of nux vomica 30c and she felt better in 1 hour!

I am so very grateful to you, doc.


Bye!  See you again next time!


Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.

Elaine takes online cases! Write to her at [email protected]

Visit her website: www.ElaineLewis.hpathy.com

About the author

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


  • My 29yr age son is having severe cluster headaches right forehead for nearly 8weeks now…extreme photophobic at that time, gets air-conditioning & fan switched off…hates noise at that time…right nasal
    stuffiness then… .on allopathic medicines ..taken steroids 20 days, topiramate 15days, indomethacin 15days( this could help reduce frequency & intensity),…was given 4-5doses of some homeopathic concoction also after which we noticed a aggravation ?… discontinued..
    Please advise sonething specific in homeopathy that can cure/ reduce/ minimise the intensity and occurance…will be grateful

  • dr

  • Wonderful article Elaine as usual. Loved your article and your comprehensive answers.
    Thanks once again.

  • Wonderful details answering a valid Patient Question, especially as Patients come ALWAYS from an Allopathic standpoint. BUT in my humble opinion, a Homeopathic remedy is not something Static, it is Dynamic. If prescribed according to Homeopathy Philosophy, it is like a Start Command given to Software in a Computer, setting Immunity to start correcting the health issue within body. If the Immunity and internal nerve communication is strong, this improvement will continue for a long time but if the nerve communication is weak, the improvement in patient becomes static after which another dose of a Homeopathy is prescribed. But this is just my own defective understanding, Peace!

    • I totally agree with what you said! The remedy IS like a “start” command! And you never know when one dose might cure the whole case! Sometimes people give up after one successful dose. “The remedy didn’t work,” they say. “What do you mean,” I ask, “it never worked at all?” “Oh, yes, but it only worked for a few hours.” “Then it DID work!” I say. No where is it written that a homeopathic remedy will work for X number of hours or days, otherwise, it’s the wrong remedy.” If your remedy worked for hours, and then stopped, the only issue is, “Did you take it again? And if so, what happened?” If it worked again when repeated, that’s all that matters!

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