Homeopathy Papers

Questions Patients Ask — 4

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Elaine answers question from patients and students about homeopathy and natural healing.

Junk Food, An Obstacle To The Cure?


Question:  If someone has had a very bad diet for years, like cakes, cookies, chips, pizza, chocolate, soda — lots of it…. Is there any remedy to antidote it?  Is Nux vomica such a remedy?

Egads!  You have to stop eating it!  Substitute whole foods and raw foods for this dietary disaster and the whole syndrome will go away!  Hahnemann would call this an obstacle to the cure. A junk food diet will cause different symptoms to break out in different people.  Some will develop migraines, some will get frequent colds, others will develop anxiety attacks and depression, etc.  You would have to take the case of whatever syndrome is present and give an appropriate remedy for that; but, the only way to undo the damage permanently is to change your diet to give the immune system the nutrients it needs so it can put your body back into working order.


Remedy Fails?


Question:  I’m a 4th (and final year!) student in classical homoeopathy in London and want to gather your thoughts on the homoeopathic treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP).

Currently, I know someone with this condition who has been having homoeopathic treatment, and while there was a positive reaction to the remedy (Crot-h), the platelets are now steadily falling with the indication that Crot-h is no longer the simillimum.  I would be very interested in your thoughts.

How is that an indication that Crotalus is no longer the remedy?  Isn’t it just as likely that the potency wore out or the remedy needs more frequent repetitions?  You don’t give ANY information on potency and dose!  I am really surprised that, as a student, you didn’t think the dosing details were relevant!  When someone tells you “the remedy didn’t work”, do not accept that at face value, especially if there was an initial improvement!

You’d want the person to recount his steps so you could pin-point the exact spot where he should have re-dosed or changed the potency.  These are all things to keep in mind the next time someone says, “The remedy is no longer the simillimum.”


Case Management–what potency?  How often?


Question:  How much time should we give a 6c remedy before deciding if it’s right or not?  I’ve read about 2 weeks then retake the case?  Is it possible that a remedy is right but the potency is wrong?

It all depends on what’s wrong with you.  If it’s an acute case, a 6C would be quite inadequate!  You would probably have to take it every 15 minutes, and even then….. A 30 or 200C would have been much more appropriate!

But if you’re talking about a chronic case, let me begin by saying that, as per the Organon, one or two remedy pellets should be dropped in a small bottle of water so that the remedy can be succussed (five times) before each dose.  Succussing before each dose ensures that the remedy will continue to work.

In a chronic case, start with a 6C potency three times a day. (You could also start with a 9C twice a day or a 12C once a day.)  Improvement should occur within two weeks.  The rule is, as you improve, take less often. The idea is: you don’t want to overdose, but you don’t want to underdose either!  So, it’s a juggling act.  All you want is for the improvement to run smoothly, you want to avoid hills and valleys; this is why you’re always juggling the dosing schedule to try to maintain your progress evenly.  It’s important to realize that these low potencies get exhausted quickly and the potency needs to be raised at suitable intervals.  But, they don’t usually cause aggravations, which means a lot to the patient!  Sure, you may wind up eventually at 200C, but, you get there one step at a time, safely!

If the remedy picture changes, don’t keep giving the same remedy, especially if the new picture is an acute of some sort.  Stop the remedy and retake the case.


Animal Remedies?


Question:  I am looking to explore some remedies that have a strong territorial feel. I’m guessing they will be animal remedies, for someone who feels very uncomfortable when their physical territory is invaded and would describe it as an invasion and say they feel very territorial and it makes their hackles rise.  Lives in a house where the garden is surrounded by very high walls, so has a deep need to maintain own territory.  Someone who is happiest at home, in their own territory.  Likes company but not if it is unexpected or if visitors overstay their welcome, as again their territory is being invaded.  Feels angry but rarely confronts people as feels that would be uncivilized, but may resort to petty tactics to protect their territory, e.g. making sure they stop someone parking in their spot by making sure they get there first.
Has a very strong desire for and is strongly better for sun.  That sounds more plant-like but I think overall it is animal so maybe a sun loving animal like a lizard, snake, bird?

I was thinking of Nat-mur, not really known to love the sun, but they certainly build walls to keep people out!  Do you know who likes to build walls?  People who can’t say “No”!  People who dislike confrontation and would definitely fear encroachment and try to proactively keep people out, people like Staphysagria, Carcinosin, Baryta carb, Silica….  Think of rubrics like, Mind: company, aversion to; Mind: company, avoids the sight of people; Mind: company, bear anyone, cannot; Mind: fear, strangers; Mind: company, alone amel.  “Aversion to company” is a large rubric with 155 remedies.  You can’t just think of animals. 

The other thing is, an animal type would get right in your face and tell you to get out!  Snake remedies like Lachesis will kick you out and keep on kicking you right down the street to make sure you never come back!

I don’t think we can make assumptions that a person needs an animal remedy because he or she feels safest in the home (his “territory”) without unwanted company.  The remedy best known for wanting to stay at home is Calcarea carbonica.

I Feel Ugly


Question:  Which remedy could help if someone felt extremely ugly, especially their face, but was still doing everyday things… Then something happened where people constantly said how ugly she was and she had a nervous breakdown and insomnia started since then.  If severe insomnia started since that incident, what remedy would be for this.  This was years ago.

It’s really more a question of, “what rubric is this”?  The rubric could be, “Ailments from mortification/humiliation”.  Another possible rubric, “Sensitive, opinions, what others say about her” (sensitive to the opinion of others).  If you repertorize these two symptoms, the top three remedies are Staphysagria, Ignatia and Nat-mur.


Inter-current Prescribing


Question:  If a person is being given a constitutional remedy, is it ok to be given another remedy in between doses?

Some would say yes, others would say no.  The high-potency prescriber would say no. That’s because he gave one dose of a 200C or 1M that he thinks should last until your next appointment, and the last thing in the world he wants you to do is take another remedy which might antidote the first one or otherwise make your follow-up appointment difficult to sort out!

Others would say yes: if you get injured or get sick, you need an “inter-current” remedy.  These are the low potency prescribers.  They have started you on a 6C three times a day or maybe a 12C once a day.  If you get the flu, for example, they would want you to stop your constitutional remedy, take your Gelsemium 200C (or whatever), recover from the flu, and then, if your chronic symptoms reappear as before, get right back on your daily dosing.

Obviously the latter scenario makes more sense.  No one wants to have to tell a patient on constitutional treatment, “Don’t take a remedy for that virus!  Take an Aspirin instead!”  That seems soooooo against everything we stand for–the dangers of suppressing a fever, for example.  I just wouldn’t even want to go there!


How Does Homeopathy Work?


Question:  How does homeopathy work in the body?  Natrum mur for example.  I’ve read Nat-mur. is for people who have problems due to excess salt in the diet but then also for cramps or emaciation due to lack of salt.  Does this mean that homeopathic remedies work by adjusting both low and high problems?


Short answer: Yes: too much and too little.  Homeopathy also works by mimicking the disease you have, thereby stirring the immune system to action.  You might think, “Well, gee, Elaine, doesn’t my immune system already know I’m sick, that I have such-and-such disease?”  Short answer: Yes: at one time, it knew you had such-and-such disease.  Then it lost interest!  Well, isn’t that what happens?  You get a splinter, it hurts for 2 or 3 days, then it stops hurting.  Your body, your immune system, just stops caring.  A homeopathic remedy can re-awaken your body’s interest in that splinter by mimicking it.  Your body won’t think it’s attacking the splinter, it will think it’s attacking this “new thing”; but since it’s similar to the original “thing”, it gets dealt with at the same time.  This is why we say that Similars Cure; or, Like Cures Like. 

In the case of Nat-mur, if you’ve got a condition that can be caused by salt, then taking homeopathic salt (Nat-mur) will cure it whether the problem is “too much” or “too little”.  We have something in homeopathy we call “polarities”, meaning that if a remedy covers one end of the spectrum, it also covers the other end.  So, we can give a “craves salt” remedy to a person who has an “aversion to salt” just as easily, because to us, it’s the same thing—an imbalance of salt.


Are Homeopaths Allowed to Use the “Disease” Rubrics?


Question: Elaine, my problem with Murphy’s Repertory is the Clinical Chapter where you can seemingly just look up the disease name and find the remedy.  HUH?  I thought that was against the rules!  Isn’t that Allopathy?

No, no, no!  Where do these ideas come from?  It’s true, we don’t have a remedy for this or that disease—usually.  What we do have, though, are “differentials”.  That means we’ve got a group of remedies that typically work for a disease, 80% of the time.  If you have, let’s say, the flu… from 3,000 remedies, you’re down to about 10 or 20, because that’s roughly the number of remedies we typically choose from when a patient has the flu.  So, even though the disease rubric doesn’t give you ONE remedy, it’s still pretty good, in that it gives you 10 or 20 primary remedies to choose from.  Now all you have to do is say, “Of these 10 or so remedies, which one matches my patient?  My patient is thirstless, chilly, and stuporous.  All he does is sleep.”  Well, that’s Gelsemium!  Or, you might say, “Of these 10 flu remedies, which one matches a patient who’s very scared and can’t be left alone or she thinks she’s gonna die.”  That’s Arsenicum!  Or, of these 10 flu remedies, which one matches my patient?  He says he feels like his bones are breaking.”  Well, that’s Eupatorium perf.  So this is the value of the Disease Chapter (or the Clinical Chapter, if you’ve got Murphy’s 3rd ed.)


More Questions About Junk Food


Question:  Why is too much snack food not good for you?

Basically, snack food contains absolutely nothing that sustains life; and worse, it puts the body under stress due to all the added chemicals and lack of fiber and nutrients these foods are so famous for.  It fills you up so you no longer have an appetite for “real” food; so, you are actually “starving” despite feeling “full”.  The stress your body is under from consuming this “food” will ultimately lead to illnesses that you will have no way of attributing to anything you ate!  The doctor will start treating you for random things—“depression”, “anxiety”, “ADHD” and so on, never knowing that the “food” is causing it.

You will never guess in a million years that it’s the donuts, the ice cream, the pretzels, the chocolate bars, the soda, the lack of fiber, the MSG, the high fructose corn syrup, the GMO’s and so on that have given you arthritis or headaches or fainting spells.  You’ll just think you were “attacked” by a strange disease and need to see a doctor, and he will start the flow of drugs that you’ll be “needing”, which will cause problems of their own…. It’s a downward spiral that leads to diabetes, gout, kidney disease, cancer, liver failure and death, with no actual apparent “cause”.

Here’s my slogan:

Don’t Buy Corporate Food!

Corporate food is food that comes in a package with a famous brand-name label, the ingredients of which you have no control over because you didn’t pick them—someone else picked them for you!  Why would you trust someone else to pick what goes into your food?  Are they purchasing the best quality food items or the cheapest/worst quality to save money?  What do you think?  And what are they adding to mask the poor quality of what they use?  A flavor enhancer (MSG)?  Lots of sugar?  Salt?  Artificial color to make the food look fresh?  Do you see what I mean?  Don’t let a corporation pick your food, as this is something you should be doing yourself!

Orange juice: What is preventing you from making your own orange juice?  Do you know how inexpensive a citrus juicer is?  Look at this:

Does that look expensive? You can also buy this:

But let me ask you, do you know what’s in this?

I don’t know either!  No, it doesn’t taste like orange juice!  I do know one thing–it’s boiled!  That’s what “pasteurized” means!  Otherwise it would go bad.  Real juice goes bad very quickly and has no shelf-life.  Do you want to drink boiled juice?  If you squeezed fresh orange juice, would you boil it?  No, you’d drink it, of course.

Start buying your own ingredients…. and learn how to do something with them, it’s not that hard!  

Always remember, the salad is the main dish!  Take care, and see you again next time…. 


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

Write to Elaine at [email protected]

Visit her website: 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


  • Brilliant – can we have more of these please. Give Elaine my thumbs up – excellent and also written in a way a lay-man can understand.

  • Homeopathic students should learn to dowse- it is such a great help in remedy ,potency and frequency of dosage selection and most people can do it. (I have used dowsing with homeopathy for 50 years, so I think I can speak foom experience.) Try it!
    Don Hardyman.

  • Dear Elaine
    I thought this question and answer session was informative and easy to read. Covers so many key questions and shows the underlying real question often hidden in the apparently simple questions people ask.

    I totally support the idea of changing your diet to eat real food. How important is that! So many people today think they are eating real food because a package tells them they are. Don’t buy corporate food is the first step.

    Local food groups, transition towns and permaculture groups can assist in helping people find out what to do with fresh, real food and also on how to grow it. Local community colleges also often run cooking classes.

    Thanks again

  • Dear Sir,
    Excellant article for students and practioners as well.
    keep publishing articles which will boost the confidence of beginners and practioners.

  • Thanks everybody!!!!!

    I’ve tried dowsing, Don, and I just don’t get a definitive “answer”! Maybe you can write an article on it.

  • As usual, good to read, simple to understand. I no more feel any new to this science. I now know more about homeopathy than conventional medicine that I am using for 3 decades now.

  • Thanks Elaine, another excellent article – most helpful. I like your explanation of how homeopathy works and the reminder about barriers to cure.

  • As usual,most helpful,easy to read and understand. Where does one draw a line when it comes to ” alcohol ” consumption? One pint beer or single or double shot,regular basis,does it become evera part of
    your food or in the long run it does harm to your body. Does it interfere with the homeopathic medicine? Why is it necessary for some people every day?

    Do you think one should look at drinking, the same way as corporate junk food. Millions of people drink millions of gallons of liquors every day round the world. Does it become the ‘food / drink ‘ causing more harm than any good, like junk food?

  • Elaine..I understand, that each person is different and hence his remedies are based on his/her symptoms. For eg., An infant is prescribed with Nat-mur, can his remedy change to something else as he grows because his personality is changing..the way he deals with stress is changing and lets not ignore his hormonal changes too. How does this new remedy work on his body? Treating a teenage boy, should you know about the medication he used when he was an infant?

  • Well, Ravi, I don’t pretend to know a lot about this subject, but, one of the reasons liquor is so addicting is because it’s made from grains/starches, the same food items that people become addicted to; so, there’s a great similarity here. When people crave alcohol the most (late in the afternoon) it’s usually because their blood sugar has dropped. While some stop for a shot of whisky, others stop at Dunkin’ Donuts, it’s the same thing! If people who drink every day changed their diet, included more protein and less grains and kept their blood sugar at a constant level, the craving for alcohol would go down.

  • Smitha Rao, yes, remedies change. Your infant will no doubt need a different remedy the next time he gets sick. They say the constitutional remedy treats every illness, I haven’t personally seen that. So, I would suggest you get a home remedy kit so you will be prepared when your child comes down with a virus or injury. The idea of homeopathy is self-sufficiency. It enables a person to take care of him or herself and her family and friends. Buy an acute prescribing book too.

  • Excellent article and as usual, written in a simple language for everyone to understand. It’s really unfortunate that our young generation is “addicted” to corporate junk food. How I wish I could make my grandchildren understand the value of real food.

  • Love reading Elaine’s stuff – she writes with such conviction and clarity. Thanks!

  • As usual, an informative and ‘user friendly’ article. I have always found Elaine’s articles very useful. Thank you.

  • Elaine, thanks for all the articles, you really help us to think through things. You say: “We make a remedy out of Arsenic by watering it down to practically nothing and shaking it as well. At some point, there is going to be nothing left of it–just a hollow IMAGE, an “outline”, a “ghost” of Arsenic. It obviously can’t hurt you, but the immune system is still fooled by it as if it were real!”

    Now I thought that diluting and potentizing a remedy did not lessen its energetic reality but essentialized (or spiritualized it, if one will). But you speak of a “ghost of Arsenic”, i.e. if I’m understanding you right, the more we dilute and potentize a remedy, the less substantial it becomes. But if that is so, then the potentization would not work because you can’t potentize a ghost, wouldn’t you think? Also, to speak of a “hollow image” suggests a material perspective about the whole process of dilution. Yes, molecules disappear, but the “ghost” image you speak of is probably more akin to a spirit which increases in reality (potency) the more it is subtly energized. Perhaps this is what you mean by “ghost” but if so then “hollow” and “image” are not the right terms, because an “image” no longer has anything of the original Arsenicum substance. But my contention is that the diluted and potentized remedy is even more Arsenicum because it is closer to the spiritual archetype of this poison. Does any of this make sense? Thanks, Mark

  • Yes, Mark, we agree:

    “Yes, molecules disappear, but the “ghost” image you speak of is probably more akin to a spirit which increases in reality (potency) the more it is subtly energized. Perhaps this is what you mean by “ghost””

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