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Tidbits 107: Remedy Reactions

There are many ways one can respond to a homeopathic remedy. What do they all mean?

I was going through my homeopathy course notes and I came across a page titled “Remedy Reactions”.  You know, the saddest thing is when you’ve given the right remedy, but, because the reaction wasn’t what you expected, you dropped it and went looking for another — “better” — remedy.  I’ve done that.  That’s why this topic is so important. 

What should we expect after giving a homeopathic remedy?

Lifting of the Spirits

Well, of course, you expect the person to get well.  And by that, we’re all thinking the same thing: the chief complaint should go away!  We all want it to go away!  But you will be surprised to hear that what will go away instead, is the negativity on the mental/emotional plane!

You’ll ask, “Did the remedy work?”  “I’m no better,” the patient says.  What he won’t tell you is how great he’s feeling on the mental/emotional plane—because you didn’t ask!!!!  But this is how it is in homeopathy, the negativity on the mental/emotional plane almost always gets better first!  In fact, you will often hear a patient say, “I still have X,Y and Z, but I don’t care!”  This patient is headed towards cure, do not change remedies!  And no need to repeat the remedy unless he relapses on the mental/emotional plane.

Worst Thing Improves First

It may not be the “chief complaint”, per se.  For instance, you may have a migraine with nausea.  The first thing to go away will most likely be the nausea.  Why?  Your vital force determines that the nausea is the most limiting, the most “serious” part of the case.  You may be disappointed that the headache is still there.  Don’t be!  Healing takes place in stages, the worst thing always goes first.  Don’t repeat the remedy, you’re on your way towards cure.


No Change

You give a patient a remedy and nothing happens.  What does that mean?  It means you’ve either given the wrong remedy or the wrong potency.  Yes, don’t assume automatically that the remedy was wrong!  First, try the next potency.  If you gave a 30C and nothing happened, give the 200C a try.  If still nothing is happening and you’re quite sure you’ve picked the right remedy, try the 1M.  I read a case in Simillimum once where a comatose snake-bite patient didn’t respond to Lachesis until it was finally given in the 10M potency.  But notice that the potency does have something to do with how recent and how intense a complaint is!  The more recent and intense, the more appropriate the higher potencies are.

Rapid Improvement

Remedy and potency were spot-on and complaint was probably recent.

Aggravation Followed By Improvement

Good prognosis!  The potency may have been too high, but your body, or “vital force”, overcame it, rebounded, and vanquished the complaint.  No need to repeat the remedy unless there’s a relapse.

Long Aggravation Followed By Slow Improvement

Patient is weak, vital force is weak, close to being incurable, don’t repeat the remedy, unless there’s a relapse; otherwise, just wait.  Always remember this rule, especially for these patients teeter-tottering on the edge:

An aggravation means stop dosing.  A striking improvement means stop dosing for as long as the improvement lasts.  A patient with a weak vital force should receive a very diluted dose to hopefully prevent an aggravation. 

See the video below (under the next topic) showing the practitioner going to “extra cups”.

Long Aggravation Followed By Decline

Patient is incurable.  Resort to palliation.  Palliative remedies have to be repeated often because they’re not getting to the underlying cause.  When you’re repeating remedies, they should be in water with roughly five succussions before each dose.  If you don’t do that, the patient will develop a tolerance to the remedy and it will stop working.  To see how to make a water potency, click below:


Aggravation Followed By Short Improvement

Often means incurable; but you can try repeating the remedy as needed, only give it in the 6th cup this time since it aggravated the first time.  How do you give a remedy in the 6th cup?  Get a medium-to-large sized plastic cup, fill with water, drop in a pellet of the remedy.  Then dump out and refill cup 6 times and then give a sip.  Yes, the pellet will be dumped out too, it doesn’t matter.  The idea is we’re trying to make the remedy more gentle and less likely to aggravate.  And so if patient replapses again, what should you do?  Get the cup you used for the last dose and stir it!  Now give another sip.  And listen, don’t stir with one of your good spoons, use a plastic spoon, plastic fork, etc. because that spoon will always be a “remedy” for who-knows-how-long!

Rapid Improvement Followed By Aggravation

Patient is incurable.  Try the “Aggravation Zapper”.

Aggravation Zapper

Amelioration Followed By New Symptoms…

…necessitating a new remedy, followed by more new symptoms….  Case is incurable.

Remedy Causes a Proving…

…or strange new symptoms.  If patient improves despite the “proving”, just wait.  But if proving symptoms are distressing, do the Aggravation Zapper.

New Symptoms Appear That Are Common To The Disease

It probably means the remedy had no effect.  If you’re sure you picked the right remedy, raise the potency.  If you’re not sure, re-take the case and see if a better remedy matches.

Aggravation Followed By Return of Old Symptoms

Good prognosis.  Give remedy for the return of old symptoms if they don’t go away or are distressing.  Otherwise, old symptoms coming back usually last a short time and leave on their own.

Remedy Goes Against Hering’s Law

This means, local complaint gets better but a worsening occurs at a deeper level, like the mental/emotional plane.  This is generally what happens after a prescription drug is given: local improvement followed by patient getting sicker in general.  (These are called “side-effects”, but we can do better than this!)

Either re-prescribe or antidote (do the Aggravation Zapper) and then represcribe.  Remember, when you pick a remedy for a case, you don’t start at the bottom!  The bottom is all the local symptoms, the symptoms that start with the word “My”.  “My throat is sore,” “My nose is running.”  You should prescribe on the “Generals”, the symptoms that start with the word “I”:  “I’m cold, I’m dizzy, tired and thirstless and I just want to sleep.”  That’s Gelsemium.

So if you were thinking, “Oh!  Sore throat!  That must be Belladonna!” and you gave Belladonna and the sore throat went away but now the patient is agitated and in a much worse state than he was before, then that is not a good trade-off, it’s not a remedy result we want to see.  You would want to antidote Belladonna and give a remedy that matches the Generals.  Of course, if you can find a remedy that matches everything in the case, that’s perfect!  But when we’re not so lucky, a remedy that matches the Generals will typically cure the local symptoms and Generals as well and there will be no suppression to a deeper plane. 

Patient Falls Asleep

This is especially true in children, but it can happen to adults too.  You give a remedy and if it’s the right one, the patient falls asleep.  This is a great sign!  It is not an emergency and nothing has gone wrong!  Especially if the sleep is restful and not fitful.  Let them sleep. 

There May Be A Discharging Event

Don’t be surprised if a patient vomits after a remedy, after which he feels perfectly fine and even falls asleep and wakes up as if he had never been sick at all.  This doesn’t happen every time but it might on occasion so be prepared so you’ll know that it does not mean your patient is getting sicker or needs another remedy, or any remedy at all.


OK, I see our time is up.  I hope this helps you!  See you again next time!


Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom

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

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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: and

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