Homeopathy Papers Materia Medica

Nosodes! When Do We Need Them?

Elaine Lewis simplifies and clarifies our doubts about the use of nosodes.

I recently read a post on the hpathy discussion board from someone who wanted to potentize (make a remedy out of) his saliva as a kind of cure-all.  He had tried it the night before and was disappointed by the results—as he basically got no results!  It occurred to me that people don’t know what kind of remedy this is or when to use it—remedies made from body fluids, usually diseased body fluids, which we call “Nosodes”; and I should probably point out that a nosode is a remedy made from a disease or a discharge; so, for example, Carcinosin is made from breast cancer (namely, a discharge from a cancerous breast); the remedy Medorrhinum is made from a gonorrheal discharge.  There are many remedies of this sort.  Some are “polychrests”, meaning they have full “provings” (meaning a lot is known about them) and are prescribed often for both acute problems and as constitutional remedies as well.  Other nosodes have no provings, such as Influenzinum—a remedy made from the flu—and would never be prescribed constitutionally but only as a preventive remedy during flu season (or for the flu itself). 

So I think it’s high time we had a list of reasons for giving a nosode; when should we give a remedy made out of diseased tissue and why?  Here we go:

When To Use a Nosode

1. When well-chosen remedies don’t act or hold or when the case is constantly relapsing.

2. Symptoms change a lot from one day to the next (unstable case).

3. Remedy stops working and picture remains the same–something is blocking the remedy from working.  (I hesitate to say “remedy stops working”.  Often one only needs to repeat the remedy or raise the potency.  But if all that has been tried to no avail, and then you move on to another remedy, and that works, and then stops working just like the first one did, it’s a sign you need a nosode; there’s a block in the case, we call it a “miasm”.)

4. Never well since an acute infection like the flu–and often we see this because a fever has been interfered with or suppressed with drugs, leading to a non-stop bizarre illness which leads to more drugs being taken, and more damage to the immune system and it’s just a horrendous downward spiral.  It would be impossible to assume that such a person would be putting out a single remedy picture, like Phosphorus or Belladonna, during such a time.

5. You have a severe acute and remedies are poorly indicated, you can’t find a remedy that matches the whole case.  It looks a little bit like Gelsemium, but also a little bit like Mercury, and maybe a little bit like Phosphorus and a few more things, and in the final analysis, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

6. No characteristic symptoms in the case, just the common symptoms of the disease are present.

7. Several polychrests (ordinary remedies like Phosphorus, Sulphur, Arsenicum, Sepia, etc.) fit the case, meaning the disease isn’t putting out a single remedy picture.

8. Prophylaxis (epidemic prescribing).  An example of prophylaxis is giving Influenzinum 30C once a month during flu season as a kind of prevention.  It can even be the case that the remedy for your flu IS Influenzinum!  That happened to me once, Influenzinum cured my flu when “regular” remedies failed and I finally went to it as a last resort.  You can also take the nosode at the very beginning of an acute, before any definable symptoms have developed.

9. When the nosode is the same as the micro-organism infecting the person.  So, for example, a person with a yeast infection might take Candida albicans 30C—again, this would be if there are no characteristic symptoms to go on, nothing but the common symptoms of a yeast infection.

10. When the nosode is the person’s constitutional remedy.  Some of our nosodes have “provings” and are, therefore, well-known polychrests, such as Medorrhinum, which is potentized gonorrhea.

After the nosode, the person might put out more symptoms indicative of an actual remedy, which the patient may misinterpret as “getting worse”, but will actually be a good sign that his immune system is pulling itself together.  Needless to say, at that time, the indicated remedy should be given.

Many years ago, following a dentist appointment, my daughter, Shana, came down with a strange illness which I thought was the flu, but after it went on too long it finally dawned on me it was a bacterial infection from the dental cleaning!  Just as the list shows above, she had unrecognizable symptoms, nothing I had ever seen before; well-selected remedies either didn’t act or hold, every time I thought she was getting better, she relapsed; plus, remedies were poorly indicated (as nothing truly matched this highly unusual presentation).  It was clearly time for a nosode, as I had tried for over a week with one common remedy after another and getting nowhere!

I made a remedy from her morning saliva which smelled really bad–and that’s what you want, some discharge where you’re quite sure the “illness” is residing.  If her mouth smelled clean, saliva wouldn’t be my first choice.  I asked her to rinse and spit into a cup.  I swished the cup around and poured it into a half-filled small bottle of spring water.  You need it to be half-filled so you can do succussion (pounding the bottle into your opposite palm 40 times).

I succussed 40 times, dumped 90% of it out, refilled with bottled water to the half-way mark, succussed 40 times again, kept doing this procedure of dumping out, refilling and succussing and I did it for a total of 6 times altogether, and gave her many doses of that with 10 succussions before each dose, roughly every 15 minutes, and within less than two hours, she was back to normal, back to being herself!  Completely WELL.  It was miraculous!!!  It was the greatest miracle I’d ever seen!

Since I had to label the bottle, I said, “What should we call it?”  She said, “Who cares!”  I said, “Fine!”  So I labelled it “Who Cares 6C”.  I have to tell you that I needed to give that remedy for a long time, possibly weeks, due to occasional relapsing!  I had to plus the bottle (raise the potency) many times going forward (which you’d expect with a 6C since it’s a low potency) and there were times I wondered if we would go on like this forever!  But, eventually, she made a complete recovery.  I held on to “Who Cares” for a long, long time before finally feeling safe in throwing it away.  Thank goodness I knew about “autopathic prescribing” (making a remedy from your own body) or what would I have done?  I shudder to think!  You should also read my article, “How To Make Your Own Remedy” which is on my website: https://ElaineLewis.hpathy.com.

I should add that this same reasoning applies when the etiological remedy is needed!  That means, do you know what caused your complaint?  Then that’s the remedy!  Make a remedy out of it!  More often than not, it’s a drug!  And more often than not, the drug has caused a rash with insane itching!  Make a remedy out of one of the capsules or pills.  See my aforementioned article for directions.  

If it was something you ate, you can conceivably make a remedy out of the food if the usual remedies haven’t worked or aren’t available.  OR, you can spit into an ounce of water, swish it around and then make a 6C remedy out of the water as described above.

Good luck on using nosodes!


Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom

Elaine takes online cases, write to her at [email protected]

Visit her website: https://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


  • Without any doubt in common sense homeopathic Nosodes prescribed on clinical cases have a real performance as immunemodulatory remedies ONLY on human and animal health and that is all…

    The clinical trails made worldwide on Clinical Homeopathy confirms such affirmative as also the homeopathic medical literature available for readers and healh professionals worldwide.

  • very informative article about the use of nosodes,thank you very much Elaine,I will printout the article and paste on my cupboard to see again and again and to store the knowledge deep into my mind.Thanks again.

  • If I had known my article would be displayed on someone’s cupboard, I’d have tried to draw little stick figures on it to make it more attractive. By the way, congratulations on knowing how to spell “cupboard”! There’s a word you don’t see everyday! On the basis of this alone, I am declaring Maryam from Pakistan the most highly educated person at hpathy.com!

  • Hi Elaine,enjoyed your article.I would have to disagree with you when you say that healthy body fluids have less value than diseased fluids.The secretions of the human body are full of healing properties and information.Surely a proving of healthy fluid would reveal this information in its pure form,without the interference of disease tissue.I recently did a proving of a healthy body fluid and it had many causes,both positive and negative.Every remedy has its polarities,whatever the substance.Thank for your article.

  • dear sir, ur article is very informative,but i disagree with your view that if the nosode is the same as the micro organism infected is an indication for prescription.though the organism may be same the individual expression will vary.hence a nosode can only be selected only if it fits the case individually or miasmatically.this indication maybe of help to vets more than us

  • Dear Bernie,

    I’m sure you are right in everything you say. But, consider this: you have a sick patient, some sort of infection. Remedies are not well-indicated. You decide to go for an auto-nosode. You can use the patient’s saliva, which is unchanged from normal, or you can use the discharge from the site of the infection. Which are you going to use? Which makes more sense?

    • Hi Elaine,
      thank you for your reply.I think that healthy saliva would be curative in treating many infections.Saliva contains natural disinfections and antimicrodial enzymes that kill bacteria,the phrase “licking your wounds” originates from this.I think though,that a full proving of saliva would need to be undertaken to establish a full remedy picture.Only then will the bodies secretions reveal their secrets.

  • i am authoe of 3 books on homeopathy and one book on allopathy(pharmacology);i am teaching in a medical college for last 14 years to MBBS students and practicing both allo. and homeooathy.
    no doubt it is an excellent and quite informative article.
    serial 5 in the article is not clear, may be it needs some correction.
    According to my experience i want to add that
    i. nosodes can be used on the beginning of treatment for example using tuberulinum at the start of treatment of tuberculous diathesis,or bacillinum before starting the treatment of intestinal worms.
    ii. nosodes are very effective if used periodically or intercurrently on weekly or fortnightly basis along with other remedies.
    iii. nosodes are also very useful when the homeo or even allopathic medicines stop working, these sensitize the body and the same medicines start working again. for example a diabetic patient who is on antidiabetic drugs become resistant to them and the same dose cant give same benefit,the nosode helps the patient and the same old dosage proves to be sufficient and efficacious.
    as far as potentizing the salive ie concerned i have found it always useful for the treatment purpose. in first week i give it in 1x, 2nd week 3x,3rd week 6x, etc along with the other indicated remedies.
    Best wishes and Regards.
    Dr Saif,MBBS,MPH,Registered Homeo. Practitioner,PAKISTAN

  • Sorry about number 5 being unclear. You’ve got a severe acute and remedies are only a partial match. In other words, you see the swelling of Apis, but no amelioration from cold; or you see the stiffness of Rhus tox, but no aggravation from sleep or sitting still. In other words, there’s no confirmation for any remedy. There’s no complete remedy picture. The case is baffling. This situation not only means a nosode may be necessary, it also means that the potentized drug or allergen, etc. that caused the illness is the only thing that will cure it.

    I agree with your remarks that at the beginning of the disease, where no specific remedy picture can be discerned, a nosode might be used to start the treatment; and, yes, when the indicated remedy stops working, raising the potency doesn’t help, and the picture is unchanged, giving a nosode at that point will enable the previous remedy to work again.

  • But hahnemann did not approve any nosode derived from the disease products of one body for curing the same disease in the same body.A disease product used to cure a similar disease in another body is only similimum to that disease and not “idem”he ridiculed the claims of isopathy.Nothing but disaster will result from employing the same disease product to cure it in the same body,the Master had warned. He is a pure experimenter, flawless observations and inferences.His conjunctures also extremely reliable !

    • So you’re saying that Hahnemann disapproved of auto-nosodes in the treatment in illness. But of course! That is perfectly understandable! Because what do we know of homeopathic prescribing? Remedy selection is based on what?
      1. etiology
      2. mental/emotionals
      3. strange/rare/peculiar
      4. generals
      and only lastly on the common symptoms of disease; so, of course, you can imagine how Hahnemann would feel if you over-looked all the keynotes of a remedy, like Arsenicum, for example, and gave a nosode instead! He would say, “Why did you overlook Arsenicum? The patient was clingy, needy, chilly, restless, anxiety-ridden…what were you thinking?!” Of course, that is understandable that that would be Hahnemann’s position; and it’s my position too!

      But now, again, what do you do when there is no clear remedy picture in a case? What do you do when the case is unstable? What do you do when well-selected remedies fail to act or hold? What do you do when several polychrests seem to fit the case? What do you do when all you’ve got are the common symptoms of the disease?

      • Dear madam,thankyou for honouring me with a prompt reply.But I can’t help telling that I’m NOT convinced.Clearly you can’t bring the name of Hahnemann to defend the logic behind auto-nosodes,since he has expressly denounced auto nosodes in the treatment of diseases.Alternatively if you claim that auto nosodes have acurative action independent of the “homeopathic laws of cure”,then why are you advising to first rule out {or eliminate} other homoeopathic remedies before deciding upon prescribing the auto nosode ? an auto-nosode should cure independent of the fact whether any other remedy is suitable or not.aren’t you in a way contradicting your own theory ? making my task easier ?
        Such half baked theories were there even before Hahnemann’s time, but wouldn’t stand the test of time.I don’t mean to offend any one madam, but want to uphold the supremacy of Homoeopathy which we are all agreed upon. Fallacious logic can be easily detected by rational minds among the scoffers and it can affect the already vulnerable image of Homoeopathy.If all such ISMS with doubtfull curative action are kept well away from Pure Hahnemannian Homoeopathy, we have a strong ground.

  • You never did answer my question: What do you do when well-selected remedies don’t act or hold? What do you do when no single remedy fully fits the case or is contraindicated because the patient is hot and the remedy is cold; or, the patient is better motion and the remedy is worse motion? What do you do in an unstable case? What do you do when you’ve got nothing but the common symptoms of the disease? I have to assume that you didn’t answer because you did not know the answer; but, thanks to this article, now you do!

  • Dear Elaine . Much impressed by your knowledge of nosodes. I ask you a question ” What would happen if we make a remedy from external etiological agent e.g. Pollen, seawater etc. or internal self body fluid having disease product, instead of finding a homeo. remedy or searching other qualifying conditions as you mentioned in your valuable article.” I want to know the value of etiological nosode/auto nosode from the very start in each stubborn/chronic/complicated case so that to facilitate the patient in much less time duration. Awaiting your reply. Regards. Saleem DHMS

    • Dear Saleem,

      I wouldn’t say as a matter of course start every case off this way! Just as I wouldn’t say, Never start a case off this way! When something is obvious, like a person saying, “My anti-depressant caused this itchy rash to break out!” then there is no doubt in my mind that a remedy has to be made out of the anti-depressant! Every case is not always so clear though. You ask yourself, “Where is the most clarity in the case, what is most self-evident? Is it the etiology? Is it the mental concomitant? Is it the pathology? Is there a clear picture of a remedy? Or is there just a whole lotta stuff going on with no rhyme or reason? These are the things you have to discern, which should lead you to the right treatment strategy. You also have to look at obstacles to the cure, like the person’s diet, drug use, alcohol use, and other lifestyle errors and environmental factors which could be causing the disorder. I very often find the patient’s complaint in the Rx drug the doctor has prescribed.

  • Dear Elaine. I am indebted to you for the detailed reply. A homeo. friend told me to cure the skin complaint of hands of a lemon beverage seller with 3x potency of a lemon juice. He also revealed to cure hepatitis with potentised blood serum of the concerned patient. Dr. Kashi Ram also reports in his book to an unconscious boy with 30c potency of his mouth saliva. I think that autopathy is the last resort to win the battle. Please would you like to explain me how to potentise head hair, nails, warts ,corns, dandruff i.e. all solid insoluble things. Thanks. Saleem

  • I prefer to stay away from things that I can’t make a powdery solution out of and mix with water, the way you can mash up a pill, like an aspirin, mix it with a little water, and then pour that mixture into half a bottle of spring water, succuss 40 times, and so on, and make a remedy out of it. I don’t know how I would do that with hair. But on the other hand, I’ve never had to use hair either. Here’s what I see making home remedies out of:

    1. Bad water
    2. Drugs
    3. Food, gravy, etc.
    4. A weed that caused a skin rash
    5. Bodily discharges like the discharge from a rash, or mucus that was coughed up or urine if there’s a bladder infection.

    I’ve never had to potentize insoluable things, and I hope I never do.

  • Dear Elaine . Thanks a lot for the reply. If these insoluble things i.e. Nails ,hair etc. are burnt out to ash , will their respective medicinal/autonosodic efficacy be still retained ? If this is feasible we could utalise them in the autopathic treatment of hair , nails etc. complaints. Required your precious views. Regards. Saleem

  • Mr. Saleem, sorry I didn’t see your reply earlier! I never heard of burning items and then making remedies from the ashes; but, theoretically, I suppose it can be done or at least tried.

  • Dear Elaine, When you make home remedies like you told before, what kind of bottle do you use? A plastic one, or glass?
    I do find very interesting your ideas about nosodes.

  • Hi Dana, I use plastic because glass is expensive, not easy to find, and pounding glass bottles into your palm (succussing) can get painful after a while. I can buy 8 ounce plastic bottles by the dozen for around $2.00 at Rite Aid. It comes to about 25 cents a bottle, you can’t beat that.

  • Hello Elaine,

    What can you say about using nosodes in LM potencies in chronic cases ? The only potencies I have seen/read that are used seem to be in 200c or 1M but homeopathic pharmacies sell nosodes in LMs. Will their actions be much different from C’s or M’s? Do they need to be taken in the same manner as other LM remedies (once, twice a day, depending on a person,)? Which potencies would you prefer to use? Also, do you know anything about virus nosodes, like Epstein Barr virus or cytomegalovirus? Would you use them in treatments if needed?

    Thank you,

  • Oy! Well, Nadia, basically the answer is this. There’s nothing special about a nosode that makes it require a certain potency! When people make a nosode out of their own body fluids, generally they make a 6C and take it 3 or 4 times a day. You can always raise the potency as you go along if need be. Potency selection is generally based on how recent and intense your symptoms are. A flu generally requires nothing less than a 200C; and, in fact, our main flu nosode, Oscillococcinum, comes in the 200C potency only. You repeat a remedy as needed. If you are over 50% improved, stop dosing. Dose again if you start to relapse or if the case stalls (stops moving toward cure). Also, stop dosing if you’re having an aggravation from your previous dose. There is no reason a nosode can’t be given in LM potency or any potency for that matter. About virus nosodes you mentioned, Oscillococcinum and Influenzinum are virus nosodes. Sometimes they will cure a flu. They have for me. Again, whether or not you would use Epstein Barr 30C would depend on whether they had the Epstein Barr virus, and there was no clear remedy picture as stated above in the article.

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