Organon & Philosophy

Frequently Asked Questions About Antidotes In Homeopathy

Siegfried Letzel has a very interesting (imaginary) conversation with Hahnemann, Boenninghausen, Jahr and Aegidi regarding the use of antidotes in homeopathy.

SL: Since the earliest days of homeopathy, homeopaths have seen patients showing signs of intoxication, which frequently have been pretty violent. Unfortunately, very often medical treatment caused the trouble. If we imagine, how have been the hygienic circumstances at those days, it will become clear to us that spoiled food, contamination of the drinking water, filthy life space added to the problem. From the very beginning and as a matter of routine, homeopaths gathered rich experience in handling such cases.

Even today, this area is of considerable relevance. Be it for the same reasons just mentioned before, be it that we have to face conditions caused by abuse of modern medicines, consumption of alcohol and drugs – a long list could be given.

Many homeopaths today find therapy of poisoning of any kind difficult to approach. Too many theories and suppositions about it circulate, and which informations really are reliable is difficult to be told. At any rate, it is a proven fact that a large area is conceded to the use of antidotes against substances of different toxicity. Homeopaths themselves often make the use of antidotes necessary, because they are not aware, how easily our remedies can bring about aggravation to a clinical picture.

For this reason, we intend to ask a few questions, which are going to be answered by acknowledged experts, whose outstanding experience and direct contact to original homeopathy is not and cannot be questioned in any way.

Our first questions are addressed to Dr. Hahnemann: ‘Have you ever used antidotes in your clinic? If yes, which are the cases when you consider the administration of an antidote?

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann: “You have mentioned aggravations of the clinical picture being caused by the therapist himself. I would like to briefly go into this. I have also done so in aphorism 249 in the Organon, 6th edition. According to my experience, hardly there can exist a dose of a highly potentiated homeopathic remedy fitting specifically to the case, which would be too small for bringing about considerable amelioration in a corresponding disease. For this reason, it is wrong and harmful, that in cases of no or just a slight aggravation of symptoms, the dose is being repeated or even being enlarged.

Every aggravation by new symptoms, except that there exist actual triggers for them, only proves the inadequacy of the previously given medicine in this case of disease. Never will it  point to the weakness of the dose! In order to erase such new, remedy-induced and severe symptoms, an antidote can be given, before a better-chosen second remedy is being applied.

By the way, in this 6th edition of the Organon, I have inserted a new footnote missing in the previous editions of the book. It reflects my latest experiences, chiefly with new Q-potencies: ‘The well-trained and conscientiously cautious physician never will encounter the case when he will find it necessary to administer an antidote in his clinic. He only needs to begin with, as he has to, the smallest dose possible of the well-chosen remedy. An equally small dose of the better chosen medicine will sort things out.’

SL: “This is how Dr. Hahnemann’s attitude finally stands about antidotes, which have played a relevant role in his theoretical teachings and practice in the past. And they still do in many homeopathic consulting rooms today. So we can see, that the application of the right dose of a well-chosen homeopathic medicine pretty often is not being managed properly.

Now, in such an unsuccessful case, we face the question on how we can recognize the necessity for the use of an antidote and on how to apply it properly. “

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann: “I only can warn everybody to blindly trust ‘recommended antidotes‘, like I have described it in the first part of my Materia Medica Pura (1830) in the chapter of Belladonna: ‘Almost all writers have nominated vinegar to be antidote of Belladonna. It has been done just by supposition, and because they have copied it from each other in equity. Yet, nothing is more untrue than this. My repeated experience teaches me that vinegar only aggravates even more the adverse effect of large doses of Belladonna.’

There is a better way how to proceed. I have developed it in the first volume of my work about The Chronic Diseases. There you will find: ‘In cases, when new, medicine-induced symptoms corresponding with the picture of the remedy appear, at first I recommend not to interfere, if they are not of considerable strength.
These new symptoms will subside under the continued beneficial action of the remedy.

However, if the new complaints are considerable and troublesome in strength, I see this as a sign for a wrong chosen remedy. In this case I suggest the application a dose of antidote or, if lacking one, of a better chosen homeopathic remedy.’

If already present symptoms of the disease aggravate during the first days after the application of a medicine within the bounds of a homeopathic aggravation, cure is to be expected.
It is different, if such an aggravation occurs delayed, what points to a dose, which has been chosen too high. This can speak for a resulting hindrance of cure. Even worse, the remedy can unfold symptoms, neutralizing similarity and replacing the similar natural disease by a dissimilar chronic disease without eliminating the former. This calls for the application of an antidote, or if unknown, for a remedy fitting as much as possible to the symptoms of now – and to be precise, in a very small dose! Probably another remedy will have to follow, if this does not wipe out the disease. If still appropriate, finally, the original remedy can be given in a dose much smaller, and with a much higher potency.

  1. v. Bönninghausen: “At this point I’d like to draw your attention to an essay written by Dr. J. Aegidi. I referred to it in my Systematic-Alphabetical Repertory of Homeopathic Remedies (1833). This article has been published in the Archive of the Homeopathic Art of Healing (XII. 1, page 121ff). There, Aegidi writes about the possibility, how a homeopathic remedy can change and aggravate the state of the disease, or how it can add so that the disease will get a different set of symptoms: ‘If we observe the state of the disease aggravating, namely, the characteristic symptoms aggravate intensively without any change or different appearance – what we call homeopathic aggravation: here, the medicine has covered the nature of the suffering and nothing has to be done any further. If one needs to take care of remarkable complaints, they make it necessary to use a suitable antidote, which frequently can be found in a second (if possible, even smaller) dose of the same remedy.’
    If the change affects the whole complex of symptoms, it proves that the remedy has been selected inappropriately and it needs to be replaced by a suitable one as soon as possible.’”

SL: “Suitable vs. unsuitable. We have believed of having chosen the right remedy, but we have been mistaken. The wanted result is missing. What can be done in order to get a better choice for a remedy? What helps us to exactly identify the best remedy? “

  1. v. Bönninghausens: “As the first approach, I would learn to understand how the remedies relate to each other. I have written a book ‘Attempt about the Relationships between Homeopathic Remedies, together with a Condensed Overview of their Peculiarities and Main Actions’ (1836). There, I dealt with this topic and I also drew the line between a family relationship and a mere antidotal relationship between our medicines.

Well, if a remedy has the ability to curatively erase medically induced symptoms of another medicine according to the similarity of its own effects (this is to say according to its after-effects), then I describe this mutual relationship with the term family relationship.

From this definition it arises, that I differentiate clearly between a family relationship and an antidotal relationship between remedies. For the latter, also the composition of the initial effects, which it causes, are taken into consideration, as long as they are appropriate in fast acting remedies and if by them, in cases of severe poisonings, diminution (neutralization) of the poisonous substance is being achieved.

If an antidote has been used against disease symptoms caused by a medical substance, and if it has removed them (by adequate timely application) by its initial effects, experience teaches, that only those symptoms are going to be erased. Other complaints of the disease found in the sick patient are not ameliorated in any way.

It is different, if in such a case the after-effects of a medicine bring about cure. Has a remedy been chosen for the suffering person which corresponds completely homeopathically to the existing group of symptoms (therefore being in family relationship with the former remedy), then, as a rule, one will find, that the new medicine will not only take away the newly stimulated symptoms. If complaints still remain which are in the field of the latter remedy, they also will be wiped out curatively.

Some medicines act much more curatively if another (related) remedy precedes!

The understanding for my Overview of Relationships, together with its use arises from what I have just mentioned. For the beginner, however, it will be necessary, briefly to elaborate the following:

Remedies in a family relationship are antidotes to each other, and they can successfully be used in preference within the range of their similar symptoms.

More certainly they will curatively (not palliatively, or with their initial effect) erase the arisen drug-induced complaints, rather than a different medicine would do, even if it may partially present similar symptoms. The reason why probably is, that every remedy, more than just the known strong and clear symptoms, each time also will arouse many other, weaker and therefore unrecognized changes in the condition of the patient. These symptoms often do not correspond to the other remedy. Consequently, the overall clinical picture is not homeopathically suitable for the latter. One shall not miss that not every related remedy is able to cure all of the disease symptoms being caused by the previous medicine.

Each medicine only can express such healing powers, which lie within its area of activity.

According to our experience, related remedies, which have been applied in sequence, act much more curatively than not related ones.

Aside from this, it is understood, that the principle of similars always is given the first and most necessary consideration when choosing a remedy.

Usually one will find several competing related remedies to choose from, especially in complicated chronic complaints. Often I have encountered, that during further and more detailed exploration and inquiry some formerly unnoticed symptoms were coming up, giving clear preference to one of these remedies. Success always has been exceptionally pleasant.

It is known at times to happen, that after the action of a seemingly well-chosen remedy symptoms have aggravated, like in a strong initial effect, without amelioration to follow. Not always this is due to a former misuse of the now given remedy. The reason for this phenomenon sometimes cannot be found out. In such a case, it is very much to prefer to give a dose of a related medicine, which is in line with the symptoms. I would not wait until the after-effect of the remedy subsides but I would immediately apply the following remedy, which is related as closely as possible. Almost ever I had the joy not only to observe quick amelioration of the complaints which have become stronger, but also to experience considerable amelioration of the total original pathological condition.

SL: “Mr. Boenninghausen, do you have an explanation for what really is the source for the power of antidotes? “

  1. v. Bönninghausen: “In 1832 I have written my book entitled ‘Systematic-Alphabetical Repertory of the Antipsoric Remedies’.

There I said that I am sure, that the power of remedies exclusively is based on pure homeopathic principles.

An antidotal relationship only can develop where similarity of the action of the medicines is being found. Since every medicine owns its individual peculiarities within this complex, surely there have to be cases, when only a few or no symptoms match. Consequently, an antidote, usually working effectively, will not lead to the expected success. This is why – for example – coffee and wine will erase the effect of Nux vomica in a patient, in others they will not even counter slightly. Also, lately approved experience, that very high potencies of a medicine are much less sensitive against raw consumption of an antidotal kind, needs to be seen from this point of view.

SL: “Mr. Boenninghausen, since you repeat once again, that the antidotal effect of remedies is based on pure homeopathic principles, does it mean that the application of antidotes does not differ from usual homeopathic treatment?”

  1. v. Bönninghausen: “In ‘The Aphorisms of Hippocrates with the Glosses of a Homeopath‘ I repeat: In all such coincidences being caused by the overdose of medicines or by other intoxications, only those remedies will help – if any help still possible – which have the ability to arouse similar complaints. This confirms the accuracy and correctness of our fundamental principle: Similia Similibus.

Before we spend a long time with pondering and over subtlety, let us have a look on how my esteemed friend, personal physician of Her Royal Highness, Dr. Aegid,i has expressed further about this in the Archive of the Homeopathic Art of Healing, Volume XII, Book 1, page 123 (This also can be read in my work ‘Homeopathy, A Textbook for the educated non-medical Readership‘): After the application of the best chosen remedies (according to the similarity of symptoms), not later than after eight days (in acute diseases after a much shorter period of time, often already after one minute), one out of two possibilities will appear to happen, namely either
A. The pathological condition changes,
B. it does not change.
The change of the pathological condition contains another three cases:
1. The condition ameliorates, or
2. It aggravates, or
3. The disease changes its symptom-complex. ‘

In this context, cases 2. and 3. are of interest.

Aegidi: ‘In the second case we observe an aggravation of the pathological condition. The characteristic symptoms aggravate intensively without a change or reshaping; the so-called homeopathic aggravation. Here, the remedy has covered the nature of the suffering and nothing has to be done any further. Patiently, we let pass the reaction. If the reaction is too strong or if it lasts for too long, one applies the right antidote. Amelioration will follow, and after the standstill, depending on the circumstances, the original remedy can be repeated in a still smaller dose, or another one, fitting better, is to be given.

The third case concerns the change of the symptom-complex. It proves that the remedy has been chosen inappropriately and as soon as possible, it needs to be replaced by one fitting better.
Still we need to consider case B., when the pathological condition does not change at all after the best-chosen remedy has been applied and the suffering person nourishes himself with proper diet and leads an irreproachable life. Depending on the degree of receptivity of the diseased person, a specifically selected remedy needs to be given against the loss of irritation. Then, the cautiously selected remedy needs to be applied repeatedly, or seldom only once, until a clear homeopathic aggravation appears. Amelioration will follow inexorably. Alternatively, we find several symptoms peculiar to the remedy, which have not been included in the symptom-complex of the disease before. By this, the case is getting more complicated, but not rarely, it will begin to ameliorate or express indication for a second remedy.

This makes it plausible that even in these aspects, the new teachings and our method of treatment does not lack firm norms. No time is wasted even in doubtful cases. It brings about cure as fast as nature permits for the disease. But we all also have to realize, that an error of judgement only can be corrected, when the physician is fully acquainted with the whole range of the effects of a medicine. And such an error of judgement only can be corrected, if the first remedy had been applied in such a small dose so that its power can be extinguished fast enough.’
This may sufficiently have answered your question.

SL: “In the beginning we have learned, that the true physician can avoid the use of antidotes only by avoidance of an overdose of the remedy. Can you still add to this topic? “

  1. v. Bönninghausen: “Yes, have a look at my ‘Lesser Writings‘: There, I wrote about the smallness of the dose. Contradiction on contradictions has accumulated about this topic. It is strange that the history of gradual reduction of the dose, and what Hahnemann has taught us according to the continued experiments he conducted during different times, his observations and experiences completely seem to have been ignored.

Hahnemann about homeopathic aggravation: ‘If the aggravated, original symptoms still appear with the same strength after later days or even stronger by then, so this is a sign for that the dose, even though well chosen, has been too strong. We fear that no cure can be achieved. A medicine given in such a dose may achieve a similar effect in some respect. However, at such intensity, the medicine also will unfold its other symptoms, which neutralize the similarity of symptoms. It will replace the natural disease by an artificial disease. This one will be stronger and more troublesome, without the original disease being erased.’

Hahnemann continues: ‘This – the overdose – one will know already after 16, 18, 30 days of action by the remedy given in a dose too large. This action needs to be stopped either by the application of an antidote or, if still unknown, by the application of another antipsoric medicine fitting best for the symptoms being displayed NOW. This needs to be done with a very small dose. If this action does not suffice to erase the distorted remedy-induced disease, a second medicine is to be given which matches as much as possible homeopathically.

I (Hahnemann) myself have experienced this accident, which needs to be avoided as much as possible and which is a severe obstacle to cure. For example it happened, when I applied Sepia in a dose too high, not knowing the strength of its medicinal power. More strikingly, when I had the patient to take 4, 6 globules (although of the size of a poppy-seed) of Lycopodium or Silicea in a trillion-fold potentization. ‘

How little a large dose of a medicine is able to unfold its full redeeming efficaciousness follows from what the founder of homeopathy adds next:

‘et us say, a homeopathically well-chosen remedy has been given and the dose has been too strong. After bringing about a stormy attack of aggravation, giving an antidote or the following use of other antipsoric medicines will ameliorate the symptoms, which initially have been raised. Now the antipsoric medicine, which has been harmful before, still can be given once again, if there is a homeopathic indication for it and it will lead to the best results… However, it has to be applied with a much smaller dose and with a much higher potentized dilution; this is, with reduced properties. ‘

Finally, Hahnemann still warns us: ‘, One does not make a slip, if the dose is given even smaller (if it would be possible) than I have advised myself. It hardly can be chosen too small, as long as everything is avoided in the patient’s diet and his other behaviour disturbing or neutralizing the action of the remedy. If then the remedy has been chosen incorrectly, the big advantage remains, that the action of this wrongly chosen remedy with its smallest dose, easily can be rendered indifferent the way I have explained before. This can be followed by application of an indicated antipsoric remedy and cure will continue without any further obstacle.’

This remark should be taken to heart and be followed especially by beginners. They should not turn a deaf ear to the urgent warning of Hahnemann, which he gave in the introduction to the Chronic Diseases, where he said, especially within the present context: ‘What would they have risked, to follow my advices already from the very beginning and first to use these small doses? However, ignorant and high-handed they preferred to use large doses in homeopathic treatment. So they made the same detour, which is so dangerous for the patient, and which I have made before, shivering but lucky, in order to prevent them from it. After having caused certain damage, and after having wasted, beautiful lifetime, finally, if they really want to cure, they arrive at the one and only right destination. It is what I have already explained faithfully and openly long before.’

It may not be missed, that specificists have claimed the unapproved assertion that the founder of homeopathy himself has turned away from, how they call it, the exaggerated smallness of dose, during his last years. They say, he has returned to large doses like in the first epoch of homeopathy.

Not only that in the end of the year 1838 the introduction to the last volume of the Chronic Diseases, second edition, tells exactly the opposite. Also, I am in the position to prove through uninterrupted and busy correspondence with Hahnemann from the year 1838 until about 2 months before his death that not only these claims contain no truth, but that the doses have been reduced in size more and more till last.”

SL: “This returns us again to the footnote of aphorism 249 of the 6th edition of the Organon.
Certainly, it cannot be neglected, that homeopathic antidotes are being used often in the sense of antagonists – as opponents to the exciting cause. Is this compatible with the principle of similimum as it has been mentioned before and on which antidotal treatment is depending? “

G.H.G. Jahr:  “This I need to make clear one and for all without any doubt. In my book ‘The Teachings and Principles of the Complete Theoretical and Practical Homeopathic Art of Healing’, I have written an essay about it. Indeed, not rarely in our school it is common procedure that in selection of the best fitting remedy the original cause of the present disease is being explored. Let us think about misuse of medicines, consumption of harmful food or drinks, spoiled stomach, extensive brainwork, physical exhaustion, mechanical injury, emotional response, heat, cold, being soaking wet etc. After they have been recognized correctly, one often feels legitimated to apply this one remedy, which is known to be more or less specific for this cause – without any further examination of similarity between the signs of the disease and the signs of the remedy.

It cannot be neglected, that there are remedies known to have homeopathic relationship to some certain cause of a disease. At least these medicines partially need to be in real homeopathic relationship to the signs, which have been aroused by this cause. This is why these remedies are given in such a case almost blindly and they can be used with success. We can see this quite often in our clinics. For example, we apply Chamomilla in bilious fever caused by anger, Coffea for harmful consequences after excessive joy, Pulsatilla for gastric complaints of an upset stomach, Nux vomica against misuse of coffee. Usually this is done without further investigation for symptom similitude and still, not rarely, with the greatest success.

Nevertheless, this procedure really cannot be recommended as truthfully rational and to be followed.

Even though success in many cases justifies such a choice of remedy, it is also clear that such a remedy, which has been chosen according to the cause of the complaints, always needs to match several characteristic symptoms of the case being brought about by this cause: the corresponding signs now belong only to one factor out of two they ought to belong to: Such a so-called specific antidote corresponds only to the inducing cause. However, it does not correspond to the other factor, namely the individuality of the signs of the diseased organism!

Often, it is confirmed in cases from the clinic, that such specifics against causes do nothing at all. The physician needs to look for a better suited remedy. Knowledge of the cause often may be important for setting up a therapeutical plan, especially if direct antidotes are known against them. And as safely this knowledge can lead us in many cases, as little it is suitable, without paying close attention to the present signs pointing safely and with firmness to a remedy. It does not matter how acknowledged such a remedy is to be specific against this cause.

The antidotes against the different causes are not different from certain specifics against pathognomonic conditions or against isolated characteristic symptoms. This is to say that they may be capable for being selected, but never are they readily indicated. In other words, in every case the cause can point to the remedies, which preferably can be considered.

However, the cause cannot point to the remedy, which is the best to be used in every case.

What adds to this is that very often nothing will be more difficult than to recognize the true cause for the condition. Consequently, the physician easily can introduce a wrong therapeutical plan, if the signs in this regard are not certain and if he is guided by such a faulty diagnosis in his choice of remedy. Only if such a cause for the condition proves true, for example in misuse of medicine or in other slow intoxications, in obvious emotional responses, exaggerated physical exertion etc., only here can and may a therapeutical plan be built on a cause for the condition.

However, even in these cases, the physician never fully will be able to trust those remedies being advised for such causes. Never will he know, if those physicians, who have recommended these remedies, have been sure, if their observation about the usefulness of a medicine for such a supposed cause really is based on a cause being responsible for the disease. It follows, that all the so-called specifics never can be used without exploration of similitude of signs. In every case, the physician will do much better in cases, when similarity is not being found sufficiently in a specific against the cause, then to use a different remedy with similar signs to the disease.
This equally counts for the so-called antidotes against medicines. The only difference now is that the specific effect of antidotes to a medicine has attentively been observed many times. For this reason, they usually are much safer than the remedies claimed to be useful against a certain cause.

Also here again, due to the different peculiarities of the individual organisms and because a remedy never can cover the total of the sphere of action of another remedy, there hardly can exist an absolute antidote for any remedy. No medicine can destroy all the symptoms caused by the action of another one. In most of the cases, a remedy can erase part of the complaints. Another one will erase others complaints. This depends on the similitude of signs of the remedy with the antidote.

It follows that those antidotes resembling with their essential and characteristic signs most closely those of the remedy, always will be the best and most frequent ones to be used. If, in a given case, such an antidote also is indicated as a single remedy, it is to be preferred against any other remedy.

On the other side, certainly and necessarily not only the main antidote of a medicine is to be avoided, but all previously known antidotes against such remedies, if in any special case none of them corresponds to the signs present. The reason why is: what brings about the antidotal power of a remedy against another one is, like in natural diseases, the similitude of signs. Only in cases of intoxications with large doses, when the chemical action of substances in the upper digestive tract needs to be neutralized by a chemical reaction, other laws are applied which do not belong here.

In a summary, this means: Even though the cause is a highly important aspect not to be disregarded in any choice of remedy, it never can decide this choice alone without exploration of the similitude of signs. Yes, the cause even cannot reliably give a hint to the best to be chosen remedy, if no safe antidotes are available but only vague antidotes being recommended. Even in cases when safe remedies are available, still symptom similarity between antidote and present case has to be considered. If this similitude has not been confirmed, another better indicated remedy has to be explored. This one needs to be looked for also beyond recommended antidotes of a cause.”

SL: “This you have made clear very comprehensively. Still there is the objection, that the common low homeopathic dose being applied cannot do anything against severe intoxications of any kind. Isn’t it that under such circumstances, dosing needs to be very high in order to achieve any positive result? Finally, this is an emergency case and the poison needs to be neutralized as fast as possible so that health can be restored! “

  1. v. Bönninghausen: “About this topic you are going to find something in my book ‘Homeopathy – a Textbook for the Educated, non-medical Readership‘.
    Well, at first, homeopathy does not distinguish considerably between poison and medicine. In linguistic usage, if one understands, that the term poison describes only such substances already being a critical threat for life when taken just in small amounts, it only indicates a higher degree of power and efficaciousness. However, the degree for this not only depends on the substance but also on the individual person and his susceptibility.

Different from normal food, both, medicines and poison, can bring about changes in the state of health in the human body. This counts for the diseased and for the healthy condition of a person. Equally well, as Arsenicum, Mercury chlorate and Acidum hydrocyanicum are medicines for both, allopaths and homeopaths and being used as such, just as homeopaths do, Chamomilla, Sambucus nigra, Coffea, China, Spigelia anthelmia and others need to be added to the group of poisons. Only the totally non-medicated, the nourishing things like Salep, Cocoa, Arrowroot, Arabic gum, etc. which are sold by the pharmacist, are either the one or the other. They are food, belonging rather to kitchen than to pharmacy.

With charitable intention, previous pharmacology has arranged poisons in extra common sections in order to make easier the overall view and to bring about help all the faster. For all of them antidotes are being listed. Consequently, in poisoning with corrosive substances, milk and mucous substances are advised, for narcotic ones salted water, vinegar, coffee, lemon juice, etc.
The homeopathic curative method, the nature of which in general is strict individualization, is not restricted       to such common instructions. What homeopathy and allopathy have in common is to consider, if the poison is still active within the body and if it needs to be removed as fast as possible, either by emptying it out or by chemical disintegration. Otherwise, only the dynamic effect on the living organism remains and needs to be erased.

The mechanical removal and the chemical neutralization of poisons still present as a substance in both methods are basically the same. They need to be the same because the method here is based on empirical knowledge. As the pain in the eye caused by a foreign body cannot be cured without the removal of the same, it is also impossible to restore the intoxicated person, as long as the poison rages within his bowels.

As soon as the poisonous substance is not anymore present as such within the body, usually a dynamic effect of it remains. In order to be able to wipe it out, the physician has two paths to follow, either the allopathic, or the homeopathic.

Allopathic treatment can only be used in cases when the effect of the poison is just of a very short duration, or if such a help is needed in order to support the mechanical removal of it. The homeopath knows that lasting disease symptoms will not be removed and be erased in doing so. This treatment will only help for a short duration and apparent amelioration will burst out again to a stronger degree and will aggravate.

Hence, in far most of the cases, the homeopath will take the homeopathic way to cure. He will treat such a dynamic effect from a poison or medicine just the way he would deal with another dynamic disease. He will apply the remedy, which certainly has the power and the inclination to rouse similar complaints in a living organism and which has the closest resemblance with the effects of the poison or the medicine.

What has briefly been outlined shall be illustrated more precisely. Let us explain, how the homeopathic physician will proceed with a given case of intoxication, and for this purpose, let as assume a patient being intoxicated with a single dose of a poisonous substance, for example by the fruit of the Belladonna.

After somebody has swallowed several berries of this poisonous (medicinal) plant, the doctor, who has been called, will immediately try to take it away mechanically. He will face the trouble, that the poison already has caused a severe unirritability of the stomach together with tetanic cramps. This prevents the effect of an emetic agent, which may be given. In this case, the physician is obliged to save live through the application of an antipathic medicine, a large amount of coffee, or – what may act faster and more effectively – an ethanol-based tincture of raw coffee with repeated small doses. This will erase the unirritability of stomach and oesophagus, and the simultaneous stimulation of the pharynx with a feather will bring about emesis.

Had the poison spread its effects even further, so that tormina together with a paralysed condition has appeared, coffee would not anymore lead to any positive result. Now one needs the help of meconium. It will act antipathically and palliatively. Has vomiting occured and the substance has been removed in this way, then the mechanic and allopathic method has done its job. Erasure of the remaining complaints will be done dynamically, only by means of the homeopathic procedure. The physician will choose and apply this one remedy, which, with the similarity of its pure effects, corresponds most closely with the present symptoms.

– How the homeopath will proceed, we are going to see in some examples.

First, when poisoning with Belladonna has happened, one will observe some paroxysmal sleep, similar to a lethargic, apoplectic condition. In such cases, fastest help will be brought about most often by meconium. To be precise, now it will not be applied antipathically anymore, but homeopathically. At times, Magnetis polus or, if special paralysis is present, Cocculus will help. In this regard, these three remedies arouse all initial effects similar to the action of Belladonna. On the other hand, if a condition of stupor appears, or if insanity or anger show up, help will be brought about by some very small doses of Hyoscyamus. Within a short period of time, it will also take away the swelling and stricture of the throat. This is done, because the one and the other lie within the range of the pure action of this medicine.

In a more favourable case, if only some kind of inebriation, like drunkenness, remains, it will clear up rapidly after the consumption of some wine (as the old botanist Tragus has taught in his herbal). The drink will help according to its well-known power.
At times, it will occur that Belladonna has been applied as a medicine in doses being too large. Headache with tearfulness and frostiness appear, aggravated in the evening, the patient being unable to sleep before midnight. Pulsatilla will cure this condition. It presents similar complaints by its characteristic peculiarities together with exacerbation in the evening.

The erysipeloidic swelling, which Belladonna can bring about so excellently, soon will be erased by the application of a small dose of Hepar sulfuris calcarea, because it owns the capability to arouse to the same degree similar erysipeloidic swellings in a healthy organism.

It would lead to far to follow this thread any further and to list all remedies able to act as homeopathic antidotes against the harmful action of Belladonna. I only want to add China, Colchicum, Cuprum, and Senega, the effects of which resemble Belladonna in some points and the antidotal action of which have been proven beneficial.

Only this needs to be mentioned once again: Vinegar, which has been promoted by almost all of the authors to be antidote against the narcotic Belladonna, will not lead to cure, but it will aggravate the complaints.”

SL: “You talk about small and very small doses respectively…”

Samuel Hahnemann: “In my Materia Medica Pura, you will find in the section of Ipecacuanha once again my confirmation for this. When this medicinal remedy is being applied, and poisonings are not excluded from this, the following applies (and I have also given examples for it): In all those cases of homeopathic curative use of this root, only very small doses are indicated. Before, I applied one drop of the diluted tincture of Ipecacuanha, which is a millionth of a grain. However, due to the unnecessary strong action in many cases I have seen that the dose for homeopathic use needs to be lessened even further.

Only if severe intoxication with a large dose of meconium needs to be defeated, a large dose of the tincture of Ipecacuanha (30, 40, 60 drops of the strong tincture) has to be used – if not drinking coffee (or the use of Camphora) is indicated by the circumstances.

SL: “Are there any more questions? “

About the author

Siegfried Letzel

Siegfried Letzel is a biologist and he also qualified as a natural health professional specializing in TCM and homeopathy. For the last couple years, he has been studying historical papers and the works of early homeopaths in search of the original and true homeopathy. Letzel is the curator of the Hahnemann Exhibition of the International Hahnemann Center Torgau and a board member of the umbrella Association of Hahnemann Sites in Meissen, the city where the founder of homeopathy was born. He has also contributed to various books on homeopathy.


  • Can you please tell us what is the antidote for Pulsatilla?
    Dose taken is 1 dose of 30Ch first day, 200ch second day, and 1 dose 1MK after 3 weeks.
    I feel like there was aggravation after 200ch, but was given another dose of 1MK after 3 weeks.

    Thank you

  • The best antidote is not to produce aggravation in using a lesser dose: with q-potencies (50 000 – scale) you more easily avoid aggravation (dosing: 6th edition. of the Organon). As antidote our old masters recommend the similitude before anything else. This means the homeopath needs to take the now present symptoms again, focusing on the new symptoms.
    … Just my 5 cent…

  • I read the article I am going through a similar situation of proving symptoms.
    Nux Vomica 30 C is taken twice a day for 2 months and stopped after noticing
    Constant nausea as proving symtomps.
    Can you tell me how to antidote this remedy?

    • First thing I would do is to stop taking any remedy.
      Homeopathy is not working like switching on/off the effect of a remedy acc. to ones own will.
      Our mental and physical makeup is far too complex for homeopathy working that way. We exist of an endless nummer of feedback control systems. And these systems were given disturbing variables over a couple of weeks by taking Nux vom 30 C. This cannot simply be made undone.
      So first to do is to give up sending the body signals of an artificial disease by a remedy: such an artificial disease by a remedy most similar to the natural disease usually seems to help retuning the regualtory systems of the body. Your body now fights a natural (the original) and an artificial (by the remedy) disease. This is more complicated.
      Why not approaching an educated homeopath to adjust your regulatory systems back to work as it was developed through evolution?
      So my 5 cent: stop taking any remedy for a while, at least until the constant nausea from the remedy has faded away. Then check for the symptoms still remaining and treat acc. to this. And never repeat a remedy like you did before! It will cause a real mess!
      So again: my best suggestion is to get help by an experienced homeopath. It will be cheaper than living with a complicated disease then impossible to cure…

    • Posting on behalf of Jochen:

      What Siegfried Letzel said is all correct. In addition, here is a general warning:
      Taking a C30 potency pure twice a day is a gross malpractice if it is a chronic medicine! There one comes quite soon into so-called proving symptoms!
      Better: Use the water glass method, i.e. about 5 globules in a glass of water, then stir vigorously and take a spoonful from time to time. And before each administration stir again with a vortex, because this changes the potency a little bit and so it can be repeated several times without getting into a drug proving right away. Important: Don’t use a metal spoon.

  • Hi you have quoted Hahnemanns chronic diseases – the following extract. Please can you signpost to where i will find this in the book. In cases, when new, medicine-induced symptoms corresponding with the picture of the remedy appear, at first I recommend not to interfere, if they are not of considerable strength.
    These new symptoms will subside under the continued beneficial action of the remedy.

    However, if the new complaints are considerable and troublesome in strength, I see this as a sign for a wrong chosen remedy. In this case I suggest the application a dose of antidote or, if lacking one, of a better chosen homeopathic remedy.’

  • I like what you said here from Bonninghausen “Also, lately approved experience, that very high potencies of a medicine are much less sensitive against raw consumption of an antidotal kind, needs to be seen from this point of view.”

    I makes sense to me that high potency remedies would be less vulnerable to antidoting from crude substances since they are existing on such a different energy plane. Does this match up to your clinical experience?

    • Dear Mikael,
      for years I use only Q-potencies (similar to LM-potencies). Since then, antidoting is not of a topic anymore. I face another problem: these remedies, given in water solutions of one globule acc. to Dr. Hahnemann’s suggestion, being further diluted and succussed prior to each dose, they act so gently that I tend to give up the remedy cause I don’t see an effect. And while thinking of another remedy for a while, it happens to perceive an action of the remedy. Often so subtle in the beginning, so that I do not know if it has to do with the treatment – but the change for the better has begun. My problem is to decide whether to wait for the next dose, or maybe to lift the potency.

      Hahnemann in Paris often had his patients to smell the remedies (in water solution). He seems to have known that the quantity of a dose is not the trigger in a case. It is how to push best the bodie’s self defence-mechanisms and regulatory circuits/feedback control systems so that it begins again to readjust/regulate the processes in the body. The push needs to be targeted well. You don’t need a cannon to ‘touch the button’. You need to antidote gunshots but not the gentle touch of the best remedy.

      For me the most difficult part was to trust the incredible small doses of Q-potencies. They deserve to be trusted…

      Honestly, I can’t answer your question from own experience. Maybe other readers can?

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