Do’s and Don’ts for Homeopathic Patients

  1. While under homeopathic treatment for chronic illness, it is best to notify your homeopath before taking any new medications or other homeopathic remedies. An exception to this is a first aid or emergency situation, in which case you should take the appropriate remedy or action immediately and call your practitioner afterwards.
  2. Wait at least five minutes after eating or drinking before taking your remedy. Strong odors or tastes may interfere with the remedy.
  3. Avoid touching the remedy with your hands in case you have recently handled a strong smelling substance. Use the vial cap or a clean spoon, and place the remedy under your tongue to avoid contaminating the remedy.
  4. Don’t expose your remedy to direct sunlight, magnets, or strong aromatic odors such as camphor, solvents, paint, and chemicals.
  5. If you are traveling with homeopathic remedies, take them as carry on luggage and hand them to the attendant when your luggage goes through the airport x-ray machine.

Homeopathic Antidoting

Homeopaths have observed repeatedly that certain substances or influences can disturb the vital force resulting in an interference with the action of the homeopathic medicine. This phenomenon is known as antidoting. When antidoting occurs, the healing effects of the remedy will stop, either temporarily or permanently, and your symptoms will return, partially or completely. The relapse may be sudden or gradual. It is unknown why these substances interfere with the effect of homeopathic remedies. Antidoting may occur at any time, even two years after a remedy has been given, if you are particularly sensitive to the substance or the effect of the exposure is strong enough to affect your vital force.

Debbie’s health improved dramatically from Sulphur. Her vaginal irritation was improved, her hemorrhoids were gone, her premenstrual symptoms were no longer a problem, and her energy was much better. That is, until she ate some coffee flavored cookies at a Christmas party. “A week later my constipation, hemorrhoids, and vaginal itching. returned. I felt dramatically different. After feeling so good for seven months after taking Sulphur, my health took a nosedive. My energy lagged. I had headaches, mood swings, and premenstrual acne again. By mid-January, I couldn’t stand feeling so bad anymore. I went back to get another remedy. Make sure those cookies don’t have espresso in them. It’s really not worth antidoting your remedy!”

Tess had derived considerable benefit from Borax for her joint pains and touchy moods. Many of her symptoms returned less than one month after she took her last homeopathic remedy. Her homeopath was puzzled and decided to wait another month to evaluate Tess’s symptoms. As Tess checked out with the clinic receptionist, she took a jar out of her purse. “By the way, I want to make sure this lip balm is compatible with homeopathic remedies. On reading the label, her homeopath noticed that menthol was one of the first ingredients. This explained why her symptoms had returned so soon.

Homeopaths have observed that the substances and influences listed below may antidote homeopathic remedies, but the approach taken by each practitioner varies. Many practitioners give their patients a list of substances to avoid. Others decide not to make antidotion an issue unless it actually occurs. Many homeopathic practitioners estimate that the treatment of approximately 60 percent of their patients will be adversely affected by ingesting coffee. Your homeopath may recommend that you avoid coffee entirely or she may say nothing at all until she sees whether the treatment has been successful.

These are the guidelines that we give to our patients based on our own clinical experience. We have seen many cases in which the substances and influences mentioned have interfered with homeopathic treatment and prefer to err in the direction of being overcautious, particularly while we are still trying to find the best remedy for the patient. We have discussed the issue of antidotion with many other homeopaths and their opinions vary with their own experience with patients. What is most important is that that you follow the instructions of your homeopath in this matter.

What to Avoid While Under Homeopathic Treatment

  1. Coffee: This is the one substance that most often interferes with homeopathic treatment. Even one sip of coffee or a small amount of coffee ice cream, Kahlua, or coffee candy may be sufficient to disturb the treatment. It appears to be the oils in coffee rather than the caffeine that is the culprit. Other caffeinated substances, although not considered healthy, do not usually interfere with homeopathic treatment.
  2. Electric blankets: They affect the action of remedies by altering your body’s electromagnetic field.
  3. Aromatic substances: Avoid camphor, eucalyptus, menthol, and any products that contain them including Vick’s, Noxema, Tiger Balm, Ben Gay, Calamine lotion, and cough drops and lozenges containing these substances. This includes aromatherapy oils as well as mouthwashes containing menthol and other aromatic compounds. Citronella oil, pennyroyal, and other aromatic herbal mosquito repellants, all thuja and tea tree products, peppermint oil, and lavender oil may interfere due to their aromaticity. Chapstick, Blistex, and other aromatic lip balms should also be avoided, although fruit-flavored balms are fine. Strong fumes from oil based paint, turpentine, paint thinner and certain household cleaning agents such as Pine Sol, Lysol, and strong smelling industrial chemicals may also interfere, depending on individual sensitivity.
  4. Medications: Homeopathic medicines will not prevent prescription drugs from working, but prescription drugs may interfere with homeopathic remedies. These include antibiotics, cortisone, and antifungals, whether topical or oral. Consult with your practitioner about any drugs that you are taking. She might ask to consult with the prescribing physician. If you experience severe pain, aspirin or Tylenol usually do not interfere with homeopathic remedies.
  5. Immunizations: Immunizations sometimes interrupt the homeopathic healing process in certain individuals. Whether you take them or not is your personal choice, however you may want to discuss each specific immunization and your particular circumstances with your homeopath.
  6. Dental work: Dental drilling and the use of novocaine may disturb the effects of homeopathic remedies. It is preferable, if possible, to wait at least three or four months after taking a remedy to have dental work done, which gives your vital force more time to be strengthened by homeopathy. In the case of emergency dental work, have it done and call your homeopath afterwards. In many cases, homeopathic remedies will relieve dental pain until you have a chance to visit your dentist.
  7. Drugs: Avoid all recreational drugs including marijuana, cocaine, LSD, barbituates, and amphetamines. Alcohol in moderation is not a problem.
  8. Other homeopathic remedies: Do not use Bach Flower remedies, cell salts, or other homeopathic remedies without discussing them with your homeopath first.
  9. Herbs: Check with your homeopath before using herbs for specific medicinal purposes. Herb teas for beverage use, when varied from day to day, are fine, as are culinary herbs. Chinese herbs may antidote remedies in some cases. If you’ve been given Natrum muriaticum, you will be advised to avoid peppermint in all forms, including tea. There may be other specific substances that your homeopath will ask you to avoid when taking a particular remedy.
  10. Vitamins: Let your homeopath know which vitamins you are taking. Using a particular vitamin to eliminate a particular symptom may make it difficult for your homeopath to evaluate your symptoms. Multivitamins and minerals usually do not disturb homeopathic treatment.
  11. Beauty treatments: Permanent waves often interfere with remedies because of the harsh and aromatic chemicals. Electrolysis and aromatic facial and skin products and treatments are usually not compatible with homeopathy.
  12. Other therapies: Acupuncture and therapeutic ultrasound have been known to disturb homeopathic treatment. Please discuss this with your practitioner.

The Patient’s Freedom During Homeopathic Treatment

You may feel that the list of potential antidotes places too many restrictions on your life and makes you feel rebellious. Most patients who choose homeopathy find that it becomes relatively easy to avoid these substances and that allowing their remedies to work over time is well worth the effort. They find that the increased freedom in their lives resulting from homeopathy is greater than the freedom to drink coffee or use menthol. If you do feel too restricted by your homeopathic treatment, discuss this with your practitioner. Perhaps you are avoiding some substances unnecessarily.

Factors Which Do Not Interfere with Homeopathic Treatment

  1. Medications: Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories will usually not interfere with homeopathic treatment. Prescription medications may or may not be compatible with homeopathy. Check with your homeopath.
  2. Heating pads and water bed heaters.
  3. Medical tests: Blood tests, x-rays, mammograms, Pap smears.
  4. Dental examination and cleaning (except ultrasonic cleaning).
  5. Cleaning products: Ammonia and bleach. (It’s best to wear rubber gloves and to dilute these products).
  6. Personal care products: Most toothpastes, deodorants that are not strongly aromatic, aftershaves without menthol. Soaps, perfumes, and colognes that do not contain the substances listed. Be sure to read the labels carefully.
  7. Therapies: Massage (using non-aromatic oils), chiropractic adjustments and other forms of bodywork are generally compatible with homeopathy. If your complaints are primarily musculoskeletal, it is best to discuss the frequency of these treatments with your homeopath.

“All these things must be eliminated or else avoided as much as possible if cure is not to be prevented or impeded.”

Samuel Hahnemann, Organon of Medicine, Sixth Edition.

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Written by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW

Explore Wellness in 2021