Domenick J. Masiello, D.O.
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Taking Homeopathic Remedies

Remedy Formats – Homeopathic remedies can be dispensed in several different formats. Tinctures are alcoholic extracts provided in dropper bottles. The number of drops to be taken in a glass of water will be noted on the bottle. Liquid attenuations are made by dissolving high potency homeopathic pellets in water or by adding a high-potency liquid remedy to water. These are dispensed in plastic prescription-type bottles. Directions for use will be on the bottle. Homeopathic remedies can also be dispensed as tiny pellets or small tablets. These will be dispensed either in plastic prescription-type vials or in paper envelopes. Either way, the directions for use will be noted on the container.

Plusing A Remedy – Sometimes you will be asked to plus a remedy. Plussing is performed in the following manner. Several (about 6) pellets are put into a 6 or 8 ounce bottle of spring water such as Poland Spring or Evian (filtered water is okay but not chlorinated tap water). The bottle is shaken to dissolve the pellets and a sip of the solution is taken. The dose is repeated every few minutes or hours (you will be instructed on the exact frequency of the dose). Before taking each dose of the solution, the water bottle should be shaken vigorously. This increases the potency ever so slightly and thus increases the efficacy of the remedy.

Remedy Storage – Remedies should be stored out of direct sunlight and away from highly scented items such as incense, mint, mothballs, perfume, camphor, wintergreen, eucalyptus and essential oils. The exposure of homeopathic remedies to various airport security scanning devices seems to be okay. However, if you are checking baggage for a flight, put the remedy kit in with your checked luggage for added protection.

Taking Remedies – When taking remedies, do not touch the pellets or tablets. Tap the appropriate number of pellets into the bottle cap and then just pour them from the cap to your mouth. In the case of pellets dispensed in an envelope, tap the pellets onto a clean piece of paper, a paper cup or a spoon. Allow the pellets or tablets to dissolve on or under your tongue. Do not eat, drink or smoke anything 30 minutes before or after taking a remedy. This includes other medications as well as vitamins and supplements. Water is permitted anytime before or after a remedy. Conventional medications, herbs and supplements may have to be discontinued during homeopathic treatment. This is decided on an individual basis at the time of the first visit.

Getting The Most From Your Remedies – Certain substances will decrease the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies and if used during the first few months of a chronic case, can confuse the interpretation of your response. Cannabis has deep and powerful effects on your nervous system and should never be consumed during homeopathic treatment. Smoking pot somehow prevents your body from reacting completely to the remedy and your case will become an endless series of partial responses. Patients can be in treatment for years while smoking pot and never have a deep curative response to a remedy. Regular use of coffee (including decaffeinated) and mint products (like mint tea, mint toothpaste and mouthwash) will decrease your body’s response to a remedy by about 75%. Other offending substances include aromatics like strong perfumes, camphor, wintergreen, eucalyptus, menthol, and essential oils. These are found in products such as Vicks, Tiger Balm, Ben Gay, Mineral Ice, various throat lozenges and bubble baths. Small amounts of perfume (applied to clothing not skin) and deodorants are acceptable. Anti-perspirants, while not detrimental to homeopathic remedies, are nonetheless unhealthy because they suppress a normal physiological response. Black or green tea in moderation and cooking herbs are fine, however, regular use of herbal teas (some of which are remedies in their own right) may pose a problem.

When to Take Your Remedy – Please follow the instructions given with the remedy. As to time of day, unless specifically indicated, take the remedy when you are most relaxed. Unless a remedy is prescribed specifically for a menstrual problem, do not take the remedy during the first 4 days of your menstrual period. The stress of surgery, including dental surgery can also antidote a remedy. All elective procedures should be scheduled no sooner than three weeks after taking a remedy for chronic symptoms. Emergency surgery including dental procedures should not be delayed because of a homeopathic remedy.

Alternatives – These days it is fairly easy to find alternatives to mint toothpaste. Boiron, a French homeopathic company makes Homeodent, Tom’s of Maine has several non-mint toothpastes some made expressly for homeopathic patients. EcoDent is a brand of tooth powder available in health food stores that comes in a lemon-lime flavor.  Other brands are Nature’s Gate and Weleda. Most health food stores and many supermarkets now carry “natural” toothpastes. Please read labels carefully since mint is a natural substance. One can also use fruit flavored children’s toothpaste or just a wet toothbrush with some baking soda. After all, the cleaning action comes mostly from the brush and not the toothpaste.

Coffee alternatives abound in health food stores and the organic foods section of many supermarkets. Products like Caffix, Pero, Postum and Bambu are roasted grain coffee-substitutes that have been around for years. Black and green tea is also permitted in moderation. Herbal teas are fine as long as they do not contain mint. Many herbal teas are made from medicinal plants, so it is useful to vary the herbal teas you drink. This way you will not create symptoms associated with the herbal ingredients in the teas.

Unless you have a medical condition, that requires you to be maintained on a conventional drug, you should not routinely take any medication (including medicinal herbs) during homeopathic treatment. Please bring a list of all medications and herbs when you come for your first visit. A homeopathic home remedy kit is available for treating acute ailments during your care. An occasional dose of a drug like Tylenol, Advil or Aleve will not disturb your homeopathic treatment, however, frequent use of these products indicates that some health issue is not being properly addressed.

Please bear in mind that these are general guidelines based on tradition and experience. Your individual reaction to these substances may vary. That’s why it is best to avoid them during the first several months of treatment. When some of your chronic problems have begun to resolve you can indulge in these items. However, should your problems return, you will have personal proof that you should avoid these items. Ultimately, the patient chooses whether to get the most out of the remedies.