Homeopathy is one of my favorite alternative forms of medicine—and one that I often use in treating a variety of conditions. Because it’s different from other types of remedies, my patients frequently have questions about it. Here are a few basic dos and don’ts that can help you make homeopathy work more effectively for you…

DO give each remedy a chance to work, but DON’T keep taking a remedy that isn’t helping. Homeopathy works quickly when you have an acute health problem… and you have the right remedy. If your symptoms are acute—you have localized pain from an injury or a stomachache, for example—you should feel better in a few minutes. For a viral infection, it may take one or more doses over a 24-hour period to feel better. For a chronic illness, it could take several doses daily over a period of weeks. What’s most important: Making sure you have the right remedy. How will you know? You will feel better. If it’s the wrong remedy for you and you continue to take it, there is a small chance that you will bring on the very symptoms that you are trying to relieve.

DO diagnose yourself—but not always. Patients seem to be good at treating first-aid conditions, such as bruises or bug bites, on their own. Seek the help of a professional for other, difficult-to-treat conditions, including heart disease or arthritis.

DON’T eat or drink anything (except water) for five minutes before or after taking a remedy. Homeopathic remedies are more effective when taken on their own. These remedies are known as vibrational medicines. That’s because homeopathy is based on the idea that remedies retain the “energy,” or “frequency,” of the plants from which they are made. It’s important to avoid coffee or anything strong-smelling, such as peppermint or other essential oils, which may interfere with these frequencies.

DON’T touch the pellets before ingesting them. You can interfere with the frequency of a remedy when you touch it and introduce new frequencies to it, such as soap residue from your hands. The pellets are more potent (and effective) when dispensed into the lid of the container and then tilted directly into your mouth, avoiding contact with your hands.

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