Why Homeopathic Remedies Sometimes Fail

Jun 14


Ronda Behnke ND

Ronda Behnke ND

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Homeopathy works great to help people heal.  Sometimes, the best indicated remedy fail to work; learn the four main reasons for this failure.


Homeopathic remedies are great healers,Why Homeopathic Remedies Sometimes Fail Articles but even the best selected remedy may not work, or may cause a condition to worsen.  There are a few key reasons why an indicated remedy doesn’t work. This article will explore those common reasons.

1.  Factors that Derange Health

This reason is the biggest factor why homeopathic remedies sometimes fail.  Factors that derange health are those situations that a person is exposed to often (or daily) that either keep the body from healing or make things worse, such as a smoker who develops bronchitis (a lung infection).  The homeopathic remedy can help the person heal the episode of bronchitis, but if the smoking isn’t stopped, the bronchitis will return.  Another example is a person with diarrhea who is sensitive to wheat.  If the person continues to eat wheat, the diarrhea will continue even with the best-indicated homeopathic remedy.

Many of our habits and lifestyle or dietary choices are the main sources of disease promotion.  With homeopathy, if the cause of a disease process isn’t stopped, then the disease would not heal, no matter the homeopathic remedy. 

Factors that Are Beyond Our Control

It is true that some Factors are beyond our control.  Our genetic code often wreaks havoc on our health at one point or another.  However, unless a person is born with a birth defect, the majority of the weaknesses in a person’s genetic code do not mean a person has to develop a given illness—it only makes the person more SUSCEPTIBLE to developing the disease IF the early signs of a disease are not treated properly.

For example, a woman’s mother developed breast cancer.  In medical terms, therefore, the woman, Angelica, is likely to develop breast cancer too, so they recommend either breast removal or a preventative drug.  Because Angelica’s mother had breast cancer, does it mean Angelica would develop breast cancer?  In medical reasonings:  yes.  In homeopathic reasonings:  NO.  Angelica could go her entire life without developing breast cancer even though her genetic code showed a weakness in this area.

Areas of Weakness

Even the most-healthiest of people have susceptibilities to disease.  After many generations of a person’s ancestors handing down their susceptibilities over many years, it’s a given that each person born will have areas of weakness within the body.  For the most part, these areas of weakness do not present themselves until there is a time of stress, either mental, emotional or physical, then the person will become aware of their area of weakness.

For children, those areas often present themselves during illness from a virus (such as the flu or a cold).  The child would get the characteristic cold/flu symptoms, but they will also have something different—like they’d develop an ear infection or a rash or a lingering cough.  Each time the child gets sick or has a time of high stress, he/she would then have symptoms develop in the same area of weakness.

For adults, most already know where they are “weak.”  The sinuses and the bowels are the two areas where most adults “show” their increased stresses.  “I always get a cold when I’m due for my annual review,” Agnes stated.  Her area of weakness was her sinuses—she had cold symptoms when she had fears about her performance evaluation.  “This diarrhea kept me up all night before the exam,” Kevin stated.  He developed diarrhea the night before college exams.

Areas of weakness are the most likely places for chronic diseases to form; but these chronic diseases tend to form ONLY WHEN a flare-up or acute situation is not treated properly.

Treating Acute Situations Properly

The body has a great ability to heal; it is always striving to return to a balanced state, a healthy state.  Symptoms of an illness are the body’s way of telling us that something is not right; symptoms often give us clues to help us heal.

But we’ve been taught by media, our medical doctor, and our companions that symptoms are a disease and must therefore be medicated/suppressed, as no one wants a disease.

When the voice of the body is ignored or suppressed, the voice gets louder and louder, hoping it will be heard.  So that one minor cough turns into an all-night cough, then a constant cough.  Or that one occasional bout of diarrhea becomes a daily issue.

Once the voice is silenced for too long, the body does its best to be as balanced as possible.  A person starts making changes in his life to accommodate the symptom that continue.  Perhaps daily drugs are taken to keep the sinuses open, or the wheat bread is now removed from the diet to keep the diarrhea at bay.  The person now has a chronic disease.  A disease becomes chronic when it lasts to the point that the “voice” is silent and the person alters his/her life to accommodate the symptoms that are now a part of his life.

To Heal, Look to What Can be Changed

Diseases are preventable and they are able to be reversed or healed.  But a person needs to make major changes in his/her life to make true healing happen.  In order to make healing occur and last, often habits and dietary and lifestyle alterations have to occur.

A homeopathic remedy can assist you in healing; but that healing will only last so long as the Factors that caused it in the first place are also removed.  Homeopathy cannot do it alone when it comes to healing chronic illnesses.  If the Factors that Derange Health are not removed then the disease process will continue and, in many respects, the person will believe the homeopathic remedy has failed.

2.  The Remedy Didn’t Match the Symptoms

Another reason why homeopathic remedies fail is that the Remedy was not the best indicated remedy for the symptoms presented.  There are several reasons why this may occur.

What is an Indication?

Consider the teenager who had an acute case of psoriasis:

·         A blonde school girl, age 17.

·         Psoriasis on the scalp and wrists for the past 2 months.

·         Crust thick, dry, but underneath, much inflammation.

·         Itching from exposure to cold air.

·         Generally good health.

Each of these symptoms is an INDICATION, a guide to help the homeopath determine the remedy to help this young woman heal.  Based on these symptoms, the indicated remedy for the symptoms was Arsenicum iodum (had it been a chronic case, the symptoms to be considered for remedy selection would’ve been different).

Therefore, an indication is a symptom.  The indication can be something specific about the presenting disease or something unique to the individual, such as how the person is affected by heat or cold, cravings of food and/or drinks, or how the person feels emotionally when they are ill.  Anyone who has seen a Classical Homeopath knows of the LONG initial interview in which we ask a LOT of questions.  Each of your answers can be an indication—something that helps the homeopath to determine the best remedy to help you heal.

How Hard is it to Pick the Best Remedy?

The list of the 5 symptoms/indications noted above for the 17-year-old with psoriasis would not be enough to narrow down a remedy for a chronic disease.  Remember, there are at least 4,400 homeopathic remedies available that may help with every disease known to man.  That’s a LOT of remedies.  Homeopaths have at their disposal computer software and books to help them narrow down the list of remedies to choose from based on the indications.  These books and the software put remedies that have shown to help different symptoms or groups of people with a specific type of characteristic, such as blond hair or oily skin.  The selections are based on clinical experience and “provings” of remedies.  For example, there are about 140 different remedies that have been shown to help with depression; this means that in the clinic, homeopaths have found that those 140 remedies had helped their patients with depression.  However, it does not mean that the other 4,000+ remedies wouldn’t help a person with depression—it just meant that, to date, practitioners have used those 140 remedies effectively for depression

The average length of time an average homeopath spends determining a remedy is at least 8 hours (if with books) or maybe 2 to 3 if they have computer software.

Practitioner Prejudice

Unfortunately, sometimes the practitioner himself can skew the remedy selection process, usually unintentionally, but I have heard of cases where the practitioner sought to make his case analysis technique easier so corners were cut.

Some practitioners know a handful of remedies very well and try to put each person into one of those remedies, selecting the one that sounds the closest to the person’s needs.  It’s kind of a backward way of doing things.  Technically, you interview the person then find the best remedy based on the symptoms provided.  When doing it backwards, you look at your remedies then look at only those symptoms the person has that will match one of the remedies.

Another way a practitioner may skew the results is when they look at only one class of remedies.  For example, if the practitioner knows the periodic table of elements well, and their indicated uses in homeopathy, he might only choose remedies from the periodic table, totally ignoring the plant, animal, nosode, etc. classes of remedies.  If a person isn’t a “mineral” person, he/she will not be helped from a mineral remedy (for chronic cases).

The Case was not Complete

As mentioned earlier, there are a LOT of remedies to assist people with healing.  Sometimes, the remedies are close to each other in indications, but there may be ONE small detail that would point to one remedy verses another.

An example of this was the remedies Calcarea carbonica and Baryta carbonica.  Both are greatly indicated in a child who has a “delay in developing mental as well as physical skills.”  However, the subtle difference between the two is that with the Calcarea carbonica child, the child is deliberately, even willfully, slowing his development in order to understand and assimilate new information.  The Baryta carbonica child’s slowness is not under his control—it’s more a retardation of development.

You can see that if the practitioner doesn’t fully understand the reason behind the child’s apparent slowness, he could pick the wrong remedy.

Another part of not having a complete case is when a practitioner looks at a couple of symptoms and selects a remedy based on those couple of pieces of information.  This is OK if the presenting situation is of acute origin where there are only a couple of symptoms; but it is not a good idea if there is a chronic condition that needs healing.

3.  Wrong Potency or Dosage

Most homeopathic remedies have a variety of different potencies available for use; however, the FDA allows only the lower-potency doses with a maximum of 30C to be available over-the-counter, OTC, (without prescription), with the exception of Oscillococcinum® which is available at a 200C potency.

Homeopathic remedies use a letter and a number to signify the potency.  The number is the number of dillutions/potentizations the remedy has undergone.  The letter helps to keep the numbers small.  I will explain….

The lowest potency available is 1X.  That is the baseline dosage of the substance—in its pure form made into a tincture (usually the substance made into liquid form if it wasn’t already in liquid form).  Hazardous substances, such as snake venom, are not available to anyone for use except those specially trained to handle poisonous substances.  But other substances, such as plants like Echinacea, are not hazardous so they can be found at stores in the 1X or tincture form.

For the most part, however, you will find it hard to find a homeopathic remedy in its 1X form because healing occurs better if the substance is stronger.  Hence, the other strengths.

Potencies with a number followed by “X” mean they are the actual dilutions; 6X, therefore, will mean the item has been diluted 6 times, and are stronger than the 1X for healing.  For healing ability, the “X” remedies tend to work on the skin and acute conditions that are not too serious, such as a twisted ankle or a small cold.  The higher the number, the deeper the healing ability of the remedy.

Healing tends to take a little longer with the lower “X” potencies, so the highest X potency tends to be 30X.

To keep the “numbers” down, the “C” potencies are twice that of the X potencies; so 6C would be equivalent to a 12X.  The pharmaceutical companies who make the remedies often determine if they want to use an X or a C for their lower potencies.  The general rule of thumb is the highest C potency is 200C, which can impact healing on the internal organs and begin to heal chronic conditions.  This doesn’t mean the lower potencies cannot assist with healing of internal organs or chronic conditions, it just means the 200C is usually the first choice.  Because of its main use for chronic conditions, the FDA does not allow the classification of “over-the-counter medicines” for anything other than medicines used for acute, self-limiting conditions—hence, a 200C potency does not fit the criteria for an OTC medicine which is why you can rarely find a 200C over-the-counter.  The only exception is for Oscillo® which has been OK’d for treating the flu.

Then come the “M”s which work deeper than the C’s—the M’s work more on deep chronic conditions and the nervous system.  Stronger than the M’s are the CM’s, which affect the mental and emotional symptoms or conditions, then the LM’s, which work deeper still.  Because of the degree to which these potencies/strengths affect a person, they can only be available from qualified health professionals—e.g. Classical Homeopaths.

What is the Best Potency?

With all those potencies to choose from, which is the best one?

It is difficult to decide.  Most homeopaths say that the potency you have on hand is the best potency.  However, for chronic healing, several criteria are considered when it comes time to deciding which potency will help the person the best:

Ø  The remedy:  some remedies will affect a change fast no matter the strength.

Ø  The condition:  if the condition is new/acute, the remedy will be of a lower dose, whereas a condition that is deeply rooted or a person has had a long time will require a higher potency to give the Vital Force a “kick in the pants” to get healing started.

Ø  How ill the person is:  if a person is very ill with a new condition, then the body might just need a small dose to get things moving towards healing; a person who is very ill but has been for many years needs to be handled more gently.

Ø  The sensitivity of the person:  if a person has multiple sensitivities to things, changes need to be made slowly so as to avoid reactions to the remedy.

Ø  The age of the person:  youths tend to need lower dose remedies than older people, unless the illness/condition of the youth is something deep-rooted such as autism or a condition affecting the vital organs (brain, heart, lungs, kidneys or liver).

4.  Remedy was Antidoted

An antidote, technically, is a substance inactivates another substance, often times rendering the first substance harmless.


In homeopathy, an antidote is considered anything that interferes with or stops the action of the homeopathic remedy.

Accidental Antidoting

The most common ways a person antidotes a homeopathic remedy is through “binge drinking” of alcohol—those times on Friday and Saturday evening (or football games) when a person drinks a lot of alcohol in a short period of time.

Coffee and mint are two substances that interfere with the function, or inactivate, most homeopathic remedies.

Certain foods and drinks also can inactivate a remedy.  Check with your homeopath for the specific foods and drinks that can interfere with the therapeutic action of your remedy.

As far as nature or the environment is concerned, you should keep your remedies away from sunlight, microwave ovens and strong scents such as perfumes or essential oils.

Also, too, I should mention that some homeopathic remedies inactivate other remedies.  One of the remedies I always carry is Nux vomica, which is exceptional for digestive upsets or for the effects of taking in too much of something, even too much sunshine.  But Nux is not one of those remedies that people should not take if they take other homeopathic remedies—Nux antidotes at least 30 common acute-use remedies!  And the remedy Camphora (from Camphor) antidotes almost every remedy.

Avoiding Accidental Antidoting

Even the most conscientious person can accidently antidote their remedies.  When going on a trip, I often forget to ask the airport personnel to not x-ray my remedies—this leads me to having a box of inactive pellets (e.g. homeopathic remedies) when I get to my destination.

Aside from keeping your remedies away from sunlight and the microwave oven, always remember to talk to your homeopath to learn the foods and drinks that can inactivate your remedy.  You can still drink some alcohol, have coffee, and such, but do not eat or drink anything (or brush teeth) 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after taking the remedy.  And make sure your mouth is free of “tastes” when taking the remedy.

Also, remember, if you are taking one homeopathic remedy, don’t take any others without first discussing it with your Classical Homeopath as some homeopathic remedies inactivate others (or can make things worse).

Intentional Antidoting

On rare occasion, a homeopath may want to inactivate a remedy if the person has a strong, non-healing reaction to the remedy.  In these very rare instances, the homeopath may direct you to drink some coffee or to take another homeopathic remedy that will inactivate the one that caused some troubles for you.

For the most part, however, intentional antidoting of homeopathic remedies is not done.  If a person has a reaction to a remedy, the best action is to stop the remedy and wait for the symptoms to disappear before starting a new remedy or resuming the current one.

Homeopathic Remedies are great healers.  When properly selected, healing can occur in leaps and bounds.  Just be careful when it is time to select a remedy and the response will be worth it!

Best wishes,

Dr. Ronda

Disclaimer:  The information provided by Dr. Ronda Behnke Theys is for educational purposes only.  It is important that you not make health decisions or stop any medication without first consulting your personal physician or health care provider.

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