|Homeopathys Best Kept Secret|
|You were trained as a Western medical doctor. What made you turn to homeopathy?|
|Dr. Luc: When I was a young
doctor fresh out of medical school in Belgium, I thought
I knew everything. But then I started seeing patients
whom Western medicine just couldnt help. One young
girl of 15 got headaches every time the weather
changedand in Belgium the weather changes three
times a day! She had everything in Western medicine you
can dream of, but nothing helped. Another lady, I will
never forget it, she came in my office absolutely
dripping with sweat. The sweat was pouring off her and
dripping onto the floor. Western medicine could do
nothing for her. Another lady could not speak. There was
nothing physically wrong with her. Her family said she
had not spoken a word since looking out the window and
seeing a funeral processionwith her best
friends husband walking behind the hearse. The
sudden shock of her best friends death made her
mute. I wanted to do something for these patients, but my
Western medical training gave me no answers. So I went to
a bookstore to look up alternative medicine and found a
book on homeopathy. I wish these patients would walk
through my door today, because these would all be easy
cases for homeopathy.
|What would you suggest for someone who wants to get started with homeopathy but feels bewildered by all the different remedies?|
|Dr. Luc: Get to know one or
two remedies and all the different things they can be
used for. Arnica would be my first choiceits
king of the trauma remedies and king of the sports
remedies. Arnica is good for the whole family for bumps,
bruises, pulled muscles, and overuse of muscles, like
someone who has a desk job and then gets 14 days vacation
and wants to be a hero playing sports with his kids.
Its even good for elderly people who get
spontaneous bruises, because as we get older the
capillaries become fragile and burst easily.
Some lesser known uses of
Arnica include overworry, overuse of the voice when
someone is speaking all day, and for the flu, especially
when there is a bruised feeling. Arnica is for bruises in
general, and for illnesses with a bruised feeling, like
when you feel as though a tank just ran over you and
everything is sore, you dont want to be touched.
|Any other favorite remedies?|
|Dr. Luc:Arsenicum would be
my second choice, especially for traveling. Never leave
home without it! Its the top remedy for
travelers diarrhea and for food poisoning. Some
people get diarrhea just from the change of diet when
they travel. Arsenicum has rescued many, many a vacation,
especially in the Middle East, China and South America
where the water can be contaminated.
Arsenicum is also great for the first stages of a cold or flu, when you are just getting a scratchy throat and your nose is running like a faucet with a clear, watery discharge. Arsenicum will nip it in the bud.
Arsenicum is one of the top remedies for asthma and for shortness of breath in general, especially when you feel as though you are going to die because you cant catch your breath. And its one of the best remedies for people who wake up after midnight, anxious and restless and unable to get back to sleep. But in both these cases people shouldnt diagnose themselves. For example, in homeopathy we have so many remedies for anxiety. The remedies are so precise, depending on whether the patient has fear for the future, fear of death, of disease, of failure, of flying, of taking exams, and so on. This is the kind of thing we will teach in our school.
|Whats the best way to take the remedies?|
|Dr. Luc:This is one of
homeopathys best-kept secrets: take the remedies in
water. When you buy a little tube in the store with 80
pellets, the label says to take 3 pellets 3 to 5 times a
day under the tongue. (There is no secret door under the
tongue!) But it will work much better and much faster if
you take one pellet and dissolve it in 4 ounces of water.
Take one teaspoon as neededas often as every 20 to
30 minutes in acute cases such as high fevers and
accidents. One cup will is good for 24 hours. If you need
the remedy again the next day, make another cup. Putting
it in water makes it reach more nerve endings. As soon as
it touches the mucous membranes it starts to work. If
someone cant swallow, you can even swab it on their
|What if you run out the same day, can you make another cup?|
|Dr. Luc:You could but you
shouldnt need to, because as you start to feel
better you slow down and take a teaspoon only maybe every
hour or two. If you dont see any improvement by the
time you finish the cup, it probably means you have the
wrong remedy. (It could also mean the potency is too low,
but this is something you will learn from experience.)
|So why dont they say this on the label?|
|Dr. Luc:Maybe because they
can sell more tubes this way! Or maybe because they just
dont know. Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy,
developed this method of taking the remedies in water at
the very end of his life, and the manuscript in which he
described it was lost for nearly 100 years. Even now it
is not well known. The people who work in the
pharmaceutical companies have probably never read it.
|Are there any situations when its better to take the remedy dry?|
|Dr. Luc:Only if its
impractical to take it in water. When I play tennis I
keep Arnica and Rhus tox. in my pockets in case I sprain
my ankle. I can take some pellets and keep on playing,
then as soon as I have a chance I put them in water.
Heres another secret: if you are going to be out all day, driving around in the car, put the remedy in a water bottle and take it with you. Then each time you take the remedy you can succuss it (give it a hard thwack, a slam-dunk). This gradually increases the potency of the remedy and it will work even better this way.
|How many pellets, say for a typical 16 oz. spring water bottle?|
|Dr. Luc:Just one. You
dont need four just because there is four times as
much water. We are dealing with energy, not with
molecules. Its a little more dilute this way, but
succussing it will keep increasing the potency of the
|Should you reduce the dosage for kids?|
|Dr. Luc:Not at all! In fact
kids need higher potencies than adults. Never hesitate to
give a child a high potency. Its the opposite of
Western medicine, where our dosages are based on
bodyweight. In homeopathy the dosage is based on the
vital energy of the patient, and kids usually have much
stronger vital energy than adults. Look at how fast a
child can spike a fever. That shows how strong the vital
|Lets say someone looks up in a homeopathy book and figures out that Lachesis is the best remedy for her left-sided headache, but when she goes to the store to buy it, the tube says its for hot flashes. Why is that?|
|Dr. Luc:Each of the major
remedies (the polycrests) has many, many different
indications or uses. The pharmaceutical company can only
fit one or two of them on the label. The good thing is
that they have the freedom to do that, unlike vitamin
companies, because homeopathic remedies are under a
different law and the FDA allows this kind of labeling.
|Do the remedies have side effects?|
|Dr. Luc:No, again because
we are talking energy, not molecules. When you use
potencies over 24c there is not even one molecule of the
original substance left, and then when you put it in
water it is even more dilute. You can get what we call a
similar aggravation, though, if you take too much. An
aggravation is a temporary intensification of the
symptoms. Its unlikely to happen in acute cases,
because you are using up the remedy so fast. You would
have to really take a lot, maybe 3 or 4 cups of the
remedy in a row, to get this kind of reaction.
If you do get an aggravation, just stop taking the remedy and your body will use up the excess. Its like speeding in a car. Its not a bad car, just a bad driver! You need to get used to the car. As you get experience using the remedies, you will get to know how fast you can take repeated doses.
|Some people say you have to go through an aggravation to be cured with homeopathy. Would you agree with that?|
|Dr. Luc:Not at all!
Hahnemann developed the water method to save people from
the discomfort of aggravations.
|Can you be allergic to the remedies?|
|Dr. Luc:No, for the same
reason. Sometimes my patients say they cant take
Sulphur as a remedy because they are allergic to sulfa
drugs. An allergy to sulfa drugs is actually a good
indication that the patient needs Sulphur!
|What if someone is allergic to lactose, can they have a reaction to the lactose the pills are made from?|
usually, but if they are extremely sensitive they could
have a reaction if they take the pills dry. Its
another good reason to take the remedies in water.
|Can you develop a tolerance to the remedies the way you can to a drug?|
|Dr. Luc:As long as you need
the remedy, it will continue to work. If your baby is
learning to walk, all the time falling and smacking his
head, you can give Arnica every day and it will continue
to work. If a remedy stops working, it means you no
longer need it.
|Can the remedies be addictive? There is not one patient in a Betty Ford center addicted to homeopathic remedies!|
|Dr. Luc:Whereas there are
many treatment centers and detox centers for people
addicted to Western drugs. Its scary how easy it is
for people to and get addicted. All it takes is one
hospitalization, and they give you painkillers sleeping
pills without your knowledge or your permission. Before
you know it youre addicted. I have seen it many
times in my practice.
|What do the numbers mean6c, 30c, 200c?|
|Dr. Luc:They represent the
successive dilutions the remedies go through.
C stands for centesimal and it means a
dilution of 1 part of the remedy to 99 parts of alcohol
at each stage. The remedy is succussed, or shaken, 100
times at each stage so that the energy of the remedy is
imparted to the liquid. The higher the number, the higher
the dilutionwhich in homeopathy means a more
powerful remedy, because the vibrational energy is
|Usually in health food stores you find 6c, 12c and 30c potencies. Whats the difference in how they are used?|
|Dr. Luc:I would rather see
30c and 200c in stores. I encourage my students to get
200c kits once they are familiar with the remedies. 30c
is better when you are first starting out because if you
take the wrong remedy in a 200c, you could get an
6c and 12c are too low to do any good for acute situations. 6c and 12c are only indicated for chronic diseases, and people should definitely not diagnose or treat themselves for chronic diseases. Only a professional homeopath can do that.
|Is that because 6c and 12c could be dangerous?|
|Dr. Luc:Not at all.
Its because a layperson could not prescribe the
right remedy for a chronic situation, in which the choice
of remedy depends not so much on the physical symptoms as
on the mental and emotional onset of the disease. For
example, if I have four patients with chronic fatigue,
one may be never well since taking birth control pills,
another never well since overwork and overworry, another
never well since multiple operations, and the fourth
never well since heartbreak. They may all have the exact
same physical symptoms and the same diagnosis in Western
medicine, but they each get a different remedy from me,
because homeopathy is so individualized to the patient.
|What do you mean by acute and chronic?|
|Dr. Luc:Acute is something
that just happened within the last day or two, within the
last several weeks at most, that is self-limiting (it
will go away by itself). In an acute disease, the vital
energy of the patient is usually strong enough to
overcome it. If not, it can turn into a chronic
condition, one that develops over a long period of time
and does not go away by itself. In a chronic condition
there can be a steady overall downfall of the
patients health unless it is opposed by the right
Other times there can be acute symptoms of a chronic state of imbalance or disorder in the system, such as PMS. A woman can have acute symptoms each month which can be treated with acute over-the-counter remedies each timebut if her overall constitution is treated by a professional homeopath, her symptoms will not recur. I have seen this many times in my practiceI do not even address the patients PMS symptoms directly because they go away automatically with the well-chosen remedy.
|A lot of times health food stores have combinations that have 6 or 8 different remedies. Wouldnt that be better than a single remedy, since you would be sure to cover your bases?|
|Dr. Luc:Actually, no,
because the remedies can cancel each other out. I would
rather see people become familiar with the single
remedies. For example, Ive seen a combination for
Grief that has one remedy, Pulsatilla, for people who are
very clingy and needy of consolation, and another, Nat.
mur., for people who just want to be left alone in their
grief. How can one person possibly need both?
|Many homeopaths say you cant use mint, camphor or coffee when you are taking remedies. Would you agree?|
|Dr. Luc:Coffee is the only
one I put the accent on in my own practice. If someone is
drinking more than one cup a day, I get them off the
coffee first (with Chamomilla, Nux vomica or Coffea).
Decaffeinated coffee and other caffeine-containing foods
like chocolate and cola are okay (not in other ways but
in terms of canceling the remedy!) Mint and camphor are
only important for the high potencies used by certain
professional homeopaths, the Kentian prescribers. They
wont make much difference in acute situations where
you are repeating the doses frequently.
|Some homeopaths tell their patients not to do acupuncture or polarity or take vitamins while on a remedy. Why is that?|
|Dr. Luc:I tell my patients
to do anything they can to support their vital energy
while they are healing. Any healing modality such as
acupuncture that follows the same natural laws as
homeopathy will do nothing but help. The only thing is,
they shouldnt start doing these things the same
week they start the remedy. That will muddy the picture.
Then if they have a reaction, its not clear what
they are reacting to.
|Ive heard that remedies are prescribed based on the symptoms present. So does that mean the remedies cant be used preventively?|
|Dr. Luc:No, in fact
heres another little-known tip. They can be used
ahead of time if you know you are going to need them, but
in this case take 3 pellets dry in the mouth. For
example, Arnica should be taken before and after
strenuous sports for someone who is not in shape, or for
weightlifters, football players, soccer players and
others who are likely to get pulled muscles or bruises.
And if one person in the family comes down with a flu or
cold, everyone else in the family can take the same
remedy. If you know there is a flu coming to your area,
before it even hits you can start taking Arsenicum or
Oscillococcinum, the two top preventive flu remedies.
Take 30c doses, 3 pellets dry once a day during an
|Whats your basic approach in finding a remedy for your patients?|
|Dr. Luc:I have them make a
timeline with all the major traumas in their life,
whether mental, emotional, physical, financial, or
whatever. Any event that causes lasting symptoms will
need to be treated eventually. We call it a layer. We
start with the most recent layer first and work
backwards, every time treating the Never Well Since
(usually a mental or emotional trauma that triggered the
onset of symptoms).
|You are both a homeopath and an acupuncturist. What do you see as the connection between these two healing modalities?|
|Dr. Luc:They both work with
the healing energy or vital qi, and they both follow the
same natural laws of healing. For example, we know the
patient is healing if the disease goes from the inside to
the outside. Also both disciplines accent the mental and
emotional origins of disease (unless there is a direct
physical trauma like a cut, blow or burn). In both, each
organ has certain emotions associated with it, like the
liver and anger. Each of the main homeopathic remedies
has a place on the Star of the Five Elements in
Traditional Chinese Medicine. Homeopathy is so similar to
acupuncture that Hahnemann must have read the acupuncture
texts that were available to him in translation.
|Does someone have to be a medical doctor to practice homeopathy?|
|Dr. Luc:In terms of
licensing, it varies from state to state. In terms of
knowledge, many of the greatest homeopaths of the past
have been laypeople.
|Can you share one last secret with us?|
|Dr. Luc:Heres a great
one for sports injuries: if youre a basically
healthy person and have a serious acute injury, like a
pulled muscle, take Arnica 30c, then 200c, then 1M, each
time 3 pellets dry, 4 hours apart. I did this once when I
pulled my thigh muscle while playing soccer. The muscle
swelled up and turned hard as a rock. By the time I was
through the Arnica it was back to normal again! I learned
this tip from a Swiss-French homeopath and very few
people in this country know about it.
If your local health food store doesnt have the remedies or potencies you need, try Baileys Pharmacy in Allston, (617) 782-7202, or call Boiron Labs at 1-800-BLU-TUBE, or call Natural Living Products for Homeopathic kits at 1-888-624-8590.
Dr. Lucs introduction to homeopathy, Human Condition Critical, is available from Cambridge Natural Foods, (617) 234-4327, or by mail order from the New School.
For a list of homeopaths in the Greater Boston area, call the New School.
Luc De Schepper, M.D., Ph.D., D.I.Hom., C.Hom., Lic.Ac. is a Western medical doctor, acupuncturist and homeopath with over 200,000 patients in 25 years of practice. He is the author of ten books on homeopathy, acupuncture and holistic health care, including Candida: the Cause, the Symptoms, the Cure; Acupuncture in Practice; Peak Immunity; and Human Condition Critical. He has been a popular guest on numerous television shows in the United States and abroad as well as being interviewed on dozens of radio shows.