Drops or Pilules?

 When I did my training in the UK in the early 90’s I actually didn’t realise that remedies came in anything other than a dry dose! They came in a huge range of sizes and forms: what we call pilules in Australia (little sugar balls), poppy seeds (even smaller sugar balls), tablets and powders. Pilules were called dragees and came in lactose, sucrose and quite big balls which would melt in your mouth.

Certainly we learned about LM potencies, which many of you will know I use quite extensively in my practice and which must be dispensed in liquid, but at that point I didn’t have a concept of the difference between a liquid and a dry dose.

Not long after I came back to Australia I attended a seminar on using liquid doses, so making a 6c, 30c, etc into a liquid dose rather than giving dry. That stuck in my memory but it took me a long time to get to the point of dispensing all of my clinic remedies in liquid.

So what is the difference?

Well it really comes down to the concept of how homeopathy works, which comes back to energy. And if you think of homeopathic remedies as an energy rather than a pharmaceutical substance, you can begin to understand why liquid may work better or at least differently.

Energy is thought of in terms of waves – not so much watery waves, but energy waves. It flows, so it made sense to me that a liquid dose would also flow and may work differently to a dry dose.

The biggest benefit though of using liquid doses for constitutional treatment is that you can succuss the remedy. This is a key principle of homeopathy and how we make our remedies in the first place. Succussion is basically banging the bottle a number of times to activate/change the energy. The homeopathic pharmacies sometimes do this by hand or sometimes they use a special machine which tries to copy the slightly random way in which it happens by hand.

I always say to my patients that banging the bottle stirs up the molecules and makes each dose a little stronger so that we chip away at a problem bit by bit. In the clinic this succussion allows us to give a remedy every day without the risk of aggravation which sometimes comes with giving the same potency in a dry dose day after day. We also have more room to increase or decrease the size of the dose and the number of succussions in sensitive patients, and to dilute further if required. The LM potencies were Hahnemann’s final work before he died and one assumes he’d also been considering the power of succussion and the action of the remedy.

If energy flows and water flows then the image I have is of these two working well together in terms of remedy action.

Does that mean that you shouldn’t use dry doses?

No, of course not!

Dry doses obviously have their place and we know from 200 years of using them that they work just fine! These days if I’m going to give only one or two doses of a remedy in clinic I will still give pilules.

Pilules are also much more practical for home kits and for travel. They are less likely to be contaminated by a mouth on a dropper and they do tend to have a longer shelf life than practitioner-made drops. And kids love them . . . which can sometimes be a problem if you don’t lock your remedies away!

If you have pilules but want to give your remedy as a liquid (very useful for chickens!) you can do this too, so pilules are quite flexible.

  •      Put your 1 or 2 pilules in a 1/4 glass of water.
  •      Stir vigorously with a teaspoon. This activates the remedy in the water and the water becomes the remedy.
  •      Take 1 teaspoon as your dose.
  •      If you want to increase the potency of this remedy before the next dose stir vigorously again and give a further teaspoon.

This is useful if you are giving doses during an acute illness, but remember that when you make up your glass with a fresh pilule on the second day, you will be going ever so slightly backwards. This may not be a problem as the change in potency is very small, and it’s the change in potency that we are often looking for to keep things moving. Up or down may not matter. I guess that’s something else I need to think about!

So a very basic explanation of liquid versus dry dose. Not something to get hung up on and no need to change all of your pilules for drops. Just something to mull over in the scheme of life and health.


Melanie Creedy is a UK trained and Australian Registered Homeopath (AROH). She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and is editor of the AHA National Newsletter. Melanie has used homeopathy for 30 years and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australia, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in women’s and children’s health generally and helping individuals manage their journey on the spiritual path with homeopathy and her range of essences. Melanie has developed her own methods of dealing with complex cases over the years and offers distance consultations via phone and skype to allow people Australia-wide to access her services.

Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a  suggestion or treatment seek advice from your homeopath.

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