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What dose & how often?

I often get calls from people asking about the dose for remedies. In some cases this is about the size of the dose – how many drops or pilules – and in others, frequency of dose – how often – so I’m going to cover both of these questions here.

Homeopathy is about the quality of what you are giving rather than the quantity and therefore, in a home prescribing situation, the dose is not so much about how many pilules or drops you take, but more about how often you give the remedy.

Dose size – how much?

While there are those very sensitive individuals who find that one pilule or even one drop is too much for them, generally one or two pilules or one to four drops is sufficient whatever the remedy.

It’s important to understand that taking a bigger dose – ie more pilules or more drops – isn’t going to make your remedy work better. Only more frequent doses (and sometimes less frequent doses!) or a different potency (higher or lower) is going to do that.

You may find that different manufacturers recommend different sizes of dose, perhaps because of the size of their pilules. It really doesn’t matter too much for home prescribing, but what I’m sharing here are the dosages I have recommended for the past 20 years to my clients. Don’t get hung up on the size of the dose. Remember it’s about how often!

I will often write the dose as “one or two pilules” as they can be tricky little things and sometimes you can’t get just one into the lid!  Babies and small children are often better off with just one pilule because of the sucrose, particularly if they are having frequent doses for, say, a fever.

With drops, a small squirt is fine if you can’t count drops, say in the case of trying to put them in a baby’s mouth or giving them to the dog, but a big squirt is not better!

My recommendation on dosage for drops is:

  • under 6 months of age   1 drop
  • 6-12 months of age        2 drops
  • over 12 months              4 drops

I’ve always just said 4 drops for any age, but more and more parents are querying the alcohol, which is good as we become more conscious of what we are giving to our children. The alcohol is necessary as a preservative or your remedy may grow floaties, and is considerably less than in other products such as flower essences and is going to be less harmful than some of the ingredients in pharmaceutical products!

Drops are easier to contaminate than pilules (hence the alcohol) so if the dropper touches the child’s mouth just wash it under boiling water, keep an eye on the remedy for floaties each time you use and don’t use past the expiry date.

Frequency of Doses – how often?

How often to give remedies is a source of confusion for many newcomers to homeopathy.

What you need to understand is that you are not giving a physical substance like Panadol or cough medicine when you use homeopathics. The remedy is actually an energetic stimulus to the immune system, a bit like having acupuncture, which stimulates the body to work a little harder to overcome the problem by itself. If you can get a grip on this then you will understand how to work out what to do.

The principle of homeopathy is to give the minimum dose to get the body to do what it needs to do. So this is small doses only as often as needed to get the job done. This is definitely a case where more is not better!

Now, as with all things homeopathic, there is no hard and fast rule for what ‘minimum’ is. Everyone is different and everyone’s immune response is different. Minimum dose in a very health individual with a fever might be one single dose to get the body working towards resolving the issue under its own steam. A further dose might be required later or the following day if the action of the remedy fades and the body needs a bit more stimulus to get going again.

In someone with a weakened immune system, ie someone who gets lots of colds and has trouble recovering or who has some allergies or other chronic condition, minimum dose might be giving the remedy hourly for a day to get things going. Every time the effect fades and symptoms begin to reappear, another dose can be given but don’t be inclined to give those “just in case” doses. If you feel things are improving, sit tight and observe. You should be able to spread out your doses in an acute situation as the patient begins to recover.

Melanie’s Dosing Formula

For newcomers to homeopathy and people who are used to having detailed instructions to follow, here is the formula I teach at my Homeopathy Workshops and which you will find in the leaflets I produce. You can happily use this formula and as long as you keep an eye on what is going on, you should be able to progress your case quite well.

You can start at any of the stages below, just by matching what is going on with what you are seeing and feeling. You don’t have to start at stage 1; you start with what matches your situation.

Remember – you may need to change remedies if you are not getting improvement or the improvement ceases. Sometimes more than one remedy is required and you have to follow the direction the remedy is leading you in.

Remember also, more is not better – in homeopathy less is more! But if you’re not sure what’s happening, follow the dosing formula below until you become confident with your home prescribing.

I do find that in these days of poor gut function and weakened immune systems, more doses are required than they used to be. And of course, if your homeopathic home prescribing is not bringing the desired results consult your homeopath or see your GP/ED for further assistance.

When should you contact your homeopath, GP, ED?

As soon as you realise things are not progressing well or are going in the wrong direction!

Don’t keep trying and changing remedies. Too many remedies can cloud the picture and make it more difficult for your homeopath to assess what is going on.

Sometimes your home prescribing is not going to work because the patient actually needs a more specific individualised remedy from your homeopath. Checking in early, helps your homeopath assess if this is the case and saves a prolonged recovery because the picture is no longer clear.

And it’s always better to see your GP sooner rather than later for a diagnosis. Very often now GPs will give a prescription for antibiotics in the case of an ear infection, for example, but tell you to see how things go over 24 hours. This is the time you can be using your remedies, knowing exactly what you are working with and allowing you to keep an eye on the symptom picture.

Stage 1: For very acute situations

In situations such as ear pain, shock, injury or where the situation is tense, anxious or you are worried but not quite ready to go to the GP, or you are on your way to the GP or hospital, or it’s the middle of the night:

Give every 10 minutes for up to 5 doses, then if there is improvement, continue hourly for the rest of the day/night. Then go to stage 2 and then stage 3 as necessary.

If no change after your 5 doses, select another remedy, consult your homeopath or see your GP/ED.

Stage 2: For reasonably acute situations

Where you feel you need to do something reasonably quickly but it’s not severe and you’re not overly worried:

Give hourly on the first day, then reduce to 2 hourly on the second day and 3 or 4 times on the third day, as long as there is improvement. 

Finally reduce to once a day for a further few days. In this situation you may find you need to change your remedy before you get to this point.

Stage 3: Not very acute or slow onset

Where you know you need to give a remedy but it’s not intense and it’s coming on slowly. Or you’re at the end of an illness and just need to give something to finish up the symptoms:

Give 3 times a day for 3 days, then reduce to once a day for up to a further 4 days if required.

NB: You may not need to continue through all the stages given above. Use your observation and intuition if you think things are well on the way to recovery, but I do always recommend dosing for one further day after you think things have resolved!

Again if your home prescribing is not bringing improvement or you are not sure, contact your healthcare provider. Sometimes remedies work then stop, not because you have the wrong remedy, but because a constitutional remedy is required, so it’s important not to leave things too long.

Melanie Creedy trained in the UK in the early 1990s and holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Homeopathy. She is registered with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH) and is a member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association. 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.
  1. Traditional, clinical and research evidence within the homeopathic community and independently contradicts the outcome of the 2014 NHMRC report into the evidence for homeopathy. The texts used in this article are those approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration up to 31/12/17, based on traditional use.