When you are treating an acute condition homeopathically, it is common to see a suggestion of “one dose every 15 minutes for up to six doses” or something similar. This is often the way I write it on my labels.
There’s a few reasons we say this. One is because repetition is important. If you give a single dose of a 30c and it doesn’t work it may just need another dose. Secondly there is a time frame, because in an acute situation with a low potency repetition quickly is more likely to be effective and if you are not familiar with homeopathy you may not know that. Thirdly there is a limit on it so that you don’t keep taking something that is not working. While homeopathic remedies are generally regarded as safe, we “prove” the remedies on healthy people by taking the remedy, and if you repeat a remedy that is not helping you could inadvertently prove it, or get symptoms that you don’t want.
Like many things homeopathy though, this is more of a guideline than a rule. If you need to repeat a remedy more frequently, or take more than six doses then you can do so.
Here is a personal example (shared with permission).
Some time ago one of my daughters woke at 9.30 with what I recognised as the beginnings of a UTI. She was extremely uncomfortable and had stinging on urination. I recognised the symptoms as that of Cantharis, and sat on her bed and gave her a dose of 30c.
The first dose didn’t do much, and she was clearly extremely uncomfortable, writhing on the bed. I waited 5 minutes and gave her a second dose. Her breathing evened out, and she was peaceful and breathing normally….. for 3 minutes. So I gave her another dose. The third dose lasted 4 minutes. I repeated again. This one lasted 10 minutes but when the discomfort returned it was much less intense. I repeated one more time, then went to bed and told her to come and get me if it got worse again.
If I had waited 15 minutes in between doses she would have been in pain, I would have felt helpless and possibly wanted to find something else to help her. When a remedy has clearly acted, like I saw in this case after the second dose, but then worn off, please repeat the remedy. Even if it has only been a few minutes.
Regarding the number of doses to give, again use your judgement as to what you are seeing in front of you, or experiencing in yourself. If the acute condition is still there, and improving after the remedy but then coming back, you don’t have to stop at six doses.
My best example of this was when my son took a sleeping tablet. After checking with poisons centre and deciding to go to hospital for monitoring, I gave him some Nux Vomica and Opium homeopathic remedies and he perked up – so no hospital trip needed. I needed to repeat those two remedies every 10-15 minutes for 2 whole hours – so at least 9 doses, if not more – before the sleeping tablet wore off.
The limit is more about stopping if the remedy is not helping (so as not to prove the remedy), and stopping when you are feeling better. For my son, after 2 hours when he was no longer obstinately drunk or falling-over drowsy, and he no longer needed the two remedies I was able to stop them.
When symptoms improve but have not gone, just reduce the frequency. If you give every 15 minutes until there is an improvement, then go to every 2-4 hours and reduce again as improvement is seen. For something like diarrhoea, when they are starting to feel better you could then repeat the dose every time they have a loose bowel motion. The time to stop is if the remedy is no longer helping, or if symptoms change completely – like going from a clear, running nasal discharge to a thick, yellow snot.