Homeopathy: A Beginners Guide to Remedies and Potency

In 2012, I left my 3 year old son in the hands of my parents for a 21-hour plane ride to India. I landed for a brief stay in the northern town of Kolkata, a town that borders Bangladesh to the east. I was on a sourcing trip, a tour planned in Eastern Asia to launch the Fair Trade program with certified apparel factories. That was my first trip overseas as a product development manager working in sustainable fashion.


The rain and flooding is not forgiving during monsoon season in India. But the change of weather doesn't deter the children from playing in their uniforms barefooted and taxi's driving through the flooded streets to the most dynamic little downtown. There was a flavor of New York's lower east side mixed with the wet irregularity of gravel, reminiscent of my travels across the California border into Ensenada. It was homey, gritty and full of humanity. I loved it there and developed a love for the people.


It would be another three years before that small city would come back to meet me. The city I grew to love planted something in my heart when I visited, to make sure that I was ready to listen when I was called upon again.


That moment was when my son, Nico, was diagnosed with a peritonsillar abscess, an acute condition that locks closed a child's mouth due to an infection. I went to pick him up from his day care after work one day and his mouth seemed stiff, like it wasn't opening all the way when he spoke. The staff didn't notice and couldn't say how long he had been talking like that.


Since I had a good relationship with his pediatrician, I called her office first. She saw him right away and, although very rare (less than 200K Americans are diagnosed each year), the signs were classic. Locked jaw, drooling, swelling on the side of the throat, withdrawal and fever caused by and infection from strep. He was placed on antibiotics and sent home.


A few hours later, we got a check in call from his pediatrician. No change. She said keep giving him the antibiotics and bring him back in the morning. By morning, he could speak but had a huge growth on the side of his neck. It was an abscess, it might need draining. It would be painful.


He would have to finish the full series of antibiotics even though I could see the bump on his neck grow until it was the size of a bubble gum ball. The big ones. 10 days of amoxicillin and the growth remained.


I remembered a time when another mom and dear friend, Gretchen, told me about an alternative to allopathic medicine called Homeopathy. I was running on mother's adrenaline and intuition so with that nugget of wisdom, I began my research. That's when I came across an article by Joette Calabrese who is an American homeopath and who studied under Dr. Banerji of Kolkata. Dr. Banerji had opened his clinic in Kolkata to treat his community of impoverished families at no cost to them. He only used homeopathic remedies and his own protocols. 


"Each doctor at the Banerji Clinic sees 100 patients per day, and there are 10 doctors. That means that 1,000 patients are seen daily, 6 days per week, for a total of 6,000 per week. In the clinic’s data collecting rooms, eight computers continually collate and compile all these cases. This is said to be the busiest medical clinic in the world, and the amount of data they have succeeded in gathering is staggering. From this vast collection of data, they have discovered that certain protocols are successful for 80% of the population." - Joette Calabrese


In studying the protocols for throat infections, paired with Nico's natural and emotional disposition, I selected a remedy that was available at our local health food store, Fraizer Farms, called Mercurius Solubilis 30c by Boiron. I gave him three pills under his tongue and he fell asleep. By the time he woke, his color was more pink, his vital energy was returning. By the third day, the bump was gone. Not just "looking better" but, "wait, where did it go?". The remedy worked.


From that point, I sought out every book I could on Dr. Banerji, and by 2017 had transitioned by family of three away from allopathic, over-the-counter drugs to homeopathic remedies.


Most recently, I've used it to help my extended family and source other mothers with their experiences. In the following guides, I will show you how to identify remedies for yourself and how the homeopathic community has identified remedies for other common pathologies as well.


What is homeopathy?

Homeopathy (pronounced ho-me-ah-pa-thee). Founded by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700's after discovering a remedy from the bark of a cinchona tree, given to a healthy person, would produce the same effects as what would be caused by malaria. It was this discovery that formed the "like cures like" approach to holistic medicine. This idea that the effect will be "proven" in a healthy person is the basis for all selections. And thus, for a person with Malaria, cinchona would be the correct treatment.


How does it work?

Each remedy is labeled by it's origin source with a number next to it. For example, Phosphorus + (6C, 30C, 200C)and is distilled from a "Mother Tincture". The Mother Tincture is the remedy at full potency, but the goal is to distill down to energetic profiles as many sources at full potency can be dangerous. The energetic profile, however, will match to create equilibrium within your physical body.


How do you choose a remedy and potency?

When you asses yourself (or family member) for a remedy, you will take a holistic approach. What is the ailment and duration (stomach ache, acute v. chronic), what is the person's natural energy profile (active v. mellow), and what is the person's mental and emotional state (nervous, angry, apathetic, scared). From there, you will begin introductions of your remedy. You are showing your body this new energy wants to enter the system, so start with a 6C which is a short term dose, and it the person feels improvement, you can introduce a 30C. For chronic conditions, you would eventually move into 200C. The Materia Medica by Joette Calabrese is a wonderful resource, or start inquiring with other families, chiropractors and homeopaths.


The best tool I began using at the start of my path on homeopathy, was a simple journal that I used to put every date, season, and signs that were used to choose a remedy. My entire health history doesn't exist in a database at a clinic. It exists right in my own home, with a library of materia medica books, reference guides and handwritten notes to myself to remind me of what worked best. All these years later, I have started my second journal with the remedies used for my son, my husband and extended family and friends so we can remember the nuances to their best solutions. Family health and wellness has never been more simple and intuitive for me than with the guidance of these small doses of energetic healing.