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How a Homeopath Selects a Remedy

by June Sayer(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 247 - July 2018

Turning the clock back 33 years ago and as a mother who was blessed with two young boys, the eldest aged 6 and the youngest just six months, I was at a point in my life, as any mother of young children would attest to where I was juggling the needs of family life.  My youngest son had started teething causing him to be fractious at all times of the day and having difficulty settling down to sleep.  Feeling rather jaded and emotional myself due to lack of sleep I resorted to giving one dose of Phenergan with the hope that he might settle down but this had the complete opposite effect.

At that point I had a very interesting conversation with a lovely lady who suggested homeopathy.  Being ignorant of the term I asked her what it was and how she thought it could be of any help.  Her explanation along with the fact that it was a non-toxic, non-addictive form of medicine that was suitable for all ages convinced me to book an appointment with my local homeopath.  After taking a detailed case history I was given some homeopathic remedies for him that thankfully worked wonders.

That appointment became a major turning point in my life that ultimately led me on the path to studying this fascinating topic and after studying for three years I became a qualified, registered homeopath.  A choice I made in my life at that time was one that I will never regret as I have seen many clients experience the benefits of improvements to their health and wellbeing with the aid of homeopathy.   

There are a number of people who are still sceptical of homeopathy and how it works and I am not going to use this article to discuss that but what I hoped might be of interest to you is to explain how the homeopath uses the information brought to light during a consultation and then uses the Homeopathic Repertory and Materia Medica to determine the most appropriate remedy for the individual who has sought their help.

Homeopathic Clinical Repertory

Homeopathic Clinical Repertory   Nature’s Material Medica

When you first visit a homeopath you will be asked a wide range of questions in a form where you are not required to give a definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.  The homeopath is not only interested in the main reason for your visit but in all aspects of your well-being, mental, emotional and physical including your preferences for sweet or savoury foods, how the weather affects you, your current and previous health history as well as that of your family, your sleep, dreams, any medication that has been prescribed by your doctor as well as any other supplementation or over the counter medicines purchased you use.

The reason for this Socratic type of questioning is that the homeopath wants you to answer the questions in your own words including any sensations that you may be experiencing, however insignificant you might think they are as this affords them the opportunity to carefully analyse the information you have given before making a decision on the remedy with the aid of the Repertory and Materia Medica – the ‘tools of the trade’ for every homeopath.

The homeopathic repertory is divided into a number of chapters that relate to parts of the body from the top of the head to the tip of the toe so to speak.  Within each chapter is a heading known as the rubric along with sub-headings referred to as sub-rubrics. Underneath the rubrics is listed a number of remedies that are graded according to their relevance or importance in the proving of the remedy.  To give one example I will use the chapter Mind and the main rubric Anxiety.   There are eight pages in the Repertory associated with the rubric anxiety and its sub-rubrics and I have chosen a few of the rubrics to give you an example of how the remedies are listed in the Repertory.

When a homeopath meets a person who is presenting with anxiety it is important to try and discover the cause of the anxiety or whether it is combined with any other symptoms.  The rubrics are: anxiety when alone (29 remedies), anxiety after breakfast (2 remedies), anxiety on hearing the sound of church bells (1 remedy).   Does the anxiety bring on diarrhoea (9 remedies), do you feel faint during a bout of anxiety (10 remedies), is the anxiety making you frightened (104 remedies), is the anxiety associated with a headache (23 remedies) or is there a particular time of the day or night when the anxiety is worse or does being in the open air reduce the level of anxiety? 

You will note from the amount of remedies show under the rubrics above that there is not only one remedy for anxiety and homeopaths do not have a one-size fits all approach.   If your anxiety has created the need for you to visit your Doctor, you may have left the surgery with a prescription for beta-blockers or anti-depressants due to the fact that anxiety and depression often go hand in hand.   I have worked with a number of clients who are either taking anti-depressants or other prescribed medication and while the medication suits some people others have reported that it has made them feel somewhat ‘spaced out’ or like the world is going on around them and they are not in control.  Others have reported that while they are waiting for the conventional medication to take effect their anxiety has been heightened.  When they feel better and try to come off or reduce the medication they have difficulty in doing so.  These type of side effects do not occur with homeopathic remedies and they are not addictive.

Aconite is one of the remedies that is listed within a number of the rubrics shown above.  This remedy would be chosen for a person who is suffering from anxiety that has come on suddenly, after a fright or a shock, are physically and mentally restless and are very fearful.   They feel the anxiety about visiting the dentist or the doctor.

If the person is experiencing anxiety after breakfast there are only two remedies listed, Conium and Kali Carb.   Kali Carb feels their anxiety in the stomach area, they are anxious when they are hungry and anxious about their own state of health.  This remedy is also useful for people who experience anxious dreams that wake them at 2am to 4am, upon waking they have a desire to urinate.

Where the anxiety causes diarrhoea the remedies Abrotanum, Argentun Nit, Arsen Alb, Camphor, China, Gelsemium Silica, Tabaccum and Thuja are all listed.  Whilst there may be similarities between the remedies it is their subtle differences that are the indication for the most appropriate remedy.  Abrotanum is cross, anxious and depressed yet feels like shouting and suffer from a weak, sinking feeling in the bowels.  Argentum Nit complain of anxiety, anticipation, apprehension, fears and phobias.   They have a fear of heights, of flying in an aeroplane, of the dark, of having a panic attack.  They are particularly anxious and fearful before an event such as an exam and in turn this causes them to suffer with diarrhoea.   They also have an irresistible desire for sugar and sweets and that too can cause diarrhoea.

Arsen Alb’s anxiety and fear is about the state of their own health, they have a fear of death and of disease and they can be obsessed with order and tidiness.  They become melancholy and are anxious about all sorts of little things including the future.  They are anxious if they have a headache or if they have frightful dreams.   Fear bring on cold sweats.  To alleviate their anxiety, they have a great desire for company but can be fault-finding and reproachful.

Silica’s anxiety is due to a lack of confidence, they have a very timid, bashful personality and do not like to take on any task in case they fail.  They are anxious about their health but this is worse when the female reaches menopause.

Thuja’s anxiety is similar to Arsen Alb in that they have a fear germs and of getting infections as well as being fearful of strangers.  They are depressed, feel isolated and alone, are secretive but prefer to be alone in contrast to Arsen Alb who requires company.  Thuja also describe a feeling of being a fragile as if they are made of glass.

The descriptions of the remedies given above are only a brief outline of the comparisons of each of the remedies and it is the detailed knowledge of the remedies that indicates to the homeopath which remedy should be chosen for the specific symptom picture presented by the client.

One aspect of the remedies I have always found fascinating is the sensation.  I recall having a client sit opposite me during the consultation who kept brushing her hand across her cheek.  After a while she said she felt as if she had a cobweb on her cheek.  Of course this was not the case.  However, it was a clear indication to me of a remedy that she needed and this sensation was noted in the proving of the remedy Graphites.  Her presenting complaint had been periodic depression and anxiety especially when she woke in the morning.  Other symptoms included digestive disturbances and menstrual problems.   But it was the cobweb sensation that clarified the remedy.  This rubric is listed in the Face chapter of the Repertory under the heading cobwebs, sensation of.

Another sensation rubric is listed in the Abdomen chapter alive, sensation of something in.  One of the remedies that has this sensation is Thuja, the remedy I have given some information of above.   If there is a physical reason for the sensation, then of course it will need to be checked out.  But if there is nothing physically wrong please don’t feel awkward or embarrassed to explain these to your homeopath.  The language or the Repertory is based on how you describe your feelings because all the remedies have been proved by people.

The information contained in the Repertory is an abbreviation of the remedies in the Materia Medica and this is why a homeopath will spend time carefully sifting through many rubrics while taking your case and then cross referring it with the Materia Medica so that they can select the most appropriate remedy for you.   As previously mentioned there is no one size fits all.  Homeopathy is individual just like the symptoms you are experiencing.

I trust this has given you an insight into why there are so many questions asked during a consultation and why some of them might seem unusual but they are all extremely relevant to the analysis of the case.   New homeopathic remedies are being proved giving homeopaths greater knowledge to deal with the problems people are experiencing in today’s very fast-paced world.

Homeopathy is gentle, non-toxic and non-addictive and can safely be used by all ages and does not interfere with any prescribed medication.


Murphy, Robin ND. Homeopathic Clinical Repertory 3rd Edition.

Murphy, Robin ND. Nature’s Materia Medica 3rd Edition.


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About June Sayer

June Sayer DHom (Med) MARH MRHom DNTh DIridol Homeopath Nutritionist Reiki Master/Teacher became fascinated by homeopathy after seeking treatment for her children and herself some 23 years ago; this dramatic change in their overall health led her to train as a homoeopathic practitioner. She qualified from the Hahnemann College in 1992 and has been in practice since that date. She is one of the founding directors of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and has a practice in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex where she enjoys training individuals in the art and practice of homoeopathy. She may be contacted on Tel: 01621 730664;   


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