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Remedy Responses: What They Mean (Part A)

Remedy Responses: What They Mean (Part A) 2Different people have different experiences following a homeopathic treatment. For some, the results are dramatic and profound, while for others changes are mild or non-existent.

Knowing the potential responses to a remedy, how to interpret them, and what they mean for follow-up management is an important part of successful homeopathic treatment.

The seven possible responses are:

  1. A curative response in which your symptoms get better and go away.
  2. A similar aggravation in which your symptoms first worsen, then improve.
  3. A dissimilar aggravation in which new symptoms appear for a short time but current ones stay the same.
  4. An accessory symptom in which current symptoms improve but one or two new ones appear for a short period.
  5. The return of old symptoms in which existing symptoms improve but symptoms from the past reappear for a short period.
  6. The appearance of a  surrogate discharge or eruption as other symptoms improve.
  7. A ‘non-event’ – nothing happens.

Let’s take a look at them in greater detail.

1. Curative response: Symptoms improve and then fully resolve

This means…

The remedy matched the person’s sensitivity and symptoms, and was given in the:

  • Right strength (potency)
  • Right amount (dose)
  • Right number of repetitions (frequency)


This is the result everyone wants and, with correct treatment, this is what happens. For acute complaints such as cystitis or a gum abscess, it may occur quickly – sometimes with just one dose of one remedy.

For chronic problems such as recurring tonsillitis or asthma since childhood, treatment will take longer. If a number of diseases or problems have accumulated over years, a series of remedies and potencies may be needed to fully return the person to good health.


The pain in the joints non-eventfully resolves following a dose of the remedy.

What to do next

Nothing – all is well.

2. Similar aggravation: Symptoms first worsen and then improve.

What this means

The remedy was correct in that it matched the person’s symptoms but they have over-reacted to it.

Even when the remedy is a correct match for the person’s symptoms it may temporarily intensify the existing symptoms if:

  • The dose is too large,
  • The potency incorrect, or
  • It has been given more often than needed.


The painful joints initially worsened following a dose of the remedy but then resolved.


This similar (homeopathic) aggravation occurs as the overly strong or repeated effects (symptoms) of the remedy combine with the person’s existing symptoms. In effect, they experience an ‘overdose’ of their own disease.

Fortunately, similar aggravations are usually mild and short-lived, settling as the energy of the remedy leaves the person’s body. As their life force rebounds against the disappearing remedy, improvement takes place.

Similar aggravations confirm that the correct remedy was prescribed but the size of the dose was too large for the person’s sensitivity.

Occasionally, similar aggravations occur with the first dose of the remedy, but not subsequent doses.

What to do next

As the similar aggravation settles, the life force will rebound against the dissipating energy of the remedy, and an improvement in the original symptoms should be observed.

The remedy should only be repeated when this improvement stalls or symptoms begin to return. Future similar aggravations can be avoided, depending on the circumstances, by either lessening the size, changing the potency, or by reducing the number of dose repetitions.

On rare occasions when the aggravation is prolonged, it may antidoted by a homeopathic remedy that suits the symptoms of the aggravation.

3. Dissimilar aggravation: New symptoms appear while existing ones continue.

What this means

The remedy is incorrect for the person’s symptoms but they are sensitive enough to experience some of the different symptoms it can treat.


The painful joints did not improve following a dose of the remedy and the person had a sleepless night from an unexpected blocked nose.


An incorrect remedy can produce a new and different symptoms in a dissimilar or unhomeopathic aggravation if the person is overly sensitive to the remedy, or when the dose has been repeated numerous times. (This is in contrast to a similiar or homeopathic aggravation that may occur when the remedy is correct.)

As there is a lack of similarity between the symptoms produced by the remedy, and those experienced by the unwell persons, a curative effect will not take place.

As with similar aggravations, dissimilar aggravations are usually mild and short-lived. They settle as soon as the energetic effects of the remedy leave the body. Unfortunately, a rebound response from the life force will not follow the dissipating energy of the remedy.

What to do

The symptoms of the dissimilar aggravation should be noted. Once the aggravation settles, a new prescription that better matches the person’s existing symptoms should be made. The characteristic symptoms of the dissimilar aggravation should be considered or incorporated into this new prescription.

On rare occasions when the aggravation is prolonged, it may antidoted by a homeopathic remedy that suits the symptoms of the aggravation.

In Conclusion – A Word About Aggravations

Aggravations, while not a necessary part of homeopathic treatment, are sometimes unavoidable.

Aggravations occur when a person is either very sensitive to a remedy, or when the remedy has been given in too large or too frequent a dose. For this reason, giving a test dose or doses at the beginning of treatment to assess sensitivity is recommended.

Liquid and olfaction doses also reduce the likelihood of aggravations.

When aggravations do occur, they are usually short-lived, mild, and an interesting phenomenon to experience. Mild aggravations also act as a challenge to the person’s vitality and strengthen resilience.

Other Remedy Responses

The remaining remedy responses are discussed in: Remedy Responses: What They Mean (Part B)