One of the amazing and yet difficult to accept tenets of homeopathic remedies is that they do not expire! Many master homeopaths state they can last indefinitely. For example modern homeopaths have found that the original remedy collection of the founder of Homeopathy Samuel Hahnemann is still functional. He died in 1843. This means that homeopathic remedies are sustainable, economical and practical for modern times.
According to Hyland's official website, "In the US, the FDA has exempted homeopathic manufacturers from putting expiration dates on their product labels. While nothing lasts indefinitely, homeopathic medicines are safe to use when stored under normal conditions (away from moisture and excessive heat or cold)." Many country's government health regulators have required that expiry dates and posology be placed on homeopathic labels, and the unfortunate thing with this is that many remedies still perfectly usable are thrown out.
Herbs, pharmaceuticals and other chemical based medications usually do not last longer than five years. Some herbal tinctures in alcohol can last a bit longer. Since homeopathic remedies are energetic in nature rather than chemical they can last indefinitely. For any remedy the key is the correct production method, the proper storage and how they are used and administered. The disposal of contaminated remedies does not need to be regulated as it does for expired pharmaceuticals.
There are many laboratories around the world producing homeopathic remedies of high quality and high standards. Although the early homeopaths did produce their own remedies nowadays it is best left to professionals with proper equipment to ensure good quality and consistency. It is important the ingredients they use, especially the alcohol, are of the best quality and that they are stored in glass. Some Indian manufacturers are unfortunately not following these standards and their remedies may not last over the long term, granted they may still last decades. Remedies in liquid made with the proper proportion of alcohol will not deteriorate over time and will not loose their potency. The only loss may occur with evaporation so make sure the lid is on tight! For remedies in granule form, they are considered to be safe for long-term storage in glass when properly sealed.
It is very important that remedies need to be stored in a cool, dry place, away from any excessive heat or moisture. A bathroom, because of its moist environment, is never a good place to store remedies. It is important to store and open them away from strong odours such as camphor or essential oils. This can contaminate the remedy and it may lose its charge. It is also important to replace the lid or cap tightly as this maintains the remedy from moisture and odours. The energetic nature of remedies means that the resonance of the remedy will seep into the container. It is important to store glass and even plastic container right next to other containers holding different remedies. Usually a cardboard or paper 'wall' is enough. The container will also retain the charge of the remedy so it cannot be used to store different remedies in the future or to be used for other purposes. Strong heat such as in a dishwasher will cleanse the glass if it was only used for a short time. If remedies seem discoloured or mouldy they have become contaminated and need to be replaced.
When taking a remedy it is very important that hands or lips do not touch the inside of the remedy bottle, dropper or lid as this can cause contamination of contents. Homeopathic laboratories do not use preservatives for remedies so touching them can contaminate them with bacteria, mould or other microorganisms. Any spilled remedy or granule can contaminate the rest of the contents so don't try to put them back into the bottle! A single granule of a remedy costs around 7 cents, it is best to just throw it out.
It is not necessary to dispose of remedies the way over the counter and prescription medications need to be taken back to the pharmacy for safe disposal. Rather than needing to be burned in a specially licensed incinerator, once a remedy is exposed to air, water or strong smells, the potency fades and disappears. The granule is made of sucrose or lactose and it will simply dissolve. Remedy contents will not pollute the water and later show up in tap water as pharmaceutical medications often do. This is in part why homeopathy is the green medicine of the future, remedies are not harmful to the environment, either in the manufacturing process or the disposal process. Old bottles and containers when recycled or thrown out will also slowly lose their charge as the signal of the remedy fades.
Often laboratories will donate their 'expired' remedies to non-profit groups or give them to students. If you have an old box of remedies simply check the quality, the lids should be tight, they should not have dried up, and the granules should be white and clean in appearance. If you wish to donate old remedies, contact a local homeopath or local homeopathic organization and they can likely put them to good use.
Some of the world's homeopathic manufacturers include:
Boiron in France
Homeodel in Quebec
Hahnemann laboratories in California
Ainsworths in London
Helios in the UK
Dr. Reckeweg in Germany
Lords Homoeopathic in India
Allen Laboratories Ltd. in India
Hyland's in California
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