Constitutional Types and Prescribing

In homeopathic terms, a person’s constitution is a blend of their inherited make-up, their formative experiences and the influence of their environment. Homeopaths believe that more subtle imbalances than are generally acknowledged can be somehow imprinted on our genetic structure and we are born with them. These, together with our experiences and environmental factors, can weaken us so that when we are overloaded by stress or toxins, our health breaks down and chronic illness sets in.

A person’s constitution may change as they go through the different stages of life, also homeopathic treatment may reveal previous constitutional characteristics as subsequent ‘layers’ of ill health are uncovered.

The American homeopath Dr. James Tyler Kent was the first to observe that people with similar constitutions tended to suffer from the same types of disease and in turn, to respond to the same types of remedy. He then proceeded to group people according to ‘constitutional type’ for example Natrum mur. people tend to be pear-shaped, have a dark complexion, be fastidious and rigid in personality, keep themselves to themselves, crave salt and suffer from constipation. Lycopodium types tend to be tall, gangly and of stooped appearance, with an anxious expression, a craving for sweets, and a propensity to produce intestinal gas.

Of course, constitutional types have their limitations. In reality, each person is an individual, so there are as many constitutional types as there are human beings, Recognising the correct constitutional type in everyone is a skill that requires professional training in homeopathy as account must be taken of the sum total of the person's inherited predispositions, past illnesses, diet, general reactions to the environment, intellectual and emotional features, and general attitude to life. This is what is meant in this website by ‘constitutional treatment’.

In treating acute, uncomplicated complaints, the choice of remedy does not depend on knowing the constitutional type and is relatively easy. However with chronic or recurrent conditions, there may be a number of possible remedies and knowing the constitutional type can be very helpful in making the correct choice. Accordingly, the main indications of constitutional type are given in the 60 most commonly used remedies, in the treatments section of this website. It is hoped that this will provide useful pointers when there is more than one possible remedy.

For further information, please see ‘How to Choose a Homeopathic Remedy'.

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