Passover is right around the corner as Jews around the world prepare for this yearly holiday. Many people are eliminating or selling leavened products as part of the tradition. As a homeopathic practitioner, many of my Jewish clients have been recently asking me if homeopathic remedies are kosher for passover?
This also affects me as well since I am an observant Jewish user of homeopathy as well!
I recently touched upon this issue a while ago when I discussed homeopathy’s kosher status in general. I briefly spoke about the use of homeopathy during Passover.
The goal of this post is to show which type of homeopathic remedies and products are or aren’t kosher for passover.
No matter what though, you should ALWAYS consult with your local Orthodox rabbi for a final halachic descision!
Note: For clarity purposes, certain Hebrew words will be transliterated in italics.
General Rules of Medicine for Passover
The laws on this issue are a bit complex, since even a very tiny speck of leavened grain (chametz) is 100% forbidden. Here are the basic rules to keep in mind:
- Only medicines that are needed for life-threatening situations are allowed.
- It is possible to change a medicine into water or another substance in order to eliminate the leaven ingredient (will discuss more below).
- Anyone that is ill to the point that they cannot function properly (whether mentally, emotionally, or physically) can take certain medicines, even if they contain leaven.
- Generally healthy people should not take supplemental medicines with leaven in them.
- Any medicinal product that is not used orally and is inedible to the point that even a dog won’t eat is allowed.
- Even for a permissible medicine, it is best to use a leaven-free alternative.
Homeopathy is a bit more complex issue. Homeopathic remedies are kosher in general for numerous reasons. They are taken in an unusual way, they are highly diluted, and usually contain kosher inactive ingredients. The remedies are therefore fine during the year.
There are 3 common ways to take a remedy. You can take a remedy in sugar pellet form, in water, or topically.
Let’s go through each one for more clarity…
Remedies in Sugar Pellet Form – Problem
Homeopathic pellets pose a major problem. One of the reasons why using homeopathy during Passover is problematic is because lactose is used to coat the sugar pellets.
The lactose used to coat the pellets generally contain leavened ingredients. This is why many rabbis recommend not using remedies during Passover.
If you are taking doses of a remedy only a few times (such as once or three times before taking it again in the future), then make sure to take it before Passover eve (erev Pesach).
There is a brand of homeopathic remedies in sugar pellet form that is 100% kosher for Passover. Ollois produces homeopathic remedies without lactose in them. The only ingredient is sucrose, which isn’t an issue at all.
Conclusion: need remedies during Passover? Buy from Ollois!
Taking the remedy in water is a different matter altogether. There is a way to use remedies in water for Passover.
I mentioned earlier how one is able to use medicines if they are altered with water or another substance.
If one takes a medicine and dilutes it to the point that the medicine/leavened ingredient is dissolved or nullified by a 60:1 ratio before Passover, then the medicine can be used during the holiday. Anything nullified before Passover is ok for the holiday.
The exception to the rule is if the leavened ingredient is a coagulant.
However, there is a dispute among the Rabbinic authorities (Poskim) if this is allowed from the outset (lechatchila) or after the fact/by accident (bedieved).
Some rabbis like Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef (Yalkut Yosef 447:2) rule that it’s no problem from the outset. Most others such as the Mishnah Berurah (Siman 453:20) argue that it’s only OK after the fact/by accident, or if the item is desperately needed for the holiday.
This shouldn’t pose as an issue for homeopaths and users of homeopathy. Homeopaths often prescribe remedies to be taken in water anyways for certain clients, or if they are using certain potencies like LM. In cases like this, it is not an issue according to all opinions.
Conclusion: Unless your Rabbi rules otherwise, remedies taken in water are generally allowed to be used during Passover.
Some homeopathic pharmacies, produce homeopathic gels, creams, or lotions. These contain one or more homeopathic remedies at X potencies in ointment form.
Different companies use slightly different ingredients for their homeopathic ointments. The main issue though is the kind of alcohol that is used.
If the alcohol is derived from wheat, spelt, oats, rye, or barley grains, then it is not allowed to be used for Passover. Otherwise, it is kosher for Passover.
Based on my research, I highly recommend using Boiron’s homeopathic ointments. They do not use any leaven products at all in them, and they are very high quality homeopathic products.
Conclusion: Boiron gels, creams, and lotions are kosher for Passover. For other products, check the kind of alcohol being used.
Kosher For Passover Homeopathy
From this post, you now know that…
- remedies in sugar pellet form (except for those made from Ollois) should be avoided, if possible.
- water remedies made before Passover are ok.
- ointments depend on their ingredients, especially the alcohol. Boiron ointments are definitely kosher for Passover.
I hope that this article made things clear for you. Again, please consult your Rabbi and homeopath for a final decision.
The laws gathered here were reviewed and approved by Rabbi Mordechai Shain, the executive director of Lubavitch on the Palisades.
Wishing a happy and healthy Passover to all!