I had the great fortune of interviewing Dahlia Shemtob, a renowned Southern California 20-year Homeopathic Doctor with a thriving practice, and am so excited to share everything that I learned.
One night my friend Daniel was making a cup of peppermint tea for me, and offered to add some freshly grated ginger. Um, yes please! I asked him how he came to do this with his tea, and he told me that his mom was a Homeopathic Doctor, and that he had picked up the habit from her. Based on Daniel’s energy and his interesting life, I had a gut feeling that she would be a fascinating interview, and I was right.
Dahlia holds Masters and Doctorial degrees in Homeopathic Medicine from Currenter University. And also a Masters in Homeopathy from Hahnemann College of Homeopathy (Hahnemann was the founder of Homeopathic medicine). She also has not one, but TWO post-graduate degrees.
Dahlia is an absolutely inspiring and magnetic force, and has unbelievable stories of the healing powers of Homeopathic medicine. I could have listened to her talk for days! I hope you enjoy reading this blog entry as much as I did interviewing her.
And guys, I'm not going to lie, this is a long interview. But I found Dahlia's life story and her immersion into the practice of homeopathy so utterly fascinating, I really didn't want to leave out as much as I normally would. Also, you can find your answer to many FAQs around homeopathy on this page of Dahlia's website.
Also at the time of publishing this post, Dahlia has actually worked her homeopathic science on me, although accidentally. As many of my Instagram followers know, I had a stubborn toe fracture that would not heal. With no awareness of my fracture, over the course of our interview, Dahlia mentioned a remedy for trauma healing over the course of our interview (see more regarding Arnica Montana below) - which I took and the fracture was pain-free and stronger after 3 days. Homeopathy is truly a miraculous practice.
First and foremost, I read on your website that you had your own personal path that led you to homeopathy, and you don’t really dive into that on your website, so I was wondering if first, you could give me some history about your life, where you’re from. What your life was like before you started to practice homeopathy, and what led you to this practice?
Years ago – this starts with my dear dear son Daniel – I have to also start out by saying…doctors, with all due respect, I love them to death, we work very well together. But after Daniel was vaccinated as a child, he started having seizures. And I come from a family with a lot of doctors in my family. In speaking with my uncle, who is a very well known pediatrician in Beverly Hills, I talked to him and he said “Well you’ve got to put him on meds. There is no other way.” And I asked “Well, what about the side effects.” And my uncle said, “Well what are you going to do. He is either going to have side effects, or he is going to have seizures.”
And of course, I was extremely young, and thickheaded at the time. So I decided that I’m not going to put him on meds. I come from a family where my dad was a true scholar, my mom the same thing. They read a lot of books, they knew a lot about nutrition. They taught us a lot and we ate well. I never abused my body, and that was what I did for my kids.
At that point I decided to consult with my brother who practiced alternative medicine for many many years up in Oregon. At this time, he really helped me. He would call me every day “Don’t put him on meds, you’re going to be sorry. There are other ways.” And because he had studied Homeopathy at one point, he talked about it. And then he said “It would be very difficult to find a good Homeopath where you are (Orange County). Why don’t you start with Classical Acupuncture.”
So, he referred me out to someone. And I started out with someone, for about a year, taking Daniel. And he put a few needles in him, and then he would say “He’s fine!” (Could not find a cause behind the seizures). And then we would talk for the rest of the time, and we did it once a week. And after a year, he was having MORE seizures.
This doctor said to me “The guru of Classical Acupuncture is coming from England, would you like Daniel to be seen by him?” And I said to him, “Of course!” So this doctor comes in and he worked with Daniel for almost two hours, and he said “Look, I have checked him and everything is balanced in him. He really doesn’t have a problem.” He was a full-term baby, never fell, never had anything drastic in his life, so what could it be!? He said, “The only suggestion I have for you is to try homeopathy. When we fail, Homeopathy wins.”
And I didn’t know much about it, except that I had enrolled to study Homeopathy at the time! That year where I was going to the traditional Chinese acupuncturist, we talked about it. And my brother was talking about it. I was a scholar. I always wanted to study. I had a degree in interior design from Brown University. And I was doing real estate at the time. So I started the homeopathic coursework, and the first session, I’m in there, we were studying with the doctor of the Royal family in England, who was an Indian doctor, very sweet man.
And I got the guts, I don’t know how, it’s not me to go to people and ask for stuff like this, but I went to him on the break and I said, “Look, I really need just 5 minutes of your time. My son who was a full-term baby – I didn’t even have an epidural – I don’t know why he’s having seizures, but he’s having seizures.” And he gave me the name of a remedy (Bella Donna).
And I asked him, “For how long should I give it to him?” And he recommended just for 2 days, 3 times per day, and having a very conventional mind I thought “He said 2 days, OK, I’ll give it to Daniel for 3 days.” So I did it for 3 days, 3 times a day…And he never had another seizure.” About 2 months before this all happened, I was driving. And I was crying. And I said “God. You cure my son, and I will dedicate my life to humanity. Just do this for me.” And two months later was when Daniel was completely healed. So that was it. He never had another seizure.
I went back to school. I studied Homeopathy for eight years, because the schools are not enough years. And you really never get bad results, but for me, treating other people, one thing came up for me that came out of that year that I was seeing the traditional acupuncturist, and I had asked “How do you dare treating other people with their ailments, it’s a very difficult task.” And he said, “You know Dahlia, it doesn’t come the first day, but you’re going to grow into it. You are going to learn, and learn, and go on.” And this is what I got out of that whole year, this is what I got out of it, and it was the best lesson I got. It helped me get through so many obstacles throughout the years, because I get the most difficult patients that nobody else treats. And nobody else has hope for them.
Homeopathy is an out of pocket expense. It’s not like you can use Medicare or Blue Shield. You have to pay out of pocket, and this kind of practice, it’s not the least expensive. I wanted to be accessible to people, but nevertheless, it’s an expense. So I get very difficult cases because they know there is a cure for them. Like for example, end state cancer, we can still treat that.
So that was my promise to God, and well, there you go.
At some point while I was still practicing real estate, before this, I was having lunch with a friend who was very spiritual. And he said to me” Dahlia, your son is cured, what does that tell you?” And I said to him “I don’t know, what does that tell me?” And he said, “You told me many times you were looking to find our purpose. You were looking to find our path. Don’t you think this is all telling you something?” And that was it. I quit real estate, and I immersed myself in homeopathy, I was taking one patient at a time at first. But little by little it grew. And now I have a beautiful practice. I couldn’t be happier.
It’s still a difficult path because people come to you with not much belief, and it’s okay, I’ve always told them, “It’s okay, I don’t need your belief system.” They are always referred by a doctor, or a friend, or a family member, and they come in thinking, this can’t work. It’s all energy. How could it work?
But it’s very scientific. If people start studying it, they really come to understand the concept of energy. Which is so foreign to a lot of people. But it’s there, and there’s a lot of proof around it. And it works 100x better than conventional medicine, but it doesn’t have the side effects. And I always say, I have nothing against conventional medicine. And I actually work alongside many doctors. I work with doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, but the point of it is…you do conventional medicine for a SHORT period of time because it DOES have side effects. And nobody can over-rule those side effects, but you can start your homeopathic treatment and as it starts working, then you can go off of the conventional medications and treatments little by little. No one should be on conventional medicine long-term, although it’s a blessing.
We don’t have drugs. What we have is what your body needs to heal itself. For example, Arnica Montana. Which is everywhere. Everybody uses it because it’s commonplace. Now even Arnica, when you take it, it’s healing the body from inside out. So Arnica is what we use for first aid. For injury, when somebody has had an operation, an accident. Those are the times you use Arnica Montana. But unfortunately because doctors don’t know about it in depth, they’re only aware of its usage at low potency. Low potency does not work when you’ve had an operation, or a bad accident, or a concussion. Then you have to use high potencies. They don’t sell the high potencies in health food stores. I have it, because I use it all of the time, because the patients who see me are past the point of needing the lower potency.
So when you use Arnica, it’s healing you from within. It’s healing all of the injury that has happened. SO it will take a little while. So it’s not like when you take Oxycontin or some other narcotic with immediate efficacy. And it’s okay to take those for a day or two, but then you want to stop, you don’t want to become reliant.
And then parallel path the Homeopathic remedy so that it’s healing you at the same time.
And I have to say one other thing. Because I hear this all the time. Arnica Montana – which is a remedy that we use for operations, surgeries, things like that. It HAS to be in high potencies, and it’s not to be consumed BEFORE the trauma. People start taking it before. Homeopathy should only be incorporated once the symptom has occurred. If there’s no symptom, there’s nothing to heal. You need to use it afterwards. Right after the surgery for example. You come out, and THEN you start using the Arnica. The idea is that a homeopathic remedy will cure the exact symptom that you are experiencing. Like cures like.
If there is no symptom to cure, most people just don’t react to it. It’s rare, but some people who are very very sensitive react to it if not used properly, and that’s not good. So always leave homeopathic treatment for after onset of symptoms, but it’s best to start right after onset.
Well, it can be later on too. The good thing – Homeopathy is such a modality, you’ve never seen anything like it. It can cure. I have stories to tell you. I have one guy who was doing the hardwood flooring at my house. And he came in with his crew, and he was standing up, doing not much, just supervising them. And I said (jokingly) “Oh, so this is nice, you just tell them to do everything.” And he says, “Two years ago I had a very bad accident, I hurt my back, and I’ve been to every doctor under the sun. I’ve done acupuncture, I’ve done physical therapy, I’ve done everything. And nothing has helped. I have a two year old, I can’t hold him. I can’t pick up anything, and I can’t bend. So that’s why I have these people who cost me a lot. I should be down on the floor doing this with them. But I can’t.”
I felt bad for him, so I said “I’m going to give you something. You can start taking it. I don’t promise anything since I didn’t take your case, but this might help you.” And he said “But it was two years ago.” And I said “it doesn’t matter.” So I gave him some Arnica Montana – 200C – and to take it 5 times per day for 3 days. And he did it. And I didn’t hear from him for a couple of weeks or three weeks. But then I come home and there’s a message from him on my answering machine. And he said, “I just want to thank you for what you gave me, my back is so much better. This is unbelievable, but I have been able to play with my child, and I’m able to pick him up and do things. And I’m so grateful, I just wanted to let you know.”
So two years later. But this is what happens with homeopathy all of the time. It’s an amazing modality.
So let’s say you’re seeing a patient for the first time. What would they experience? They walk into your office, what happens next? What kind of questions do you typically ask? What does the follow-up look like?
Usually before they come in, I have a short conversation with them. I ask them what they’re coming in for. Most of the time it’s some sort of referral. Two of the pages amongst the pages in my intake form are symptom pages, including EVERY symptom that they are experiencing. So let’s say for instance they have anxiety, and at the same time they have indigestion, and they can’t sleep, and their hormones are acting up. They indicate all of the symptoms, as well as the intensity and the frequency.
As we work together, we look for the symptoms on these pages to alleviate. So for example if someone has noted anxiety is an 8 out of 10, we treat that and then they may say “Oh, it’s not 8, it’s more like a 6.” Usually within the first month, we are looking for a 20-30% improvement. About 85% of people will have that result. However there are some patients who have so many root causes around what symptoms they are experiencing, that one month is not enough, and even if they are 20% better, they don’t realize it.
We live in a society that is very complex, and patients have many many symptoms that we are seeing all at the same time. I don’t take people off of their medications. Until they start feeling better. Once they start feeling better, then we start lowering medications. And that’s up to them. But most people who come to see me – it’s because they don’t have good results from conventional medicine. And the cocktails of conventional prescriptions lead to side effects that nobody likes. People can’t wait to go off of their conventional medications, so when they start feeling better, THEN we take them off.
Are you seeing people come in for different conditions now vs 20 years ago? Are you seeing neck pain from “tech neck” or hormonal issues because women are staying on birth control longer? Have you seen an evolution in your practice?
I think that everything is much more complicated. People have many more diseases. Sometimes it’s very difficult to decipher because they ARE on so many different medications. Because naturally your body throws out symptoms. So let’s say I have hormonal issues – a woman who has gone through menopause. They don’t know what’s going on, but they will tell me “I feel foggy. I want to cry all of the time. I have an aversion to being with my husband, I don’t want him to touch me any more. I’m extremely lethargic.” These are all symptoms of hormonal imbalance. But these symptoms can have other root causes. It could be because their kidney doesn’t work well. Or their liver doesn’t work well. That’s what we target.
I am dying to ask you…I would love to know what a day in the life is like for you from a wellness standpoint. What do you practice as far as your own self care rituals, what you are eating, etc…?
Because I practice Homeopathy, a lot of the things that people have, I don’t have. I’m always treating myself. I believe in the fact that if I’m not good at treating myself, then how can I treat other people? If I’m not a good presentation of what I represent, then how could I possibly treat other people.
So I treat myself the best way possible. It’s not ALWAYS possible because I have a lot of responsibility. But for instance, the way I eat is healthfully. Morning starts with a couple of cups of green tea. And some water and unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar. I think lemon is a little too acidic for me, but vinegar is very alkaline and assists your body to an alkaline state. And I do a couple of table spoons of the vinegar in about a liter of water. It doesn’t taste very sour. It’s very easy to drink.
Then I have two cups of green tea. And then have lots of fruit and I eat a lot of nuts. Almonds, cashews, pecans, about a big handful a day. Rice cakes. I eat a lot, but not processed, I don’t eat fried foods. But I eat almost everything, and I eat it all of the time. And if I really want to – for example I love french fries – so once in a while I will eat french fries. But it’s not a regular thing for me. If I eat meat, I try to not eat meat for the next couple of days.
Unless you are really having an issue with your gallbladder, or your liver, that you cannot digest meat. I think meat to a certain extent, if it’s clean meat, and not too fatty, it’s good. It has some vitamin B’s that you wont’ find otherwise, and I think our bodies need it.
Now some people do better – depending on blood type – they do better with one source of animal protein more than another. For instance, type O’s need meat. If they don’t eat any meat, they’re typically replacing with a lot of pasta, rice, things like that, and sweets, and those are all of the things that are bad for type Os. Especially if they have diabetes.
So I eat almost everything, but in moderation.
And what about exercise, or any other wellness practices?
I am at the gym quite often. I have always done movement of some kind. Ever since I was a little girl, I did tennis, ice skating, swimming, basketball. For a few years after I gave birth I wasn’t active, but then I went back to it. So now I’m at the gym about 3 times per week. I just started doing yoga again. And that would be my exercise routine. I don’t do much more. With a busy practice, I just don’t have the time to do more.
I don’t take any designer stuff. I do the very basic supplements. I take magnesium and potassium. And I’ve discovered recently that for myself (and most people), the best ratio is more 300mg is potassium, and 500mg of magnesium.
I also take cell salts. As people get older, everyone’s’ bones thin out. Some people get osteoporosis. And some people get osteopenia. In my practice, I have had great success with stopping progression, or improvement after a DEXA reveals deterioration. You can treat this with cell salts and it will show improvement in the bone density. So it’s very doable. Some of these cell salts are great for osteopenia. But it’s not enough and there are other homeopathic remedies that truly replenish the bones. Conventional medicine is more like a band-aid. It suppresses the symptoms, but doesn’t truly heal like Homeopathy. Once you go off of conventional medication, everything goes back to where it was.