Once one's constitutional or fundamental medicine is selected and administered, not only is the person's chief complaint greatly reduced, but he or she generally feels better in many ways, physically and psychologically. Although a person may actually be cured after a single dose of the correct constitutional or fundamental medicine, more often, the medicine may start the curative process, and a series of medicines will be required to complete it. As the person heals and changes, a new fundamental picture often emerges, bringing with it the requirement of a new medicine. Some homeopaths believe that one's constitutional medicine never changes, while others feel that it can.
Some laypeople find great pleasure in looking for their own, their family's, and their friends' constitutional and fundamental medicines. The most popular and useful books for this endeavor are Catherine Coulter's Portraits of Homoeopathic Medicines, Edward C. Whitmont's Psyche and Substance: Essays on Homeopathy in the Light of Jungian Psychology, James Tyler Kent's Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica, and Margaret Tyler's Drug Pictures.
The search for a constitutional medicine requires one's intellectual and intuitive capacities, being part-detective, part-psychologist, and part-investigative reporter. Despite the challenge of this process, it is not recommended that one prescribe a constitutional or fundamental medicine for oneself for several reasons. First, it is the general consensus in the homeopathic community that laypeople can learn to treat themselves for non-emergency acute conditions, but that the complexity of treating and of providing follow-up treatment of chronic conditions requires professional supervision. Since treatment of chronic conditions usually involves a sequence of prescriptions, either repetition of the same medicine at the same or a different potency or another medicine entirely, only those with deeper knowledge of homeopathic principles and materia medica should engage in the treatment of chronic conditions.
Another reason that laypeople should not prescribe constitutional or fundamental medicines is that such medicines can sometimes create a healing crisis during which certain symptoms get worse. If the layperson doesn't know how to deal with this situation, the person receiving treatment will not get the best benefit from the homeopathic medicine.
Although it is not recommended for laypeople to prescribe medicines for ones own or another's chronic state, it may be still worthwhile for him or her to study the different homeopathic types and to give their opinion to the practitioner as to what medicine might be considered. Even so, there are threecaveats: The first is that people who study certain medicines may create for themselves symptoms specific to a particular medicine. Secondly, some people may exaggerate certain symptoms in order to fit a medicine. And third, some people like to think of themselves as certain "nice person" medicine types such as Sulphur, Phosphorous, or Pulsatilla, and angrily deny that they are the more irritable types such as Nux vomica, Sepia, or Arsenicum. The potential for bias here is obvious.
A constitutional or fundamental homeopathic medicine may significantly reduce certain physical or psychological tendencies so that they do not limit the person's capacity to do and be his or her best, but each of us still may have certain propensities which are distinctive to our individual nature. A homeopathic medicine may reduce the extreme symptoms which stress the bodymind and increase the overall physical and psychological strength within each us, but it cannot change those qualities that make each of us unique.