Elements of Homoeopathic Pharmacy.
By Ivor Hughes

Like Paracelsus before him Hahnemann practiced the ancient doctrine of similars i.e. like is cured by like, and is  expressed in the Homoeopathic motto,  'Similia similibus curantur' The rule being that the remedy must produce in a healthy person (the prover) the symptoms which are observable in the diseased condition. The preparation for the proving would be at a strength of 1:4 to 1:10. A patient would be treated with minute doses. The orthodox school of medicine considers this to be wrong. They  conveniently ignore the undisputed fact, that the  practice of vaccination, is proof of this ancient doctrine, of small energized doses for someone who is ill. The practice of introducing substances into the blood stream has only one redeeming feature, and  that is, its speed of action. As a route of  administration, it should only be used in dire emergencies. The reason is simple, the body has been usurped, and all of its filtering and screening  functions have been circumvented. This is a practice which destroys  natural immunity. Homoeopathy is able to supply oral vaccines called  Nosodes. The procedure is to be recommended because it mobilizes the whole array of the body's defences. The immunity becomes permanent.  

Dr. Hahnemann died nearly 160 years ago, and in light of our considerably advanced understanding, the picture that emerges is that of a truly remarkable man.

A Problem For Homeopathy

The problem is not the actual substance, for example 'Belladonna', but rather the vehicle that carries the substance and its method of extraction or preparation. The Homoeopathic materia medica, is more extensive than that used in any other system of medicine and contains thousands of substances, each of which has had extensive proving. Therefore if the Homoeopathic pharmacist changes the vehicle of a substance and the method of its preparation then the 'drug picture' is changed and the substance will of necessity need another set of proving performed. Therefore when producing such remedies, scrupulous attention to detail must be given.  

Unlike his orthodox counterpart, the homoeopathic physician, has a level of interaction with the patient, that allows for quite precise posological adjustments to a remedy. That may be carried out forthwith, and without reference to a pharmacist or a laboratory. The pharmacist's role is to ensure that the mother tincture is the best that can be produced in accord with vitalistic scientific principles, and that potencies supplied, are precise both in dilution and succussion. In that way, the physician can have confidence in the instrument, and concentrate on the knotty problem of diagnosis, or matching of symptoms to produce the drug picture for the patient.

The Potencies Problem

The reader may wish to refer back to Sections 8-44 and 8-45 to refresh the memory regarding Avogadros constant and the mole concept. It is postulated that the molecular weight in grams of any substance will contain as many entities as there are atoms in12g of Carbon 12, i.e., 6.02 x 10 to the 23rd power. 1 mole of any compound is its formula weight in grams. For example;

Table 11-31A
Compound. Formula. Mol Weight.
Water H20 18
Ethyl Alcohol C2H50H 46
Glycerine C3H5OH3 92
Lactose C12H22O11H2O 360

Except for glycerine all of the above substances (compounds) were used by Dr. Hahnemann as a vehicle or carrier for a therapeutic component, which if it were derived from the plant  kingdom would be prepared as a 1:10 tincture, with one notable  exception; Cactus grandiflora, which in the early 1940's was designated as a 1:20 tincture by the US HP, however the dilution and succussion process remained as a standard for all substances. In a nutshell the potencies are made by diluting, dilutions in succession. Therefore logically, the molecular weight of the therapeutic substance would decrease, while the % molecular weight of the dilutant would increase. Moreover as the quantity of the therapeutic substance decreased then the potency of the remedy increased.

For the skeptical observer, this claim defied the logic of physics and chemistry, for the 19th and the best part of the 20th century. So it was with boring regularity, that the critics from the orthodox medical camp would wave Avogadros constant to refute Homoeopathy. The constant seemed to indicate, that when the dilutions reached the 12th centesimal or 24th decimal stage, it was unlikely that a single molecule of solute would remain in solution. So ipso facto, the remedy was bogus. However ailing people were not interested in a medical minutia, they wanted results, and Homoeopathy, consistently delivered, and patients flocked to the homoeopathic physicians.

There have been some claims that Hahnemann was well aware of Avogadro's constant and that he was possessed of some transcendental knowledge that led him to dismiss Avogadro's findings as irrelevant. Hahnemann was an outstanding polymath in an age of polymaths but such claims do not bear scrutiny.

For sure, Avogadro and Hahnemann were contemporary. However, Avogadro's paper was not published until1811. Hahnemann's seminal works were published in 1786 and 1810, and further, Avogadro's paper was not dusted off and developed untill some 50 to 60 years after publication.

The Potencies and Molecular Memory

In Part 8 we briefly looked at the subject of stereo chemistry, and the shape of the molecules in space. Accordingly we may understand that the matrix that contains the molecule and irrespective of what state of matter the matrix is in that it will adapt itself to the shape of the molecule. In the same way that if we knead bread dough, the  shapes of our knuckles or palms are embedded in the dough. 

Hahnemann's matrix was the alchemist's mercury or spirit of wine. Hydro alcoholic mixtures have some remarkable properties which as yet are far from being explained. His method of impressing a shape into a matrix was by succussion or rhythmic shaking for liquids or by triturating a solid with lactose (sugar of milk) by means of a mortar and pestle, into very fine division. The process will be further explained later in the text. (See table 11.39A)

Researchers have probed, sucussed serial dilutions, with laser and maser in an attempt to explain the    biological effects of extremely high dilutions. For the research scientist Hahnemann's claim has evolved from the absurd to a working hypothesis and the big question is ?how?? The one that answers will be  a Noble Laureate, because the implications for the life science are immeasurable. A French research scientist and erstwhile head of the immuno-pharmacology unit of INSERM* Jacques Benveniste Ph.D. has suggested the water retains the 'memory' of molecules that it once contained. The logical conclusion of that suggestion is that there has been an amplified transfer of information rather than creation of a polymer or a large molecule. Professor Benvenist's suggestion is surely worthy of pursuit.

*INSERM. - National Unit for Medical Research Paris

The homoeopathic practitioner can use potencies in four different scales. They are;

(1) The mother tincture or trituration, this potency has a drug/menstrum/carrier ratio 1:2
(2) The decimal scale in which the mother substance is diluted 1:10 with each successive dilution being 1:10
(3) The centesimal scale which was Hahnemann's own. The 1:10 mother substance was diluted 1:100 wit each successive dilution being 1:100
(4) The millesimal scale that is 1:1000 with each successive dilution being 11:1000

Serial Dilution and Information Transfer

At the point of the 12th centesimal or 24th decimal dilution we exceed Avogadro's constant and cease to transfer a physical molecule of the mother substance and proceed to transfer the memory of a molecular shape which is peculiar to the mother substance. From consistent observation the homoeopath deduced that a potency in certain circumstances could be 'antidoted', i.e., the remedy even when correctly selected would fail to bring about a reaction in the patient. Strong sunlight could trigger this canceling effect, excessive heat or cold, caffeine, aromatics, magnetic radiation of various types and ultrasound. The use of ultrasound has now been abandoned as a method of succession.

If we view the information transfer as magnetic in nature then we have the basis of a scientific framework within which to explain the phenomena of homoeopathy. Clearly light, magnetism and sound are parts of a hierarchy of energy. Every substance has its own vibratory rate or frequency that gives it a unique place within that hierarchy and every substance has octaves and harmonics that are reminiscent of dilution and succession. When a mother substance is viewed from the angle of information transfer within an energy continuum then the fallacious basis of poly-pharmacy is starkly revealed and we may understand the insistence of Paracelsus and Hahnemann on the  use of a single substance in the preparation of a remedy or magistery.

From the same angle the matrix or menstruum which is used to extract, maintain and transfer the gossamer like  information must be capable maintaining not only the physical molecular shape of the mother substance but also of its magnetic echo. Paracelsus and Hahnemann insisted on a hydro-alcoholic  menstruum with quickly verifiable reason. For the alchemist water was the 'universal solvent' and 'mother of life'. Given sufficient time  water will reduce minerals to the elemental state, and will make short work of the relatively fragile bio-molecules. By patient  empirical experiment, the combination of alcohol with water was  found to produce the desired results and the integrity of the substance being worked upon was preserved.

It was also observed that even a small change in the menstruum balance,  would precipitate constituents out of solution, therefore when producing the potencies the pharmacist must be scrupulous in maintaining the mother menstruum composition throughout, and on whatever scale of dilution is used.

Remember that when the physical limit of Avogadro's number has been passed, we have entered another level of  the energy spectrum, and if we change the menstruum we change and confuse the vibratory rate of the substance upon which we work, and in effect produce a magnetic equivalent of precipitation.

A  menstruum that is destructive of a mother substance is at all costs to be avoided, especially if a phytopharmacon (Homoeopathic terminology meaning plant  drug) is the mother substance employed. Notable of  such substances, are water, strong or dilute acids and glycerine. In the late 19th and early 20th century a so called 'Aqueous Menstruum'  enjoyed a vogue in both orthodox and homoeopathic pharmacy, the formula was as follows;

Table 11-33B
Dilute glycerine 25% 250 volumes
Acetic acid (L) 16%  25 volumes
Distilled Water Sufficient to produce 1000 volumes

The results of such an abomination, is nothing short of disastrous on a plant drug. The large scale precipitation and complexing of the constituents are closely followed by further breakdown leaving a turbid liquid that required extensive  'doctoring' to make it look respectable. Whereas the reality is that most of the essence of the plant is thrown away with the used filter papers.This, because the constituents had complexed, and then became insoluble in the menstruum. Glycerine or Acetic acid, either alone or in combination destroy the synergy of the herb.

In terms of information transfer it is easily understood that in such circumstance that we transfer gibberish and not information. If we amplify that gibberish by serial dilution and succussion and introduce that substance to a diseased organism then damage to that organism is caused on a very deep level which is analogous to that of vaccinosis. Homoeopathic preparations require scrupulous attention to detail with no short cuts.

Serial Dilution, Terminology and Methodology

It is a measure of Dr. Hahnemann's stature as a man that both he and his system of medicine have always attracted people of exceptional ability, so that in the years since his death, the system has, and is, subject to a process of refinement, not all of which have brought about improvements, in fact some of the introductions have raised large question marks. Some of which clearly trample rough shod over the Hahnemann's precept of proving, and given the current size of the materia medica we may understand that any changes to the system naturally raise the problem of re-proving the materia medica. It is fortunate  that this question of 'proving' only arises with the mother substance and the menstruum/carrier used for the preparation.

The most significant changes introduced have been alternative methods of  'potentisation'. The problems that arise from this are at the physician/patient interface, therefore if the physician is competent (and not all are) the question of Posology is quickly and methodically dealt with; nonetheless this question of degree of dilution and the number of succussions required at each dilution has and does generate much controversy in homoeopathic circles.

There are three methods in use. From labeled potency, the physician may know firstly what the mothers' substance is, and secondly what the degree of dilution is and thirdly which method has been used to produce the dilution whether it is; liquid or solid.

The student must be aware that some homoeopathic nomenclature in the wider sense is obsolete and may also use the Latin form or abbreviation in prescriptions. A list of the more  common will be given in Section 12 under the head of 'compounding'.There are also some inconsistencies in the manner in which potencies are prefixed or suffixed however this will not be a hindrance once familiarity is established.

Homoeopathy is a world wide system of medicine. All of the following will be globally recognized. However, the  conventions of use may differ from nation to nation; some common combinations are shown in Table 11-34B. The figure(s) that precede or follow the symbols denote the number of dilutions involved and are examples to demonstrate the ways in which the nomenclature may be written.

As a base mother tincture let us take Hahnemann's 'Chiina' e.g., Cinchona �, Cinchona, or Cinchona Tm. From this the orthodox pharmacist will understand; Cinchona Tr 1:10 (Tincture of Cinchona 1:10)

The big five of the Homoeopathic world and in no particular order are India, USA, UK, Germany and France, consequently literature, books, homoeopaths and pharmacopoeias tend to express in the conventions of the prevailing influence.

Table 11-34 A, Potency Nomenclature
Prefix/Suffix Meaning and remarks
TM or � Tinctura Mater (Mother Tincture) = Theta which is the 8th letter of the Greek alphabet and denotes a 1:10 dilution. The orthodox abbreviation for a tincture is Tr.
D or X Dilutions made on the decimal scale i.e., 1:10. The 'D' is taken from the metric prefix meaning one tenth (1/10). The 'X' is taken from the Roman numeral meaning 10 and was introduced by Constantine Hering.
C or c The 'C' was taken from the Roman numeral meaning 100 and the lower case 'c' from the metric scale meaning one hundredth (1/100). See Table 5-16A.
CM Roman numerals i.e., C = 100 M = 1000
Homeopathic meaning 1:100,000    One hundredth millesimal.
LM sometimes
as 0/1 , 0/2, etc.
Roman numerals again i.e., L =50  LM = 50,000
Homeopathic meaning 1:50,000  The 50th millesimal.
MM Roman numerals, Homeopathic meaning 1:1000,000 Thousandth millesimal
M Millesimal meaning 1:000
H Hahnemann's method of potentisation
K A method of potentisation which was introduced by a Russian General by the name of von Korsakoff in 1829, probably as a labor saving method. However, it produces inacuracies against the Hahnemannian method, so a question mark hangs over it.

Table 11.34B
Prefix/Suffix Meaning/Dilution
Chinchona 6 x 6 D, D6 6DH 1 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 1:1000,000 The H means 'by the Hahnemannian method'.
Chinchona 3C, 3c, C3, c3, 3CH, CH3 1 x 100 x 100 x 100 = 1:10000,000. Note the similarity between 6D and 3C
Chinchona 3LM, or LMO/2, 2M 1 x 50,000 x 50,000 = 1:2500,000

Succession ~ the Mechanics 11-35

The word 'succussion' is from the Latin meaning 'tossed up'. Succussion is an essential part of the potentising process. Laser and thermo-graphic studies have confirmed that there is a material difference between a sucussed and a non sucussed dilution. In other words succussion is necessary for information transfer. The manual process may be performed as follows;

(A) Take a small corked test tube that will fit  into the palm of one hand and half fill with water, then re-cork.

(B) With the thumb on the cork and the tube enclosed in the hand, bring hand down smartly into the palm of the other hand. It is advisable to ensure that you do not bring the test tube, smartly down into the palm.

That process equals one succussion. It is said that Hahnemann performed the operation by impact of a phial onto a leather bound Bible. There was and still is, controversy as to the number of succussions required to complete the information transfer from 1 dilution to the next. Hopefully the anomaly may be resolved  with ongoing scientific studies. Hahnemanns 1:100 dilution was followed by 100 succussions.

Table 11-35A
Potency Accumulated Succussions

De-Concentration from �

1C 100 1:102 i.e., 1:1000
5C 500 1:1010 - 10 + 10 zeros
10C 1000 1:1020 - 10 + 20 zeros
20C 2000 1:1040 - 10 + 40 zeros
30C 3000 1:1060 - 10 + 60 zeros

A  perusal of the Table shows that from mother tincture to a 30C potency considerable time and labor are involved.  

Dilution Mechanics and  Problems

Using the example from Table 11-35A we may understand that there are 30 x 1.100 dilutions performed, each dilution having received 100 succussions. Each dilution represents 1 part of the preceding dilution to 99 parts of the diluting menstruum. Once again it is stressed that the composition of the diluting menstruum must match the composition of the mother tincture.

The menstruum in all cases is hydro-alcoholic avoid the use of glycerine or water. By changing the menstruum we change or destroy the message that will make a nonsense of the proving and could well be dangerous. Given the repetition and length of the procedure involved in preparing a 30-CH potency, there may arise, a forgetfulness or even confusion as to the nature of what is being prepared. This in turn leads to laxity and the fixing of shoddy practice in the mind. That calamity may be avoided by working methodically and by being ethically scrupulous in preparing the attenuations/dilutions. Bear in mind the Older homoeopathic literature often mentions preparations in terms of 'drops'. That is not very precise; when that term is encountered we should substitute  'parts', in that way we remain consistent in preparations.

The Decimal Scale, 11- 37

The decimal scale of homoeopathic preparations was introduced to clinical practice by Dr. Constantin Hering, a prominent and influential figure in the history of homoeopathy. He was about ten years old when Hahnemann's first edition of the organon was published and is best remembered in Hering's law of direction of cure.

Hahnemann was dead when the decimal scale was introduced so that we do not; have the benefit of his comments on the matter; nor do we appear to have the comments of any other prominent  figure in homoeopathy so that by convention the scale is part of  therapeutic practice.

Table 11-37A

Accumulated Succussions

De-Concentration from �

1 x 10 1:10
2 x 10 1:100
3 x 30 1:1000
4 x 40 1:10,000
5 x 50 1:100,000
6 x 60 1:1000,000

If  we make a comparison between Tables 11-35A and 11-37A, we can see decimal potencies produce an intermediate scale to the centesimal  potencies.

It  may also be seen that a 1C potency is the equivalent in de concentration to the 2 x potency.

However there is a considerable difference in the number of succussions performed. For example a potency at the sixth decimal level, i.e., 6 x = 60 succussions, the equivalent de concentration is at third centesimal level, i.e., 3C=300 successions. It  will be understood that at higher potencies there will be a considerable saving in time and effort.

Accordingly an outline of Dr. Hering's intent is visible. The decimal potencies are produced by the same methodology given in Table 11- 36A. Remember that the de concentration is in steps of 1:10 and that each dilution receives 10 succussions.

The Korsakoff Potencies,  11-38

In homoeopathic circles the Korsakoff method of producing potencies is subject to considerable controversy; there are those "for" and those "against". From the pharmacy viewpoint, the Korsakoff method is slack and sloppy.

The method invariably leads to gross and predictable error in the perceived de-concentration; precision demands the elimination of variables within the limits of possibility, if the demand for reproducibility is to be met. The Korsakoff method, cannot meet the criteria.

In 1832 Hahnemann opened his academy in Paris. At that time Paris was the center of European intellectual and artistic aspiration. Hahnemann, like Paracelsus before him was a medical iconoclast, so that his life had not been easy, but at 77 years of age his dogged persistence had started to yield results and the nobility, the rich and the famous started to flock to him.

t was in that same year that a member of the Russian elite General von Korsakoff authored a paper which was published in the German 'Archiv f�r  die hom�epathische Heilkunst' (Archive of the Homoeopathic Medical Arts). The paper outlined a potentising method that on the face of  it would shorten Hahnemanns potentising process and moreover only require 1 phial.   

The Korsakoff potency was considered to be the equivalent of the Hahnemann centesimal. The concept was based on the idea that 1 drop of a preceding potency would cling to the interior of the phial when it was emptied, it was then refilled with  menstruum and sucussed to produce the next potency and so onto  whatever level was required. The method reeks of the worst of Herbal practice, and lacks the precision required to produce a medicine.

Figure 11-38A

It is only necessary to read the records, for just 1 of Hahnemann's provings, to be impressed by his scrupulous attention to detail. So it is hard to conceive that he would not vigorously attack the Korsakoff heresy. Apparently when approached on the matter, his response was uncharacteristically mild for he is reported to have  said,

"The eminent von Korsakoff's method
might be as sensible as it was useful."

This was Hahnemann with diplomatic tongue in cheek! When those words are spoken out loud, they take on a very different connotation to that of the written word.

Whatever it was that Hahnemann had in mind, we can only speculate, but it is a matter of record that he made no attempt to change his own method, and he spent the remaining 11 years of his life working on the LM potencies.

The Potencies Astronomica

Dr. Hahnemann died in Paris on the 2nd of July  1843 just prior to the imminent publication of the 6th edition of  the 'Organon' in which he revealed the details of the LM potencies. In the event the 6th edition was not then published until 1921, by that time a 'certain rot' had set in and sacred cows were proliferating and cloaks for charlatans were being woven.

Dr. Hahnemann had set the limit at  30C for potencies obtained directly from the mother tincture; in the main those substances, that would dissolve with relative ease in a hydro-alcoholic menstruum and which were organic, i.e., containing carbon in their structures.

By  the time that details of Hahnemann's LM potencies were made generally available in 1921, the lid of 'Pandora's Box' had been well and truly sprung and like Paracelsus before him, Hahnemann's work had been corrupted. The rot was well established within 10  years of Hahnemann's death and it led Hahnemann's friend and author of the 'New Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia (1841) George Jahr to complain that, 'suspicions about the high attenuations were rife, meaning  of course that some of the 'potencies astronomica' would take many   months to prepare correctly. One would need to be financially well endowed, to afford a course of treatment.

The progenitor of the 'potencies astronomica'  was a man named 'Jenichen' who, it is claimed,      produced a de concentration in order of 60,000C. Jenichen shot himself to death; one suspects because of the intense professional goading to which he would have been subjected.

A reading of some of the contemporary works on homoeopathy will be sufficient to reveal the schizoid nature of the profession with many writers attempting to straddle the chasm between two camps, i.e.,  the followers of Hahnemann, the practitioners of classical homoeopathy, and those of the Jenichen camp, who used the Skinner potency method some of which reach 1,000,000,000 C.

Obviously from 30 C upwards the potentising method  had to be mechanized if costs were to be contained. A British Homoeopath Dr. Thomas Skinner (1825 - 1906) - no relation to B.F.  Skinner, the US Psychologist,  modified a method of potentising that had been introduced by John Tyler Kent. The method is known as the  'Skinner continuous fluxion process' which is generally in use  today.

The starting point for a Skinner potency is normally a Hahnemann 30 C or a high Korsakoff potency. The potency is introduced to a vibrating tube and thensteadily washed away by a continuous flow of water.

The followers of Jenichen/Skinner would claim the Hahnemann's LM potencies validate their methods and prescribing habits. However, such a position is not really tenable and there seems to be a failure to appreciate the medical milieu of which Hahnemann was part. It is a matter of record that Dr Hahnemann spent well over a decade of experimental work on the LM potencies before he considered that they were ready for general  release.

It is necessary to digress slightly in order for a point to be clearly made. Paracelsus introduced the mineral remedies to Western  medicine. He had first hand knowledge from his work with the 'Fugger miners' of the concentrated power to kill or heal which was locked within them. We are reminded of his statement that,

"It depends only upon the dose, whether a poison,  is a poison or not".

Paracelsus introduced the only then known cure for the 'French disease' as syphilis was called. The cure was Mercury.The medical fools, that followed on Paracelsus, killed and maimed untold numbers of sufferers, with their misunderstanding of the Paracelsian method. That injudicious practice of administering large doses of Mercury, led it into disrepute.

In his medical kit, Paracelsus kept a small pewter goblet that was lined with 'Cinnabar'. It would seem that this was not the raw Cinnabar but rather the sublimed Cinnabar from sulphur and mercury, the goblet being used to condense the vapors into a lining. The goblet  would have a measured amount of wine (acidic) poured into it, and allowed to stand for a measured amount of time. The amount, and the time, determined how much mercury was extracted. Thus, Paracelsus by use of art was able to individualize the dose.

Those familiar with Spagyric techniques will instantly recognize the hand of Paracelsus in Hahnemann's LM potencies and know with a surety his reasoning behind the method. It is the same influence and reasoning that underlies the Sch�ssler tissue salts, and the later 'Lithotheraphy'.

The student should be aware that the mode and power of action of a botanic drug is vastly amplified in the mineral kingdom. Minerals in the wrong hands can be lethal, a fact well recognized in our scientific era. The LM potencies are proof that Dr. Hahnemann fully appreciated that distinction. His method involved the 'Trituration'  or grinding of a solid substance with sugar of milk with a mortar and pestle. Trituration will be included in the section on 'Compounding'.

Table 11-39A LM Potencies.
A. 1 part of a solid substance was triturated with 99 parts of lactose. This was the 1C potency. This was attenuated to the 2C potency and then to the 3C by the same method. At the 3C potency most solids become soluble.
B. At this point 1 part of the 3C trituration is dissolved in 499 parts menstruum. The menstrumm should be 25% dilute alcohol. Water on its own will render the preparation liable to fermentation or spoilage. The solution is then succussed.
C. 1 part of the 500 parts is added to 99 parts of menstrumm an dsuccussed a la Hahnemann. This is the first 50 millesimal potency or LMI.
D. To produce the LM2 we take 1 part LM1 and add it to 499 parts of menstrumm and succuss. From this we take 1 part and add it to 99 parts of menstruum and succuss. This is the LM2 potency.

This procedure may be taken, according to the Hahnemann process, to the LM30 potency but NOT above. The method explained in Table 11-39A is a modification of the Hahnemann process in the same way that the Hahnemann process of Botanical  tinctures were modified to reflect advanced pharmaceutical practice which allows for greater precision than the terminology of drops and granules.