Introduction to general terms of Homeopathy Pharmacy, medicinal vehicle, Mother tinctures,Difference between dilution and potentisation, Triturations, fluid extract and scales used in Homeopathy Pharmacy by W.A.Dewey….

What is pharmacy?

It is the name applied to the art of preparing drugs for administration to the sick and dispensing them as medicines.

What is the source of the rules of homoeopathic pharmacy?

Hahnemann’s writings, especially “The Organon,” the “Materia Medica Pura,” and the “Chronic Diseases.” These form the basis of all subsequent treatises on the subject.

What is the distinguishing peculiarity of homoeopathic pharmacy?

It is the painstaking accuracy of detail and the avoidance of all mixture of medicinal substances which would interfere with the accurate reproduction of the preparation used in the provings.

What rule should be observed in bottles, utensils, etc.?

Absolute cleanliness is the prime essential. Bottles which have been used as containers for medicinal preparations should not again be used for other medicines, nor for higher attenuations of the same medicines. Corks should always be new.

What are medicinal vehicles?

They are comparatively inert materials, which are used for containing and as a means of developing the therapeutic activity of medicinal substances.

Name those used in homoeopathic pharmacy.

Alcohol, distilled water, pellets and sugar of milk.

What is the difference between absolute and homoeopathic alcohol?

Homoeopathic alcohol is of 87 per cent. strength and is used in making homoeopathic attenuations. Absolute alcohol, theoretically should be 100 per cent. proof. Practically 95 per cent is about the highest it ever attains, as it constantly absorbs water from the atmosphere.

How may 95 per cent. alcohol be reduced to homoeopathic alcohol?

By adding to 7 parts of 95 per cent. alcohol one part of distilled water.

What is dilute alcohol?

It is made by adding to 7 parts of 87 per cent. alcohol three parts of distilled water. This is not the dilute alcohol of the old school, which is 47 parts of water to 53 parts of alcohol.

How should distilled water be kept?

In small quantities, and in glass-stoppered bottles, as it deteriorates easily.

How is sugar of milk prepared for homoeopathic purposes?

In order to obtain it perfectly pure it is recrystallized. Originally it was made by evaporation of the whey. It is generally known as Saccharum Lactis.

What are homoeopathic globules or pellets made of?

Ordinarily of pure cane sugar.

What is meant by medicinal substance?

The entire drug material from which the tincture is made and not the portion thereof which is dissolved in the tincture, as for instance, Belladonna herb or Nux vomica seeds, and not alone the extracted materials of these substances.

What is meant by the drug power of a tincture?

It is amount of crude drug contained in it.

What is meant by the “mother tincture” of a drug?

The strongest liquid preparation used in Homoeopathy and made by macerating or dissolving this drug or portions of it in alcohol or water.

What is the chief source of our mother tinctures?

The fresh plant, but parts of plants, barks, roots, seeds, gums, balsams, etc., are also used.

What rule is observed in making tinctures from plants?

Whenever possible the fresh plant only should be used, hence the need of importing certain tinctures from countries where the fresh plants grow.

What other rule should be observed in making tinctures?

They should be prepared, as far as possible, exactly as they were prepared for the original provers. Alterations in their preparation would produce different actions.

How is the strength of a tincture estimated?

By the proportion of the medicinal substances which it represents, just as the strength of a solution or trituration is estimated by the proportion of medicinal substance it contains.

Is the strength of homoeopathic mother tinctures uniform?

It is not. The strength varies greatly, being influenced by the nature of the drug, for instance: The amount of drug power in Aconite is 50 per cent, or one-half, while in Phosphorus tincture the actual amount of drug contained is one tenth of one per cent.

What do we mean by the mother tincture of an acid?

It generally means the first decimal dilution, that is, one part of the acid to nine parts of distilled water.

Are there exceptions to this rule?

Fluoric, Hydrocyanic, Phosphorus and Picric acids in the tincture consist of one part of the acid to 99 of either alcohol or water, making the first centesimal dilution.

What is peculiar about Fluoric acid?

It attacks glass, hence should be prepared and kept in gutta percha bottles up to the 3d or 4th dilution.

Mention a few important remedies in which the mother tincture equals the 2x dilution.

Arsenic, Borax, Croton tiglium, Mercurius corrosivus, Kreosote, Iodine, Tarentula and others. [Those mother tincture equals the first decimal dilution are too numerous to mention.]

Is the strength of an equal quantity of Arsenic, say a drop of the mother tincture, and a grain of the 2x trituration the same?

It is, since they both contain the one-hundredth of a grain of crude Arsenic.

Why is it possible to obtain a mother tincture of Phosphorus and not the second decimal dilution?

The so-called mother tincture of Phosphorus equals the third decimal dilution Phosphorus being soluble only to the amount of one one-thousandth part in alcohol. The second decimal dilution, which should be one to one hundred cannot be made.

Can Phosphorus be had in lower triturations than the 3x?

It cannot, the IX and 2X will burn in the mortar and the 3x will in time change into Phosphoric acid. In fact, all triturations of Phosphorus are questionable.

If Phosphorus tincture be ordered from the pharmacist, and at the same time Phosphorus 3x dilution, what will be sent?

The same preparation, one labelled Phosphorus 0, the other Phosphorus 3x.

What are imported tinctures and what domestic?

Imported tinctures are such as are made from plants growing only abroad; domestic, such as are made from plants growing in this country. In both cases they are generally made from the fresh plant.

What is a trituration?

Any drug that has been minutely subdivided by rubbing in a mortar with sugar of milk in a definite proportion, for a given time, thereby developing its medicinal power.

What are tablets?

Compressed or moulded triturations.

What is an alkaloid?

A nitrogenous body of a basic alkali-like character found in most poisonous plants, and which can be extracted from the same by chemical means. Most alkaloids contain oxygen. They are easily soluble in alcohol, and slightly so in water, react alkaline and form salts with acids. Many are the most virulent poisons.

Name a few alkaloids.

Morphine from opium. Strychnine from the nux vomica bean. Quinine from Peruvian bark. Nicotine from tobacco.

What are glucosides.

A number of compounds, occurring mainly in the vegetable kingdom, that under the influence of dilute acids or ferments are split up into component parts of which glucose or a related carbo hydrate always is one.

Name some glucosides.

AEsculinum from AEsculus hippocastanum. Arbutinum from Uva ursi.

What are resinoids?

They come chiefly from the eclectic school and are the dried residues of essences and tinctures of remedies from the vegetable kingdom. They contain the alkaloids, glucosides, resins, etc., of the plant mixed together.

Name some of the most important.

Apocynin, Hydrastin, Podophyllin, Collinsonin, Aletrin, Macrotin, Irisin, Baptisin, Leptandrin, Caulophyllin and many others.

How are these used in Homoeopathy?

By triturating them with sugar of milk.

Define the terms dynamization, potency, attenuation, dilution, strength, as applied in homoeopathic pharmacy.

They all-refer to the same thing and process; i.e., the regular series of subdivision, according to either the decimal or centesimal scale.

What is meant by succussion and potentizing?

The shaking of a liquid preparation with a definite proportion of alcohol for a number of times or minutes in order to prepare the next higher potency or dilution.

What is meant by fluxion potencies?

A form of dilutions introduced by some extreme high potency men like Swan, Skinner, Fincke and others, departing entirely from the Hahnemannian method of preparing potencies, being mere dilutions with water instead of potencies with alcohol and on a regular scale.

Why are all fluxion potencies objectionable?

Because, doing away with Hahnemannian procedures, they tend to cause a departure from homoeopathic methods, and also because few, if any, correspond to the Hahnemannian scale. It has been demonstrated that the so called MM potency of Swan equals about the 10th centesimal potency of Hahnemann.

What is generally understood by high potencies?

Preparations above the 30th centesimal or from the 200th upward.

What was the highest potency used by Hahnemann?

The 30th, though he made a few experiments with potencies as high as the 200th or 300th.

What is meant by the decimal and centesimal scale?

The centesimal scale, introduced by Hahnemann, is the one in which each succeeding dilution or trituration contains one- hundredth as much of the medicinal substance as the one next preceding, thus the scale of I to 99. The decimal scale is the one where it contains one tenth as much, thus, I to 9. This scale was introduced by Hering.

What is the relation of decimal to centesimal potencies?

The first centesimal corresponds to the second decimal, or one-hundredth of the original drug; the 2d centesimal corresponds to the 6th decimal, etc., etc.

Mention some remedies that should not be prescribed below the 2x potency, and then only with great caution.

Mercurius biniodide. (An ordinary powder of the 1x trituration of this remedy would contain three allopathic doses.) Mercurius cyanide, Atropine, Strychnine, Arsenic. in trituration, Physostigma, etc.

How are triturations converted into liquid potencies?

One grain of the 6x trituration is dissolved in 50 minims of distilled water, adding thereto 50 minims of alcohol and shaking the vial thoroughly; this is the 8x potency. Or, one grain of the 3d trituration is dissolved in 50 minims of distilled water and 50 minims of alcohol added and shaken thoroughly; this is the 4th potency. These cannot be used for saturating pellets. Subsequent dilutions are made in the usual manner, with alcohol.

What chemical or physical fact, not previously recognized by science, was discovered by Hahnemann?

That when an insoluble substance is triturated for a long white it becomes possessed of a new power which he termed solubility. This is not exactly so, but the minute particles of the finely divided substance become permanently held in suspension in alcohol or water.

What is the lowest dilution of Mercurius solubilis that is reliable?

The 6th centesimal dilution. The same applies to all minerals.

What are the different forms in which homoeopathic medicines can be obtained?

All homoeopathic medicines, including those made from minerals, can be had in liquid form, and hence in medicated globules.

Low preparations (up to the 3d centesimal or 6th decimal) of minerals, salts, some animal substances, etc., can be had only in powder form-trituration.

What caution is to be observed in keeping homoeopathic medicines?

They should not be exposed to the direct rays of the sun, nor be kept near strong odors, crude chemicals, volatile substances, etc.

Are there any chemical or analytical tests for determining the genuineness of homoeopathic preparations?

There are none except possibly for the lowest potencies. Hence the necessity of each physician being able to prepare these potencies for himself, or to procure them only from reliable homoeopathic pharmacists of established reputation.

What is the usual designation of the two scales of attenuation?

The decimal always has an x affixed to the number of potency given, the centesimal has not; thus: 6x always means the 6th decimal potency, while 6 alone means the 6th centesimal.

What is meant by a fluid extract?

A liquid preparation of uniform strength. Thus, I cubic centimeter equals 1 gram, and 1 grain equals I minim of the crude drug.

Are homoeopathic and all allopathic tinctures the same?

They are not. Most of the latter are made from dried plants, often with the introduction of foreign substances. For example: our tincture of Sanguinaria is made from the fresh plant alone, while the ordinary drug store tincture of Sanguinaria, made according to the U.S. pharmacopoeia, contains considerable Acetic acid. Our tincture of Aloes is pure Aloes. That of the old school contains twice as much licorice root as it does Aloes.

Our tinctures of Opium and Rheum are pure. The old school tincture of Opium contains phosphate of lime, and that of Rheum contains cardamom. These are potent reasons why old school tinctures will not serve in Homoeopathy.

Name some emetics with dose.

Tartar emetic, 1 to 2 grains.

Sulphate of copper, 3 to 5 grains.

Ipecac, pulverized, 10 to 20 grains.

Ipecac, fluid extract, 10 to 20 drops.

Sulphate of zinc, 10 to 20 grains.

Mustard, pulv., 1 to 2 drams.

Name some cathartics with dose.

Aloes, 2 to 10 grains.

Rochelle salts, I to 5 fluid drams.

Epsom salts, 1 to 4 fluid drams.

Calomel, 3 to 6 grains.

Podophyllin, 1/4 to 1 grain.

Elaterium, 1/8 to 1/4 grain.

Elaterin, 1/32 to 1/16 grain.

Gamboge, 2 to 4 grains.

Croton oil, 1.2 to 2 drops.

Jalap, fluid extract, 1/4 to 1 dram.

Rhubarb, fluid extract, 20 to 30 drops.

Taraxacum, fluid extract, I to 2 fluid drams.

Podophyllum, fluid extract, 10 to 20 drops.

Wahoo, fluid extract, 20 to 80 drops.

Castor oil, 1 to 4 drams.

W.A. Dewey
Dewey, Willis A. (Willis Alonzo), 1858-1938.
Professor of Materia Medica in the University of Michigan Homeopathic Medical College. Member of American Institute of Homeopathy. In addition to his editoral work he authored or collaborated on: Boericke and Dewey's Twelve Tissue Remedies, Essentials of Homeopathic Materia Medica, Essentials of Homeopathic Therapeutics and Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics.