The Drug Potential

The theory of the drug potential appears to be a logical corollary of the dynamical theory of life, the law of similars and the law of potentiation. Taken together they make up the great trait of fundamental principles in the Hahnemannian philosophy. …

The homoeopathic of drug potentiation may be considered as an extension into medicine of what is known in physical science as the “Theory of the Potential,” a function of fundamental importance in the theory of Attractions, under which the greater part of the modern progress in invention has been made.

To give Hahnemann his just dues as an original investigator in science, however and to place his dynamical theory in its right relation to modern scientific thought, it should be remembered that he promulgated his theory of potentiation long before the Theory of the Potential was announced. It was pointed out even during Hahnemann’s lifetime that his experiments and the theory based upon them opened the way for an entirely new consideration of the subject of dynamics, and led to new conceptions of the constitution of matter. It would be permissible, therefore, from the chronological standpoint, to reverse the opening statement of this article and say that the modern scientific Theory of the Potential is an extension into physics of Hahnemann’s pharmaco- dynamical Theory of Potentiation.

For the clearest and most concise definition of the Theory of the Potential I quote the Standard Dictionary:

” Potential exists by virtue of position, as opposed to motion said especially of energy.”

1. Potential is a condition at a point in space, due to attraction or repulsion near it, in virtue of which something at that point, as a mass of electric charge would possess potential energy or the power of doing work: in the case of electricity, measured by the work done in bringing a unit of positive electricity thither from an infinite distance against an electrical repulsive force.

2. If any system of attracting bodies, a mathematical quantity having at each point of space, a value equal to energy acquired by a unit mass in falling from an infinite distance to that point.

Potential regarded as something distributed throughout space, determines by the difference of its values at neighboring points, the intensity and direction of the force acting through the region. Its variation from one point to another thus constitutes or at least measures force, the law being that a material body always tends to move in the direction of increasing potential and a positive electrical charge in that of decreasing potential. The function in the former case is called *gravitation potential, and in the latter *electrical potential, which is taken from the opposite algebraic sign.

Electrical potential, which determines the flow of electricity, has been compared to *temperature, which similarly govern the flow of heat. The potential due to the earth’s attraction in like manner determines *level, which governs the flow of water.”

To this we may now perhaps add that the drug potential due to the attraction of the living organism, determines in a similar manner, the direction and kind of action of the drug prescribed or taken.

Have we not here suggested in this contribution from an allied science a possible means of measuring the power and action of infinitesimal doses of medicine in the living organism? In physiological experimentation we have to deal with living organism, energized by a power which exerts a force akin to, if not identical, with, electricity- but one which, in its physical manifestation, is demonstrably governed by the laws of motion. that force should be measurable by the methods and standards used in physical science.

Here is a suggestion for our research workers. Let them lay aside for a time their unfruitful studies of serums, vaccines and micro-organisms and devote their attention to the subject of vital energy as manifested in living organisms. Let them learn how to measure the actions and reactions of that fundamental, entitative power and principle called Life in the same way that the electrical scientist, measures the force with which he deals in his department.

The idea of a drug potential analogous to the electrical and gravitation potential, has never been advanced before, as far as I know; but it appears to be one capable of being worked out mathematically by some one who is competent. It is merely presented here as a suggestion which may lead to the discovery of a new means of measuring the dynamic energy and mode of action of potentiated homoeopathic medicines.

Something determines the intensity and direction of the force of a drug acting within it sphere in the living organism; and its variation from one point to another, or from one condition or state to another, might be made to mathematically measure its force, if such a measurement were desirable for any purpose.

Does a crude drug in massive does act under the same law as a material body and tend to move in the direction of increasing potential? And does an infinitesimal does obey the law which makes a positive electrical charge tend to move in the opposite direction toward a decreasing potential and thus effect cure of disease? We know that the direction of action of the massive dose is opposite to the action of the infinitesimal dose, as we know that the direction of the organic forces of health is opposite to that of disease.

We know that a peculiar affinity or attraction exists between a sick organisms and the drug which is capable of producing symptoms in a healthy organism similar to those of the sickness.

The theory of the symptomatically similar medicine as a curative is, therefore, also “a phase of the theory of attraction,” of which the theory of the potential is another phase.

A dose of medicine placed on the tongue in contact with the sentient nerves of the organism, from which it is distributed throughout the entire nervous system, is a “something at the point in space at which there exists a condition of attraction or repulsion caused by its presence there.” The dose according to its size and quality may be a “mass,” or it may be an “ion,” an infinitesimal dynamic quantity comparable to “an electric charge.”

The action of a drug upon the living substance is analogous to the action of electricity and has often been compared to it. There are some who even believe that life and electricity are identical.

When Hahnemann adopted the plan of proving drugs on the healthy and thus brought drug action within the category of observable phenomena, he opened up a new field in physical science and made possible the formation of a dynamical theory, by which their action may not only be physically explained, but measured, modified and controlled.

In the scientific sense then we say that Hahnemann through drug- proving and potentiation, was enabled to formulate a dynamical theory, and raise materia medica to the level of a science. In other words, he might be said to have discovered the *drug potential, and brought materia medica and therapeutics into alignment with the other sciences which are based upon the theory of the potential.

The Hahnemannian theory and process of potentiation makes it possible to modify and govern, as well as to measure, the action of drugs submitted to proving, or prescribed under the principle of *similia, to any extent required. As the development of the modern sciences of electricity, hydrostatics and engineering has been due largely to the application of the theory of the potential, so has the development of homoeopathy been due to the application of a similar theory in medicine.

The theory of the drug potential appears to be a logical corollary of the dynamical theory of life, the law of similars and the law of potentiation. Taken together they make up the great trait of fundamental principles in the Hahnemannian philosophy. If we view life from the standpoint of dynamics, considering health as orderly, balanced and harmonious action and disease as unbalanced or disorderly action of the life principle, then we must also consider the agents which change or modify the action of the life principle from the same standpoint. Any agent or substance which modifies the action of the life principle medicinally must do by virtue of its inherent dynamic energy; and that action must be governed fundamentally by the same dynamical laws which govern the operation of the life principle physiologically and pathologically.

These laws are related to all the vital functions, and to all the agents which act upon and modify them. The organs of nutrition, growth and repair; digestion, absorption and excretion; innervation and enervation; respiration, circulation, sleep; intellect, emotion, memory, reason, judgment and will all react to appropriate stimuli under the law of attraction and mutual action, stated by Sir Isaac Newton in the formula, “action and reaction are equal and opposite.”

These same laws, in the last analysis, govern all the agents and substances which act upon the living organism. They are related to the germination, growth and reproduction, and the development of the inherent properties of all the plants and forms of vegetable life from which we derive our drugs; to the functional and organic development and existence of all the insects, reptiles, and other forms of animal life which furnish their secretions for our medicinal use; and to the origin, formation and constitution of all the minerals and inorganic substances which make up a part of our materia medica. The embodied dynamic energy of each and all of these becomes available and useful through Hahnemann’s discovery of the drug potential and his invention of the mechanical process of homoeopathic potentiation.

Stuart Close
Stuart M. Close (1860-1929)
Dr. Close was born November 24, 1860 and came to study homeopathy after the death of his father in 1879. His mother remarried a homoeopathic physician who turned Close's interests from law to medicine.

His stepfather helped him study the Organon and he attended medical school in California for two years. Finishing his studies at New York Homeopathic College he graduated in 1885. Completing his homeopathic education. Close preceptored with B. Fincke and P. P. Wells.

Setting up practice in Brooklyn, Dr. Close went on to found the Brooklyn Homoeopathic Union in 1897. This group devoted itself to the study of pure Hahnemannian homeopathy.

In 1905 Dr. Close was elected president of the International Hahnemannian Association. He was also the editor of the Department of Homeopathic Philosophy for the Homeopathic Recorder. Dr. Close taught homeopathic philosophy at New York Homeopathic Medical College from 1909-1913.

Dr. Close's lectures at New York Homeopathic were first published in the Homeopathic Recorder and later formed the basis for his masterpiece on homeopathic philosophy, The Genius of Homeopathy.

Dr. Close passed away on June 26, 1929 after a full and productive career in homeopathy.