In view of the enormous amount of manual labour needed to prepare high potencies such as the 100,000th, very high potencies are, as a rule, prepared by machinery. These machines are built around a little bottle. A drop of drug is put into the bottle and the machine is set going. A small tap fills the bottle, a small arm closes it with a stopper, and then the bottle is vigorously shaken and emptied of all but one drop.

HOMOEOPATHIC practitioners use small and infinitely small quantities of drugs. The orthodox doctor employs substantial doses. The homoeopath considers a thousandth of a grain a large dose, and there are practitioners who prescribe, as a rule, drugs only in high potencies such as a decillionth of a grain. A decillionth is a figure in which one is followed by sixty noughts.

The thirtieth centesimal potency drugs contain only a decillionth of a grain of actual drug. The pilules or powders given may seem substantial, but the actual drug contained in the pilules and powders is so infinitely small that it cannot be discovered by the most powerful microscope or ultra-microscope. Homoeopaths prescribe e very day salt, sulphur, mercury, etc., in the 30th potency.

If the earth was a glass globe filled with water, and if one dropped into this enormous quantity of water, and if one dissolved in this enormous quantity of water a grain of some soluble drug and stirred the water thoroughly until the single grain was so thoroughly dissolved that every drop of water would contain an infinitely small quantity of the drug, such a drop would contain the drug in approximately the 20th potency.

Soluble drugs are prepared in the following way. A drop of the original drug or tincture is put into a small bottle which when filled would contain a hundred drops of water. To the one drop of the soluble drug ninety-nine drops of water are added. A thorough shaking produces the first centesimal potency.

Then the bottle is emptied, but one drop is left which contains a hundredth of a drop of the drug. Ninety-nine drops of water are added and thorough shaking produces the secondary potency. If the process of emptying, refilling, stoppering and shaking is repeated 200 times, then the 200th potency has been produced.

To most thinking people the homoeopathic method of producing drugs must seem absurd. It seems absurd even to the most learned homoeopaths, who cannot explain how it is that the infinitely small quantities of drugs actually have any effect at all.

Like so many, I thought the homoeopathic method of producing medicines absurd and ridiculous. Before I took up homoeopathy, I was firmly convinced that the successes claimed by homoeopathic physicians were due to deception or self-deception, and when I started Homoeopathic practice I employed only the so-called low potencies. I gave to my patients homoeopathic drugs in the 1x potency, which would mean a tenth of a grain of actual drug, or I gave the 3x potency which would supply a thousandth of a grain of drug material to the dose.

Later on, when I had gained some confidence in homoeopathic medication, I hesitatingly experimented with higher potencies, and I found to my surprise that the high and very high potencies had considerable effect. I have for years employed drugs in the 30th potency, the 200th potency, the 1,000th potency, the 10,000th potency, etc.

It is a homoeopathic rule that one can give substantial doses such as the 1x potency and the 3x potency three times a day. The high and very high potencies are considered far more powerful and far more deeply acting than the substantial dose. Therefore the skilled homoeopath gives high and very high potencies only rarely, once a week, once a fortnight, once a month, etc.

There are people who are very sensitive and who are very susceptible to homoeopathic drugs, and who react splendidly to high potencies. There are others who are insensitive and who require low potencies, very low potencies, or who need drugs in full strength, in the so-called mother tincture. I, myself, tried homoeopathic drugs for my own use in various potencies and I discovered that my reaction to the higher potencies was unsatisfactory and that I needed substantial doses. If I had some health trouble, I used, as a rule, mother tincture or low potencies such as the 1x, 2x and 3x.

I had been a very sick man for many years. I had recovered my health by careful dieting and had been using homoeopathic drugs in substantial doses. However, there were various health troubles which I was unable to eliminate, and for about ten years I was treated by leading homoeopathic physicians. They tried drugs in various potencies and discovered that indeed I needed substantial doses, that I had a poor reaction to the higher potencies.

For years I had noticed that apparently Lycopodium was the medicine which I needed most. Lycopodium is particularly indicated for those individuals who have trouble with their liver, who do not readily digest fat, who feel best in the morning and worst in the afternoon, who are troubled with bloating of the abdomen, and one of the most characteristic facts is that most of their troubles occur in the right side of the body, and that they have a hot head and prefer going about without a hat.

For years I had had right sided troubles. My right eye was much worse than the left eye. I had a chronic catarrh in the right nostril but not in the left. When I got an inflamed throat it was invariably on the right side. If I had some skin irritation or eruption the right side of the body was attacked. I had had a serious attack of appendicitis and the appendix is situated in the right side of the abdomen.

There were other indications for Lycopodium which it would lead too far to mention. I experimented on myself by taking Lycopodium in the 3x potency, in the 12x potency, in the 30th and the 200th potencies, but that medicine had no effect whatever.

My medical advisers, all leading homoeopaths, experimented on me likewise with Lycopodium, and discovered that Lycopodium did not affect me in any way, although my body obviously and strongly demanded Lycopodium according to the homoeopathic rule.

I have rarely employed the very highest potencies in treating my patients, but little while ago I thought that I would try Lycopodium in the 100,000th potency on myself. I took a dose and the result was absolutely amazing. Many of my troubles which had been my faithful companions for many years or through life diminished and eventually vanished. After a few weeks the effect wore off, and I took a second dose of Lycopodium in the 100,000th potency with excellent results.

I have come to the conclusion that although, as a rule, I react only to substantial doses, I had had the most satisfactory reaction to Lycopodium in the 100,000th potency, although Lycopodium in comparatively substantial doses and in the higher potencies had had no effect whatever. The whole thing is mysterious to me, but the fact that this incredibly small quantity has acted powerfully on me cannot be denied or explained away.

To prepare a potency requires the careful filling of a little bottle, the stoppering, shaking and pouring out of all but one drop. If this procedure is quickly and smartly done it requires, let us say, ten seconds. One can therefore make six potencies in a minute, or three hundred and sixty potencies in an hour.

In an eight hours working day one could, therefore, prepared about 2,500 potencies if a reasonable interval was allowed for a little refreshment and the minimum of rest. It follows that the preparation of the 100,000th potency would require incessant work during forty working days of eight hours.

In view of the enormous amount of manual labour needed to prepare high potencies such as the 100,000th, very high potencies are, as a rule, prepared by machinery. These machines are built around a little bottle. A drop of drug is put into the bottle and the machine is set going. A small tap fills the bottle, a small arm closes it with a stopper, and then the bottle is vigorously shaken and emptied of all but one drop.

The tap starts running again, the bottle is refilled, stoppered, thoroughly shaken and emptied, and so forth and so on. These machines work night and day, and they are provided with a large dial and an indicator, and one can set the machine so that it will automatically stop when a certain potency has been made.

Previously I had used very high potencies such as the 100,000th only extremely rarely. In consequence of the successful experiment on myself I have begun to experiment on numerous patients, and I have been giving drugs in the 100,000th potency to a number of people with very excellent results. Of course one does not always have good results. However, there is no doubt in my mind that the 100,000th potency is very effective, and possibly the millionth potency may be as effective or even more effective.

J. Ellis Barker
James Ellis Barker 1870 – 1948 was a Jewish German lay homeopath, born in Cologne in Germany. He settled in Britain to become the editor of The Homeopathic World in 1931 (which he later renamed as Heal Thyself) for sixteen years, and he wrote a great deal about homeopathy during this time.

James Ellis Barker wrote a very large number of books, both under the name James Ellis Barker and under his real German name Otto Julius Eltzbacher, The Truth about Homœopathy; Rough Notes on Remedies with William Murray; Chronic Constipation; The Story of My Eyes; Miracles Of Healing and How They are Done; Good Health and Happiness; New Lives for Old: How to Cure the Incurable; My Testament of Healing; Cancer, the Surgeon and the Researcher; Cancer, how it is Caused, how it Can be Prevented with a foreward by William Arbuthnot Lane; Cancer and the Black Man etc.