Hahnemann started on his career with strong tinctures. But he soon found them too violent in action : that the reaction they produced was alarming, even when the result, in the end, was good. So he naturally began reducing the amount given, by diluting….

Although, as we said, no medicines are specially homoeopathic medicines-because all medicines, and all noxious substances, mineral, vegetables, reptilian, and micro-organismic are homoeopathic when used to cure what they can evoke, yet there are HOMOEOPATHIC PREPARATIONS of all these medicines, and they differ entirely from the preparations of medicines by the Old School.

Briefly, then, in regard to our preparations……..

First, in the case of medicinal substances in the liquid state, such as plant juices. Our strong tincture, or “mother- tincture” marked “0” is always the strongest procurable : not standardized (like many of the Old School preparations) to such or such percentage of its active principle. It may surprise you to learn, for instance, that our Nux vomica tincture is much stronger than the similar allopathic tincture; because you may have heard that ” there is nothing in homoeopathic medicines”. I should not advise you to indulge in too much of our Nux 0, or in some of the others, as, for instance, Gelsemium 0 – always provided that the latter had been prepared, as it should be, from the fresh plant.

And here a word of warning. There are plenty of bad homoeopathic preparations on the market, made from dried plants, cheap and inert. Get your medicines from a first-class homoeopathic chemist, and never from an allopathic chemist, who keeps a little case of homoeopathic bottles in his window- probably stale-probably contaminated by all the powerful drugs that perfume his shop-probably useless.

Hahnemann started on his career with strong tinctures. But he soon found them too violent in action : that the reaction they produced was alarming, even when the result, in the end, was good. So he naturally began reducing the amount given, by diluting. And this he proceeded to do in an orderly way, so that he might know what he was doing, and exactly what he was prescribing.

His method was this : and it is our method. None better could be devised. It is simple, and efficacious.

He took one drop of the strong tincture and shook it up in a bottle with 99 drops of alcohol or water. One drop of this would contain 100th part of a drop of the original strong preparation. But if the drug was soluble in the attenuating medium, the result would be, not a lesser number of identical particles, but a saturated solution of finer particles, and, therefore, in a more active state. Chemically, diminution in bulk means enhanced activity : and the more a substance is subdivided, and the smaller the particles, the more activity they display. See what an infinitely greater surface they present, and remember that chemical action only takes place on surfaces. Throw a lump of antimony into chlorine gas, and nothing happens-nothing spectacular, that is to say. But powder your antimony, and throw it in, and it almost explodes. There is an enormously increased surface on which chemical affinity can come into play. The two substances rush for one another. (This is an analogy, rather than an explanation of the action of potencies!)

Hahnemann began by making dilutions, to diminish excessive action. He divided again and again, in the same manner, each time one in 99, till he began to realize the astonishing thing that, by using his drugs in infinitely fine subdivision, he got more rapid and satisfactory results : whereupon “dilutions ” became, for him, “potencies”. POTENTIZATION is one of the very great discoveries of Hahnemann. More of that anon.

His potentization was always carried out in the same way. One drop of the first centesimal in 99 drops of the attenuating medium, shaken up, gave him his second centesimal. Here one drop contains one 10-thousandth part of a drop of the 0. And so on; till, with 30 bottles, always taking a drop from the last, and shaking up with 99 drops of alcohol, he got his favourite decillionth potency – one in a decillion.

Old School, when it desires to diminish the violence of its homoeopathic remedies (its vaccines) thinks it necessary to put them through a number of inexpensive animals-such as rabbits-with heaven knows what in the way of contamination. Hahnemann did the trick, cleanly and precisely, with a few small sterile bottles and a few ounces of alcohol. So long as matter is divisible, the medicinal substance is always there, evenly distributed in smaller and smaller particles, through all the 100 drops of every bottle.

As it appears to me, it is just a question of the divisibility of matter. So long as matter is divisible, you will get, each time, a saturated solution of finer and more active particles. Withe the 200th potency, thus prepared with 200 bottles (I will spare you the figures!) you may get rather alarming reactions : in fact, a German doctor told me once that the 200th was a “schlechter potenz” – a wicked potency – he was afraid to use it. But the great Boenninghausen, a contemporary and friend of Hahnemann, did all his work with the 200th potencies. He taught their use to another great homoeopath, Carroll Dunham, who, in turn, taught the use of such potencies to Nash : whose charming “Leaders” some of you may get as prizes, if you prove to be pre-eminently teachable. Hahnemann, the practical, hits the nail on the head in regard to potencies. So long as you get results – such as a slight aggravation from a potentized remedy, you have evidence of power. Of course, ideas as to the divisibility of matter have undergone startling changes in out day. Radium, inter alia, his demonstrated the extraordinary activity of the infinitely little. But many of out medicines are insoluble – or insoluble in non – medicinal media. What happens then? We use these also in tincture form! – What credulous fools we must be! What about our tinctures of Silica – Gold – Charcoal, and the rest? How do we render these soluble, and obtain them pure, as tinctures?

Hahnemann worked that out too, and it is simple enough. The procedure is just the same, after the start, which is different. Here you grind up one grain of your Charcoal-Silicea-Gold-with 99 grams of sugar of milk, for a couple of hours, in an agate mortar. That gives you your fist centesimal, one in 100. A grain of this, again ground up for a couple of hours with 99 grams of sugar of milk, gives you your second centesimal, one in 10,000. A grain of this again, in 99 grams of sugar of milk, ground up for another two hours, gives you your third centesimal, or one in a million : and here the substance – gold – charcoal – flint – or what not, has become soluble in alcohol or water; and potencies may be carried up, after these three triturations, in the usual way for liquid medicines. Hahnemann says :

” Chemistry is not acquainted with the fact that all substances after having been triturated up to the millioneth degree” (the third centesimal potency) ” can be dissolved in either alcohol or water.”

Another fact, which may help you in the preparation of deadly drugs, is that they are safe, after the third centesimal potency. They are quite harmless; though potent for good, when administered to persons rendered sensitive by disease.

By and by, Science will get to work on Hahnemann’s potencies, and find much to interest and amaze. But all that concerns us, as prescribers, is that IT WORKS. When you get the remedy demanded by the symptoms of the patient, they will yield to the highest potencies that have, so far, been prepared.

Margaret Lucy Tyler
Margaret Lucy Tyler, 1875 – 1943, was an English homeopath who was a student of James Tyler Kent. She qualified in medicine in 1903 at the age of 44 and served on the staff of the London Homeopathic Hospital until her death forty years later. Margaret Tyler became one of the most influential homeopaths of all time. Margaret Tyler wrote - How Not to Practice Homeopathy, Homeopathic Drug Pictures, Repertorising with Sir John Weir, Pointers to some Hayfever remedies, Pointers to Common Remedies.