(From vol. vi, 2nd edit., 1827.)
(The charcoal of any kind of wood, thoroughly heated to redness, manifests a uniformity in its effects on the human health, after adequate disengagement and development (potentization) of its innate medicinal spirit by trituration with a non-medicinal substance(e.g. milk-sugar.) in the manner. I have recorded above when speaking of carbo animalis. I employed the charcoal of birch wood. Some of the provings of others were made with the charcoal of red beech wood.)
From the earliest times physicians have considered charcoal to be non-medicial and powerless.Empiricism only placed among the ingredients of her highly composite powders for epilepsy, the charcoal of lime-wood, without being able to adduce any evidence of the efficacy of this substance by itself. It is only in recent times, since LOWITZ, of St. Petersburg, discovered the chemical properties of wood charcoal, especially its power of removing from putrid and mouldy substances their bad smell, and of preserving fluids from foetid odours, that physicians began to employ it externally. They advised rinsing of the mouth with powdered charcoal in cases of foeter of the breath, the application of the same powdered charcoal in cases of foeter of the breath, the application of the same powder to putrid ulcers, and in both cases the foeter was immediately removed. Administered internally in the dose of several drachms, it removed the evil odour of the stools in autumnal dysentery.
But this is merely a chemical use of wood-charcoal, for it takes away the foul odour of putrid water when mixed with it in lumps not pulverised, and indeed it does so most effectually in coarse fragments.
This medicinal employment of it was, as I have said, merely a chemical one, and not at all a dynamical employment penetrating into the inner vital sphere. The mouth rinsed out with it only remained free from foeter for a few hours. The evil emll of the mouth returned everyday. The old ulcer was not improved by it and the foeter, chemically removed from it for the moment, always recurred. The powder ingested in autumnal dysentery removed the foeter of the stools chemically for but a short time; the disease remained and the disgusting smell of the stools soon returned.
In such a coarse pulverised state charcoal can exercise almost none other than a chemical action. A considerable quantity of wood charcoal may be swallowed in its ordinary crude condition without producing the slightest alternation of the health.
It is only by prolonged trituration of the charcoal (as of many other dead and apparently powerless substances) with a non-medicinal substance, such as milk-sugar, that its inner concealed, and in the crude state latent and, so to speak, slumbering dynamical medicinal power can be awakened and brought into life. This can be effected by triturating one grain of wood-charcoal for an hour with 100 grains of milk-sugar; but its power will be developed still more vivaciously and powerfully if one grain of this powder be triturated for the same length of time with 100 grain of this last powder be again trituratedfor an hour with another 100 grains of milk-sugar. In this way a million-fold powder – attenuation is produced, a small portion of a grain of which moistened with a drop of water and ingested produces great medicinal effects and derangement of the human health.
The following peculiar, pure effects of wood-charcoal on the human health were caused by the ingestion of a few grains of this million-fold powder-attenuation of wood-charcoal. Its medicinal powers can be developed in a still higher degree by a further trituration with 100 parts of fresh milk-sugar; but for homoeopathic medicinal usea stronger potentization of wood-charcoal than the million-fold attenuation should by no means be employed.