Discussion on the hahnemann’s idea of potentisation….

WE often speak of Hahnemann as the first to note the similar action of drugs and disease conditions, but history shows us that this is not so. Ten centuries B.C., the ancient Hindu system of medicine was founded on the theorem which, translated, reads in almost identical words to those Hahnemann used. Again, Aristotle, about 350 B.C., gave the following dictum:

If *simile acts upon *simile, the result of this mutual action reveals itself in neutralization, annihilation of the original qualities and in production of another state, which is exactly contrary to the previous one….If the *simile of the remedy acts upon the *simile of the disease, the result of this mutual action is neutralization, annihilation of the original qualities, viz. of the pathopoiesis of the remedy and of the pathogenesis of the organism, and change into the contrary state, viz. health.

However it may be about the length of time elapsed since the recognition of the law of similars, the question of dose was one which Hahnemann solved.

The question of dose rests upon the philosophy pertaining to the practice of homoeopathy. Ignoring the law of dosage reveals a lack of concept of the dynamic influence over matter. In life the dynamic force is the manifestation of life itself: the body and tissues are not life, but they are the channels through which life functions.

The man who sees this glimpses the basis of vitalism; the there is a whole world of causes prior to the world of effects; that matter is indestructible and that force is transmitted through matter and therefore it, too, is indestructible. Matter may change in form but it is always present: force may change its expression but no unit of force is ever destroyed. We hold that force,. or energy, of dynamis, whatever you wish to call it, is *the law of nature; it may express its power in different ways but in its essence it is that which was breathed into man at his creation which made him a living soul. The expression of this law may very and find different expressions, as attraction, gravity, electricity, chemical affinity, dynamis, or spiritual power; it is an expression of, and all combined under, one Head and Source of Power-God.

Hahnemann was a representative of this school of thought and he plumbed deeply into these mysteries. He became dissatisfied with the thought of his day, and read extensively the medical works of the ancients. In his delvings he found several, not long before his own time, like Stahl of Denmark and Halle of Switzerland, who had observed that medicines might cure disease by the power they possessed of causing like diseases in healthy human beings. He comprehended that these men had observed this phenomenon but that it had been allowed to fall into disuse without application. AT this state Hahnemann determined to discover the action of drugs upon human beings by observing all the details of their action upon healthy subjects.

Hahnemann did not originate this idea of proving drugs upon healthy individuals, but he was the first to so prove with a definite object in view. After thorough, painstaking, intelligent, systematic study and comparisons, after many long, tedious, self-sacrificing ordeals, Hahnemann was able to work out and announce to the world the existence of an heretofore unsuspected universal law of cure-not an occasional means of cure as had been anticipated by those of recent generations. This was the first step which culminated in the evolution of a new fractional and scientific system of medical practice.

The full recognition of the law of similars rapidly succeeded the proving of drugs, and was the second step in the evolution of homoeopathic principles.

Hahnemann began the experiments of the application of proven drugs for the cure of the sick upon the basis s of the law of similars, by using drugs in their full strength. He found that many times the patient became great aggravated. Hahnemann reasoned that the dose was too large, and he experimented by diluting the drug on a definite scale; to his surprise he found he secured better results. He continued this p process until he discovered that the curative power of drugs bore no proportionate relationship to the crude quantity, but that under he peculiar and systematic reduction by a regular scale, and the proper manipulation, many drugs in common use, and many substances supposed to be inert in their crude states, became endowed with new and hitherto unsuspected activities and powers.

So Hahnemann, setting out simply to reduce the quantity of his doses, discovered potentization, an entirely new principle in posology, a wonderful development in the world of therapeutics, without which the law of cure would have been forgotten. This is the principle which gives life and power to the system of medicine which Hahnemann developed and this is the third great step in the evolution of the law of cure.

As Morgan says:

To Hahnemann alone is due imperishable honour and renown for discovering, first, the existence of an universal law of cure: and second, that the specific properties of drugs could be developed, transmitted and utilized by potentization.

With the discovery of potentization, or dynamization, began the first practical tests of the newly-discovered law of cure.

Crude drugs have three grades of action: mechanical, chemical, and dynamic. The first two grades are of little comparative note in homoeopathy. This is demonstrated by the fact that their provings in crude form produce comparatively little of worth, whereas in those provings made from the thirtieth and above we obtain more complete provings because of the dynamic action. The full power of the drug in its dynamic action is brought out in the potency, whereas the grosser material elements by their very crudity develop no fine individualities in their provings. Entirely new activities are developed, liberated, and may be transmitted and changed into the potentizing medium. (Cf. *Organon 269). This is shown by the potentization of inert substances like *Carbo veg., *Lycopodium and *Silica.

Let us look at a recent book (published 1933) dealing with

*The Mode of Action of Drugs on Cells, by ***A. J. Clark, ***A.B., **M.D., ***F.R.C.P., ***F.R.S., Professor of Materia Medica at the University of Edinburgh, formerly Professor of Pharmacology in the Universities of London and Cape Town. This book deals with the matter entirely from the orthodox medical viewpoint, yet hear his comment relative to the biological response of cell-drug reactions:

There is indeed very little direct evidence that the biological response is produced by a chemical reaction between the drug and the cell constituents. This assumption is chiefly justified by the facts that it is supported by much *indirect evidence, and that there is no alternative hypothesis which has stronger evidence in its support. If we assume that there is some simple relation between the amount of drug entering into combination and the extent of the biological response, then the following consideration must apply.

If the fundamental chemical reaction consists in fixation of the drug by some particular constituent of the cell, then this must result in a reduction both of the free drug and of the free receptors in the cell. The relative amounts of drug solution and cells can, however, be varied at will, and hence the concentration of the drug can always be kept constant by providing a sufficient excess of drug solution; indeed, in many cases *the quantity of the drug fixed is so minute that it is difficulty to reduce the drug solution to a volume small enough to show changes of concentration (p.60)

Drugs that act in high dilutions are of particular interest in pharmacology, and in each cases true adsorption may be delayed by the depletion of he layer adjoining the surface. Freundlich (1926) states: “The simpler the conditions chosen and the smaller the difficulty in securing access to the inner surface, the quicker is the absorption….. *In the case of well powered adsorbments the equilibrium is mostly reached in seconds or minutes.

In the case of cell-drug solution systems in which vigorous stirring is possible….delay ought to be reduced. It is, however, necessary to remember that particles above a certain size carry with them a layer of water several micro thick, even when they are stirred thoroughly. Hence even in cases where such stirring is possible the delay due to depletion cannot be ignored…. (pp.68-9)

In other words, even modern pharmacology recognizes 1.The reaction of amounts of drugs so minute that it is not possible to tell how small the amount of the drug in the solution is, yet it still shows definite action on the cells. 2. The action is much more rapid in the case of well powdered substances (triturations). 3. Regardless of the quantity of the drug used, the solution is activated to a marked degree by vigorous stirring (succession).

This shows the observations of the action of infinitesimal amounts of drug on the physiological basis, that the greater the trituration the more rapid the action, and that the influence of succession also speeds the rate of activity markedly; but the comprehension of the vital principles upon which homoeopathy is based does not follow the observations remarked by Professor Clark.

H.A. Roberts
Dr. H.A.Roberts (1868-1950) attended New York Homoeopathic Medical College and set up practrice in Brattleboro of Vermont (U.S.). He eventually moved to Connecticut where he practiced almost 50 years. Elected president of the Connecticut Homoeopathic Medical Society and subsequently President of The International Hahnemannian Association. His writings include Sensation As If and The Principles and Art of Cure by Homoeopathy.