HOMOEOPATHIC POTENCIES-THEIR VALUES
JUDGED BY MODERN SCIENTIFIC STANDARDS.
Through correct observations and careful experimentations in connection with the practice of the Homoeopathic system of treatment Hahnemann came upon a remarkable pharmacological discovery about which he writes thus in the sec. 269 of the sixth edition of Organon:
The homoeopathic system of medicine develops for its special use, to a hitherto unheard – of degree, the inner medicinal powers of the crude substances by means of a process peculiar to it and which has hitherto never been tried, whereby only they all become immeasurably and penetratingly efficacious and remedial, even those that in the crude state give no evidence of the slightest medicinal power on the human body.
This remarkable change in the qualities of natural bodies develop the latent, hitherto unperceived, as if slumbering, hidden, dynamic powers which influence the life – principle, change the well – being of animal life. This if effected by mechanical action upon their smallest particles by means of rubbing and shaking and through the addition of an indifferent substance, dry or fluid, are separated from each other.
This process is called dynamizing, potentizing (development of medicinal power) and the products are dynamizations or potencies in different degrees.
On careful analysis of the section referred to we find the following ideas of Hahnemann implied therein:
(1) Hahnemanns conception of substance.
Substance, according to him, is what exists. When a substance is ponderable and perceptible to our senses it goes by the name of “Matter or Material substance.” But there are substances which are imponderable and not sense – perceptible and yet their existence is inferred through their action or effects which are perceptible to our senses, e.g. heat, light, magnetic and electric forces, mental ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions etc. Thus matter turns out to be a particular formulation of substance – a chemico – physical structural formulation according to our modern scientific concepts.
A piece of matter may loose its materiality i.e. its chemico – physical properties under certain conditions (e.g. in case of an extreme dilution of a solute in a solvent) but the substance of that piece of matter does not vanish or become non – existent; on the other hand that substantial entity may manifest other properties different from its previous chemico – physical ones. With this ideas Hahnemann wrote a foot -note to section 280 of Organon (5th edition) which runs thus:
Let them learn from the mathematicians how true it is that a substance divided into ever so many parts must still contain in its smallest conceivable parts always some of this substance, and the smallest conceivable part does not cease to be some of this substance and cannot possibly become nothing. SO dynamisation means a preparation of a substance in a particular way so as to bring it into another state which facilitates other activities. Hahnemann here anticipated discoveries of modern physical sciences.
The discoveries of colloidal and radio – active states of matter are to the point. Heat, light, magnetic and electrical forces were considered to be imponderable in Hahnemanns time but modern advancement in physical science has turned the table and established that light waves are also material in the sense that they have also weight and obey the laws of gravity just like ordinary matter.
Another point to be noted is that the arbitrary classification of primary and secondary qualities of matter, since introduced by Galelio, is not accepted by Hahnemann. Though this classification and concentration of physical sciences on the primary qualities of matter have led to enormous development of physical sciences as regards their mathematical precision and exactitude of knowledge, this development has taken place at the cost of philosophical apprehension of actual concrete reality.
(2) Hahnemanns conception of a remedy.
Every remedy is a substance but every piece of substance is not a remedy. Only those substances that possess the power of deviating a living organism from its normal state of health and a as such of restoring the sick to its previous condition of normal health are eligible for the name of remedies. As the states of health and illness are but qualities.
As the states of health and illness are but qualitative conditions of the living organism: and the vital principle, being also of a qualitative nature, is responsible for the states of normal and abnormal health of a living being – the remedies which have the power of deranging health and restoring the deranged health to its former healthy condition, must possess some qualities, other than chemico – physical properties, to produce required changes in the states of health.
Hahnemann theorised that the particular process involved in the preparation of Homoeopathic potencies, brought substances into a state of higher remedial activity.
In other words, a drug produces disease – conditions by altering the sensations and functions of an individual being. As an organism is something more than a mechanism, so the drugs, besides their chemico – physical properties, possess another property or quality by virtue of which they alter the qualitative state of the organism through its altered sensations and functions.
This pharmacological quality of a drug does not depend entirely on their chemico – physical substratum which is ordinarily called matter. On the other hand, the more the materiality of a drug is reduced by process of dilution or trituration, the more manifest the pharmacological quality or the specific therapeutic quality lying hitherto dormant in the substance of the drug seemed to unveiled or liberated for effective action.
Here Hahnemanns ideas run parallel to those of the Indian Sankhya Philosophy i.e. something cannot come out of nothing, creation is nothing but a process of manifestation of what is latent, a process of evolution of what is already involved.
(3) Science of the dynamisation process.
It is not merely the process of dilution or attenuation that liberates the pharmaco – dynamic property of a drug but the friction which was taken recourse to the drug with inert vehicle by a process of succussion or trituration. So it is dilution plus friction which brings about the unfolding or intensification of the pharmaco – dynamic property of a drug.
Hahnemann wanted to interpret the drug – action from the plane of quality and not from that of quantity – an idea simple enough but hard enough to be realised by a mind with a crude materialist trend i.e. which regards the materiality of matter as the basic reality. Thus Hahnemann raised the study of pharmacological and therapeutic properties of drug to a level of energetics where quality or force is the primary consideration and matter, secondary.
Here Hahnemanns observations on potencies (within the molecular limits, of course) are in excellent agreement with the facts of physics, e.g., facts about colloids, electrolysis, surface tension, thermodynamics etc. It is known from a study of physics that increased surface, greater distance enforced by an indifferent medium (say, protective medium for colloids, dielectric for electrolytes) and greater regularity in their arrangement – all tend to raise the level of potential energy of a substance.
The retention of an elevated energy level in the case of such a potentised drug means stored energy which comes into operation when required conditions arise.
The specificity of matter depends on the specificity of molecules, aggregates of which constitute the said matter. Within molecular limits Hahnemanns ideas about manifestations of newer properties by molecules under the condition of an extreme dilution, perfectly tallies with those of modern developments in physical chemistry.
But modern physical sciences have taken exception to two facts in relation to Homoeopathic pharmacy which are.
(1) The question of solubility of some remedies in the preparation of their homoeopathic potencies.
Hahnemann has been accused of using solutions of certain substances e.g. Gold, Lead, Silica etc., which are normally insoluble in water and alcohol, the two solvents commonly used in preparation of Homoeopathic potencies. But this is easily explained. Hahnemanns intuition showed him the right way though he lacked knowledge of physical chemistry. The method he followed with regard to these insoluble substances is that of triturating those up to 6x with sugar of milk.
After the 6x, further potencies were made with alcohol and water. Prolonged triturations of these substances with sugar of milk prior to their mixing with a liquid vehicle produced a physical change which converted these insoluble substances into the colloid state – about which nothing was known during Hahnemanns days. In this condition those substances could be suspended in a fluid medium indefinitely and the suspensions behave like solutions for medicinal purposes.
(2) The limitation of the divisibility of matter.
Modern scientists find fault with the initial assertion of Hahnemann that a piece of matter can be divided infinitely. Modern physical science has found out by accurate mathematical calculations that the divisibility of any substance is limited by the size of its molecules. According to the established constant (Loschmidts constant) only one molecule, can be expected in a solution of approximately 1:10-(21)-1: 10 (23) (dependent on the molecular weight of the particular substance).
Translated into the terminology of Homoeopathic potencies that would be equal to D21X D23X (in the decimal scale) or the 10th-12th potency in the centesimal scale. In this region then we should find ourselves confronted with the last molecule of the original substance which was subjected to attenuation on the centesimal or decimal scale of progression. So science supports a Homoeopath when he has at his disposal a range from the mother tincture or mother substance up to say 20x or 10c potencies.
But the problems starts when a Homoeopath uses potencies higher than 23x or 12c. There is not a single molecule in those solutions; and it may be said, in a way, that drug – matter does not exist in those preparations. Here the problem is to find an explanation or rationable of the modus operandi of these homoeopathic medicinal preparations which will be accepted by modern physical sciences.
Two explanations have been offered. None is quite satisfactory as each of them fails to meet all the facts. They are as follows:
(1) Dr. Otto Lessers theory.
He offers an explanation to the effect that if the vehicle itself were transformed in a way specific to the drug at certain stages, say when its molecules are torn asunder and separated by wide spaces of the medicine, the vehicle itself might assume new properties induced by the drug. Each part of the vehicle would then transmit the change, representing specific potential action, to the next stage. How could the drug impress its molecular activity on the vehicle? by induction of the specific rhythm of the drug – substance into the vehicle by radiation. In support of his theory he mentions several instances of physio – chemical transformation effected by radiation e.g. synthetic reactions effected by light – rays in molecular structures of plant cells or of ergosterol acquiring the properties of Vitamined D by radiation of certain wave – lengths; and that of radiation being produced by mechanical procedures e.g. certain substances have been seen to become luminiscent i.e. radiating light, under intense trituration, a phenomenon called “tribo – luminescence.” But there is no evidence, so far for the transmission of a complex rhythm of radiation specific for a substance. At this point there is not analogy with known facts of physics to go by.
(2) The theory of development of radio – active energy in the Homoeopathy potencies.
According to it Homoeopathy causes at a certain stage the development of a particular kind of physical force (i.e. radio – active energy) which can therefore be transmitted to succeeding potencies.
But Wheeler in his masterly work “An Introduction to the principles and practice of Homoeopathy” speaks of three great defects in this theory. These are, first: all the actions transmitted by radiation are seen so far to be non – specific for the emanating substance: whereas potencies of drugs have specific powers, differing for each drug, relating the same indications for use as the tinctures from which they are made.
Secondly clinical experiments suggest that some times at least the higher potencies are more powerful than the less high and this cannot be explained on the basis of any knowledge of physics, acquired as yet by scientists.
Thirdly unlike the experimental production of radio – activity the energy evolved in the successive potencies can be destroyed by heat though it cannot be washed out of a vessel.
Thus the whole subject remains obscure but is being patiently investigated. At this juncture Dr. Byods (of Glasgow, U.K.) researches in Emanometer workings has opened a new vista of approach to this mystery. The essence of the particular research of Dr. Byods lies in the demonstration of a hitherto unsuspected kind of electro – magnetic energy which radiates from all forms of matter.
The Emanometer not only detects this energy but also measures its intensity and demonstrates variations in its character or quality. The character of this energy varies according to the type of specimen from which it emanates so that each substance can be shown to radiate a particular quality particular to itself; it is relatively very much higher in tests taken from living things than in those from ordinary dead matter.
When a substance is potentized the intensity of this energy increases with each stage of potentization, till in the range known as “high potencies” it becomes comparable to that exhibited by the living subject. Byods Emanometer gives, for a the first time, a laboratory demonstration of the existence of medicine even in high potencies, which could not have been detected by any chemical or physical test known as yet and which was so long being scoffed at persistently by the school so – called Modern Scientific Medicine.
The basic phenomena in this connection were closely investigated and declared genuine by a non – homoeopathic committee of experts under the chairmanship of Lord – then Sir Thomas – Horder. Control experiments were performed and this committee confirmed that the emanometer detected in the Sulphur 10m phial energy which was not found in the one containing simple sugar of milk.
Homoeopaths have always been aware that the curative effect of their drugs must be due to something other than crude matter. Byods emanometer gives, for the first time, a laboratory demonstration of the existence of that something; and the progressive rise in energy intensity during the preparation of homoeopathic remedies reveals the prophetic intuition displayed by Hahnemann when he declared that potentising “releases the spirit of the drug.” So the dynamization theory of Homoeopathic potencies can there – fore be accepted as a proven scientific fact.
Byods researches regarding electro – physical phenomena manifested by living organisms and potentised remedies are quite welcome and correctly scientific to the effect that they are the means of bringing facts and objects not seizable by our corporeal organs into the field of objectivity. But they cling to the same standard of reality, the objective physical reality; their test of the real is possibility of verification by positive reason and objective evidence.
Science attempts to bring down the phenomena of the supra – sensible worlds to the plane of sense – perceptible physical world and in so doing it at best, deals with symbols and abstractions of the factual reality. Mind and Life, in essence, will always elude the grasp of our senses and any attempt to bring them under the standard of the “balance and the measuring -rod” will always be attended with obvious limitations incidental thereto.
The art of symptom – matching between natural and artificial disease – conditions will always transcend (through not necessarily exclude) the limitations involved in the process of comparing the graphs of vibration – frequencies due to natural and experimental disease – conditions in the living human body. Symptoms – matching is a direct process while that of comparing electro – physical records is, at best, an indirect process and useful under limited conditions.
Human organism is a far more sensitive instrument than an Emanometer though the latter is certainly useful for mathematical precision and exactitude of knowledge that is scientific. We must accept Byods discoveries but with the proviso that because life – phenomena are associated with certain electro – physical disturbances in the body they are not to be construed as caused by the latter.
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THE ALL INDIA MEDICAL CONFERENCE.
We feel surprised to go through some resolutions passed at the last Jaipur Session of the 32nd All India Medical Conference as published in the Hindusthan Standard of 29-12-55. It is a pity that such a gathering of noble medical profession has deliberately allowed itself to turn into a trade – guild betraying its characteristic dogmatic, sectarian and intolerant mental attitude by adopting a resolution which demanded from the Government of India abolition of existing Homoeopathic institutions all over the country.
This is with obvious purpose of adopting a uniform policy regarding medical education and recognising the modern (?) system of medicine as the accepted system in India. It is high time for any scientific man or a medical man, in particular, to realise that human being is a very, very complex organism and hence approached to its study are necessarily diverse and therapeutic systems based on such different viewpoints are necessarily more than one. No system holds the monopoly of all the knowledge in the field of medicine.
The day is still far distant when we hope to develop a synthetic and complete knowledge of Man in his normal and abnormal states of health. Under these circumstances any particular group of medical men clamouring to usurp the sole and dominant place in the field of medicine betrays an attitude which is utterly unscientific and abjectly unphilosophical.
We, further like to point out that their attempt at white washing this utterly unreasonable demand by incorporating in that resolution a recommendation “to make provisions, if necessary, for teaching Homoeopathy in modern medical colleges etc.” is very feeble as it betrays a sub – conscious approval, on their part, of the need of other systems of medicine in our country.
But their surface mentality, obsessed with vested interests tries to confuse the issues. They will themselves be held responsible to bring out a chaotic condition in the teaching of other systems of medicine in the institutions of modern medicine by men versed only in their lore. In fact, this bicameral system of education was actually tried at Lucknow in connection with the Ayurvedic teaching and had to be discarded as an impracticable method.
Further it has been definitely established that the introduction of Homoeopathy, only at a post – graduate level, is impracticable physiologically, psychologically and economically, and the Government of India has definitely, given up that idea by accepting the proposal of having a Homoeopathic college with a degree – course standard in the country.
This Conference has asked for founding of more medical colleges. If they are really sincere to ensure the uniformity in the standard of medical education they could have asked for staring new Homoeopathic colleges of a standard similar to that of their own colleges. To demand further facilities for the development of a system of treatment by the practitioner of that system is somewhat intelligible.
But to urge for abolition and not for upgrading institutions of other systems of medicine is absolutely out of bounds on their part. It does not behove any right thinking man with a fair share of education or any profession which is still judged to be noble by the public. Psychologically it might be an instance of inferiority – complex on their part.
Now that under the Second Five Year Plan the Central Government of India has allocated Rupees I crore and 25 lakhs for Homoeopathy and other Indigenous system of Medicine and different States have ear – marked about 80 lakhs of rupees for the development of Homoeopathy the behaviour of such an august body like the Indian Medical Association is highly disappointing and certainly deserves highest condemnation from every point of view.
In this connection we might recall the remarks of Honble Health Minister, Govt. of India in her message to the recently started Homoeopathic journal sponsored by the U.P. Homoeopathic Medicine Board; “The Government of India is devoting considerable attention to this question of promotion of study and practice of homoeopathy etc. etc.”
We are sorry to find that superstition and dogmatism die so hard; and the old fire of antagonism for Homoeopathy still burns so fiercely in the hearts of the votaries of the so – called modern scientific medicine. We hereby, particularly draw the attention of the Government and the public to this recalcitrant attitude of the I.M.A. which might sabotage the schemes for development of Homoeopathy etc. under the First and the Second Five Year Plan.
THE DAVE COMMITTEE.
Lately the press seems to be giving much publicity to the Dave Committee with Sri D.T. Dave, Saurashtra Health Minister, Chairman, its terms of reference and its proposed recommendations. The Government of Indian set up the Dave Committee for uniform standardisation in training and regulation of the practice of Homoeopaths, Vaidyas and Hakims. To our mind the Government of India is trying to approach the problem from its wrong end.
With so much state patronage and active state help, financial and otherwise, for over a century, can it be said that quack – practice in the so – called Allopathic system of medicine has been eliminated in the country? On the other hand the Homoeopaths, Vaidyas and Hakims have flourished without recognition by the Government in any direction.