The problem of the correct potency has been puzzling homoeopaths for a long time. For the low potency group there is not much of a problem for they deny that there is any action to a high potency other than suggestion. They object to high potencies on theoretical grounds, or having tried them in a slipshod manner have been disappointed with results. However, thoughtful prescribers will find adequate proof of the action of high potencies if look for it. In passing, there are two proofs that come to mind. One is the observed action of a carefully prescribed high potency on babies or animals, any effects of suggestions can be discounted.
The other proofs is in the Hering rest-the action of the simillimum (in a high potency) on the blood serum can actually be seen and compared with the effects of other drugs and also controls. High potency prescribers both past and present approached the idea with skepticism Nash and kent were opposed to high potencies at first but tried them out in an experimental way. They were forced to their conclusions because of the results they obtained. Recently Gutman of New York, an allopath by training, has also approached the question of high potencies with skepticism but has come to the same favorable conclusions.
On the other hand, the high potency group having obtained some brilliant results with high potencies are loath to come down out of the clouds. Their mistakes are not necessarily those of drug selection.
If then you will agree that both high and low potencies will act under suitable conditions, let us proceed to consider when a certain potency should be used I think that all will agree that the basis of our homoeopathic knowledge lies in drug provings. If our provings help us to differentiate one drug from another it is reasonable that they can also help in the selection of a potency. It is well known that large doses of mercury salts produce vomiting and purging, smaller, doses produce salivation sweating, renal inflammation, etc and the higher potencies produce finer grades of symptoms- particularly mental symptoms. If this is so, we should conclude that.
1. Low potencies are indicated in gross pathologic states.
2. Medium potencies are indicated in functional disorders.
3. Highest potencies are indicated in mental states.
Many have observed that low potencies are easier to prescribe, that their action is less specific. This can be likened to the saying that a low potency is like a spray of buckshot while a high potency is like a long range rifle-if the aim is not careful it is easy to miss. This leads to another conclusion;
4. The greater the similarity between patient and proving, the higher the potency should be, However, this conclusion must be modified by a more important principle, namely;
5. The less vital the organ involved, the higher the potency that may be used and conversely the more vital the organ involved the lower the potency that must be used. For example a patient with an extensive kidney involvement, especially where kidney function is seriously impaired, should never receive a high potency. Likewise a patient with extensive tuberculous lung involvement. However, skin lesions, even extensive ones, will tolerate a high potency and with much benefit. If you have ever seen a severe aggravation from a high potency antidote will relieve the patient morphia or sedatives are powerless in a case of this kind. Of the five principles mentioned the last is the most important.
A few years ago Woodbury made a “plea for the pan-potentist”. The idea bears repeating If more low potency prescribers tried high potencies and high potencies the low ones, there would no longer be two schools of thought within our ranks and we would present a united front. In certis unitus…”
Dr. Grimmer; Dr. Shippen has brought us a very vital question to discuss. The potency question has been one of the thorns is our side for a long, long time. It is a good thing to get somewhere ground. We can I am sure.
Dr. Hayes; I am on common ground because I use all ranges.
Dr. Moore; From the tincture to the B.M.F.
Dr. Grimmer; Doctor, will you kindly give us some of your ideas when one should be used in preference to another? That is what we want.
Dr. Hayes; It is hard to collect my thoughts all at once on that. There is one place where low potencies- eighteen, fifteen, twelve, six- act very beautifully, and that is in palliation of dropsies, I have had results from 1 M., and so on. When that is done and they fail, and try it again and they will not respond, drop down to that low potency, and you will get beautiful results.