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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Homeopathic remedies are dispensed in different strengths referred to as 'potencies'. The dynamic process by which homeopathic medicines are pharmaceutically prepared is one of the key differences between homeopathic medicines and allopathic drugs. The process of serial dilution and succussion is what creates potency. The number and letter that follow the name of the medicine indicate different potencies. For example-Sulphur 30c, Sulphur 12x, and Sulphur LM1-these are all different potencies of the same remedy. Why use one potency over another and what is the difference?

Homeopathic medicines, made from animal, vegetable, mineral, and intangible substances, start from a solution of standardized chemical strength. To make a C potency one part of such a solution is added to 99 parts of the diluent (water and alcohol) and the dilution is thoroughly succussed (vigorously agitated by shaking). It is called the 1C potency because it is a 1:100 dilution of the original solution (C for centesimal). Then 1 part of the 1C potency is added to 99 parts of diluent. Again the solution is succussed. This new dilution is the 2C potency because it has been prepared by a 1:100 dilution performed 2 times. The strength of the 2C potency is 1/10,000 of the original solution (1/100 of 1/100). Sequential potencies are made similarly, 3C from 2C, 4C from 3C, etc. A 200C potency means this process of dilution and succussion has occurred 200 times, a 1M potency means that this process has occurred one thousand times.

The X or decimal potency is prepared in a similar manner except a dilution factor of 1:10 applies. In other words, one part of the original material is diluted in 10 parts diluent and then succussed to make the 1X potency. Then 1 part of the 1X potency is added to 10 parts diluent and succussed to make the 2X potency, and so on.

There is a third homeopathic potency referred to as the LM potency (also Q potency) or 50 millesimal potency. The LM potency starts from a 3C potency of a particular remedy. One part of a 3C potency is dissolved in 99 parts of diluent and then 500 milk sugar pellets about the size of poppy seeds are moistened by this solution. Each one of these pellets is now an LM1 potency of that particular remedy.

Why is any of this important? What difference does it make which potency is used? In my experience, and that of many other homeopaths, potency and dose are critical in determining the response to a homeopathic remedy. If the potency is too strong or the dose is too large the vitality of the individual is 'pushed' too hard and pushes back with more symptoms-the headache gets worse or the sleep is disrupted. If the correct potency is used based on the assessment of the individual's Vital Force this effect is minimized. The LM potency was specifically developed by Samuel Hahnemann to be his most 'perfect method'. His goal was to bring about a rapid, gentle, and permanent restoration of health. I use mostly C and LM potencies in my practice. For those of you that have wondered where those really tiny pellets came from, now you know!

Homeopathy is able to utilize poisonous substances such as snake venoms, arsenic, bacterial products, and others as homeopathic medicines by attenuating their effects through dilution. Once you make a 12C or 24X of any substance there is no physical molecule left. No arsenic, no venom, no bacteria. Many of these homeopathic medicines are some of our most powerful tools. Through the process of potentization and serial dilution the medicinal powers of these substances can be utilized without evoking any toxic effects.


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