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New to homeopathy? Start here!

Homeopathic potencies:
I thought 6x was a clothing size!

By Susy Parker Goins

You’re strolling though your friendly enlightened grocery store and come to a shelf of tubes and assorted containers with numbers on them: 6X, 30C, 12X. What is this? Sizes? Algebra?

Welcome to the world of homeopathy. Those numbers refer to the potency or strength of each remedy. To better understand the meaning of the numbers, let’s examine how the remedies are made.

Mother tinctures
To start, a “mother tincture” is made from a substance. The substance can come from plants, animals or minerals. An amount of a given substance is coarsely chopped, then added to an alcohol and water mixture in a glass jar. (If a substance is insoluble, then it ground up with lactose or milk sugar.) There it sits for a few weeks, with occasional shaking to ensure the matter and liquid are mixed. Then the liquid is pressed out and drained off into a dark bottle. You now have a “mother tincture.”

To make a 1X remedy, one drop of tincture is triturated (diluted) with nine drops of alcohol/water -- a total of 10 parts (note that X is the Roman numeral for 10). Then it is succussed (agitated thoroughly). One drop of the resulting mixture is then added to another none drops of alcohol/water and succussed to give a 2X potency.

With each round of dilution and succussion, the potency is increased to the desired level. To make a “C” or one-hundredth potency, 1 drop of tincture is added to 99 drops of alcohol/water and succussed. Remedies as high as 200C or 1M are available, but these are more powerful and you should consult a homeopathic practitioner before using these.

Less is more
Wait a minute -- each round of dilution increases potency? Yeah, it does. The amazing thing that homeopathy’s founder, Samuel Hahnemann, discovered as he was carting his remedies around in his horse-drawn carriage, is that while his morning clients were healed, his afternoon clients got better faster! Hahnemann believed in administering just enough of a remedy to nudge the body’s vital force to the start healing process. (For more information, see How does homeopathy work, anyway?.)

So what gives with the less is more philosophy? Isn’t that for actors? If you examine the remedies you find on the shelf that have been made with advanced technology, you probably couldn’t find a trace of the original substance in it. Technology hasn’t progressed far enough to identify the vibrational or energy signatures in the remedies, so at this point, there isn’t a scientific explanation for how homeopathy works. However, more and more clinical trials are proving that it does work!

An informal student of natural health for years, NFO Bookshelf and Natural Beauty Editor Susy Goins received her certificate in homeopathy from the American College of Health Sciences. The self-proclaimed out-of-the-mainstream mama of three is a writer, belly dancer, actress, costumer and cook and will soon be celebrating 20 years of marriage to her husband.


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