See chapter on Applied Homoeopathy for practical application.
By this, we understand the “smallest dose necessary to accomplish the desired effect.” In practice, this is quite elastic and may call for a single dose of the thirtieth potency or drop doses of the mother tincture, depending on considerations which will be taken up under Applied Homoeopathy.
This small dose of medicine which has been and remains inseparable from the practice of Homoeopathy has certainly been the greatest stumbling block encountered against the adoption of this method of Therapeutics. It is easy to scoff and ridicule that which we cannot comprehend -indeed, this is a universal human failing. To one who thinks it becomes apparent that we must have an all-important reason for such dosage, since it would progress a cause nothing to stress that which antagonizes investigators. The reason is vital. Unless we do use dilutions or their equivalent in our practice, our results are mediocre and often entirely nil. Appreciation of this fact should come in subsequent paragraphs.
In the first place, it should be clearly understood that Homoeopathic posology was a pure matter of growth and experiment. No one, not even Hahnemann, conceived the idea of using attenuated drugs out of a clear sky. It was no theoretical inspiration or abstract conception but followed as a natural development from he principle of similars. This must be so, for how could we give a large dose of, say Ipecac., to stop vomiting? It would aggravate it a hundred-fold. Great doses of that drug cause vomiting but only small doses relieve it.
Hahnemann first used medicines in the ordinary dosage but, when he started to prescribe according to Similars, aggravations followed in most cases. Hence, the necessity for using minimum doses which practice has been abundantly confirmed ever since. We shall try to take up a number of explanations regarding the ” why ” and ” how ” of potencies here-since it is the one problem that baffles the materially-minded investigator. One of the usual explanations of the power of Homoeopathic potencies lies in surface development. The most important is the particular sensitiveness of disease already spoken about. There are others which will be briefly mentioned – elective affinity, ” trigger response,” activator effect.
Surface development has becomes well understood with the advance of Colloidal Chemistry. A changed physical state gives a substances energy to react, to affect tissues, to adsorb and absorb. This is accomplished by subdivision. Thus a crude example is the difference in effect between metallic mercury and grey powder.
If a quantity of of quicksilver were swallowed, nothing of much importance would follow, but if the same quantity were rubbed up with chalk (grey powder) and swallowed, serious results would ensue. This is because the difference in the physical state (subdivisions) greatly energizes the physiologic reaction. Whatever type reaction this might be, another illustration often used is this : a log of wood has a certain surface but, if it were turned into sawdust, the surface of each flake added together greatly exceed the original area.
On theoretical grounds the whole theory of dosage, as pointed out by Von Grauvogl, is unsound. Thus, the apothecary’s weight is the measure and drugs are given in grains, drachms, and ounces and so on. This unit does not exist, however, in the organism. It is composed of cells, molecules and atoms and possibly electrons as the ultimate. It follows that the apothecary’s weight cannot be that unit with which the organism is to be treated, since we have to consider the dose not as regards the magnitude of weight but as regards the magnitude of measure.
If one would measure a body then the measure thereof must be of the same nature as the body to be measured, length by length, plane by plane, bodies by bodies. Theoretically, then we can really use nothing but molecular substances, atoms, etc., which have been previously tried on the body and their dose determined. If we knew the molecular or atomic content of the grains of drugs that we use, all would be well, but we do not. Such practice, of course, is not practical from our present physiological knowledge but we simply mention it to emphasize the fallacy of a method which is used to determine the dosage of living organisms.
A fundamental conception that is necessary for most of us to appreciate in order to given credence to our Homoeopathic potencies is this :
The Homoeopath deals with drug energy, not with drug material. So far only the living body, man or animals, is capable of reacting to this energy. It is not measurable by any instrument of precision as yet invented, though work is being done in this line. Mathematically, the thirtieth potency is quite beyond our comprehension as far as we can conceive actual mass of drug present.
There is most certainly no medicine of a material nature in this preparation, but this does not mean that there s no medicinal energy in the preparation. We know that there is no energy in a piece of soft iron but contact with a permanent magnet immediately imparts this piece of iron with such potential energy as to be readily demonstrable. Something analogous to this must happen in the process of potentizing or trituration.
The actual medicinal mass grows less and less certainly but presumably the energy from the original substance by virtue of this subdivision and agitation conveys its characteristics to the menstruum (alcohol-sugar). The energy of the specific drug is super-imposed on the adjacent menstruum and, as energy per se is indestructible, it follows that this process may be carried through very many permutations.
It is pertinent here also, in order to further justify our Homoeopathic position, to ask this question : How do drugs bring about an effect? Just where is the contact and how taken up? Why are Isomers so different in their action ? They are the same chemically and, as far as we know, one is a deadly poison and the other may be quite innocuous. The first question is not answered by saying that, for instance, Digitalis acts through the Vagus or that Strychnia calls forth increased adrenalin secretion. This is but dodging the question and does not go down to fundamentals, for we ask simply why and how does it do this ?
Recently we have come more and more to think of living cells in terms of electrons, those being the ultimate matrix from which all substances, living and dead, are made up. If this be true, certainly we can readily conceive that to effect changes in equilibrium one would do well to use delicate and attenuated energy-such energy as would be present in our Homoeopathic potencies, for instance.
Even if the original impulse were of the smallest, this might set other influence at work and the process would gain momentum and, perhaps, the whole metabolism of the body eventually (being an orderly set of changes according to Physiologic and natural laws) would be modified. This is known as ” trigger response.”
Another point which is often raised by students is this : Since Homoeopathy employs minute doses of chemicals as medicine and these same chemicals are found in the food every day, how is it that there is any medicinal value in such preparations? In the first place, these salts can only be recognized and isolated after drastic reagents, chemical and physical, are used. Often the substance to be analyzed is first reduced to ash.
It is extremely doubtful whether the body reduces any radical into its elements – that is, because a food may contain phosphorus does not mean that phosphorus is active alone. The Homoeopathic drug, Phosphorus, does act alone. Also, a Homoeopathic remedy is absorbed in the mucous membrane of the oral cavity almost entirely and food goes into the stomach. In the process of digestion, elements of organic combinations are used only according to laws of digestion and are assimilated according to laws of nutrition.
Another influence which may have a bearing on the activity of minute dosage is the so-called activation effect. A small dose may release a body secretion-adrenalin, bile, ferments, etc. And then later become responsible for very obvious changes which are not, strictly speaking, effects of the original small dose of the drug-only indirectly. However interesting these lead us into a maze of effects and counter effects which cannot be further followed here.
Lastly, there is the tissue proclivity or elective affinity of a drug already spoken about. This phenomenon very likely acts as a sort of accumulative process. Thus, Mercury has an attraction for syphilitic tissue. Small doses of mercury given to the body become large doses when they are all collected (attracted) in the same spot. In one case of syphilitic aortitis, metallic Mercury was found in a puddle in the cavity of the thorax on autopsy. This was evidently an accumulative effect which had been collecting there in the many years of mercurial treatment.