by Robert Müntz
Since homoeopathy was developed by Hahnemann hardly anything has changed in principle. The Law of Similars, the development of remedies based upon healthy people and the Theory of Dosage have remained unchanged and still provide the basis of the therapy. However, homoeopathy has been extended by the use of remedies with degrees of dilution exceeding Hahnemann’s by far. No remedy higher than C30 has been found in Hahnemann’s estate (1).
Even though he always spoke of remedies potentized up to C30, he did not rule out the possibility of using higher dilutions on patients as well. For him the only parameter to do so was his experience with patients.
"It is only experience that can decide whether this tiny particle has become too weak to fight an illness, too weak to turn illness into health in this particular case. This is no matter of consideration based on theories but a matter of experience which is the only competent judge to make a decision.” (2)
This consideration made other homoeopaths deal with high potencies in more detail, manufacture them and test them in therapy.
The C200- Remedies
Still in the days of Hahnemann Clemens Franz Maria von Boenninghausen (1785-1864) potentized remedies up to C200. In 1859 he wrote, "Just like allopathy, which used experience – because experience is the one and only means of deciding i.e. knowing to which degree the dose can be increased safely, homoeopathy also relied on experience to find out up to which amount the dose could be reduced to still have a healing effect.”
Boenninghausen also motivated Lehrmann, another of Hahnemann’s students, to manufacture C200 potencies following Hahnemann’s method. At each step Lehmann shook the vial vigorously 25 times. (4)
After all, the reason for using higher and higher potencies was the desire to reduce the initial aggravation of symptoms, which occurs in the course of any homoeopathic treatment. Before long it was realized that this goal could not be reached but that a new effect occurred with these remedies:
The period of action was extended considerably and the remedy then developed effects which had been hidden in the range of lower potencies. (5)
Julius Caspar JENICHEN
Jenichen was introduced to homoeopathy by Hahnemann’s student Gustaf Wilhelm Gross. He was one of those manufacturers who produced the first high potencies by hand. He was of the opinion that the shaking strokes in particular were responsible for the different potency levels of the remedy.
For a long time he kept his method a secret because he wanted to manufacture high potencies of his whole stock of remedies and test them in therapy before publicizing his theory (6). This way of doing was criticized by numerous of his contemporaries, but finally Berridge found out about the secret:
Jenichen started with the C29, he let the contents evaporate and thereafter refilled the vial with ethanol. Then he shook it using 12 shaking strokes for each potency step. The first 800 steps were diluted in a ratio of 1:300 and shaken 12 times each, then the ratio was 2:12,000 and the vial was shaken 30 times (7).
This method led to the development of various potentizing machines. Since the construction of such machines was based upon different attempts and considerations the results were similarly divergent.
Like the potentizing machines of those days today’s potentizers also share the principle that only one vial is used for potentizing. At that time this single-vial method using the centesimal scale developed by Count Korsakoff represented a revolutionary divergence from Hahnemann’s potentizing method. There is no evidence, however, in reports of the year 1829 based on personal contacts with Korsakoff that Hahnemann criticized this method.
Should a 10M be prepared today using the multi-vial method, the cost of the vials and tops alone would amount to approximately EUR 2180.- These vials would cover a surface of about 10 square metres if set down close to each other and would have to be disposed of after single use.
This pioneering work also showed the homoeopaths of that time that it was not only possible to prepare higher potencies than Hahnemann’s C30 remedies but also increase their efficacy by doing so.
Then it was only a short step towards potentizing higher dilutions by machine – Mure broke the ice and built the first potentizing machine.
Potentizing by Machine
There are basically two types of potentizing machines:
Fluxion potentizers, which potentize using turbulence in liquids, and succussion potentizers, which use shaking strokes for potentizing.
In the case of fluxion potentizers, which work discontinuously, the vial is repeatedly filled and emptied (Skinner, Boericke, Kent);
The continuous method measures the potency level from the amount of medicine carrier continuously passing through (Swan, Allen, Fincke).
Due to the wide dissemination of the fluxion method at the turn of the century most case studies are about remedies manufactured in this way.