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Understanding Homeopathic Potency

Homeopathic remedies are prepared through a process called potentization. Potentization involves a series of systematic dilutions and successions (a forceful shaking action). Potentization is important, because it removes all risk of chemical toxicity while activating a remedy substance and enabling it to affect the body therapeutically.

Homeopathic pharmacies operate according to strict guidelines, to ensure that the remedies and potencies are consistent and reliable. The first step in producing a homeopathic remedy is acquiring a pure preparation of the original substance in its natural form (a solution of a mineral salt, a “mother tincture” of a plant, etc.). The original substance is then put through a measured series of dilutions, alternating with succussions, until the desired potency is made.

Homeopathic potencies are designated by the combination of a number and a letter (for example, 6X or 30C). The number refers to the number of dilutions the tincture has undergone within a series to prepare that remedy. The letter refers to the proportions used in each dilution of the series (the Roman numeral X means 10, and the Roman numeral C means 100), as well as the number of succussions the vial of solution undergoes in each successive stage. 

For example: To prepare a 6X potency of Ledum palustre, one part of the Ledum mother tincture is combined in a vial with nine parts of the carrier liquid, and succussed ten times again, making a 2X solution. The process is repeated four more times, for a total of six dilutions and succussions—and the final result is a 6X potency of Ledum. (To make a 30C, one part of the tincture would be combined with ninety-nine parts of the carrier liquid and succussed 100 times in each of thirty steps.) Pellets, tablets, or powders are then medicated with the potentized liquid, or drops of the remedy are taken in liquid form.

The more dilutions and succussions a substance undergoes, the higher the potency will be. Higher potencies of homeopathic remedies (anything higher than 12C) have been diluted past the point that molecules of the original substance would be measurable in the solution. This is a major stumbling block for skeptics when it comes to understanding and accepting the idea of homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies, when correctly chosen, clearly work—but not in the way that drugs do (through chemical actions that affect the body processes). It is not completely understood why potentized remedies can work so deeply and specifically, but many likely theories have arisen through research and observation. It appears that they function on an energetic level to stimulate the body to heal itself more efficiently.

For more information, see also What is Homeopathy.

Single Remedies Remedy Kits
Combination  Remedies Topicals
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Homeopathy Dosage Directions

Select the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C) should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually printed on the label.

Many homeopathic physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be sufficient.

If no response is seen within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.

For more information, including references, see What is Homeopathy? and Understanding Homeopathic Potencies.

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