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Homeopathic remedies: "Shaken, NOT stirred"

     Homeopathic remedies are made from plant, mineral, and animal extracts and diluted in varying degrees in order to avoid unpleasant side effects. Although many are poisonous in their crude state, others are common medicinal herbs, foods and spices. Homeopathic medications have been incorporated in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) since 1938. The Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States was added to the list of official Compendia by Senator Royal Copeland at the original writing of the act. Thus, homeopathic drug products are "drugs" within the meaning of the FDCA, 21 U.S.C. paragraph 321 (g)(1)(A), 351(b), and 352 (e) and (g). ).

    The process of producing remedies is very precise. Every major homeopathic company or pharmacy around the world follows the same protocol.

    To make remedies derived from soluble substances, such as plants, parts of the plant are dissolved in a 90% alcohol. This mixture is left in the dark for 2-4 weeks. It is occasionally shaken and then strained through a press. That produces a so-called Mother Tincture. Insoluble substances, such as metals and minerals, are first ground continually (that is called trituration) until they become soluble. This procedure allows diluting them in the same way as naturally soluble substances.

    To produce a homeopathic remedy, the mother tincture has to be potentized. Potentization is a combination of dilution and vigorous shaking ("succussion"). The progressively increasing dilutions are called potencies. The process consists of dilution of the mother tincture in an alcohol/water mixture following one of two scales. In the decimal scale, indicated as X, the dilution factor is 1:10. In the centimal scale, indicated as C, the substance is diluted 1:100. For example, if the label states: Belladonna 6C, it means that the mother tincture of belladonna has been diluted in the following way. To produce 1C potency, one part of the tincture was added to 99 parts of alcohol/water mixture and than shaken vigorously (50-100 times). To produce 2C potency, one part of the 1C potency is added to 99 parts of an alcohol/water mixture and shaken again. In order to get to 6C this procedure had to be repeated 6 times. In modern homeopathic pharmacies special machines usually do it.

    This procedure has been ridiculed by conventional biomedical science for many years. Recently though numerous studies have shown that a combination of repeated dilutions in a combination with shaking allows to maintain biological activity of the diluted substance. If the substance has been just diluted without shaking, its biological activity disappears as the level of dilution becomes higher.

    Homeopathic remedies are sold as "over the counter" medications. For the majority of homeopathic remedies no doctor’s prescription is required. FDA regulations require that over the counter medications have indications marked on the label. These indications are very far from the idea of prescribing for the person as a whole and could be very misleading. You might receive a remedy for the chief complaint of progressive weakness and read on the label: "bedwetting". Don’t be disappointed, your homeopath is aware of that. Let me just reiterate for you that homeopathic prescribing is directed towards stimulating major integrative systems of our body, not to suppress the symptom. Ten different people with the same ailment might need ten different remedies. The reverse is also true. Ten people with different conventional diagnoses might need the same remedy because their main characteristics as a whole correspond to the same remedy.


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