Effectiveness of attenuated medicine in homoeopathy

Dr Darsana Damodaran

Review on “How Can Small Doses Of Such Very Attenuated Medicine As Homoeopathy Employs Still Possess Great Power?” by Dr Samuel Hahnemann.


The article is from the Reine Arzneimittellehre / Materia Medica Pura part VI of its 1st edition published in the year 1827 which was then collected and translated by R. E. Dudgeon in his book The Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann.

The title of the article itself is a very commonly asked question by the ordinary allopathic physician but also the beginner in homoeopathy. To doubt the same, if it is possible that they can have the requisite power is itself foolish as it is seen to act powerfully and bring about the objective indented. But even when those hostile scoffers can no longer deny the effect which lies in front of their eyes, they seek by means of false analogies that what is occurring as impossible and ridiculous.

CRITICISM – They put forward that “If a drop of such highly attenuated medicine can still act, then the water of the Lake of Geneva, into which a drop of some strong medicine has fallen, must display as much curative power in each of its separate drops, indeed much more, seeing that in homoeopathic attenuations a much greater proportion of attenuating fluid is used.”

ANSWER – In the preparation of homoeopathic medicinal attenuations, a small portion of medicine is not merely added to an enormous quantity of non medicinal fluid or only slightly mingled with it, as compared which had been devised in order to bring ridicule upon the system, but by succussion and trituration the most intimate mixture is made where a great and unknown change occurs by the development and liberation of dynamic powers of the medicinal substance.

In the comparison which was thoughtlessly made that by dropping one drop of medicine into such a great lake, there can occur by no means even a superficial admixture with all parts of a body of water that every part shall contain an equal portion of the medicine and this can never be an intimate mixture.


  1. In a hogshead of water if we attempt to impregnate it in its entirety with a drop of medicine, even after a long time and by continuous stirring an equal mixture cannot be obtained during which the constant internal changes and uninterrupted chemical decomposition of the component parts of the water might have destroyed the medicinal power of a drop of vegetable tincture.
  2. To hundred weight of flour by no mechanical means be mixed equally with a grain of medicine so that each grain of flour shall obtain an equal portion of the medicinal powder.

In homoeopathic pharmaceutical operations, only a small quantity of the attenuating fluid is taken at a time i.e. a drop of medicinal tincture shaken up along with 100 drops of alcohol to form a mixture. Here not only an equal distribution of the medicinal drop throughout the proportional quantity of unmedicinal fluid occurs but also by succussion and trituration employed, a change is effected in the mixture which is incredibly great and inconceivably curative. This development of the spiritual power of medicines to such a height by means of trituration and succession was to be considered among the greatest discoveries of that age.

Only the ignorant vulgar would look upon matter as dead mass when from its interior incredible and unsuspected powers can be elicited. All the new discoveries of this kind were usually met by denial from majority of the mankind as they had neither adequate acquaintance with physical phenomenon nor the causes of these phenomenon nor the capacity to observe for themselves and to reflect upon what they perceive.

For example, when a piece of steel is strongly and rapidly rubbed against a hard stone, sparks fly off. On careful observation and reflecting upon what happens there one gets to know what a great natural phenomenon takes place. When these sparks are struck with sufficient force and caught on a sheet of white paper, we may see with the naked eye small pellets of steel lying there which had been detached in a state of fusion from the surface of the steel by the smart collision with the flint. How did this happen when the heat required to melt steel is 3000 degree Fahrenheit? Where did the heat come from, not from the air as this same phenomenon takes place in vaccum too. Therefore it must come from the substances that were rubbed together, which is the fact here.

But here does the ordinary individual really believe the cold steel contains hidden within it an inexhaustible store of caloric? No he does not believe it as he has never reflected upon the phenomenon of nature and yet it is so that his steel even when at rest and cold contains an inexhaustible store of caloric which can only be released by friction. And this cannot be calculated by any arithmeticians by applying their multiplication table to the phenomena.

The great natural philosopher, Count Rumford teaches us to heat the room solely by rapid motion of two plates of metal rubbing against one another without the usage of any combustible material. And therefore no further proof is required to convince all that natural bodies especially metals contain an inexhaustible store of caloric concealed within them which can be called into life by means of friction.

The effect of friction is great that not only physical properties like friction such as caloric and odour are called into life but also the dynamic medicinal powers of natural substances are thereby developed to an incredible degree, a fact which had escaped observation.

The founder of homoeopathic system was the first who made this extraordinary discovery that the properties of crude medicinal substances gain an increase in their medicinal power by these processes (trituration and succession). The substances which for centuries that showed no medicinal power in its crude state display under these manipulations a power on acting on the health of man which is quite astonishing.

For example gold, silver and platina have no action on the human health in their solid state and also vegetable charcoal does not have any effect in its crude state. These substances present themselves in a state of suspended animation. But if a grain of gold leaf be triturated strongly for an hour in a porcelain mortar with one hundred grain of sugar of milk, the powder which results possesses a considerable amount of medicinal power. The preparations gain much greater medicinal power if this process is continued where a grain of the previous attenuation is rubbed with hundred grain of sugar of milk and so on. The quintillionth attenuation of the original grain of gold leaf does not show weaker medicinal power but the most penetrating and the greatest power of the whole of the attenuations. A single grain of the quintillionth attenuation can restore a morbidly desponding individual who has a constant inclination to commit suicide in less than an hour to a peaceful state of mind to love life, to happiness and horror of his contemplated act.

Medicinal substances are not dead masses but they are substances whose true essential nature is dynamically spiritual which increases in potency by the most wonderful process of trituration and succession to an infinite degree according to the homoeopathic method.

In the similar way liquid medicines also becomes more potent and penetrating with greater and greater attenuations. In homoeopathy the liquid potencies are made by shaking well a drop of the medicine with hundred drops of non medicinal fluid and from this bottle a drop is taken and shaken up with another hundred drops of unmedicinal fluid and so on.

Hahnemann says that we must set bounds to the succession process in order that the degree of attenuation are not overbalanced by the increased potency of the medicine and become too active. For example, a drop of the juice of sundew when attenuated to the decillionth potency but the bottle is shaken to twenty or more successions for each potency then the remedy which was discovered to be the specific remedy for whooping cough will have become more powerful in the fifteenth attenuation that a drop of it given to a child can endanger his or her life. But if each dilution bottle were shaken twice and prepared in this manner upto decillionth attenuation and a sugar globule moistened with the last attenuation cures the disease with a single dose without endangering the health of the child in the slightest degree.

So these homoeopathic medicinal attenuations from experience shows that an actual exaltation of the medicinal power, a real spiritualization of the dynamic property of the medicine takes place and not diminutions of the medicinal power of crude medicinal substance keeping pace with the extreme fractional diminutions as expressed by figures.


  • They are ignorant that by means of such triturations the internal medicinal power is wonderfully developed as it were liberated from its material bonds, so as to enable it to operate more penetratingly and more freely upon the human organism.
  • Their purely arithmetic mind believes that it sees here only an enormous subdivision, a mere material subdivision and diminution but he does not observe the spiritualization of internal medicinal power.
  • The sceptic has no experience relative to the action of preparations of such exalted medicinal power.

Hahnemann says the person who pretends to be the seeker of truth but will not search for it and where it is to be found i.e. in experience will certainly fail to discover it and he will never find it by arithmetical calculations.

Hahnemann in this article gives an answer for the commonly asked question “How can small doses of such very attenuated medicine still possess great power?”. He explains how through the process of potentisation the material bonds of the crude medicinal substances are liberated and this enables the medicine to act more penetratingly upon the human organism. He gives an explanation of how spiritualization of the dynamic property of medicine takes place with extreme fractional diminution of medicine.

Dudgeon R. E. The Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann. 14th Noida-201307: B. Jain publishers (P) ltd; 2019. P. 728 – 734.

Dr Darsana Damodaran
P.G. Scholar
Organon of Medicine and Homoeopathic Philosophy
GHMC&H, Bengaluru

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.