Kent’s guidelines for the selection of potency: A review

Dr Sweta

Homoeopathy is a therapeutic science based on the law of similars as a law of selection. According to homoeopathy, a drug that might cause similar symptoms in the healthy should be used for treatment.

Except for anything with qualities akin to the vital energy, vital disorder cannot be transformed into order. What must be sought for is similarity in quality, power, and plane. Medicines, as a result, cannot have an impact on the high and interior planes of the physical economy unless they are raised to the plane of quality similarity. Medicines must be potentized to match the severity of the patient’s illness in order to act curatively, or in a way to restore health and eliminate sickness.1

Any doctor’s list of failed cases will be remarkably short if they carefully observe all of the patient’s symptoms, identify all of the obstructions, and then carefully compare all of the symptoms of the illness with the symptoms of the homoeopathic Materia medica, and knows how to select the potency, how to administer it, and when not to give it.

What is the best potency for a given case and what is the potency that is best for habitual use?

There is no single potency that can suit the demands placed on it by the diseases of different individuals. There is a great deal of variation across tinctures and CMs, and selecting the ideal potency is a question of experience and observation, rather than a matter of law.

Individualization in regard to potencies enable us to cure cases as it furnishes it with the element of accuracy and success. Some patients are extremely sensitive to the highest potencies and are cured permanently and mildly by using the 200th or 1000th. There are other individuals who are shattered to pieces by the usage of the highest potencies. There is no single potency that can meet the demands placed on it by the ailments of different people.

The nature of the disease then makes a difference; patients with heart disease or phthisis are more likely to have their sufferings intensified and their death prolonged by the highest potencies; they fare better under the 30th or 200th.

After thirty years of thorough observation and comparison with the various potencies, the following rules can be established:

  • Acute diseases:

1m and 10m potencies are most useful.

  • Chronic diseases:

The physician must have access to deep acting medicines in the 30th, 200th, 1m, 10m, 50m, cm, dm and mm potencies made carefully on the centesimal scale to suit all degree of sensitivity in chronic diseases.

  • Sensitive women and children: 30th to 10M.

It is best to start with the 30th or 200th, allowing the patient to improve in general, before moving on to the 1m.

Following improvement with that cease, the 10m may be required.

When using the 30th and 200th potencies, it is often necessary to administer the medicine in water than when using higher potencies.

  • Nervous and excitable women, children, and certain men:

30th and 200th potencies are more appropriate as they have milder curative action.

  • Extremely sensitive:

Patients who are extremely sensitive should not be given a high potency.

  • Oversensitive people:

It is advised to start no higher than 1m for oversensitive people.

This can be repeated two or three times before using a higher potency. Each potency is effective when used twice or three times.

  • Not so sensitive: 10m to the mm all are useful for common chronic diseases.

The 10m may be used first, and continued without change as long as improvement lasts;

Then the 50m will act exactly the same way, and should be used as long as the patient makes progress toward health;

Finally, the cm, dm, and mm may be used in succession.

With many chronic patients, if the remedy matches the symptoms or is a similimum, any potency will do all the curing it can in two or three doses at long intervals, and a higher potency must be selected. It is preferable to start low and go higher.

The patient can be kept under the similimum or a specific remedy’s influence until they are cured by using the series of potencies in a given case. When the similimum is found, the remedy will perform curatively in a series of potencies.

If the remedy is only partially similar, it will act in only one or two potencies, causing the symptoms to change and requiring the use of a new remedy.

If the remedy is only partially similar, many chronic cases will require a series of carefully selected remedies to effect a cure; however, the aim in prescription is to find that remedy similar enough to hold the case through a full series to the highest. Each time, the patient will claim that the new potency performed similarly to the first one received.

Degrees are indicated in sevens, just as musical octaves.

Series in degrees: 30th, 200th, 1m, 10m, 50m, cm, dm and mm potencies.

As long as it is effective, stick to the mild potency. Jumping too many degrees is not a good idea. There are several degrees in the ordinary person, ranging from the crude to 10m. In music, taking the thirds and fifths instead of going from first to last preserves the chord. Repeat the series, starting with the lower potencies, and produce quality results. These series will sound familiar to the patient.

  • A potency that is too high causes unnecessary aggravation and will not provide the best curative action.
  • The best action is slight aggravation, as seen in the initial few hours of acute diseases.
  • The ideal is one that causes no aggravation but just amelioration.

Give the appropriate doses at long intervals until the repetition has no effect; then, if you are certain that it is the similimum, give it in a higher potency until that stops to act, and ultimately the highest. In this manner, we can place a patient on a series of potencies and maintain a long-term curative action lasting several years. Prolonged action is sometimes required in particularly chronic, deep-seated diseases. If only one potency was employed, a drug’s action would be exhausted in a matter of months.

Each change in potency results in a new and more profound curative action. The best results are usually acquired with two doses (and occasionally three) in the same plane.

Some have claimed, “Go extremely high at once and do it at once,” but this is not true. In many chronic diseases, the patient must be kept under the remedy for a long period of time, and the remedy must be administered in such a way that the curative power is not impaired. The conservative approach is best for ensuring continuous action. In this approach, the cure is always mild, gentle, and permanent.

In circumstances where a low potency was administered in frequently repeated doses, sometime must elapse before a perfect effect will follow the higher potency; nevertheless, when the dose was not repeated after its activity was first observed, the new and higher potency will act promptly.

  • When the symptoms return unchanged (after prudent waiting), the selection was correct, and if the same potency fails to act, a higher one will usually act rather quickly, as did the lower one first.
  • When the picture is unchanged save for the absence of one or more symptoms, the remedy should never be changed until a higher potency has been thoroughly evaluated, as there is no harm in administering a single dose of a medicine that has exhausted its curative powers.

It is not necessary to repeat the dose when a patient returns and, following examination, the old symptoms are still present despite the patient’s claims that they are greatly improved. It is only a matter of time before a cure is established.

When a patient returns and thinks he is losing ground, it is the medicine that has stopped working, not the potency. You must now seek for another cure and not a change of potency.

Remember that these things are not as yet matters of law but just the outcomes of some observation.

However, using a very high potency of any drug thought to represent the curative powers in a single dose is far more satisfying. It is the most secure and certain way to avoid making a mistake. If the remedy works, it is permanent and almost certain to be similimum. If it does not act, no harm is done, and a lower potency may be selected.

If a lower potency is selected and used repeatedly, as often is necessary, the overaction ruins the case and occasionally eliminates the prospect of a cure. If the remedy is homoeopathic to a particular totality, a single very high dose may cure the entire case; if, however, it appears essential to repeat, and the disease only disappears while the remedy is being repeated, the selection is a bad one and should be changed. It is a huge mistake to fly to a low potency because a high has failed to act.

Our top prescribers have experienced that the similimum works best when administered high and in one, or at most, a few doses. Indeed, experience tells us that high potencies are always best; but this is experience, not law. The similimum may be discovered in the lowest potencies, but it is positively found in the high and highest pure potencies for all curable diseases.

The indiscriminate employment of any one potency is extremely likely to bring our art into disfavour. Any potency, no matter how high or low, will eventually cease to act. The physician must understand that he cannot practise homoeopathy with only one potency of each drug. The physician who understands how to employ the various potencies has a tenfold advantage over the physician who constantly uses one potency, no matter what that potency is.2


  1. Kent J.T. Lectures on homoeopathic philosophy. 18th Noida: B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd; 2018.
  2. Kent J.T. Lesser writings clinical cases, new remedies, aphorisms and precepts. 14th Noida: B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd; 2019.

Dr Sweta
PG Scholar, Department of Organon of Medicine with Homoeopathic philosophy,
Government Homoeopathic Medical college and Hospital, Bengaluru.

UGO: Dr Vijayalakshmi M. Angadi
Associate professor
Department of Organon of Medicine with Homoeopathic philosophy,
Government Homoeopathic Medical college and Hospital, Bengaluru.

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