Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

Potency choice

Sometimes I get asked about potency and what you should be using. Generally, at home, use 30c. But if you want to know more, read on.

First of all, what is potency?

There are three scales of dilution used in Homeopathy-

*decimal scale which is seen as 6X or 12D (in NZ we tend to use X not D which is more common in Europe). This means this has been diluted 1 in 10, six times for a 6X or twelve times for a 12X

*centesimal scale which is common in New Zealand as 30c. Sometimes you will also see it written as CK or CH which refers to the type of dilution. Hahnemann used a different vial for each step of the dilution, so if prepared from his method it may be designated a CH. The Korsokovian method uses the same vial for each step and is designated CK. The Centesimal scale means it has been diluted 1 in 100, for example 30c is 1 in 100 thirty times.

You may also see remedies like 1M, 10M, 50M, while they have the M for 1000, they are technically still part of the centesimal scale, just using the Roman numeral for 1000 dilutions.

*quintamillesimal scale which is the Q or LM scale. This was Hahnemann’s last dilution scale which dilutes the substances 50,000 times.

It is impossible to talk about potency and dilution without discussing sucussion. If you just dilute a substance 1 in 10 or 1 in 100 over and over, you will shortly pass Avogadro’s number and there will be none of the original substance left.

Homeopathy doesn’t just dilute the substance. Instead at each step there is sucussion, where you hit the vial against a firm surface (I don’t do it often for homeopathic remedies, but for Homeobotanicals I just use my hand. Hahnemann used to use a Bible.) While the mechanism isn’t clear this sucussion does impart the energy of the substance into the remedy, which can then be used to help with the symptoms the crude substance can cause.

Posology is the name given to the selection of a potency’s day administration, and there are different theories and methods for doing so.

The first aspect is vitality. Vitality is about the energy of the patient.

The vitality doesn’t necessarily correspond with health. You can get people who have few physical or mental complaints but have little energy or resilience- their vitality is low. On the other hand you may get someone with many physical complaints who has good energy and copes well with mental and physical complaints- they have high vitality.

When selecting potency you need to take into account the vitality of the patient and select a potency to match- someone with a high vitality will respond well to and cope with a higher potency.

The second aspect is obstacles to cure and maintaining causes.

If someone is under a large amount of stress, then a lower potency repeated more often may have a better long term effect rather than a one off higher potency.

There is also the theory that different potencies work on different levels:

The decimal scale and lower centesimal scale work on a physical level, and 200c and up more on a mental and emotional level.

Sounds great, right? But this doesn’t take into account that a single dose of 30c may have a profound mental and emotional effect on a patient, or that a 1M may work very well for a physical complaint.

Also if the “right” potency is not available you can use a lower potency repeated, or use a higher potency less often or in a “split dose” with 1 pilule every 12 hours for 3 doses (i.e. morning, night, morning).

A high energy situation calls for a higher potency, which is why 200c is often used for childbirth as it is an intense time. Some conditions are the same- personally I found Lachesis 30c ineffective for Strep throat but 200c produced quick relief and sustained improvement.

Some people also respond really well to certain potencies, and less well to others.

I like to say that Homeopathy is an art and a science, and posology, or potency selection is part of this. For this reason different Homeopaths will use different potencies in the same situation. It’s about finding the right one for you and your situation.

At home, for your own use with your family, 30c is usually sufficient. It is almost exclusively what I use at home with my own family. If you are under the care of a homeopath they may prescribe a different potency, but otherwise in general, 30c will be effective.

For acute situations at home, with a 30c, you can repeat, but if you have not had any relief after two or three doses then it is time to stop, this is not the right remedy for you. For higher potencies you would use much less often, and touch base with a Homeopath for advice.

If in doubt, send me a message or touch base with another qualified Homeopath.

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