Signals and Images

pp 215-226

Effects of Belladonna 12 CH and 30 CH in Healthy Volunteers

A Multiple, Single-Case Experiment in Randomization Design
  • H. WalachAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Freiburg
  • , S. HieberAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Freiburg
  • , E. Ernst-HieberAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Freiburg

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The practice of homoeopathy lies on two principles: the law of similars and the potentization of homoeopathic remedies. The law of similars states that likes be cured by likes: “Similia similibus curentur” (Walach, 1986). This means for example that certain types of feavers which exhibit symptoms like an intoxication with deadly nightshade can be cured by the homoeopathic preparation Belladonna, which is prepared from this very same plant. While this principle has been known for a long time, it was the German doctor and pharmacist Samuel Hahnemann who made practical use of it, by giving drug substances to volunteers, noting down the symptoms they experienced, and using the very same symptoms as indication of this remedy in the case of a disease. His volunteers experienced sometimes quite toxic reactions. Therefore, Hahnemann diluted the remedial substances stepwise, by adding 99 drops of alcohol to one drop of substance and vigourously shaking it. This procedure he called “potentization” or “dynamisation”. For every dilution process he used a new glass vial. He experimented with very high dilutions not knowing that he had way beyond transgressed Avogadro’s number which states that 6.0231023 molecules are contained in one mole of any solution. By virtue of the homoeopathic potentization procedure, no molecules are to be expected in preparations beyond and above 12 CH or 24 XH, 12 stepwise agitated dilutions in the ratio 1:100, or 24 stepwise, agitated dilutions in the ratio 1:10. Hahnemann however, not knowing about Avogadro’s number, very frequently used potentizations as high as 30 CH or higher, and in the 6th edition of his Organon (Hahnemann 1979) he even prescribed 30 CH as a standard potency for curative and experimental procedures alike.