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Dilution and Dynamization

Hahnemann recognized that the use of substances that cause symptoms similar to an existing disease would acutely aggravate the condition and present other side effects.  Thus he advocated the dilution of the substance to the point where the symptoms were no longer present.  

Dilutions are performed as ten or one hundred fold steps.  Dilutions of 1:10 are designated in the U.S. by the Roman Numeral X (1X = 1/10, 2X = 1/100, 3X = 1/1000, etc).  Dilutions of 1:100 are designated by the Roman Numeral C (1C = 1/100, 2C=1/10,000, 3C = 1/1,000,000, etc).   Liquids are diluted with alcohol (ethanol) and insoluble powders are diluted with milk sugar (lactose).  

The dilutions advocated by Hahnemann and those used today often reduce the concentration of the active substance to infinitesimal levels.  Hahnemann himself understood that at dilutions (such as 30C) of this magnitude eliminated ALL of the original substance was gone.  However, he believed that the healing power of the substance could be preserved and actually concentrated by the process of dynamization.  

Hahnemann believed that physical disruption of the drug solution or powder during the dilution process could release the spirit-like dynamic healing force contained within the substance.  Even after it has been completely removed from the solution by enormous dilution, the healing force remains.   The dynamization could be induced by succussion of the solution between dilution steps or, in the case of a powder, by trituration  in a mortar.  

 Hahnemann writes of this proposed phenomenon by analogy to magnetism: 

"Only after (a) bar of steel is dynamized, rubbing it with a dull file in one direction, will it become a true active powerful magnet, one able to attract iron and steel to itself and impart to another bar of steel by mere contact and even some distance away, magnetic power and this in a higher degree the more it has been rubbed. In the same way will triturating a medicinal substance and shaking of its solution (dynamization, potentation) develop the medicinal powers hidden within and manifest them more and more or if one may say so, spiritualizes the material substance itself"

Samuel Hahnemann, The Preparation of Medicines, The Organon, 6th Ed