THE DYNAMIC ACTION OF DRUGS by H.A. Roberts
Discussion on the hahnemann’s idea of potentisation….
WE often speak of Hahnemann as the first to note the similar action of drugs and disease conditions, but history shows us that this is not so. Ten centuries B.C., the ancient Hindu system of medicine was founded on the theorem which, translated, reads in almost identical words to those Hahnemann used. Again, Aristotle, about 350 B.C., gave the following dictum:
If *simile acts upon *simile, the result of this mutual action reveals itself in neutralization, annihilation of the original qualities and in production of another state, which is exactly contrary to the previous one….If the *simile of the remedy acts upon the *simile of the disease, the result of this mutual action is neutralization, annihilation of the original qualities, viz. of the pathopoiesis of the remedy and of the pathogenesis of the organism, and change into the contrary state, viz. health.
However it may be about the length of time elapsed since the recognition of the law of similars, the question of dose was one which Hahnemann solved.
The question of dose rests upon the philosophy pertaining to the practice of homoeopathy. Ignoring the law of dosage reveals a lack of concept of the dynamic influence over matter. In life the dynamic force is the manifestation of life itself: the body and tissues are not life, but they are the channels through which life functions.
The man who sees this glimpses the basis of vitalism; the there is a whole world of causes prior to the world of effects; that matter is indestructible and that force is transmitted through matter and therefore it, too, is indestructible. Matter may change in form but it is always present: force may change its expression but no unit of force is ever destroyed. We hold that force,. or energy, of dynamis, whatever you wish to call it, is *the law of nature; it may express its power in different ways but in its essence it is that which was breathed into man at his creation which made him a living soul. The expression of this law may very and find different expressions, as attraction, gravity, electricity, chemical affinity, dynamis, or spiritual power; it is an expression of, and all combined under, one Head and Source of Power-God.
Hahnemann was a representative of this school of thought and he plumbed deeply into these mysteries. He became dissatisfied with the thought of his day, and read extensively the medical works of the ancients. In his delvings he found several, not long before his own time, like Stahl of Denmark and Halle of Switzerland, who had observed that medicines might cure disease by the power they possessed of causing like diseases in healthy human beings. He comprehended that these men had observed this phenomenon but that it had been allowed to fall into disuse without application. AT this state Hahnemann determined to discover the action of drugs upon human beings by observing all the details of their action upon healthy subjects.
Hahnemann did not originate this idea of proving drugs upon healthy individuals, but he was the first to so prove with a definite object in view. After thorough, painstaking, intelligent, systematic study and comparisons, after many long, tedious, self-sacrificing ordeals, Hahnemann was able to work out and announce to the world the existence of an heretofore unsuspected universal law of cure-not an occasional means of cure as had been anticipated by those of recent generations. This was the first step which culminated in the evolution of a new fractional and scientific system of medical practice.
The full recognition of the law of similars rapidly succeeded the proving of drugs, and was the second step in the evolution of homoeopathic principles.
Hahnemann began the experiments of the application of proven drugs for the cure of the sick upon the basis s of the law of similars, by using drugs in their full strength. He found that many times the patient became great aggravated. Hahnemann reasoned that the dose was too large, and he experimented by diluting the drug on a definite scale; to his surprise he found he secured better results. He continued this p process until he discovered that the curative power of drugs bore no proportionate relationship to the crude quantity, but that under he peculiar and systematic reduction by a regular scale, and the proper manipulation, many drugs in common use, and many substances supposed to be inert in their crude states, became endowed with new and hitherto unsuspected activities and powers.
So Hahnemann, setting out simply to reduce the quantity of his doses, discovered potentization, an entirely new principle in posology, a wonderful development in the world of therapeutics, without which the law of cure would have been forgotten. This is the principle which gives life and power to the system of medicine which Hahnemann developed and this is the third great step in the evolution of the law of cure.
As Morgan says:
To Hahnemann alone is due imperishable honour and renown for discovering, first, the existence of an universal law of cure: and second, that the specific properties of drugs could be developed, transmitted and utilized by potentization.
With the discovery of potentization, or dynamization, began the first practical tests of the newly-discovered law of cure.
Crude drugs have three grades of action: mechanical, chemical, and dynamic. The first two grades are of little comparative note in homoeopathy. This is demonstrated by the fact that their provings in crude form produce comparatively little of worth, whereas in those provings made from the thirtieth and above we obtain more complete provings because of the dynamic action. The full power of the drug in its dynamic action is brought out in the potency, whereas the grosser material elements by their very crudity develop no fine individualities in their provings. Entirely new activities are developed, liberated, and may be transmitted and changed into the potentizing medium. (Cf. *Organon 269). This is shown by the potentization of inert substances like *Carbo veg., *Lycopodium and *Silica.
Let us look at a recent book (published 1933) dealing with
*The Mode of Action of Drugs on Cells, by ***A. J. Clark, ***A.B., **M.D., ***F.R.C.P., ***F.R.S., Professor of Materia Medica at the University of Edinburgh, formerly Professor of Pharmacology in the Universities of London and Cape Town. This book deals with the matter entirely from the orthodox medical viewpoint, yet hear his comment relative to the biological response of cell-drug reactions:
There is indeed very little direct evidence that the biological response is produced by a chemical reaction between the drug and the cell constituents. This assumption is chiefly justified by the facts that it is supported by much *indirect evidence, and that there is no alternative hypothesis which has stronger evidence in its support. If we assume that there is some simple relation between the amount of drug entering into combination and the extent of the biological response, then the following consideration must apply.
If the fundamental chemical reaction consists in fixation of the drug by some particular constituent of the cell, then this must result in a reduction both of the free drug and of the free receptors in the cell. The relative amounts of drug solution and cells can, however, be varied at will, and hence the concentration of the drug can always be kept constant by providing a sufficient excess of drug solution; indeed, in many cases *the quantity of the drug fixed is so minute that it is difficulty to reduce the drug solution to a volume small enough to show changes of concentration (p.60)
Drugs that act in high dilutions are of particular interest in pharmacology, and in each cases true adsorption may be delayed by the depletion of he layer adjoining the surface. Freundlich (1926) states: “The simpler the conditions chosen and the smaller the difficulty in securing access to the inner surface, the quicker is the absorption….. *In the case of well powered adsorbments the equilibrium is mostly reached in seconds or minutes.
In the case of cell-drug solution systems in which vigorous stirring is possible….delay ought to be reduced. It is, however, necessary to remember that particles above a certain size carry with them a layer of water several micro thick, even when they are stirred thoroughly. Hence even in cases where such stirring is possible the delay due to depletion cannot be ignored…. (pp.68-9)
In other words, even modern pharmacology recognizes 1.The reaction of amounts of drugs so minute that it is not possible to tell how small the amount of the drug in the solution is, yet it still shows definite action on the cells. 2. The action is much more rapid in the case of well powdered substances (triturations). 3. Regardless of the quantity of the drug used, the solution is activated to a marked degree by vigorous stirring (succession).
This shows the observations of the action of infinitesimal amounts of drug on the physiological basis, that the greater the trituration the more rapid the action, and that the influence of succession also speeds the rate of activity markedly; but the comprehension of the vital principles upon which homoeopathy is based does not follow the observations remarked by Professor Clark.
It is but natural that many prescribers at first stay close to the mechanical and chemical stages, for the material always first attracts our attention; but in order to grasp this truth of dynamization we must apply the same means of approach and travel the same road that Hahnemann and his followers have travelled, recognizing the dynamic in health and in disease and applying the same line of thought and reason to the study and development of the power and action of drugs.
It is well to note the care and thoroughness of Hahnemann’s work and the methodical way in which he developed the potency, using the centesimal scale in preparing his divided dosage, and giving each step in the process vigorous succussion. This process was continued until all trace of quantity had vanished, beyond the recognition of all possible physical tests; yet in these higher potencies the dynamic qualities or potential qualities survive. Upon applying these potencies upon man or animals we find a far more delicate organism or apparatus than is provided in any possible physical instruments as yet developed. Possibly the furthest development of the radioactive power may in time give us a measuring instrument that may partially reveal this ability, but the human organism will always be the most delicate instrument, for the susceptible subject is quick to respond to this dynamic force.
We are dealing here in the realm of the imponderables, and encounter problems beyond the reach of men’s analysis, a realm where we can only observe effects alone. However, all we can see and all we can hope to know in our observation of human beings is the effects of growth and development; and it is so with our a study of medicinal action. This is so not only in the study of the potency, but it is so almost entirely in the study of the crude drugs and their action, as well as our study of foods and their action. the effects are there to be seen, but the imponderable nature of the *modus operandi is beyond our comprehension. The very same line of evidence is produced in all these fields: it is the effects only that are manifest to us. The observations must be recorded, and only by deduction can we comprehend their innermost meaning. Many mistakes have been made by failing to follow rules laid down by Hahnemann in his *Organon of the Healing Art. Follow these rules and the results will be in order and observable.
Many of the graduates from homoeopathic colleges do not grasp the dynamic concept of drugs, and for that reason always stay in the material plane, using only the crude drug or venturing in to the low potencies occasionally. This is unfortunate for the efficacy of their work, for one this concept is grasped they realize that all potencies are valuable and useful, and they soon obtain a knowledge a power over disease little realized when viewed solely from the material plane. Especially is this true in chronic troubles, for the test of real skill is in the cure of chronic patients and the eradication of the chronic miasms,
The use of the attenuated potency varies with each individual because of this interpretation of the law of does,. Hahnemann’s question as to “how far the dose of a homoeopathic remedy in any given case of disease ought to be reduced in order to derive from it the best possible cure?” is one we may well ask.
It may be readily conceived that no theoretical conjecture will furnish an answer to this problem, and it is not by such means that we can establish, in respect to each individual medicine, the quantity of the dose that suffices to produce the homoeopathic effect the accomplish a prompt and gentle cure. No reasoning, however ingenious will avail in his instance. It is by pure experiments and precise observations only that this object can be obtained.
*Organon, 278. Here the question arises as to the proper degree of reduction at which a medicine will procure certain as well as gentle relief? That is to say, how small must be the dose of each homoeopathically selected medicine, in order to fulfil the requirement of a perfect cure. To determine the dose of each particular medicine for this purpose, and how to render this dose so small as to accomplish its purpose, gently and rapidly at the same time, is a problem which, obviously, is neither to be solved by theoretical conjecture, nor by sophistic reasoning. Pure experiments, and accurate observation alone can solve the question; and it were folly to adduce the large doses of the old school (destitute of homoeopathic bearing upon the diseased portion of the body, and affecting only the sound parts), to disprove the results of actual experience in regard to the minuteness of doses requisite to perform a homoeopathic cure.
279. Experience proves that *the dose of a homoeopathically selected remedy cannot be reduced so far as to be inferior in the strength to the natural disease, and to lose its power of extinguishing and curing at least a portion of the same, provided that this dose, immediately after having been taken, is capable of causing a slight intensification of symptoms of the similar natural disease (slight homoeopathic aggravation, 157-160). This will prove to be the case in acute, chronic, and even complicated disease, except where these depend on serious deterioration of some vital organ, or where the patient is not protected against extraneous medicinal influences.
280. This incontrovertible principle, founded on experience, furnishes a standard *according to which the doses of homoeopathic medicine are invariably to be reduced so far, that even after having been taken they will merely produce an almost imperceptible homoeopathic aggravation. We should not be deterred from the use of such doses by the high degree of rarefaction that may have been reached, however incredible they may appear to the coarse material ideas of ordinary practitioners; their arguments will be silenced by the verdict of infallible experience.
Since Hahnemann’;s time potentization has been greatly developed,. and we are often able to avoid these slight aggravations which Hahnemann refers to as almost a necessary accompaniment to the cure. When we get these aggravations now it is because the remedy it has been given too low or repeated too often, or because the patient is particularly susceptible to the powers released by the potentization. When this slight aggravation of the natural disease appears after the administration of the remedy it is an indication of the correct choice of the remedy.
All authorities agree that the proper dose is found in the degree of susceptibility. Fincke says, “That dose is appropriate which will be proportionate to the degree of susceptibility of the patient.”
The closer the relationship between the disease symptoms and the drug symptoms, the grater the susceptibility and, consequently, the higher the potency required; but his makes it a comparative problem of relationship; therefore the answer lies in our individual exercise of the interpretation of this law.
It is a hopeful sign when the younger physicians begin with the user of the fairly low potencies, say the 30th or 200th, and then progress upward. In this way one learns for himself the use of potencies and their dynamic action, and he will soon learn to use the higher potencies with skill and with much satisfaction.
Fincke explained the action and efficiency of the infinitesimal dose by applying the law of Maupertius, the French mathematician, and fully accepted by scientist, “that the quantity of action necessary to effect any change in nature is the least possible”; and added, “according to this principle the decisive moment is always a minimum, an infinitesimal”, and when applied to therapeutics the last possible or the highest potency, sufficient to bring about reaction, would be homoeopathic.
The law of least action is a necessary complement to the law of similars. STill quoting Fincke.
According to this principle, the curative properties and action of the homoeopathic remedy are governed by its preparation and application; in other words, *the quality of the action of a homoeopathic remedy is determined by its quantity, consequently the law of the least action must be acknowledged as the posological principle of homoeopathy.
The whole range of potencies may be used by any physician, yet if he understands these principles he will fell his way to the correct potency. There is no greater fallacy prevalent than the fear of using the higher potencies, for fear the lower would be more effective; the same indications are present for one as for the other.
The knowledge of potentization was of gradual growth, and, indeed, the last word is not yet said; but this discover ranks among the highest of Hahnemann’s work and makes the question of the use of these potencies the one great thing that is due to Hahnemann’s mind alone, and will be his greatest lasting contribution in the evolution of this system of applying drugs to the cure of disease.
It has remained so far unexplainable, but a fact. The effect is manifest to all, but in its mode of action it is a mystery. the principle of similars was of little practical use until the principle of the dynamic use of drugs and the minimum dose were discovered to complete the trinity; then all three angles were complete, each equally important, yet each supporting the other to make a complete system of cure; then and only then, homoeopathy became practicable.
Were it not for the knowledge of the dynamis of drugs and the minimum dose, homoeopathy would have sunk back with the memory of Hahnemann’s provings of a few drugs, as it did after the work of Hippocrates, Haller, and Stahl. This is where the great genius of Hahnemann shines forth and will continue to shed lustre more and more as times goes on.
The discovery and development of the dynamic principle in medicine was a forerunner of the knowledge of a many things that are generally accepted by the scientific world although they remain among “the things hard to be understood”. Our wonderful development in electricity, with the radioactivity of matter, the radio, chemical affinity, and many other scientific discoveries have been made possible as similar, almost parallel discoveries to this of Hahnemann. It was the direct cause of the rejection of Newton’s concept of matter as a “hard, massy, material atom”, and passing on to the acceptance of the concept of the electron and our present-day concept of the minuteness of matter; and it will eventually force the recognition of the infinite divisibility and the fourth dimension of matter.
The power developed by the process for dynamis is tremendous when it can take solid substances and make them tremendously useful in medicine. It is nothing less than a physical process by which the dynamic energy, latent in crude substances, is liberated, developed,. and modified for use in medicine. The true dynamic action and principle was bound to be imitated in the attempt to modify violent poisonous morbific products of disease by transmitting them through living animals and so make them of use in medicine. The serums are the attempt on a crude way to imitate the simple thought correct method of releasing power from violent poison, but it is very inaccurate in principle, for living animals are constantly varying in many degrees, and it is fraught with many uncertainties. Stuart Close has well compared this process in enunciating the standards of Hahnemann:
1.The Hahnemannian process is purely physical, objective and mechanical.
2.It does not involve any uncertain, unseen, unreliable nor unmeasurable factor. Its elements are simply the substance or drug to be potentiated, a vehicle consisting of sugar of milk, alcohol or water, in certain quantities and definite proportions; manipulation under conditions which are entirely under control and so simple that a child could comply with them.
3. The resulting product is stable, or may easily be made so; in fact, it is almost indestructible; and the experience of a century in its use under homoeopathic methods and principles had proved it to be efficient and reliable in the treatment of all forms of disease amenable to medication.
4.The process is practically illimitable. Potentiation of medicine by this method may be carried to any extent desired or required.
The experience of the practicable application of this power in disease is the final test and arbiter of their power, and it always provers their value as the correct process in the cure of the sick; yet even after repeated experience we cannot fail to marvel at the universe of latent power released by so simple a method. Again quoting from Stuart Close:
The fact, as pointed out by Ozanam, is that Hahnemann, by his discovery of potentiation, raised homoeopathy to a level with order natural sciences, since he created for it a method which is analogous to the infinitesimal calculus of mathematics, upon which is based the atomic theory of chemistry. It illustrates and harmonizes with the “theory of interatomic ether to space”. The “theory of the radiant state of matter”; the theory of the electric potential of present-day physics, and with the chemico- cellular theory of physiology and pathological anatomy,. It agrees with modern bacteriology in its explanation of the action of pathogenic micro-organisms as being due to the infinitesimal quantities of their secreted poisons. It is in harmony with the latest conclusions of modern psychology.
What is the relation between dynamis and the homoeopathic dosage?
What was the first step in the evolution and the homoeopathic therapeutics? (*Answer: Drug proving.)
What was the second step? (*Answer; Discovery of the law of similars).
What was the third step? (*Answer: the principle of potentisation.)
What is the benefit of potentizing so-called inert substances?
Give an outline of the method of potentizing drugs as laid down by Hahnemann.
Differentiate *dilution and *potentization.
Explain the application of the law of mathematics to the homoeopathic principle of the action of potentized drugs.
How does the law of least action referred to, answer Hahnemann’s questions as to how far the dose of a homoeopathic remedy,.. ought to be reduced in order to derive from it the best possible cure?
Give three reasons which may account for an aggravation of the symptoms after the administration of the remedy.
Why do we find the greater the susceptibility the higher the potency required? (Cf. Law of least action).