Understanding Homeopathy Potency
Also indexed as: Dilutions, Potencies of Homeopathic
Homeopathic remedies are prepared through a process called potentization.
Potentization involves a series of systematic dilutions and successions (a forceful shaking
action). Potentization is important, because it removes all risk of chemical toxicity while
activating a remedy substance and enabling it to affect the body therapeutically.
Homeopathic pharmacies operate according to strict guidelines, to ensure that the remedies
and potencies are consistent and reliable. The first step in producing a homeopathic remedy is
acquiring a pure preparation of the original substance in its natural form (a solution of a
mineral salt, a “mother tincture” of a plant, etc.). The original substance is
then put through a measured series of dilutions, alternating with succussions, until the
desired potency is made.
Homeopathic potencies are designated by the combination of a number and a letter (for
example, 6X or 30C). The number refers to the number of dilutions the tincture has undergone
within a series to prepare that remedy. The letter refers to the proportions used in each
dilution of the series (the Roman numeral X means 10, and the Roman numeral C means 100), as
well as the number of succussions the vial of solution undergoes in each successive stage.
For example: To prepare a 6X potency of Ledum palustre, one part of the
Ledum mother tincture is combined in a vial with nine parts of the carrier liquid, and
succussed ten times again, making a 2X solution. The process is repeated four more times, for
a total of six dilutions and succussions—and the final result is a 6X potency of
Ledum. (To make a 30C, one part of the tincture would be combined with ninety-nine parts
of the carrier liquid and succussed 100 times in each of thirty steps.) Pellets, tablets, or
powders are then medicated with the potentized liquid, or drops of the remedy are taken in
The more dilutions and succussions a substance undergoes, the higher the potency will be.
Higher potencies of homeopathic remedies (anything higher than 12C) have been diluted past the
point that molecules of the original substance would be measurable in the solution. This is a
major stumbling block for skeptics when it comes to understanding and accepting the idea of
homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies, when correctly chosen, clearly work—but not in the way
that drugs do (through chemical actions that affect the body processes). It is not completely
understood why potentized remedies can work so deeply and specifically, but many likely
theories have arisen through research and observation. It appears that they function on an
energetic level to stimulate the body to heal itself more efficiently.
For more information, see also What is