Does trituration alter the physical properties of the remedy?
Development of Trituration by Hahnemann
Throughout Hahnemann’s career (1801 – 1842) (Barthel, 1991) his guidelines regarding the preparation of homoeopathic remedies evolved. He urged his followers to replicate his methods exactly (Hahnemann, 1995a), thus encouraging reproducibility (Hahnemann, 1995c). Hahnemann went to great lengths explaining these methods in depth in his writings e.g. Chronic Diseases, Organon and Materia Medica Pura.
Initially, Hahnemann utilised small doses of crude substances, but in 1801, when publishing Cure and Prevention of Scarlet fever, he detailed that Belladonna should be prepared by dissolving 1 grain of the dried powder in 100 drops of distilled water, followed by triturating the mixture in a small mortar (Barthel, 1991; Haehl, 2003b).
By 1818, Hahnemann mentioned the trituration of gold, based on the work of Arab physicians (Barthel, 1991), finding the 1C potency beneficial in the treatment of suicidal depression (Dellmour, 1994; Hahnemann, 1995c) and by 1822 he also triturated mercury and other medicines up to 12C (Barthel, 1991; Dellmour, 1994). The third edition of the Organon, however, only suggests trituration up to the 3C level (Barthel, 1991), saying that the trituration beyond that level could enhance the drug’s non-physical and dynamic power possibly to the infinite, endangering the patient’s life (Hahnemann, 1995c). Chronic Diseases, which appeared in 1828, detailed the 3 hour trituration method, “avoiding indefiniteness and inexactness as much as possible” (Hahnemann, 1995a:149). Trituration was then also attributed to have the ability to render even insoluble substances soluble at the 3C level, allowing for serial dilution and succussion on a liquid form up to the 30C level (Hahnemann, 1995a; Haehl, 2003a). Initially, liquid plant extracts were not triturated, but by 1835, Hahnemann concluded that all substances should be triturated, by hand, to the 3C potency (Dellmour, 1994). In 1842 the 3C trituration was also adopted as the required starting point for the manufacture of the LM potencies (Barthel, 1991).
Benefits of 3C trituration
- Activates the latent medicinal power of the remedy resulting in a more powerful action of the remedy (Dellmour, 1994; Hahnemann, 1995a; Hahnemann, 1995c)
- Retention of all the active constituents of the plants, for example resins, saponins, alkaloids, volatile oils, etc., which may be lost during an extraction process (Dellmour, 1994)
- Rendering insoluble substances, like Sulphur, soluble (Dellmour, 1994)
Triturations since Hahnemann
At the 53rd LMHI Congress in 1998, Jürgen Becker shared the experiences of Withold Ehrler (Dellmour, 1998). Ehrler experiences physical and psychological symptoms during his first homoeopathic triturations, and received insight into the triturated substance (Becker and Ehrler, 1998). Becker and Ehrler (1998) also found that by triturating an additional level – to the 4C – the remedy exhibited a higher healing potential. Thus was born the notion that the trituration process can step-wise disclose the essence of a remedy (Timmerman, 2006). These triturations, however, have to be carried out by hand (Becker and Ehrler, 1998). They hypothesise that remedies triturated to the C1 level will show their effect on the physical level (organic). C2 triturations reveal the emotional aspect (sensation), C3 the mental aspect (thinking) and C4 the spiritual aspect (destiny) (Becker and Ehrler, 1998; Brinton and Miller, 2004; Timmerman, 2006). The C5 represents the Collective Unconsciousness (Miasm) (O’Brien, 2006; Timmerman, 2006).
Research to investigate the Claims
The first step to prove or disprove the notion suggested by Becker and Ehrler, was taken by Botha and Ross. They investigated the possibility of physico-chemical differences existing between remedies manufactured from a C3 and C4 trituration respectively. This was done through Nuclear Magnetic resonance Spectroscopy (Botha and Ross, 2008). The data of the study revealed that physical alterations of the substance took place during the trituration process. These changes persisted during the Potentisation process, when serial dilution and succussion was carried out up to the 12C level. They concluded that “ the level of trituration plays an important part in the development of distinct physic-chemical properties specific to homoeopathic remedies” (Botha and Ross, 2008:200).
It is interesting to note that the German Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia (British Homeopathic Association, 1993) Method 6 outlines the trituration procedure and correlates with the instructions laid down by Hahnemann (1995a) in Chronic Diseases. It does, however, suggest trituration to the 4C level.