Author: Jan Scholten
Potentisation is very characteristic for homeopathy, so much so that the two are even mixed up by people who use potencies and then think they are practicing homeopathy.
Quantity versus quality
The technique of potentisation is simple in itself. But the effect is strange, in the sense that one would expect that higher potencies would give less and less effect, since less and less of the original substance is left. That is not the case. High potencies often have a stronger effect. That is why the process became known as potentisation, the remedies became more potent. How can this be explained? It is obvious that a chemical or physical explanation does not apply. Homeopathic remedies are not chemical remedies. This is consistent with the experience that the effect of homeopathic remedies is independent of the amount of the dose. One can easily swallow a whole bottle, it makes no difference to a few granules. The pharmacological rule of a bigger effect from a bigger dose does not apply to homeopathic remedies.
Information versus matter
When quantity is irrelevant, then quality must be decisive. This is what is seen in practice: one remedy has no effect at all, whereas another one has a huge effect. It is the information aspect of substances and remedies that is essential. In the process of potentisation the information of the original substance is transferred to the carrier substance. This makes it understandable why the forcible shaking of mixing is so essential in potentisation.
The information quality of homeopathic remedies is consistent with the ease of reproduction. Making the first granule of a remedy takes much effort, time and energy, making a copy is very easy. This is the case for all kinds of information, like books, software, music.
The information aspect of homeopathic remedies is mentioned also in the discussion on the law of similars. It makes it understandable how a remedy can give an opposite result. For chemistry that is difficult, for information that is easy.
Confusion with dilutions
Lay people, people who have not studied and practiced homeopathy, often confuse potencies with dilutions. They often call potencies dilutions, limiting their view to the diluting aspect in potentisation. People who say that homeopathy cannot work because there is "nothing" in it have not understood or studied the subject. One can say indeed that there is "nothing" in it, meaning no "thing", no substance. But information is not nothing, it is no "thing". It is like music on a CD, a software program on a computer, a novel on paper: chemically there is no difference whatever there is on the CD, but the information can be vastly different.
Information is a strange phenomenon. We all know what it is, but do we? Suppose we have a novel. We can print it in a book of paper or parchment, put it on computer, speak it on an audio tape, bake it in clay tablets or sculpture it in hieroglyphs. All those forms are physically, chemically totally different. But the information is the same. We can do the above in many different languages. The information stays the same.
Information differs completely from matter and does not need matter as such. It only needs some carrier, some chemical for fixing. It is weird that information has no place in regular medicine as a healing factor.
The technique of potentisation is stepwise diluting and shaking or mixing. So the substance is diluted with the carrier substance and then forcibly mixed or shaken. There are several types of potentisation, depending on how the different steps are done, which carrier substance is used, how strong the dilution in each step is and how many potentisation steps are done.
Decimal potencies are made by using a 1 to 10 dilution in each potency step, giving them the notation D, derived from Decimal.
Centesimal potencies are made by using a 1 to 100 dilution in each potency step, and are given the notation C, derived from Centesimal.
Korsakoff potencies are equal to Centesimal potencies, 1 to 100, but all potencies are made in the same bottle.
LM or Q potencies are made by using a 1 to 50000 dilution in each potency step, giving them the notation LM, derived from the latin numerical system L for 50 and M for thousand or Q from quintesimille.
As carrier substance in the process one can use milk sugar and grind the whole in a mortar. This is called trituration. Or one can use water or alcohol for liquid potentisation.
As an example: Arnica montana MK means Arnica montana potentised 1000 times according to Korsakoff. So it is Arnica potentised 1 to 100 a thousand times.