How are homeopathic medicines made?
Homeopathic medicines are made from substances of plant, animal, mineral or chemical origin. All are described in detail in the homeopathic pharmacopeia, including preparation methods and standards of purity.
First, the substance must be rendered into a form in which it can be diluted: a mother tincture in the case of a soluble material, or trituration (crushing) for a non-soluble material such as a mineral.
The mother tincture is made by macerating the material, adding it to a mixture of water and alcohol and then filtering. In trituration, the material is ground and combined with lactose, and undergoes successive dilutions in lactose until it becomes soluble and can be dissolved into a water-alcohol mixture.
The mother tincture or trituration is then diluted successively, with each dilution accompanied by succussion: a mechanical agitation of the mixture, ensuring homogeneity.
The dilution method most often used is known as Hahnemannian. In this method, using the centesimal scale, one part of the mother tincture is added to 99 parts of solvent (70% alcohol, 30% water), then succussed.
To prepare the first dilution, one part of the mother tincture is added to 99 parts of solvent. The resulting mixture is then succussed. One part of this solution is then added to 99 parts solvent again, and so on. The decimal method uses one part added to nine parts.
The number of dilutions will appear on the label of the medicine along with letters indicating the method. 30C or 30CH means 30 centesimal dilutions done using the Hahnemannian method, and 6X or 6DH means six decimal dilutions using the Hahnemannian method. For the manufacture of very high dilutions, the Korsakov method is often used, in which case you’ll see the suffix K will then appear on the label, e.g. 200K .
Finally, the liquid is added to a neutral carrying agent, usually a pellet of sucrose/lactose. Homeopathic medicines also come in other forms: drops, tablets, dissolvable pills, ampoules, suppositories, syrups and ointments.