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By Paul Callinan MSc, ND, DHom, PhD

Recently homoeopathic medicine has risen to new heights of controversy in the world of medical science. Nature, a prestigious journal in the field of Bioscience, has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a warning to readers to suspend judgment on one of its printed research papers. The author and principal experimenter, Professor Jacques Benveniste of the French Medical Research Council, has been subjected to scorn, ridicule, and critical investigation of his experimental procedures because the results he printed supported homoeopathic medicine. Paul Callinan, one of Australia's few homoeopathic researchers, looks at the past and present of this contentious medicine.

The rising profile of homoeopathy has produced something of a dilemma in the world of medicine: does it work or doesn't it? The decision bites deep: if homoeopathic medicine is nothing but fraud, quackery, and placebo, as many of its opponents would maintain, then a large number of competently trained homoeopaths and doctors, together with countless thousands of dedicated lay practitioners have been led up the medical garden path. Their millions of patients, including many heads of state and prominent members of several of Europe's royal families, have fallen victim to the most successful medical hoax ever perpetrated. On the other hand, if homoeopathic medicine is effective, then for the first time in more than a hundred years the Western world is on the verge of developing an entirely new system of medicine. The medicines are non-toxic and easily manufactured; they are also very cheap.

During the 170 years of its existence, homoeopathy has been the centre of continual and often bitter medical controversy. It has been particularly opposed by orthodox medicine, otherwise known as allopathy. But recently, both research and patient support has grown at a rapid pace. Yet rather than being hailed as a possible new medical breakthrough to give better health for all, it has been ridiculed, ignored and systematically suppressed.

Clearly, something is wrong. The problem is that homoeopathic medicines can be diluted to such extremes that it can be shown physically, chemically, and mathematically that there is nothing in the final dose but water. Obviously then, the objection goes, any medicinal effect is nothing but placebo, and the homoeopaths are both frauds and charlatans.

Yet the origins of homoeopathic medicine are both honorable and orthodox. It was developed in Germany by the research of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1834), who as well as being an experienced orthodox physician was also a competent chemist, a good mineralogist and botanist, and an able translator of eight different languages. His research stemmed from dissatisfaction with the standard medical practices of his time: routine bleedings, heroic purgings with cathartics, and administration of large doses of crude drugs. While translating Cullen's Materia Medica into German, he was struck by a hitherto unexplored medical observation, first mentioned by Hippocrates. Cullen had proposed that the notable success of cinchona (an extract of quinine bark) in the treatment of swamp fever was due to its value as a stomach tonic. Hahnemann disagreed, and in his research on the question decided to take a course of the cinchona extract himself. To his surprise, he developed a set of symptoms remarkably similar to those of the swamp fever it was used to treat. All the symptoms disappeared when he stopped taking it. Further administration to himself and his family always produced the same symptoms, varying only in degree.

This was a strange phenomenon, uncited in the medical literature of the day. A remedy which was effective in a particular disease would produce a similar set of symptoms in a healthy person, when given in sufficient doses. In searching for precedents for this effect, he established that the first mention made of it was in the writings of Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.), regarded by the orthodoxy as the father of modern medicine. Hippocrates had said that likes can be cured by likes: that vomiting may be stopped by being made to vomit, and any illness caused by one means can be treated successfully by a similar means.

The Law of Similars

From this Hahnemann produced the first axiom of homoeopathy: Similia Similibus Curentur - Let Likes be Cured by Likes, otherwise known as the Law of Similars - and so began his life's work. By 1821 he had produced two major works: The Organon of Rational Medicine, embodying the principles of the homoeopathic approach to medicine, and his Materia Medica Pura, covering the effects of sixty four medicines.

This approach to medicine represents a dramatic move away from the established method. The allopathic approach was of establishing the existence of a particular disease, clarifying its symptoms, and then testing the effectiveness of various medicines on it, by the use of opposites. An illness accompanied by fever and diarrhea, for example, would call for the combined use of medicines which would be anti-febrile and others which would normally constipate, and so in a crude way, a total balance would be found by using a number of appropriate medicines together. The homoeopaths tried the opposite approach: first test a substance for medicinal use, they said, by giving it to healthy volunteers, and carefully noting the symptoms it produces. This is known as a proving. Once the symptom picture has been fully developed over a number of human trials, then it can be assessed for usefulness against diseases with a similar set of symptoms. A substance which produces a bizarre set of symptoms such as bright red orifices and blue-green discharges, for example, will have little use in homoeopathic clinical practice because symptoms of this type are rarely met. However a substance which produces a runny nose, watery red eyes and repeated sneezing would be of great value in the treatment of hay fever. The common onion produces just those symptoms (as countless cooks can guarantee), and by use of the above trial system the onion has now achieved an established place in homoeopathic therapeutics. In essence, allopathic medicine embodies the law of opposites, homoeopathic medicine the law of similars.


At first the homoeopathic approach to medicine seems contradictory. Surely experience would tell us that exposing hay fever sufferers to large doses of onion would just add insult to injury, and make them worse rather than better. The homoeopaths would agree, but with two provisos.

First the symptoms must match closely before onion will have a therapeutic effect; this is embodied in their Law of the Single Remedy, which states that the most effective result will come from the most similar remedy given in single doses. Then after the initial aggravation of symptoms dies down, the hay fever will be noticeably better.

Second, if the initial doses of onion are sufficiently diluted, there will be very little aggravation at all before improvement sets in. In fact, the homoeopaths see dilution to infinitesimal degrees as a necessary part of the preparation of their medicines. It is embodied in the other important axiom for treatment; the Law of the Minimum Dose. This states that the most effective dose for a disorder is the minimum amount necessary to produce a response. Give one dose only of the diluted substance, the homoeopaths say, and then wait for a favorable reaction. Having produced the desired improvement, give a second dose only when improvement stops.

It is this dilution of homoeopathic medicines which has been the greatest obstacle to their more universal acceptance. The process is known as potentisation, and involves a sequence of progressive dilution and a rhythmic shaking, termed succussion. In the normal case, 1 part of the source substance is added to 9 parts of water and shaken rhythmically. This is known as a 1x (decimal) dilution, or 1 part in 10. One part of this is then taken and added to another 9 parts of water, and again succussed, to give a 2x dilution, or 1 part in 100. Similarly, a 3x dilution is 1 part in 1000. These dilutions, also known as potencies, can be repeated an large number of times.

Dilutions are also made on a centesimal scale, or 1 part in 100, yielding 1c, 2c, and so on. It needs only a little mental arithmetic to appreciate that a dilution procedure of this type (either decimal or centesimal) rapidly disperses the original substance. Figure 1 gives a summary of the potencies, and their corresponding dilutions.


Summary of the homoeopathic potencies
showing concentrations of the source drug.

The Avogadro Limit

In practice, a convenient classification of the dilutions is usually used:

Low potencies: 1x to 30x, or 1c to 15c.

Medium potencies: 30c to 200c.

High potencies: Above 200c.

Hence the low potencies have been diluted least, and may still contain significant amounts of the source drug. But at 12c or 24x what is known as the Avogadro limit is reached, and at this concentration it is unlikely for even a single molecule of the original drug to be still present in one liter of the preparation. Yet the Avogadro limit occurs in the low potency range, and the homoeopaths maintain that, contrary to expectations, the power of the medicine increases as the potency increases. So there is very little doubt that many patients treated with high potencies receive nothing but water.

The Homoeopathic Dilutions

While the toxicity of such medicines is obviously very low, their efficacy has been seriously questioned, as dilutions above 12c can be dismissed on pharmacological grounds as completely inert. Yet potencies in the medium to high dilution range are the normal working area of homoeopathy, and many striking cures have been claimed. The first and obvious response is to claim that the action in successful cases is purely placebo, and the medicine is useful only in the suggestible and the gullible. Not so, maintain the homoeopaths, who claim cures on infants, animals, unconscious patients, those with infectious diseases, and those with deep seated chronic disorders. In addition, the clinical trials are impressive. So the medical plot thickens.

Clinical Trials

The early homoeopaths were all trained allopaths, and once having been convinced of the effectiveness of homoeopathic medicines, felt no need to prove anything to anybody. After all, they had the training to use whatever medicine they considered appropriate for their patients. It was also expedient to make as little noise as possible about their use of a medicine which was already regarded as suspect within their own ranks. In any case, most of their research time was spent on provings, in order to expand the number of known and useful medicines, and very little on clinical trials.

As a result, it took an event of considerable magnitude to bring the medicine out into the open, and the European cholera epidemic of 1832, two years before Hahnemann's death, was just such an occasion. By the accounts of all observers, the homoeopaths had a far higher recovery rate than the allopaths, and it is recounted that in Paris, the price of the homoeopathic medicine for cholera increased 100-fold. In Russia (where it is said the epidemic originated), the report from the Consul General showed that of the 1,270 cases treated homeopathically, 1,162 recovered, and only 108 died, giving a mortality rate of less than 10 percent. By contrast, the mortality rate from allopathic treatment was 60 to 70 percent.

Following the homoeopathic success in the epidemic, medical interest in homoeopathy increased at a rapid rate, and by the time of the next European cholera epidemic in 1854, the London Homoeopathic Hospital was already established. Its facilities were turned over entirely to the treatment of cholera victims, and the results were impressive. The homoeopathic death rate was 16.4 percent, compared to the allopathic death rate of 51.8 percent. Similar successful figures were reluctantly reported by a number of other countries. Detailed returns for Britain had to be made by all hospitals and practitioners as to treatment and results in cholera, and the totals submitted by the British Medical Council in their Blue Book of Statistics. However, the figures from the Homoeopathic Hospital were deliberately omitted, and were only produced after considerable protest. The official reason for the omission was that inclusion of the homoeopathic figures "would give an unjustifiable sanction to an empirical practice, alike opposed to the maintenance of truth and the progress of science."

This prejudiced and bigoted reaction to the success of homoeopathic medicine is typical of the problem which has plagued the advance of science for many centuries. Orthodox medicine, in particular, is well known for its poor track record in meeting innovative change and research breakthroughs with the proper degree of scientific detachment and quiet encouragement. Even within their own ranks, some of the greatest of innovators, such as Lister, Jenner, and Harvey, suffered ridicule and professional ostracism over discoveries which later became mainstays of medical practice. In reaction to homoeopathic successes, the modern orthodox call has been for more clinical trials. Give us controlled trials, many allopaths have said, and if successful, we will accept the medicine.

Since that time, a number of clinical trials have been run, but many of them with poor controls. Some of the better run trials are summarized here briefly. Those looking for a more complete list could do no better than the excellent review of Scofield.

Mustard Gas

The best controlled of the early clinical trials was conducted jointly in London and Glasgow during the second world war, to find a method of prevention and treatment of mustard gas burns. Mustard gas in the 30c potency, given as a preventative, reduced the incidence of deep and medium burns significantly. The remedies Rhus tox and Kali bich also gave statistically significant results in treatment.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

More recent trials were conducted in 1978 at the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital, now emerging as a stronghold of homoeopathic research. Gibson and co-workers conducted a double-blind comparison of a range of homoeopathic remedies (matched against the individual symptom pictures), and compared the responses to those of salicylates and placebo in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. They showed that the patients who received homoeopathic remedies responded statistically better than those who received salicylates; moreover 42 percent of the homoeopathic group were able to discontinue all other treatment during the year.

Objections to the method of trial led to a more rigidly designed trial in 1980, where patients were given either a homoeopathic medicine or placebo, but were allowed to continue with their orthodox anti-inflammatory drugs. The homoeopathic group showed significant improvement as judged by a number of tests, as compared to the patients who received placebo. It was noted that homoeopathy was a safer and no less effective alternative to present day second line drugs in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Hay Fever - The Crack Widens

One of the most recent clinical trials, and certainly the most tightly controlled to date, was conducted in 1986 at the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital by Dr David Taylor Reilly, an allopath by training. The claim that homoeopathic medicines are placebo was tested in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The effects of a homoeopathic preparation of mixed grass pollens (30c potency, no molecules of the original pollen remaining) was compared with those of placebo in a total of 144 patients with active hay fever. The homeopathically treated patients showed a statistically significant reduction in symptoms as assessed by both patient and physician. No evidence emerged to support the idea that placebo action explains the clinical response to homoeopathic remedies.

The publishing of this latter paper in the Lancet, arguably the most prestigious medical journal in the world, indicated the depth of penetration of homoeopathic medicine into the allopathic world. The controversy it produced indicated the degree of crystallization of the collective allopathic brain. Here at last was proof positive in the much upheld double-blind trial, yet the collective reaction was less than positive. Although some of the more far-sighted of the correspondents suggested the possibility that a new chemistry and a new physics had been born, the reliance on pharmacology in the allopathic way of thinking showed its dominance. Reactions to drugs are caused by molecules of drug substance interacting with various body components, the thinking goes, and if there are no drug molecules in a medicine then there is no reaction aside from placebo effects. The experiment was simply testing one placebo against another. The fact that statistical significance was obtained for one of the `placebos' was apparently deemed of no consequence, and indicates that the issue may not be a scientific issue at all, but more an economic and emotional one.

Pharmacological Support

Logically, one of the first areas to investigate for support (or the lack of it) in homoeopathy is the area of pharmacology, or drug action. And contrary to expectations, some surprising support is appearing.

Ask a pharmacologist about the biological effect of very low concentrations of common substances on living organisms and the answer will be that there is typically very little or zero response. Ask for some theoretical backup, and in short order you will find yourself confronted by one of the pharmacological tools of trade, the Dose - Response Curve. In brief, the curve illustrates one of the rules of thumb in drug use: that an increased dose of a drug will give an increased effect, while a lowered dose of a drug will give a reduced effect, and a very low dose will give no effect at all.

A glance at the curve in Figure 3 will show that the pharmacologically recommended dose of a drug lies in the area of the ED50, the dose which produces 50% of the total or maximal effect. The homoeopathic area of interest, on the other hand, lies at the very start of the curve, in the area of the so-called threshold dose.

The area of the threshold dose is usually avoided in standard pharmacological drug testing, for two reasons. The first is that the threshold dose lies some distance from the area of the ED50, so investigating this area for drug reaction is basically a waste of time. But the other reason is far more interesting. The threshold dose is an area where paradoxical and contradictory results are obtained, not easily explained in conventional terms. Again, the easy answer is to simply avoid it in experimentation. But the bottom line is that for many years the pharmacologists have known of the strange results obtained in the threshold dose area, but have simply chosen to ignore them. In doing so, they had unwittingly withdrawn orthodox support for an entirely different field of medicine.

It is interesting that one of the very earliest laws of pharmacology, known as the Arndt - Schulz Law, had already expressed the homoeopathic effect. Formulated by Arndt in 1888, and restated by Hueppe a few years later, the law set the groundwork for what should have been a side-by-side development of allopathic and homoeopathic medicine in the following century. It states: For every substance, small doses stimulate, moderate doses inhibit, large doses kill. 

Allopathic medicine, with its emphasis on moderate drug doses, works in the inhibitory part of the scale. The result is seen in the typically inhibitory medicines produced: antihistamines, antibiotics, antacids, cough suppressants and so on, laying the basis for the so-called `suppressant' effect of drugs.

Homoeopathic medicine, on the other hand, begins at the stimulatory end of the curve, and moves to the left, into the smaller and smaller dose range. Its emphasis is on the stimulation of the body's natural balancing mechanisms, as seen in its philosophy of the natural regeneration of the body through rebuilding of vitality, a concept also in close agreement with naturopathic thought.

The pioneering work of Boyd bound the worlds of homoeopathy and Arndt-Schulz together in the early 1940s with a series of tightly controlled experiments, and set the stage for work much later on as to how homoeopathic medicine may work. Boyd worked with the enzyme malt diastase, which was already known to be inhibited by crude doses of the salt mercuric chloride, and measured its speed in the hydrolysis of starch. He also used a number of homeopathically prepared dilutions of mercuric chloride, including a batch at 61x, where there was no likelihood of any of the original salt remaining - it was pure water. He also worked with distilled water as a control. He showed that crude doses of mercuric chloride inhibited diastase activity, as was already well known, and that distilled water had no effect. But he also showed, with statistically significant results, that mercuric chloride 61x accelerated diastase activity.

Now this experiment had a number of ramifications, besides supporting the Arndt-Schulz Law. If there was no mercuric chloride in the 61x potency, the it should have reacted the same as distilled water. If, on the other hand, there was a contamination of mercuric chloride somehow in the test doses, then the activity of the enzyme should have decreased. Instead it did neither, but increased, from the laboratory point of view, homoeopathic medicines not only had been showed to work according to the Arndt-Schulz Law, but had been shown to affect enzyme action.

Hormesis: The New Breakthrough

Look up the Arndt-Schulz Law in a modern textbook of pharmacology, and you will be lucky if you find it mentioned, let alone discussed. It died out of the textbooks as the allopathic interest moved further into the inhibitory part of the Arndt-Schulz curve, and as the pharmacological Dose - Response curve avoided the area of the threshold dose. It appeared that, for all its promising origins, theoretical support for homoeopathy had died a natural death.

Recently, however, further support for homoeopathic medicine has come from a most unlikely direction: the field of toxicology, or the action of poisons. Beginning in 1960, data began to accumulate that poisonous substances were having two effects on living organisms(5). At high doses they inhibited metabolism and ultimately caused death, as was well known. But at low doses they exerted a stimulating effect, a response totally unexpected and not explainable by current medical science. Recently the trickle turned to a torrent, as toxicologists turned to examine the new phenomenon of hormesis, the name given to the stimulatory effect of low levels of usually poisonous substances. The Arndt-Schulz Law had not died: it had simply resurfaced with a new name.

The research results are incomplete, but the trend is inescapable. Evidence from experiments, both human and animal, shows hormesis as an effect occurring in all biological domains tested, with growing research support. It demonstrates that all substances (including pesticides and carcinogens) which show an inhibitory effect at high concentrations, have a stimulatory effect at low concentrations.

Typical Concentration-Response Curves Developed in Hormesis Research

The alpha curve is the most expected pattern, and is assumed to describe the actions of drugs in humans as the concentration moves from low concentrations to progressively more inhibitory ones. This curve is a tentative one, and is assigned to those drugs which have not yet been fully tested for a stimulatory response.

The beta curve was the most frequently observed pattern, and accounted for the human reactions to the bulk of the drugs tested. It shows a typical curve as predicted by the Arndt-Schulz Law, but (understandably) was not tested in toxic and lethal dose ranges.

The two other curves the gamma and delta forms, were recorded where data was available for biological response at lower dose ranges. However data points for these ranges are generally less available, so the validity of these curves is unknown until further data is available.

Homoeopathic research has consistently produced results showing the basic curve structure of hormesis and the Arndt-Schulz Law. But the research goes further: as the drug substance is progressively diluted, the biological reaction alternates between stimulation and inhibition, as given by the hormesis gamma and delta curves. This periodic behavior is called rhythmicity by the homoeopaths, and represents one of the several great unexplained phenomena in homoeopathic action. But one factor is established: as the dilutions become extreme and the concentration of the source drug approaches zero, the biological reaction will also fade out unless the diluted solution is succussed in accord with traditional homoeopathic practice.

A typical rhythmicity curve of the homoeopathic remedy Prunus Spinosa

The implications of hormesis are enormous and deserve a story of their own, but a few points here may give future directions.

: Pesticides which are toxic to pests at high concentrations can cause a proliferation of their growth at lower concentrations, such as can occur in rainwater run-off and collecting river systems. The ecological value of their use will tumble.

: Any substance which causes cancer will likewise be shown to be anti-cancer in its action at a lower dose range.

: The present tactic of various health departments in this country of giving a herb in high doses to experimental animals (and then banning it in all dose ranges when tumors form) will become counterproductive. Any herb which causes cancer in high doses will be shown to protective against the same cancer in low dose ranges, suitable for human intake.

How Does Homoeopathy Work?

Central to the issue of medical acceptance of homoeopathy is the clarification of its mechanism of action. In particular, is there a model which adequately explains its clinical effectiveness and the successes of the trials?

In the development of a workable model, the research thinking has gone something like this: Given that the medicine is effective even when it can be shown that there is no likelihood of any molecules left in a particular dose (due to dilution), then the effect of the dose must lie with the water molecules themselves, since that is all that is left. Water itself can be assumed to have no effect in this case, since the dose is small, and the effect would always be the same. The answer must lie within the water molecules, and the only real possibility is in the type of energy that the molecule has stored.

Energy storage within molecules in biological systems lies within the realm of biophysics rather than biochemistry. Biophysics is a new field, having become established only within the last twenty years or so. It is not yet included in medical curricula in universities to any great extent, and is only now beginning to make its mark in the biological sciences. Small wonder, therefore, that the established medical world knows little of its existence, or the promise it holds in explaining the action of the medicines of energy, such as homoeopathy, acupuncture, psychic and spirit healing, and radionics.

Energy Storage

Molecules such as water can store energy in four different ways - kinetic, spin, vibration and electronic excitation. Some storage modes can store more energy than others, and we will start at the lowest, least energetic mode, which is kinetic energy, or energy of motion. A molecule stores kinetic energy by virtue of its speed. It is this storage in gases and liquids which causes pressure (such as air pressure) by the continual collision of the molecules with surfaces like our skin, and also causes the bulk of chemical reactions to occur. At room temperature, the energy which these molecules contain is low, compared with other states. It is unsuited to homoeopathic medicine since the energy is constantly altered by collision, and so any energy stored is degraded.

Spin and Microwave Cooking

Spin energy is found in gases and liquids, but not in solids, where the stronger attractions between molecules prevents rotation. It is also not found in water until about 420C, a factor of considerable importance to living organisms, composed as they are of up to 90 percent water, with humans being about 40 percent. Heating up water to about 42 degrees causes sufficient disruption of the molecular attraction between molecules to allow spin to occur, and that's precisely the temperature at which humans start to die. Life processes in general seem to keep a safe distance from the temperature band of 42 to 45 degrees.

Spin energy in molecules corresponds to microwave radiation, which is one reason why this radiation is lethal. It is also an indication of the potential power of energy storage in this mode - strong enough to cook food. But it is unsuited to homoeopathic medicine, since at room temperature, the spin storage state in water has not become active.

Electronic Excitation

At the top end of the scale is electronic excitation, which is the stuff powering lasers, of great strength and intensity. Excite the electrons circling the component molecules up into higher orbits and energy is stored. Drop them down together, and a pulse of light is given out. It may be of sufficient strength and power to burn a hole through a razor blade, cut tissue in surgery, or stop an army tank - it depends on what molecules are used, and how strongly the electrons are excited. It is not suitable for homoeopathic medicine, because the excited electrons are unstable, and will decay in a matter of fractions of a second.

Vibratory Storage

Standing midway between the cooking power of microwave and the destructive power of lasers stands vibratory energy. Although it has an accepted place in physics as a means of storing energy, it has had a chequered career in medical science because of its association with trance mediums, psychic phenomena and extrasensory perception. Vibratory energy can be found in molecules throughout all three states of matter - solid, liquid and gas. It is responsible for phenomena such as the expansion of metals when heated, and the transfer of heat by conduction. Vibratory motion of a molecule increases when the molecule absorbs energy, and can re-radiate it at a later date, usually in the infrared part of the spectrum, where heat is also found.

It is in the storage of vibratory energy in water molecules during the succussion process that homoeopathic medicine places many of its hopes for a scientific explanation of its action. It is proposed that during the collision process, vibratory energy is exchanged between the source drug and the water, and that the water is left with a vibratory imprint of the drug. Further succussion makes the imprint deeper, which explains why the medicines are regarded as acting more strongly as the dilution increases. Furthermore it is not just energy which is being stored, it is proposed, but information, differing from one remedy to another depending on the source substance used, with every substance leaving a different vibratory signature in the water molecule. In this way homoeopathic medicine is seen as carrying information into the body when it is taken in dose form, perhaps as biological instructions.

If water molecules were dissociated from each other at room temperature, any vibratory energy stored would quickly degrade. But at 250C, about 70% of water molecules are incorporated into a stable hexagonal lattice structure, capable of storing a considerable amount of vibratory energy before it breaks up. But storage of vibratory energy causes structural changes, because any molecule which absorb energy will always change its shape. So a convenient way of telling if this particular model was correct was to examine homoeopathic water for structural changes.

A number of workers over the years have shown that both high and low potency homoeopathic medicines show structural changes in the water they contain. It was additionally shown that in order for the structural changes to occur, two things must happen. First, there must be a source drug to begin with; that is, you can't make a homoeopathic medicine from water alone. Secondly, you must succuss the remedy as it is diluted stepwise, in the rhythmic shaking manner used by the homoeopaths for many years. Only when these two processes are included will structural changes show.

Certainly one of the most visually impressive experiments to test the possibility of structural changes was carried out recently, involving ice crystals. Ice crystal structures are very good mirrors of the energy status of their component water molecules. It is why, for instance, you will never find two identical snowflake patterns, for each is formed under slightly different conditions. In the experiment, different potencies of the homoeopathic remedy Pulsatilla were frozen at -100C, and photographed under polarized light to show any changes in the ice crystal structure. The results are strikingly beautiful, and the changes in crystal size as the potencies increase indicate increased energy storage in vibratory modes.

Ice Crystal Photos Here

Benveniste - Champion or Charlatan?

In one of the stranger episodes in the recorded history of scientific publishing, the prestigious British research journal Nature recently published experimental results which the editors say they consider utterly impossible. The typically indigestible title of the paper is "Human Basophil Degranulation Triggered by Very Dilute Antiserum Against IgE, and the conclusions it proposes have been similarly indigestible to the medical community. The main players in the experiment were a special type of white blood cell known as a basophil and an antibody, IgE. When basophils are normally exposed to this antibody, their chemistry and internal structure change, in a way that is easily checked by staining techniques. But what Benveniste and his colleagues found was that the changes occurred even when the antibody was used up to the 120x potency, a dilution at which it is virtually impossible for even one molecule of the antibody to remain. The results also showed the familiar rhythmic changes in basophil reactions as the potencies increased, a factor still unexplained, even by homoeopaths. The deputy editor of Nature remarked that two centuries of observation and rational thinking about biology will have to be abandoned if the results stand, because they cannot be explained by existing physical laws.

The 13 member international research team headed by Professor Benveniste conducted their experiments after being challenged by two eminent French homoeopaths to disprove homoeopathy once and for all, by conducting a sensitive, tightly controlled experiment in an accredited research centre. The centre chosen was at the University of South Paris, where Professor Benveniste is a Research Director. "That was how it all started", he said. "They challenged us to prove them wrong, and we couldn't."

The furor surrounding this experiment has produced some unique reactions within the scientific community, and highlights an important question: how should the scientific establishment deal with anomalous findings which challenge the very roots of established thought? Nature journal had its own answer: it sent a fraud squad comprising one of its editors, a professional magician, and an investigator of scientific frauds from the USA to Benveniste's laboratories. Over a period of a week they criticized shortcomings in experimental design, studied the laboratory records, and interrogated the researchers. Finally, they failed to replicate the results in a double-blind trial, and declared the experiments "a delusion." Benveniste, not unexpectedly, considered the investigation a witch hunt and an outrage. "I welcome any explanation for our findings" he said, "but not this kind of crap."

The homoeopaths of the world, together with interested onlookers, can be assured that the matter will not rest there. Further interesting reading on the bizarre reactions to homoeopathic experiments on the part of the scientific and medical establishments will surface. Benveniste will undoubtedly be back, with a more tightly controlled experiment which will probably decide, once and for all, the future of homoeopathy.


1. Bradford's Logic of Figures (1900): From Tyler: Homoeopathic Drug Pictures: Health Science (1978)

2. Tyler: Homoeopathic Drug Pictures: Health Science (1978)

3. Scofield: Homoeopathy and its Potential Role in Agriculture: A critical review. Biol Ag Hort: 2; 1-50 (1984)

4. Reilly et al: Is Homoeopathy a Placebo Response? Lancet: 881-886; Oct 18 (1986)

5. Townsend and Luckey: Hormoligosis in Pharmacology. JAMA 44; May 7 (1960)

6. Stebbings: Hormesis - The Stimulation of Growth by Low Levels of Inhibitors. Sci Tot Environ: 22: 213-234 (1982)

7. Bond et al: Microdosimetric Concepts Applied to Hormesis. Health Physics: 52 (5); 659-661 (1987)

8. Furst et al: Hormetic Effects in Pharmacology. Ibid. 527-530.

9. Sagan: What is Hormesis and Why Haven't We Heard of It Before? Ibid. 521-525.

10. Calabrese et al: The Occurrence of Chemically Induced Hormesis. Ibid. 531-541.

11. Brisbin et al: Sigmoid Growth and the Assessment of Hormesis. Ibid. 553-559.

12. Boyd: The Action of Microdoses of Mercuric Chloride on Malt Diastase. Brit Hom J; 31; 1-28 (1941) and 32; 106-111 (1942)

13. Coulter: Homoeopathic Science and Human Medicine. North Atlantic (1980)

14. Devenas, Benveniste et al: Human Basophil Degranulation Triggered by Very Dilute Antiserum Against IgE. Nature 33; P816 30 June (1988)

Theory of High Dilutions And Experimental Aspects by Rolland Conte, Henri Berliocchi, Yves Lasne and Gabriel Vernot.  Translated and Co-edited By DYNSOL Ltd.  Copyright Polytechnica 1996

A Summary By Paul Callinan M.Sc. N.D. D.Hom.

1. Introduction
    Hahnemann and Homoeopathy
    The French Team
2. The Contonian Model
        The Mathematical Framework
        The Physical Model
            White holes
            The Remanent Wave
            Nuclear reactions
            Potencies exhibit phase changes
            Effects not due to contaminants
        The Axioms of the Contonian model
3. Impact of Environmental Factors On The Remanent Wave
        The amount of energy introduced by the succussion process
        Moon phases
        Gravitational forces
        Other external influences such as ultrasound
4. The Nuclear Mechanism
5. Mechanism of the Effect On The Organism
6. The Future

1. Introduction

Hahnemann and Homoeopathy

Since its inception in 1796 by the German physician and experimental pharmacologist Samuel Hahnemann, homoeopathy has survived but is still a medical fringe discipline.

Hahnemann published his Organon in 1810, one year before Avogadro presented his hypothesis that there are 6.02 x 1023 molecules of a substance in 1 gram molecular weight. The solutions used in homoeopathy are both diluted and succussed, and in this case means that a substance has been diluted through a serial process in such a way that the dilution of the original drug may approach Avogadro's number and even exceed it. Since a one molar solution stepwise diluted to the 12c potency is unlikely to contain even one molecule of solute, and a basic tenet of homoeopathy is that solutions which have no active drug molecules can still have effects on the human organism, homoeopathy has met with substantial opposition from pharmacology.

Even 200 years after Hahnemann's discoveries, homoeopathy still lacks a theoretical foundation. Experimental studies on the nature of homoeopathic solutions have reported many changes: there are reported alterations in the infrared spectrum, nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation times, surface tension, dielectric constant, and a handful of other parameters. Biological studies have shown marked changes in enzyme speed, cardiac rate, muscle contraction and plant growth, to name but a few. Clinical trials are showing consistently better results as experimental design is improved. But experiments have been plagued by lack of reproducibility, and data could not be consistently interpreted. A number of models had been proposed to explain homoeopathic action, the most popular being the water memory model, but all models have been fairly speculative.

The French Team

Enter Rolland Conte and team from the field of economics. After many years of research in economics and macroeconomic forecasting, the French researchers Conte, Berliocchi, and Andras introduced in their book Nouvelle Economie Theorique a new mathematical theory known as Ether theory, and a new statistical tool known as Contonian statistics.

At the beginning of 1993 the team of Conte, Berliocchi, Lasne and Vernot applied these same mathematical techniques to the field of homoeopathy. They formulated a mathematical representation of high dilution effects using quantum field theory. In their book, Theory Of High Dilutions, they provide the results of their measurements and the rationale for its interpretation. The theory is innovative, high-tech, and breaks much new ground. The model they present may also explain, after so long, how homoeopathic medicine works.

Rolland Conte is a PhD in applied physics, with extensive experience in economics and macroeconomic forecasting, and the inspirational force behind Contonian statistics. Henri Berliocchi is a mathematician with a brilliant history, who provided the ether theory and the physico-mathematical model. Yves Lasne is a doctor of medicine, doctor of science, who provided the detection technology and research methodology, based on measurement of nuclear magnetic resonance and beta radiation. Gabriel Vernot is an engineer and computer scientist working in aerospace applications, and who provided the dedicated AAPDI software.

As early as 1985 Lasne had repeated earlier work showing evidence of changes in the infrared spectrum of homoeopathic solutions, and had demonstrated significant variation of T2 relaxation times in nuclear magnetic resonance studies over a range of centesimal dilutions. Lasne also reported evidence of radiation coming from the test samples. Contonian statistical analysis of NMR results and -radiation began on a range of raw high dilution data. The analysis is run on dedicated Ecosem software called AAPDI, which stands for Analyse Activite Pharmacologique Dilutions Infinitesimales.

Analysis of infrared and NMR data produced a number, known as a Contonian frequency, even from data which at first glance was not reproducible or consistent with other experimentation. The Contonian frequency for a remedy is reproducible, given stable external variables. Every remedy has a unique Contonian frequency, offering a likely measuring tool by which quality control and formulation efficiency can be evaluated. In the history of homoeopathic manufacture, we have never had such a measuring tool; and as they say in science, if you can't measure it, it doesn't exist.

In essence, the French team have proposed a model for homoeopathic action based on classical quantum theory, a new mathematical theory, and a statistical tool for linking theory and experimental data. They have produced experimental verification of their model based on NMR work, and on beta-radiation measurements. The use of Contonian statistics has led to quantifiable results.

2. The Contonian Model

Mathematical and physical frameworks are presented which use classical quantum theory and quantum field theory. They require a strong background in physics and higher mathematics to appreciate their insights. The researchers report that their physico-mathematical model proposed is in accord with experimental results, and answers questions raised by considerations of high dilution and water memory.

The Mathematical Framework

The mathematical framework provides a theory for interpreting high dilution phenomena using quantum mathematics. It involves set theory and probabilistic modeling, and uses mathematical operators such as lagrangians in a way that would make your head swim. It involves:

. The use of real numbers as defined within the set theory known as the Zermelo-Frenkel theory.

. In handling classical quantum theory, another axiom, known as the choice axiom, is used in addition to the Zermelo-Frenkel theory.

. An additional axiom, known as Solovay's axiom, is used.

. A model of real numbers, known as Levy's model, is used jointly with Solovay's axiom and consideration of the Brownian motion of water molecules to establish the water memory model.

. A general mechanism for interpreting data, known as semiotic mechanics, has been introduced. This mechanism had been previously validated by Berliocchi, one of the authors, within his theory of ethers.

The Physical Model

Within the physical model, a number of events have been proposed and measured.

White holes

The disappearance of drug molecules during dilution leads to a dislocation in the solvent known as a singularity. This singularity has been termed a white hole. It can be thought of a small but highly energized area of space.

The remanent wave

The appearance of a singularity induces a wave which has been termed a remanent wave. It can be thought of as a set of ripples in a pond when a stone is dropped in. A remanent wave is always created when a particle disappears and leaves a white hole, and the number of remanent waves is proportional to the number of particles lost. When one continues the release at the same place and in a regularly spaced way, the waves produced are in phase and the amplitude increases. When no further stones are released, the ripples disappear within a certain time, and the wave energy is slowly released in the water as heat. This can be measured using standard equipment such as infrared absorption spectrophotometers.

Nuclear transformations

The appearance of a white hole and a remanent wave induces nuclear reactions in the high dilution medium. The creation of tritium, an isotope of hydrogen in water, results in the subsequent decay of a tritium neutron into an electron, a proton and a particle known as an anti-graviton which has no mass and no charge. Beta radiation can be detected. There are changes in NMR and in the infrared. Beta radiation is associated with electrons, while infrared is commonly known as heat. The energy of a remanent wave of a diluted-succussed solutions is around 1 KeV. For a high dilution of HNO3, measurement of the beta energy spectrum gives a frequency of 2.4 x 1017 Hz. This is a very high frequency, the wavelength range lying in a band from 1.25 and 10 nanometres. By comparison, the period of vibration of the helicoil nucleic acid chain of DNA is equal to 3.4 nanometres. This means that the DNA can act as a transmitter-receiver antenna. In essence, nuclear transformations in the test tube at room temperature are being proposed, although the efficiency is low. This was reported many years ago by Kerveran, another Frenchman, who wrote on biological transmutation within living organisms.


Above the Avogadro limit, no more white holes are produced, but there is a continued stimulation from succussion termed hyperproton expansion. Hyperprotons are seen as the missing link between chemistry and biochemistry. They are considered as particles that phase in and out of space-time. This is the basis of the relativistic and quantum theory of fields, the current theory in physics covering matter-energy interactions. The theory of hyperprotons uses the so-called second quantisation theory of Dirac for a free material particle in space-time: Dirac in 1933 proposed the emergence of a real electron from a sea of virtual electrons, sometimes called the second quantisation. Hyperproton expansion produces irradiation effects on surrounding matter, and reorganises the solvent structure. Such a field has been measured, and is calculated by renormalisation through the integral of Feynman. Hydrogen and oxygen lagrangians on data measured at 300 Mhz in NMR studies indicate a re-organization of the water structure. This provides evidence for the existence of a new quantum state, whose nature has not been fully elucidated.

Potencies exhibit phase changes

NMR studies show that the impregnation of lactose granules with succussed preparations produces an effective transfer but induces a phase displacement in the primary signal, the extent of phase displacement depending on the nature of the source drug and the potency. The general form of the phase displacement is a sinusoid. For sulphur dilutions around 300c, the displacement is 1800 out of phase. By contrast, histamine shows a very small phase displacement. Solutions which exhibit a 1800 phase displacement have an opposite effect on test systems (pea root length, frog leg metamorphosis) compared with solutions 00 out of phase. Hence stimulation of a test system at one dilution can be altered to inhibition at another dilution.

Effects not due to contaminants

An experimental approach was developed which demonstrated that the effects obtained were not due to the presence of contaminants in the diluent. The use of the contonian frequency indicates that the specific activity of high dilutions are reproducible within experimental error as long as external variables are controlled.

The Axioms Of The Contonian Model

As a result of these findings, two axioms have been formulated:

Axiom 1

The dilution-succussion process induces an effect which can be directly measured by physical and biological experiments.

Axiom 2

An informational message will be produced only if at least one substance exists in the diluent at the start of the process.

3. Impact of Environmental Factors On The Remanent Wave

Contonian frequency calculations indicate that the specific activity of high dilutions is reproducible at any time provided that external variables are controlled, such as:

. Temperature.

. Light.

. The amount of energy introduced by the succussion process.

. Moon phases.

. Gravitational forces.

. Other external influences such as ultrasound.

Some of these findings come as no surprise, as they appear to validate some issues known to the profession by experience.

. The sensitivity of homoeopathic medicines to light and temperature is well accepted amongst the homoeopathic profession.

. More surprising is the sensitivity to factors such as the phases of the moon and changes in geomagnetic flux. However it has been said by many homoeopaths that some remedies are better given at particular phases of the moon.

. It has also been suggested that homoeopathic medicines do not travel well because it involves moving though the magnetic field of the earth.

. It is also worth mentioning that the sensitivity of manufacture of high dilutions to changes in geomagnetic flux and gravitational flux was predicted in the physical model by the appearance of an anti-graviton during beta emission.

The need for a consistent medicine to be manufactured in a machine where the succussion speed and stroke length are optimized and consistent has led to the patented development of a succussion device.

4. The Nuclear Transformation Mechanism

As previously proposed, white hole creation leads to an irradiation of diluted-succussed solutions due to a neutron type field induced by the remanent wave. This irradiation will create, on the one hand hydrogen isotopes deuterium (1 proton and 1 neutron) and tritium (1 proton and 2 neutrons), or on the other hand oxygen O17. The efficiency of this nuclear reaction is known to be low. With regard to tritium, the neutron splits and releases 1 proton and 1 - electron and an anti-graviton.

Autoradiography techniques have shown -radiation emitted from granules impregnated with a preparation of potassium iodide, with no radiation being detected from controls. For dilutions up to 12c, beta radiation is expected to predominate, seeing that the level of succussion is low.

In dilutions higher than Avogadro, no more white holes are created. Neutron disintegration releases energy into a medium which already has a high proton content. The protons are then transformed into hyperprotons, which are considered as virtual particles that can phase in and out of space-time. They may also appear within the space-time singularities as nuclear protons. These hyperprotons will stabilize one part of the diluent structure (a local effect) that will then be able to influence the non structured part of the diluent.

5. Mechanism of the Effect On The Organism

A quantum model called Theory of Universal Wave Function has been proposed, to describe the effect of high dilutions on living organisms. They have proposed that intoxication of an organism by a toxic solution such as CCl4 induces a deviation from a state of health as indicated by a vector, and a phase displacement. Treatment of the organism with a high dilution of the correctly chosen remedy with a counteracting phase displacement restores the organism to its original vector and a healthy state.

To illustrate this proposal, the effect of dilutions of thyroxin upon the metamorphosis of tadpoles of the grass frog were studied. When added to the aqueous medium, diluted and succussed thyroxin can inhibit or accelerate larval development of the forelegs, depending on the dilution. On the basis of phase displacements, it is suggested that when the thyroxin preparation is in phase with the larval organism, the thyroxin acts as a booster for the transformation from the two legged to the four legged stage. When the thyroxin preparation is not in phase with the larval development, it inhibits metamorphosis. It was also noted that different effects were produced in the organism, depending on whether the solutions were succussed or not.

The specificity of diluted-succussed solutions is remarkable, even if an enzyme system specific of a given diluted-succussed solution has not been found. Interaction between two remanent waves induces a generalized and fast action on the organism. When such an interaction does not occur, the solution simply has no impact on the organism. The specificity of the diluted-succussed solution takes place within phase space.

Substantial interest has been centered on the enzyme peroxidase, which is seen as decoding structures introduced by the dilution-succussion process and inducing a proton flow within the organism. This has substantial promise in the understanding of meridian flow structure within the organism, as well as shedding light on the findings of Boyd, nearly half a century ago, who showed that homoeopathic potencies altered the speed of the enzyme diastase.

The processes of elimination and heart beat within the human body are proposed to fulfill all the requirements of white hole emergence. Remanent waves are seen as pervading the whole organism in a normal state of health. Food denial or fasting for a short period is considered to improve the observation of the remanent wave. As a result, a person may be considered as having a remanent wave profile, a situation offering great promise in therapeutics.

6. The Future

Dr Conte and team are currently preparing a second book for publication. We can only plead for a glossary of terms in the next book, and wait for the benefits it offers for the future of homoeopathy and human medicine.

Paul Callinan M.Sc. N.D. D.Hom. is an Australian homoeopath, biophysicist and researcher who specializes in providing scientific support for natural medicines. He has proposed models for the mechanism of homoeopathic medicine in the research literature and at international seminars. He has written several books on homoeopathy, and is a contributing editor of Australian Wellbeing magazine. He works as a lecturer in homoeopathic medicine, and conducts a clinical practice in Bangalow, northern NSW. 


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