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Potency, Potentisation and Homoeopathy

Homeopathic Journal :: Volume: 3, Issue: 7, May, 2010 (General Theme)   -   from Homeorizon.com
Author : Dr. B.S. Suvarna, B.A., D.I. (HOM.), M.I.H., Ph.D. (ITALY, GOLD MEDALIST), PGDPC (psychotherapy&counseling)
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Article Updated: May 08, 2010

POTENCIES : Potencies are a unique feature of homoeopathic practice; 'Potency' literally means power or strength. The potencies are energized dilutions (or attenuations) of the mother tinctures of homoeopathic remedies.

Potency numbers which follow the name of the homoeopathic remedies indicate the number of sequential or serial dilutions and successions (potentisation steps) of the original mother tincture. They are denoted according to the scale used i.e. decimal, centesimal or fifty millesimal scale. For e.g.

X (or x ) ----- denoting serial dilutions in the ratio of 1 part mother tincture to 9 parts of a solution of alcohol and water, that is dilutions in the ratio of 1:10 - the decimal series of potencies.

C ( no suffix in UK) ----denoting serial dilutions in the ratio of 1 part of mother tincture to 99 parts of a solution of alcohol and water, that is dilutions in the ratio of 1:100 ---the centesimal series of potencies.

Thus for example, we have:

6x the sixth decimal potency

12x the twelfth decimal potency

24x the 24th decimal potency

6C (or6) 6th centesimal potency

30C (or 30) 30th centesimal potency

200C (or 200) 200th centesimal potency

1000C (1M) the 1000th centesimal potency


In the potentisation procedure, succussion energies the dilution and this is stored as potential energy . The view generally held is that this energy is released from the infinitesimally small, catalytic homoeopathic dose as kinetic energy, activating or stimulating the body' s own natural defense mechanism to effect the cure, it might be assumed that the higher the potency (and hence the higher the dilution) the greater the (healing) power, but although this is often the case, it is not strictly true, as we must consider this power in terms of the correct choice of potency for a particular case. Given the selection of the correct remedy in a case, potencies may modify or enhance the therapeutic activity of the remedy. It is therefore, a powerful tool in the hands of the practitioner. Whilst potency is important in homoeopathic prescribing, the choice of the correct remedy according to the law of similar is of prime importance. Hence, if the correct remedy is chosen to treat an illness it may lead to some improvement in the illness whatever the potency prescribed; on the other hand the incorrect remedy will be of no value whatever the potency prescribed.


Potentisation, as it is termed, is carried out successively in two distinct steps

  1. Serial (or sequential) dilution of the mother tincture with a mixture of alcohol and water.
  2. Each dilution is followed by succession, which involves vigorous shaking with impact.

There are two series of dilutions, the decimal series, based on serial dilutions of 1:10 and the centesimal series based on serial dilutions of 1:100. The decimal series of potencies is denoted as 1x , 2x , 3x, 4x , ...etc., whilst the Centesimal series is denoted as 1c , 2c , 3c , 4c , .... (1, 2, 3, 4 in UK ). X is the Roman numerical for 10 and C the Roman numerical for 100.

(a) Decimal series of potencies : The method of preparation is as follows:

To one part (or 1 ml) of mother tincture in a glass container is added 9 parts (or 9 ml) of 20 or 30% alcohol /pure water, and the mixture is succussed, giving a potency of 1x ( the first decimal potency) .

Now, To one part (or 1 ml ) of a solution of potency 1x, in a new container, is added a further 9 parts ( or 9 ml ) of alcohol or water and the mixture is succussed again, giving a potency of 2x ( the second decimal potency )

This serial ( or sequential ) dilution and succussion is repeated to produce, progressively potencies of 3x , 4x , 5x , 6x, and so on up the decimal series.

Thus we have decimal dilutions as follows:

Decimal Potency Prepared by Dilution
1X 1 part of mother tincture in 10 parts alcohol/water 1:10
2X 1 part in 100 dilutions 1:100
3X 1 part in 1000 1:1000
4X 1 part in 10,000 1:10,000
6X 1 part in 1,000,000 1:1,000,000

(b). Centesimal series of potencies :

The method of preparation is the same as for decimal potencies, but the dilution ratio is different (1:100), as follows:

To one part (or 1ml) of mother tincture in a glass container, is added 99 parts (or 99 ml) of alcohol/water and the mixture is succussed giving a potency of 1C.

To one part (or 1 ml) of a solution of potency 1c in a fresh container, is added a further 99 parts (or 99 ml) of alcohol/water, and the mixture is succussed again, giving a potency of 2C.

This process is repeated to produce, progressively potencies of 3C, 4C, 5C, 6C, and so on. Thus we have centesimal dilutions as follows:

Centesimal Potency Prepared by Dilution
1C 1 part of mother tincture in 100 parts alcohol/water 1:100
2C 1 part in 10,000 1:10,000
3C 1 part in 1,000,000 1:1,000,000
4C 1 pat in 100,000,000 1:100,000,000

In UK , it is customary to denote centesimal potencies by the potency number alone ( that is with out suffix c) thus we have 1,2,3,4,5,6 and so on.

It can be seen from the above that the dilution of potencies 1C and 2X are the same -that is one part of mother tincture in one hundred parts of alcohol / water.

Similarly 2C is the same dilution as 4X

3C is the same dilution as 6X

4C is the same dilution as 8X

However it is incorrect to define potencies in terms of dilution alone as, although dilution may be the same, the numbers of successions, which are an integral part of the potentisation process, are different.

For example, the dilution of potencies of 3C and 6X are the same, but the former has required three dilutions and three successions and the latter, six serial dilutions and successions they differ, therefore, in the energy associated with them.

(c) Millesimal series of potencies :

A third potency series is the millesimal scale, based on mother tincture sequentially diluted in the same manner as before, with 999 parts (or 999ml) of alcohol/water .

Potencies on the millesimal scale are sometimes denoted 1M, 2M, 3M etc., but this leads to confusion with the use of 1M to denote a centesimal potency of 1,000. Another system, which is probably more explanatory, is to denote millesimal potencies by the suffix LM or 0/1

It follows that millesimal dilutions are:

1 LM 1:1000

2 LM 1:1,000,000

3 LM 1:1,000,000,000


The potencies most commonly prescribed universally are:


VERY HIGH --- CM 1x10 --200,000
  50M 1x10----50,000
  10M 1x10----20,000
HIGH 1M (1,000C) 1x10----2,000
  200C 1x10-----400
MEDIUM 30C 1x10----- 60
  30X 1x10---- 30
  24X 1x10------24
LOW 6C 1x10------12
  12X 1x10------12
  6X 1x10------ 6 (1 in 1 million)
  3X 1x10-------3 (1 in 1000)

N.B -- In France , potencies of 4C, 5C, 7C, 9C and 30C are most favored. French law does not permit potencies above 30C

Gemmotherapy preparations and Lithotherapy preparations are prescribed in potencies of 2X and 8X respectively.

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann favored the use of low potencies such as 6X, 12X, up to 30C. He did however experiment with potencies up to 50C in the latter part of his career.


Generally in Acute diseases (condition with sudden onset, clearly defined, severe symptoms and of relatively short duration) we prescribe low potencies with frequent repetition (for example, hourly, three times a day etc).

While in Chronic disease (more deep seated and long lasting, probably inherited disease, with ill-defined symptoms and time of onset of the disease) we prescribe high potencies at a low frequency of dosage (for example, once a week, once a month). However, these high potencies may, in certain circumstances, be preceded by prescribing a low potency. As a Veteran homoeopathic physician remarked, " if I choose the right remedy and prescribe first in a high potency , I have no where to go !"

The selection of a suitable potency in a given case requires more experience than theoretical knowledge.

Eminent practitioners have cured cases not only by lower potencies but also by high and very high potencies. There is no one definite and positively drawn line of thinking for the selection of potencies, we can only gain some inkling and influence by reading some clinical cases presented by our seniors in the past. Dr. Kent suggests using potencies in the range of 30C, 200C, 1M, 10M, 50M, and CM and even DM and MM depending upon the nature of the case. It is not advisable to administer high potencies to patients who have feeble health as they may cause severe aggravation, some times leading to unbearable suffering. Dr. Kent was against prescribing high potencies carelessly " if our medicines were not powerful enough to kill folks, they would not be powerful enough to cure sick folks." These words really make any one shiver when thinking of high potencies, but at the same time, we must realize that a patient can also die with a low potency when all he needed was a high potency for the cure. It is suggested for beginners to start with 30th potency and gradually increase the potency in degrees to high and higher potencies until cure is complete.

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Potency,Potency number,Potentisation and methods are well explained.
  Comment by: Dr.paul murugan, India.    on Jul 08, 2014 2 Agree  |  0 Disagree       Report Abuse

Good explanations Doctor. Please consider the following: 1. Classical Homoeopathy is based on prooving/ symptoms listed in Age-old text books 2. These books only talk of potencies that are, at best cm. 3. There is no mention of anything like millisemal potencies. 4 SO, is the current trend of prescribing millesmial potencies, Homoeopathy?
  Comment by: Satish Saxena, India.    on Mar 22, 2013 0 Agree  |  0 Disagree       Report Abuse

thank u so much mam if u can provide your experinces it wil be help ful for the students like me
  Comment by: praveena, India.    on Dec 01, 2010 1 Agree  |  0 Disagree       Report Abuse

It is a brief but quite comprehensive article on the subject, covering all aspects of potency. She has included all relevant details and the subject has been made very interesting with all encompassing information. She has done a perfect justice in dealing the subject. Dr. Kuldip Singh Mohali
  Comment by: Dr. Kuldip Singh, India.    on May 19, 2010 0 Agree  |  0 Disagree       Report Abuse

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