Feb 04

Selecting the Potency in Homeopathy

I wrote this article on selecting the potency in homeopathy a number of years ago when I was very deeply under the influence of Rajan Sankaran’s new philosophies on homeopathy. I worked with his methods for about ten years, and learned their strong and weak points through experience. What I have written here are really Sankaran’s thoughts and not my own. I have personally gone beyond thinking in terms of these types of concepts, though I still do see that they have a benefit, and are certainly worth knowing about. My own approach is much more conservative and cautious. I prescribe primarily 30C, 200C and LM potencies. I go to the 1M strength only when someone has been on a remedy for awhile, and I feel that the lower strength is not holding as long as it had in the past, and that they are ready for the higher potency. I will prescribe a 10M strength once in five or six years. I no longer ascribe to the type of conceptual thinking I am enumerating here. Probably I should just delete the whole article, but I won’t. You can read it at your own discretion.

One of Hahnemann’s great teachings  was the importance of matching the strength of the remedy to the needs of the patient. He stated that the smallest possible stimulus should be used to initiate a healing response. The brilliant homeopath of the 20th/21st century, Rajan Sankaran, one of the great light-bearers of homeopathy in our times has designated seven levels to help homeopaths determine the strength of the remedy that is needed in each individual case.

Level One corresponds to remedies that are below 30C in strength in the centesimal scale, and the LM1 and LM2 potencies in the LM scale. People who need this strength often suffer from diseases where there is already much pathology, and the memory is often severely impaired. Here the only thing the patient can tell you of his disease is the diagnosis. He is not in touch with deeper levels of himself, such as his emotions and dreams. He may even have trouble describing the symptoms and sensations that he feels. Sankaran gives the analogy of asking a person to describe the Golden Gate Bridge. A person who is at Level One would only be able to tell you its name.

Level Two corresponds to the 30C strength and LM3. Here the patient can describe the symptoms well, but is not in touch with his feelings. If you asked him to describe the Golden Gate Bridge, he would be able to tell you many facts about it, such as its height, breadth, where it spans, when and by whom it was built, but can go no further.

Level Three corresponds to the 200C strength of the remedy. Here the patient can describe the symptoms well, and is very in tune with what he or she is feeling, but has little dream awareness, and is unaware of deeper attitudes and beliefs. Going back to the analogy of the Golden Gate Bridge, the patient would say that he is moved to tears whenever he sees the bridge. When the clouds pass overhead and touch the wires at the top of the bridge it fills him with a feeling of melancholy.

Level Four corresponds to the 1M strength of the remedy. Here the patient is able to describe the symptoms and his emotional life well, and going beyond that he can tell you about his dreams, and his perception of life. Sankaran calls this the delusion level. Here the patient is able to express his false view of reality, which he takes to be real. This false view of reality can be a core belief or attitude caused by past traumas, inherited tendencies, or even past lives, which affects the way the individual responds to his current experience. In the earlier levels, even though the patient is under the influence of this false view of reality, he is unable to express it. As we go deeper in the levels, the vital force becomes progressively stronger. Children and healthy adults often respond very well to the 1M strength of the remedy. On the bridge analogy, the person would say the bridge is immense and I feel powerless when I measure myself against it. The delusion here is of powerlessness.

Level Five corresponds to the 10M strength, or what Sankaran calls the Sensation Level. At this level the person is in touch with the source substance of the remedy that he needs. If he needs a remedy from the animal kingdom, he will express the victim-aggressor theme that is common to animal remedies.  If he needs a remedy from the mineral kingdom, he will express issues with structure, or a lack within himself. If he needs a plant remedy issues around sensitivity will be expressed, which will help the homeopath determine the remedy that is needed.

At the sensation level the patient’s speech, becomes more abstract as she expresses concepts that are non-human specific. Hand gestures come into play as the patient reflects qualities of the source substance, which comes from the non-human world, and can apply equally to the plant, mineral or animal kingdom.  The 10M strength of the remedy is needed by very healthy children and adults, or in people where much of what you see is the source substance, with some of the common human characteristics, such as the ability to speak, are sublimated, as in some autistic children.

Going back to the bridge analogy, the person would express the energy of the bridge itself through gesture, movement and in their behavior. A few years ago I treated an autistic child with Mercuriu vivus 10M. In addition to having many symptoms pointing toMercurius vivus in his case, he also had a peculiar habit of walking around with two objects in his hand, trying to merge them together, just as rolling balls of Mercury try to merge together. He made great strides on this remedy. His autism occurred upon receiving a flu shot.  Flu shots contain Thimerosol, a preservative containing mercury.  The U.S. government outlawed Thimerosol in children’s vaccines in 1999, but it is still present in the flu shot. Interestingly there was a significant reduction in autism rates in the United States following the outlawing of Thimerosol in children’s vaccines. From this child’s adverse reaction to the flu shot, it is clear that this ban should also be extended to the flu shot.

The sixth level corresponds to the 50M strength. Remedies from the 10M strength on up should only be prescribed by very experienced homeopaths. Severe and long lasting aggravations can be experienced by those who take these remedies inappropriately. In Sankaran’s system of the seven levels and bridge analogy, the person who needs a remedy of this strength would see no difference between himself and the bridge. He and the bridge are one.

The seventh level corresponds to the CM strength in Sankaran’s system and this would correspond to the mystic’s samadhi. All is one.

Furthering our knowledge:

3)      We have learned about the various potencies of the homeopathic remedies and their application, and have had a brief introduction into Sankaran’s Sensation Method and Seven Levels.

 One Remedy at a Time


Hahnemann stressed the importance of giving only one remedy at a time to the patient.  The reason for this is that the remedies are proven one at a time, and our knowledge of the remedies is based on the provings. Since the remedies are not proven in combination, we would not be able to predict what a combination remedy would do. Many homeopaths believe that the job of the homeopath is to find the single substance in nature that is expressing itself in the symptoms of the patient. Sankaran says that disease is the non-human element, or the non-human song, which is playing itself in the instrument of the patient, but is out of place there. The patient’s symptoms, sensations, attitudes, and delusions point the way to that single substance in nature. When the perfect fit has been found, there will be a resonance, which will silence that non-human element, which is out of place and free the patient to be the healthy person he or she is meant to be. What distinguishes a classical homeopath from a non-classical homeopath is adherence to the rule of one remedy at a time.

Where Remedies Come From


Now I want to talk about where remedies come from. Hahnemann and his colleagues proved over one hundred remedies on themselves. Since then thousands of remedies have been added to the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia. The Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States is the official compendium for homeopathic remedies in the U.S. Provings of new remedies are being conducted all over the world, making homeopathy a very dynamic and endlessly evolving science. As I have said before, the remedies come from the animal, mineral, and plant kingdoms. Some people recognize five or six kingdoms rather than the traditional three, and count algae, bacteria, and fungi as kingdoms in their own right, rather than including them with the plant or animal kingdoms. The nosodes would be classed with the bacterial kingdom. Nosodes are remedies that are made from disease substances, such as Tuberculinum, Carcinosin and Medorrhinum.

Homeopaths since Hahnemann’s time have attempted to make the study of remedies easier by grouping the remedies according to their botanical classification and comparing them to see if they have similar properties. This has been a very popular trend in the last twenty years, and Sankaran and others have gone a long way toward mapping plant sensations to help make the selection of remedies derived from plants more scientific.

Other homeopathic researchers have been doing the same thing with the mineral kingdom. Jan Scholten, Rajan Sankaran, Roger Morrison, Louis Klein and others have pioneered this work with the mineral kingdom, showing us that minerals on the same row on the periodic table of the elements share fundamental qualities, as do those on the same column. Homeopaths are exploring the idea that the periodic table of the elements is a map of human development from conception through the highest states of human development.

Much research has been done by homeopaths, such as Jonathan Shore, who wrote a book called, “Birds Homeopathic Remedies from the Avian Realm,” and Nancy Herrick, who wrote “Animal Minds, Human Voices,” to increase our knowledge of the remedies from the animal kingdom. All of this research on the various kingdoms has extremely practical application in clinical practice, as it helps homeopaths determine what kingdom the patient falls into–animal, plant, mineral, and then to make appropriate selections within the kingdom, so that they can make accurate prescriptions for their patients.

Thanks to the efforts of the homeopathic light-bearers, the work of all homeopaths is becoming more scientifically based, and the practice of prescribing more accurate. The other marvelous thing about this is that the remedy names that we see in our repertories and materia medicas are now coming to life for us, as we begin to connect them in our minds to the substances from which they come. To be a great homeopath, one must understand botany, chemistry, physics, psychology, the nature of consciousness, human disease, the therapeutic action of homeopathic remedies and so much more. It is truly a very rewarding lifetime study.

Miasms in homeopathy


I would be remiss to end this introduction to homeopathy without talking about the concept of miasms. Samuel Hahnemann introduced this term to homeopathy in his little book called, “Chronic Diseases.” It took him twelve years of study to write this book. He wanted to understand how come many patients were not responding to what he considered to be well chosen remedies. He decided that the reason was the presence of a miasmatic or genetic taint, which was getting in the way of their healing. He identified three primary miasms or genetic taints at that time: psora, or the suppressed itch, which he called the mother of all disease, and syphilis and sycosis. The last two come from sexually transmitted diseases.  Other miasms could be created from combinations of these three miasms. The Tuberculosis miasm was a combination of psora and syphilis. Cancer was a trimiasmatic disease, as all three miasms had to be present to create this condition. Hahnemann recommended prescribing intercurrent doses of nosodes in cases that were not progressing to help remove the genetic taint.

Rajan Sankaran has taken Hahnemann’s work and expanded the three original miasms to ten miasms. I would not be mentioning this concept except for the fact that knowledge of the miasms has made prescribing remedies far more accurate for me. In Sankaran’s system miasms represent a fundamental attitude toward life and pace of disease. This attitude is elicited from the client by asking him to tell you what his attitude is toward the chief complaint. If the homeopathic practitioner can identify that attitude and the pace of the disease he is far more likely to prescribe accurately,

Not long ago I had the opportunity to give a demonstration of how the miasms worked at the fall retreat of Integrated Healing Arts, a health center in Palo Alto, California that I am affiliated with. There was a woman there who had experienced hearing loss, and I wanted to demonstrate to the group how homeopathy worked by using her case as an example. I explained that in order to hone in on the remedy, it would be very helpful to understand her attitude and the pace of her disease. That information would bring us to the miasm that she fell into. Once we knew the miasm the remedy selection process would become much easier, as this would help to narrow down the range of possible remedies. I will list the miasms below and tell you what her attitude would be if she fell into that miasm:

The Acute Miasm: “This hearing loss has come on suddenly and it is a sudden and immediate threat to my survival. I am alarmed by it and in a state of panic. I am terrified that I will not regain my hearing.” The acute miasm is like a sudden storm. You react to it with instinctive terror. Either you survive the storm or it takes you down. Some of our well-known remedies from the acute miasm areBelladonna and Aconite. In this example the woman is in a panic state about her hearing loss.  This is an alarming situation.

The Typhoid Miasm: If the woman in our example needed a remedy from the typhoid miasm, she would view her illness as an emergency, and may even go to the hospital. This is a sub-acute, rather than an acute situation. It is a crisis that needs to be overcome, a critical situation that demands immediate attention. Once it is overcome she will be fine. The typhoid miasm is characterized by a sense of urgency and impatience. There is hope that with the proper effort and care, she will recover. Nux vomica, Bryonia, and Rhus toxicodendron are well known remedies from the typhoid miasm.

The Psoric Miasm: There is a basic optimism in the attitude of people who fall into the psoric miasm. This is the healthiest miasmatic type, as the attitude to life is the healthiest. In the example of the woman with hearing loss, she would feel optimistic about her prognosis. “I will recover.” I have to make an effort, but the situation is solvable.  Healthy children often need remedies from the psoric miasm, such as Calcarea carbonica, Sulphur and Lycopodium.

The Ringworm Miasm: The woman in our example needing a remedy from the ringworm miasm would alternate in her attitude from acceptance that she has this condition to a desire to struggle against it. Basically she feels like she can live with it if she has to, though she would rather not. It is not a life threatening condition. At one moment she is hopeful that she will regain her hearing, in the next moment she gives up and resigns herself to it. Dulcamara, Calcarea sulfurica and Calcarea silicata are a few remedies from this miasm.

The Malaria Miasm: If the woman in our example needed a remedy from the malaria miasm, she would feel very unfortunate to have this problem, and harassed by the hearing loss. She would feel that it was impeding her ability to function. This incident of hearing loss may not be the first time she has experienced this complaint, as periodicity and intermittent attacks characterize this miasm. She may brood about the problem, or go into attacks of rage that she has this condition. Our two biggest remedies of the malaria miasm areNatrum muriaticum and China Officinalis.

The Sycotic Miasm: Our lady with the hearing loss would definitely not want anybody to know about this problem, if she needed a sycotic remedy. As long as she can keep her condition a secret from others, she is okay. If they find out they might think she is too old or unqualified to do her job. This is her hidden weakness, and it is a fixed problem that she has to accept, because it is not going away anytime soon. She has to avoid situations where her secret may be discovered, and she feels under qualified to do her job. Thuja, Silica andMedorrhinum are well-known remedies from the sycotic miasm.

The Cancer Miasm: The woman in our example would be very perfectionistic.  Keeping in control of her life and all things in it would be her modus operandi.  The hearing loss would mean loss of control to her, and she would feel a need to regain control over this situation as fast as possible, otherwise her life would fall apart and we would have utter chaos. She has set high standards for herself, which she feels are beyond her capacity to achieve. She may feel desperate to regain her hearing and therefore control over her life. The task may seem huge to her, but it is not a completely desperate situation. Some well-known remedies from the cancer miasm are Arsenicum album, Argentum nitricum, Carcinosin, Conium, and Ignatia amara.

The Tubercular Miasm: Taking our example of the woman with the hearing loss, if she needed a remedy from this miasm she would have a great love of travel. She could feel bored easily from staying in one place too long, and have a longing for freedom and change. She could feel trapped by the hearing loss, if she perceives it as curtailing her freedom. She may lead a very intense and hectic life as she prepares for her next adventure. Well-known remedies of this miasm are Tuberculinum, Tarentula, Phosphorus and Iodine.

The Leprosy Miasm: The woman in our example would feel like a leper, because of the hearing loss. She would feel like she has been outcasted by society and isolated, because of this problem. No one will want to be friends with her, because she can’t hear what they say properly. She will even possibly loath herself. She may feel less than others, dirty and disgusted with herself for having this problem. She may feel intensely hopeless that she will be able to find a solution to the hearing loss. The most well-known remedy of the Leprous miasm is Sepia.  Some other remedies from this miasm are Aloe, and Secale.

The Syphilitic Miasm: As we move from the top of the list to the bottom of the list of miasms, we move from more healthy states to less healthy states, more optimistic attitudes to complete pessimism. The syphilitic miasm is the darkest of the miasms in terms of attitude. Here the feeling is of utter desperation, but she still must make an effort to try to recover. The woman in our example would feel that there is absolutely no hope, but still she has to try to be normal again. She may contemplate desperate solutions, and throw all caution to the wind. The syphilitic miasm is self destructive and destructive of others. Suicide and homicide can be contemplated and successfully executed in this miasm. Paranoid and psychotic states are also often present. The pathology itself may be very deep: ulceration and destruction of tissue may be taking place. Our heavy metals, such as Aurum metallicum, Mercurius and its salts, Plumbum metallicumand Platina fall into this miasm. Our poisonous snake remedies like Lachesis muta are also syphilitic remedies.


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  1. Kristen Stewart

    hey there nice little web-site you have there :-) I apply the exact same web theme on my own website though for whatever silly reasons it appears to load easier on this blog although yours provides much more multimedia. Have you been using any specific plugins or widgets that will quicken it up? If you might be able to have the names so that I can use them on my personal blog so twilight eclipse users could watch twilight breaking dawn online trailers and clips more easily I would always be pleased – thank you ahead of time :)

  2. South of France Vacation

    The essence of the message of Lord Krishna to the human beings is Bhagavat Gita. Sage Vyasa wrote all the eighteen Puranaas and MahaBharatha, but still he was not having mental peace. It is surprising to see that the Sage Vyasa did not get peace even after composing Gita!! The reason is that the theoretical knowledge does not give any fruit unless it is practiced. Arjuna was not the best example of practice of Gita. Even on the eighteenth day, he was not getting down from the chariot in spite of the instruction from Lord Krishna. He was treating Krishna as a driver only and expected Krishna to get down first and then open the side door of the chariot.

  3. Roygbiv

    I want to sincerely thank you for this essay that you’ve written here. It is by far the clearest and most helpful article I have come across as a lay practitioner in understanding how remedies are determined by the homeopathist on varies levels. Your Golden Gate Bridge analogy not only helps in homeopathy, but it is helpful for me in art, writing, and communication in general. I was particularly keen on the description of hand gestures and the indicating distinction between prescribing an animal, mineral, and plant remedies.

    Again, thank you very much for your work here and for your introductory preface. By all means, even in the context of your current intuitive practice, texts like these are still helpful as a way-point.

    Thank you!

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