Most homeopathic remedies are very dilute. In fact any homeopathic remedy of 24X or 12C potency and above has been diluted to the point that statistically speaking, not even one particle of the original substance remains. Herein lies the major complaint about homeopathy.
We are all very familiar with the pharmacological, linear, dose-response curve. A small dose of medication causes a small effect and the larger the dose, the larger the effect. So, the more dilute the medication, the more reduced the biological effect. At very low dilutions no effect is expected. Diluting a medicine to the point that statistically there is none of the original substance left, certainly results in it having no biological effect. Therefore, homeopathy is quackery – so the thinking goes.
This conclusion is valid given the assumption that homeopathic remedies are ordinary dissolved and diluted bulk-form pharmaceutical chemicals that act pharmaceutically with linear dose-response activity. However, modern research disproves these assumptions.
Recently, numerous laboratories around the world have studied high-potency homeopathic remedies (those diluted beyond Avogadro’s number) using many analytical techniques. Specific high-potency remedies have been found to differ from each other and from succussed solvent controls in their release measurably excess heat and electrical conductivity.1,2 They have been shown to differ using Ramen and UV-vis spectroscopic methods,3,4 NMR spectroscopy,5 infrared spectroscopy,6 REDEM technology,7 gas discharge visualization,8 and thermoluminescence.9 Clearly, even though high-potency homeopathic remedies are void of chemicals that can be detected conventionally, there is evidence that they contain some unique information. The answer may lie in the budding science of nanoparticles (NPs).
NPs are particles measuring in the range of one-billionth of a meter in any external dimension. For perspective, typical body cells range from 1-100 micrometers in diameter. NPs range from 1-100 nanometers and there are 1,000 nanometers per micrometer.
PNs have different properties than their bulk forms. Any compound that is not in a NP form is a collection of atoms or molecules. The outer surface molecules are available to react chemically while the interior remain inactive. NPs have a high percentage of exterior, reactive molecules compared to their bulk forms and they have a higher surface area. One kg of particles of 1 mm3 has the same surface area as 1 mg of particles of 1 nm3. Their increased surface area combined with their small size contribute to NPs unique properties including adsorptive, electromagnetic, optical, thermal, and quantum properties, as well as increased chemical reactivity, bonding, high conductivity, strength and durability.10-17
NANOPARTICLES AND HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES
In vivo, NPs can easily penetrate the body’s usual barriers including the skin and blood-brain barrier, as well as the lining of the GI tract and airways. NPs of a compound can have different toxicological profiles than the bulk form because of their size and unique chemical characteristics. Due to the increased bioavailability and reactivity of NPs the dose needed for their biological activity is lower than that needed for herbs, nutriceuticals, drugs, or antigens by orders of magnitude.12,18-21
Like modern methods for producing nanoparticles, the succussion used in homeopathic remedy production causes intense turbulence, particle collision, and shear forces that break the source material into smaller and smaller particles.22 The result is the production of remedy source NPs. In fact, remedy source nanoparticles have been detected in commercially produced, high-potency, homeopathic remedies.23,24
It appears that the more succussion and dilution a homeopathic remedy is exposed to (the higher its potency), the more NPs are produced and the smaller those NPs become. Cellular interactions with NPs can cause systemic effects.25 The NPs in homeopathic remedies may therefore act as low level stressors of the body, thereby triggering a systemic stress response.
Have you had success with homeopathy?
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- Elia V, Niccoli M. New physico-chemical properties of extremely diluted aqueous solutions. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. 2004;75:815–836.
- Rao ML, Roy R, Bell IR. The defining role of structure (including epitaxy) in the plausibility of homeopathy. Homeopathy. 2007;96(3):175–182.
- Wolf U, Wolf M, Heusser P, Thurneysen A, Baumgartner S. Homeopathic preparations of quartz. sulfur and copper sulfate assessed by uv-spectroscopy. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:692798.
- Demangeat JL. NMR relaxation evidence for solute-induced nanosized superstructures in ultramolecular aqueous dilutions of silica-lactose. Journal of Molecular Liquids. 2010;155:71–79.
- Sukul NC, Ghosh S, Sukul A, Sinhababu SP. Variation in Fourier transform infrared spectra of some homeopathic potencies and their diluent media. J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11(5):807–812.
- Witt C, Ludtke R, Weisshuhn TE, Willich SN. High homeopathic potencies are different from potentized solvent when investigated with the REDEM technology. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2005;12(1):6–13.
- Bell IR, Lewis D, Brooks AJ, Lewis S, Schwartz GE. Gas discharge visualization evaluation of ultramolecular doses of homeopathic medicines under blinded, controlled conditions. J Altern Complement Med. 2003;9(1):25–38.
- Rey L. Can low-temperature thermoluminescence cast light on the nature of ultra-high dilutions? Homeopathy. 2007;96(3):170–174.
- Liu L, Randolph TW, Carpenter JF. Particles shed from syringe filters and their effects on agitation-induced protein aggregation. J Pharm Sci. 2012;101(8):2952–2959.
- Chi EY, Weickmann J, Carpenter JF, Manning MC, Randolph TW. Heterogeneous nucleation-controlled particulate formation of recombinant human platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase in pharmaceutical formulation. J Pharm Sci. 2005;94(2):256–274.
- Iavicoli I, Calabrese EJ, Nascarella MA. Exposure to nanoparticles and hormesis. Dose Response. 2010;8(4):501–517.
- Bell IR, Koithan M. A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross adaption, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system. BMC Complement Altern Med 2012;12:191.
- Montagnier L, Aissa J, Ferris S, Montagnier J-L, Lavallee C. Electromagnetic signals are produced by aqueous nanostructures derived from bacterial DNA sequences. Interdisciplinary Sci Comput Life Sci. 2009;1:81–90.
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- Prakash DJ, Arulkumar S, Sabesan M. Effect of nanohypericum (Hypericum perforatum gold nanoparticles) treatment on restraint stress induced behavioral and biochemical alteration in male albino mice. Pharmacognosy Res. 2010;2(6):330–334.
- Nair HB, Sung B, Yadav VR, Kannappan R, Chaturvedi MM, Aggarwal BB. Delivery of antiinflammatory nutraceuticals by nanoparticles for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Biochem Pharmacol. 2010;80(12):1833–1843.
- Armstead AL, Li B. Nanomedicine as an emerging approach against intracellular pathogens. Int J Nanomedicine. 2011;6:3281–3293.
- Bershteyn A, Hanson MC, Crespo MP, Moon JJ, Li AV, Suh H, Irvine DJ. Robust IgG responses to nanograms of antigen using a biomimetic lipid-coated particle vaccine. J Control Release. 2012;157(3):354–365.
- Bhattacharyya SS, Mandal SK, Biswas R, Paul S, Pathak S, Boujedaini N, Belon P, Khuda-Bukhsh AR. In vitro studies demonstrate anticancer activity of an alkaloid of the plant Gelsemium sempervirens. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2008;233(12):1591–1601.
- Chikramane PS, Suresh AK, Bellare JR, Kane SG. Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective. Homeopathy. 2010;99(4):231–242.
- Upadhyay RP, Nayak C. Homeopathy emerging as nanomedicine. International Journal of High Dilution Research. 2011;10(37):299–310.
- Zhu M, Li Y, Shi J, Feng W, Nie G, Zhao Y. Exosomes as extrapulmonary signaling conveyors for nanoparticle-induced systemic immune activation. Small. 2012;8(3):404–412.