There are a lot of questions these days about potency. It is a good idea to review potency every now and again. I have written previous newsletters on potency. I will try not to repeat myself.
The easiest way to think about potency is to understand it through metaphor. If the remedy is the song being played, the potency is the volume. Remember the last newsletter I wrote that the remedy does not “do” anything? It is like a song being played. The response of the vital force to it is the observable action. The song did not do anything other than it is being played. Sound was being created and if the volume is too low the person can not hear it.
There is a wide range of volume that the person can hear. The volume may be too high also. When it is too high it becomes irritating and the person will not be able to hear the song distinctly. So potency selection is important because we want to give the correct volume so the person can hear the remedy distinctly.
So how do we choose the correct potency and the correct repetition of the dose? Here is where experience comes in to play for the homeopath. There is a certain feel that one gets after prescribing many remedies. But to start out we need to understand what Hahnemann described in the Organon of Medicine. In Aphorism 27 he wrote,” The curative power medicines, therefore, depends on their symptoms, similar to the disease but superior to it in strength. (Study Aphorisms 12-26), so that each individual case of disease is most surely, radically, rapidly and permanently annihilated and removed only by a medicine capable of producing (in the human system) in the most similar and complete manner the totality of its symptoms, which at the same time are stronger than the disease.”
The potency needs to be slightly stronger than the energy of the disease. How do we know the strength of the disease? This is a question that needs much consideration by the homeopath. One needs to understand that the strength of the disease is a result of the strength of the vital force. If the vital force is weak then the strength of the disease will be weak also. This is especially true in chronic, long-standing disease. The vital force has been weakened by producing disease for a long time. Acute disease is much different. We will see high fevers, extreme sensations and strong expressions of the vital force.
So it is important to look for ways that reveal the strength of the vital force. In chronic cases the vital force will be depleted and lower potencies will be applicable. In acute cases the vital force will be strong and higher potencies will be more indicated. Remember the potency needs to be slightly stronger than the disease. So giving high potencies in chronic illness will surely cause the vital force to respond in an unwanted way. Imagine sending a person with chronic illness to a rock concert and have them stand in front of the stage. It would not be a safe way to inspire them.
They would best respond if they were by a babbling brook and the soft sounds of nature; birds signing and the rustle of the leaves in the tree by a soft breeze. This would be akin to a lower potency. They may need to take it daily or even more often to continue to inspire the vital force. The 6 through 30 C potencies work best in this case.
When the case is acute and the vital force is strong the middle to higher potencies work best. These cases might do well with 30C through 1m potencies to start. Again they may need a daily dose or even more often if the disease is strong.
James Tyler Kent, MD introduced high potency prescribing where very high potencies (1M through CM) are given even in chronic cases. This requires much expertise in prescribing. I do not recommend this to the novice prescriber. The chances for a severe aggravation are great. Again this is like going to the rock concert. Nothing good will come out a weakened vital force. This method seems to work best in children that have strong vital forces and strong expressions of chronic disease. Still there is a great chance for severe aggravations. It is always best to err on the side of safety and a lower potency.
In the next newsletter I will go into more depth about the individual potencies and when they might be used. Please use the link below to share your thoughts on the blog. Everyone would love to hear from you. I hope you like our new format.