A Study of the Validity of High Potency Homeopathic Remedies

This paper offers a magnified glimpse into the morphology of homeopathic remedy preparations on the micrometer scale (17.2 um or 17, 200 nm). Dr. Shirl indicates that the remedies in potency have unique, remedy-specific morphology at this level. Dr. Shirl’s images of the remedies are taken at a magnification level orders of magnitude larger than the typical size of nanoparticles found of source material in the remedies.


The original purpose of this study was to find out if there was a vital substance of homeopathic remedies when found in high potencies. A study was read where there was a clustering of molecules in high dilutions of substances.1 To try to observe this phenomenon, a Phenom Scanning Electron Microscope [SEM], which is a ‘desktop’ model of an SEM was obtained. While this SEM is still large [200 lbs.], it was not strong enough to magnify to a molecular level. The research halted for a little while until it was decided to try and see what could be found at the level the Phenom SEM could magnify. The results turned out to be very amazing since one could definitely observe homeopathic substances even in a 1M potency level. Because of these observations, an empirical study was designed to see if these observations could be replicated, and to see if the homeopathic substance found in higher potency remedies can be clearly observed.

This Phenom SEM was used to observe and record the findings, and impressions of a study of ten different homeopathic remedies. These were compared on four potency levels. I used remedies that were applied to a sugar lactose powder by a pharmaceutical lab1. In Homeopathy, diluents of water and alcohol are used to make the homeopathic remedies. These diluents are applied to sugar pellets. The pellets are made of the sugar substrate, but for this study, the sugar used was in the powdered form of lactose. Also included are scans of the plain alcohol/water powder and plain unmedicated lactose sugar powder as the base products. All the remedies, base and sugar were scanned at 14,000x magnification of a 17.2µm spot and captured into pictures. The ten remedies used were: Apis mellifica, Arnica Montana, Chamomilla, Gelsemium sempervirens, Lachesis mutus, Medorrhinum, Natrum muriaticum, Ruta graveolens, Sepia and Sulfur [Sulfur is the scientific spelling; this is also spelled sulphur in some homeopathic literature]. Eight of these are described below. Each remedy was observed at a 6x, 30c, 200c, and 1M potency level. There were 15 to 20 scans captured for each potency level for each of the ten remedies. There were also approximately 15-20 scans done of the plain sugar lactose powder and the alcohol/water base on the sugar powder, which were beginning reference points. The following theory of how high potency homeopathic remedies [which have nanoparticles that are found in high potency homeopathic remedies] are still vital and active was formulated from the observations that were made. But let us first give an explanation of how homeopathic remedies are produced.

All remedies are made from a mother tincture by extracting or triturating the base homeopathic substance. The mother tincture is processed by dilution, and shaking it forcibly with impact a certain number of times depending on the level of potency that is being made. This shaking with impact or pounding process is called succussion. A 6x (ratio of 1:10) potency remedy will be succussed 60 times, and a 20c (ratio of 1:100) potency remedy, 2000 times, and so on for all the potency levels. At each new potency level, the previous potency is used and diluted again with the alcohol/water diluent. Once again this is succussed to reach the next highest potency. This processed liquid remedy is then usually applied to the sugar substrate. The sugar lactose used in this study or sugar pellet is used as a carrier on which the liquid remedy is applied, and so is not part of the potentizing process. The following is a statement of the theory that has been reached in this study:

The substance of origin in the homeopathic remedies over 12c or 24x formulations are not lost due to dilution because of the succussion done between each new level of potency. It seems that this succussion process creates a new extraction at each new potency level. This is the scientific reason why the remedies are not being diluted out of the solution. The remedies are being changed into a new extraction, which contains structures that are smaller, yet more defined, for each new potency level.

Alcohol is used in scientific laboratories to create extractions. A gentle pounding and shaking is used to make sure the substance is kept in an emulsion, so all of this substance will be uniformly extracted. The harder, faster pounding and shaking used in the succussion method to make the homeopathic potencies would cause the extraction process to be faster and possibly stronger. Thus the method used to create each new homeopathic potency level of diluting this solution in an alcohol/water base, with the succussion used in a very controlled fashion, creates an extraction on each new potency level of the whole diluted homeopathic substance. The changes to the remedies that the extracting succussion causes can be seen in the scans. A discussion of the observations that led to this theory are given here in detail. All of the remedies that were observed had similarities which looked like the plain lactose and the alcohol/water base. These similar characteristics were in all the homeopathic remedies scans on all levels. But, each remedy scan also had individual qualities which were probably the properties of the original substances. These visual qualities are sometimes strikingly different from the alcohol/water and the sugar base properties. An important point is that the different features that seem to be particular to the remedy’s properties were found in the 6x remedies scans on up to the 1M remedies scans. In addition, many of the scans of the homeopathics substances appeared different from each other. In other words, the Arnica montana scans have observable differences from the Medorrhinum and other remedy scans that are not Arnica montana. Each remedy has distinct characteristics that distinguish it from the others.

The following report notes observations of scans used as representatives of each of the different powdered remedy substances scanned. The first scan is of the plain powdered sugar lactose, which is the inert material to which all the different remedy solutions are applied in this study by the pharmaceutical lab.
Sugar Lactose Powder Scan©Sugar Lactose Powder Scan©

1.Sugar Lactose Powder ScanThe plain sugar lactose scans seems to have a texture that reminds one of the crevices found in pictures of moon craters. Some of the crevices are deep and some are shallow. These sugar formations are sometimes separate structures found in the scanned pictures, and sometimes they appear attached to other structures in the scan. The above scan shows both examples. These types of pockmarks can be found in all of the remedies scanned. Yet not all the scans in each of the remedies showed the creviced marks. The crevices were found in their own separate scans for some of the remedies. This is probably due to the fact that all the scans were done of remedies applied to a sugar powder. Another factor might be that some of the remedies had their own type of crevice markings. [Note: all the scan pictures are ‘cleaned up’ in Photoshop, such as being despeckled, so the pictures would be clear enough to view. No other enhancements were made.]

2.Alcohol-Water applied to the Sugar LactoseAlcohol/Water applied to the Sugar Lactose©Alcohol/Water applied to the Sugar Lactose©
The plain alcohol/water base solution was added to the sugar lactose at the laboratories that made all the homeopathic remedies used in this study2. The alcohol/water sugar substrate scans seems to alter most of the sugar crevices, in addition to resulting in a smoother visual effect. For example, the Apis mellifica scans have properties that look similar to the alcohol/watered medicated sugar smooth areas. There are other areas or shapes that are specific to the Apis mellifica scans also. But the smoothness can be seen on all the scans of all the remedies. One particular aspect of the sugar, which had only the plain alcohol/water solution applied to it, is there are few defined shapes. The scan looks as if all the parts are melted together. This melting together of the sugar into one large piece was only found in the alcohol/water sugar scans.

3. Apis mellifica 6xApis mellifica 6x ©Apis mellifica 6x ©
The Apis mellifica [commonly called Apis] scans show areas that are smooth with distinct round edges. The alcohol scans have the smooth areas but not those same distinctive edges. Note the creviced areas in Apis mellifica 6x. These crevices are isolated and not found throughout the whole structure such as in the sugar scans. There are structures in many Apis scans that look similar to a swollen tip or semi pointed object. The 6x scan shown above has these structures outlined in green, to give clarity to the description. Semi pointed pieces similar to these are present in all of the potency levels of the Apis scans: the 6x, 30c, 200c, and 1M. These structures seemed to be particular to the Apis scans, and not the other remedy scans. Thus one might assume that they are characteristic of the Apis remedy and part of physiochemical mixture which is made of the combination of the Apis and the alcohol/water solution. This whole combination [Apis/alcohol/water] are added to the sugar lactose. Plain sugar like pieces show up in most of the scans in all the remedies, as seen in the bottom lower right and a small piece attached to the large Apis structure in the Apis mellifica 6x scan above [marked in red]. Below is an example of the Apis mellifica 1M scan with the same tip like structure outlined. This structure is smooth with rounded edges, and does not have any crevices. The structure in the above right hand corner of the scan has crevices that are similar to the sugar pieces of the plain sugar scans.

4. Apis mellifica 1MApis mellifica 1M ©Apis mellifica 1M ©
The Apis remedy is mixed with the alcohol/water base properties to found one structure. This seems to again suggest that a physiochemical mixture resulting from the succussion of the Apis and water and alcohol. Thus, the succussion process is a catalyst in forming a mixture of the remedy at the 1M dilution with its base solution. All the pictured scans of the Apis seem to show that this has occurred. This suggests that at each dilution level the succussion is causing a change in the whole solution of the remedy/alcohol/water. On the next level, such as moving from a 6x up to the 30c and on up to the 1M, and including all the levels in between, the changed substance from the previous potency level, some of which is reused, diluted and succussed, forms a new, mixed substance made up of the Apis remedy and the alcohol/water base. The Apis remedy scans do not seem to mix with the sugar to which it is applied. These sugar formations, which still have their own characteristics, are found separate from the Apis/alcohol/water type pieces.

5.Arnica montana 30c scanArnica montana 30c scan©Arnica montana 30c scan©
As you can see from the scan pictured, the Arnica montana 30c [Arnica] has a similar surface to the Apis mellifica scans. It also has the smoothness that the alcohol/water base scans have. Arnica has a bulkier, angular, obtrusive shape. Some seem even mountainous. These shapes are different than the Apis scans and the base scans. This difference is seen in all of the Arnica scans as a detail that is specific to Arnica. There are very few crevices in the Arnica structures. The pieces on the bottom left of the scan might be sugar. [The piece outlined in red is a structure attached to the Arnica piece.] Below is the Arnica montana 1M scan, which shows the same chunky, angular type piece. Of course, the small attached portions are of another substance.

6.Arnica montana 1MArnica montana 1M ©Arnica montana 1M ©
All the arnica scans observed seem to show a physiochemical mixing from the succussion process, of properties of the smooth alcohol/water base and the large Arnica montana remedy chunks as one piece. The Arnica/alcohol/water structures are found within the all Arnica scans.

7. Chamomilla 6x


Chamomilla 6x ©Chamomilla 6x ©
All the Chamomilla remedy scans have a softer property that seem to have even changed the sugar substrate powder used in this study. These scans are softer than the other remedy scans. It was so soft it was hard not to flatten out the sample to the point that the scan was just a very light, white, non-defined spot and even blown out spots. [The term ‘blown out’ is used in photography where the camera does not read the pixels in that particular area. Thus the pixels are blown out of the picture, or in this case the pictures of the scans.] The brighter the scans show up in the microscope the more the areas of the scan have a blown out part. The Chamomilla scans that did have all lot of the parts of the picture blown out, consistently looked smooth and bright, and had bumpy, lightened edges. Parts of the chamomilla scanned pieces even look as though they have been ironed until they are totally smooth. Yet the pieces of Chamomilla have clear cut structures. They are not undefined, like the alcohol/water base scans. Both the base and the chamomilla scans do contain smooth areas, but the chamomilla pieces are lighter, and brighter than the alcohol/water base scans. This may be because the Chamomilla structures look smoother than the plain alcohol/water base scans. The crevices in the Chamomilla are shallow with smoothed edges, which is a difference that is particular to this remedy. One can see in the Chamomilla 6x scan above the brightness, and the softness. The parts of the pieces marked in green look very smooth and bright. The Chamomilla 1M scan below also shows the smooth, bright areas, as did the other Chamomilla scans on all levels of potencies, from a 6x to the 1M remedies that were observed. The bumps seen that are attached particles that are probably of another substance, such as the sugar substrate pieces. The chunk on the lower left hand side of the scan is probably another substance also.

8.Chamomilla 1MChamomilla 1M ©Chamomilla 1M ©
As with all the remedy scans, the Chamomilla scans show the smoothing as if there is a physiochemical mixture of properties of the alcohol/water base and the Chamomilla remedy to form one structure made of Chamomilla, alcohol and water.

9. Gelsemium sempervirens 200cGelsemium sempervirens 200c ©Gelsemium sempervirens 200c ©
Gelsemium Sempervirens [Gelsemium] scan has a smooth bright side like the Chamomilla, but it is not soft. Yet there were some areas of the Gelsemium scanned pictures that have blown out areas. Those areas in the Gelsemium contained less blown out areas than the Chamomilla. The Gelsemium scan also has a side that has distinct crevices, which the Chamomilla does not have. But these crevices are not throughout as it is with the plain sugars substrate scans. The Gelsemium scan almost looks as if it has a smoothed out area, or depressed area where some of the bumps are pressed down, which brightens these structures up. The smoothness is also like the alcohol/water base scans, yet there are particular properties that seem to be from the Gelsemium remedy, like the creviced sides of the defined structures. The 200c scan of Gelsemium shows these properties, which show up in most of the Gelsemium scans on all potency levels that were observed. The Gelsemium 6x scan shown below has the same smooth, bright sides to the chunks of the remedy. These chunks are marked in green. There are several pieces in the scan that are probably other substances, such as the sugar substrate particles and insert substances. The upper left hand corner and a smaller area in the lower right side of this 6x scan are blown out areas, because they were too bright for the microscope to pick up the pixels in those areas.

10. Gelsemium sempervirens 6xGelsemium sempervirens 6x ©Gelsemium sempervirens 6x ©
All the Gelsemium scans show the same chemical mixture of their properties of the Gelsemium remedy, with those of the alcohol/water base, which have mixed together to make one particular structure for each piece of the Gelsemium/alcohol/water remedy found within the sugar substrate powder.

11. Lachesis mutus 6x [3c]Lachesis mutus 6x [3c] ©Lachesis mutus 6x [3c] ©
The Lachesis mutus [Lachesis] sample, which comes from a homeopathic pharmacy in Great Britain2 is a 3c; but that is the same potency level, with the same amount of processing, as the 6x remedies. This Lachesis scan, seen above, has pockmarks, as does the Gelsemium scan. But a lot of the Lachesis marks are larger and protruding, as if they are erupting. The whole structure looks a little bit rougher, and more lively with more marked eruptions, than any of the other scans from the other remedies. The marks are even larger and more protruding than the scanned sugar marks. There are still some parts of the Lachesis scans that have larger smoother areas than the plain sugar scans. The Lachesis pieces are definitely defined and not flattened out as in contrast to what the alcohol/water base did to with the plain sugar. The pieces marked in green show the eruptive marks clearly. There are, as always, other substance structures shown in the scan, one of which is marked in red. The erupting, rougher structures and some smoother pieces, are found in all the levels of the Lachesis scans, from the 6x to the 1M. Below is an example of the Lachesis mutus 200c scan, which shows the same properties.

12. Lachesis mutus 200CLachesis mutus 200c ©Lachesis mutus 200c ©
The alcohol/water smooth properties showing in the Lachesis scans are seen in separate structures and in lesser amounts than the rough, eruptive pockmarks. But the alcohol/water properties are still showing up in most of the Lachesis scans. Thus the chemical mixture of the Lachesis remedy with the alcohol/water base can be detected in the structures in their scans.

13. Medorrhinum 1MMedorrhinum 1M ©Medorrhinum 1M ©
The Medorrhinum scans have what seems to be hard chunks that remain intact and are not broken down by the succussing nor the alcohol and water. The rest of the viewed section of the Medorrhinum scans seem to have a breakdown of structures that result in a pronounced gritty-like, rough surface. This collapse of the structures can be seen more on a scan of 5000 magnification rather than the 14,000 magnification, since the hard pieces took up most of the scanned picture of the 14,000x. Shown below is a picture of the 5,000x scan of Medorrhinum.

14. Medorrhinum 200c 5,000xMedorrhinum 200c 5,000x ©Medorrhinum 200c 5,000x ©






Medorrhinum 30c ©Medorrhinum30c ©


As can be seen in both the 30c and the 1M Medorrhinum scans, the harder pieces have pockmarks which may be considered similar to the Gelsemium and the Lachesis scans but with the Lachesis, the marks are larger and there are more of these eruptive type marks. The Gelsemium scans have marks that are fewer and spaced more apart than the marks seen in the Medorrhinum scan. The chunks that seem to be the Medorrhinum pieces have a smoothness, that is similar to the Gelsemium scans. Yet the Medorrhinum scans seem lighter than the Gelsemium, and more similar in this aspect to the Chamomilla scans. Although there are similarities between the different remedy scans, all have their particular aspects that make them unique. Plus the pieces in the Medorrhinum scan have areas that are broken down to a ‘gritty like’ surface with its hard pieces interspersed in this grit, which is seen above in the 5,000x scan. This characteristic of having both aspects in the scan is seen only in Medorrhinum scans; however the smoothness of these chunky structures are a characteristic that can be contributed in part to the smoothing properties of the alcohol/water solution. Most of the other properties of the Medorrhinum scans, including having defined chunks, and the grittiness, are not seen in the alcohol/water base scans. Thus there seems to be the same physiochemicalmixing of the substances in pieces of this remedy also. And, as with all the scans, there are other structures seen in some of the scans, some of which can be contributed to being sugar substrate pieces and others to unidentified formations.

16. Ruta graveolens 1MRuta graveolens 1M ©Ruta graveolens 1M ©
The Ruta graveolens [Ruta] 1M scan shows structures that are smooth, like many of the other remedy’s scans. But the Ruta scan has edges that have rims on them, as pointed out by the green arrows. There are pieces of others substances attached to these rimmed pieces. There are only a few crevices on the rimmed structures of the Ruta scans, which is similar to some of the scans of other remedies, such as the Gelsemium scans. The ridges of the formations in these scans seem particular to and are found to be just in the Ruta scans.

17. Ruta graveolens 30CRuta graveolens 30c ©Ruta graveolens 30c ©
The ruta 30c scan, shown above, has two ridges that are shown as lighter marks [also pointed out with small green arrows] on the top of the larger piece on the right of the scan. The light edge around the left and bottom side of this same structure would also be indicative of a rim. There are very few small crevices on this piece in the 30c scan. The structure in this Ruta scan does have a smoothed surface as in the alcohol/water base scans. But the alcohol/water base scan does not have the defined, rimmed structures. It would seem there has been a physiochemical mixture of the alcohol/water base with the Ruta substances that have formed one structure as seen in the 1M scan as well as in the 30c scan of the Ruta remedy [as well as all the other scans of the Ruta remedy and all the other remedies].

18. Sulfur 30cSulfur 30c ©Sulfur 30c ©
Sulfur [This spelling is seen in scientific text. Other text spells this as Sulphur] 30c scan, as seen above, was measured within the microscope, because this scan had many large pieces. The large Sulfur piece measured, as seen, is 11.1µ. And this measurement seems to be of only the tip of this structure. The other piece in this scan is even larger. The structures of Sulfur scans do not have particular shapes, plus they have some smoothness, and some crevices in various places. There seems to be a lot of variety of shape and marks in the Sulfur scans, but all of the scans have some smoothness to them. This smoothness probably comes from the physiochemical mixing of the Sulfur with alcohol/water base during the processing of the remedy. There are also similarities to many of the other remedies scans; it just depends on the particular piece that is compared to another remedy scan. The smoothness is seen in all the remedies, but some of the Sulfur scans have crevices in clusters, and some have totally smooth sides, or only a few crevices. So it would seem that the particular characteristic of Sulfur is its large size and its variety.

19. Sulfur 1MSulfur 1M ©Sulfur 1M ©
This Sulfur 1M scan clearly shows the variety of shapes and placements of crevices. And three of the structures are too large to fit into this scan. There were other remedy scans that seemed to be too large to be scanned. When the various scans of a sampling of the other remedy scans were measured, the Sulfur scanned structures were the largest. The next largest was Arnica. And, as with all the remedies, the smoothness can also be clearly seen in the 1M Sulfur scan, which probably indicates the physiochemical mixing of the Sulfur remedy with the alcohol/water base.
In summary, in all the 10 remedies scanned, at all the potency levels scanned, 6x, 30c, 200c, and 1M, particular features were seen to each individual remedy. None of the remedies looked like the plain alcohol/water base scans. Yet all of the remedies did have some aspect of their features that were similar to the smoothing effect of the alcohol/water solution. All of the different remedies showed lactose features in some parts of their scans collected from that particular remedy. Due to these observations, the theory was reached that there are changes occurring, probably due to the succussing process, in the making of the remedies. These are physiochemical changes that change the remedy structures into a mixture of remedy/alcohol/water structures. The structures observed are what seems to be pieces of the remedy/alcohol/water mixture, since the succussing process also seems to break apart the remedy in its own particular way.

In conclusion, each remedy does have its own particular and distinguishable feature(s). And, these special features are viewed on all the level of potencies of the remedy that were observed under the microscope’s 14,000X magnification. These unique features are attributed to the substance remaining in spite of the various and many dilutions and succussions. The dilutions and succussions do seem to change the whole new potency level of substance into a new extraction.

There were scans that showed mostly or almost all structures that looked like the lactose sugars and other unidentified pieces. But the scans also showed formations which looked like they were pieces of the remedy mixed with the alcohol/water base solution. These pieces showed up in all the scans of all the remedy powders, on all the levels observed. All the scans that were done on the remedies had been processed with the succussion as part of their production at the laboratory that made of the remedy powders.

Past research has been done regarding the topic of this empirical study of homeopathic remedies that seem to support the theory formulated here. A few of these research studies post in PubMed [US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health] are:

Variation in Fourier transform infrared spectra of some homeopathic potencies and their diluent media. This research was done by Sukul NC, Ghosh S, Sukul A, Sinhababu SP in 2005. Their conclusion was: “The potencies and their diluent media therefore differ from each other in the number of hydrogen-bonded water species and their hydrogen-bonding strength.”3

The defining role of structure (including epitaxy) in the plausibility of homeopathy. This research was done by M. L. Rao, R. Roy, I. R. Bell, and R. Hoover in 2007. Their conclusion was, “Preliminary data obtained using Raman and Ultra-Violet-Visible (UV-VIS) spectroscopy illustrate the ability to distinguish two different homeopathic medicines (Nux vomica and Natrum muriaticum) from one another and to differentiate, within a given medicine, the 6c, 12c, and 30c potencies.”4

Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective. This research was done by PS Chikramane, AK Suresh, JR Bellare, SG Kane in 2010. Their conclusion was: “Using market samples of metal-derived medicines from reputable manufacturers, we have demonstrated for the first time by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction and chemical analysis by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES), the presence of physical entities in these extreme dilutions, in the form of nanoparticles of the starting metals and their aggregates.”5


1. Samal S, Geckeler KE. “Unexpected solute aggregation in water on dilution.” Chem Commun, 2001; 21: 2224–2225.
2. Helios Homoeopathy Ltd at: 89 – 97 Camden Rd, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2QR [UK]
3. NC Sukul, S Ghosh, A Sukul, SP Sinhababu, “Variation in Fourier transform infrared spectra of some homeopathic potencies and their diluent media,” Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine, vol.5, pp. 807-12, 2005.
[PubMed post PMID:16296914]
4. M. L. Rao, R. Roy, I. R. Bell, and R. Hoover, “The defining role of structure (including epitaxy) in the plausibility of homeopathy,” Homeopathy, vol. 96, pp. 175–182, 2007.
[PubMed post: PMID:17678814]
5. PS Chikramane, AK Suresh, JR Bellare, SG Kane, “Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective”, Homeopathy, vol.4, pp 231-42, 2010
[PubMed post: PMID:20970092

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Shirl Airov-Bieling N.D., DIHom, ATR
I am a Renaissance woman of various focuses with dual careers. My career as a Traditional Naturopathic Doctor has focused on my research. I did this research by myself in my home office. I have also worked as a fine arts photographer and won many awards, nationally and internationally. My former career was as an art therapist/analyst. I worked in various institutions and had a private practice/consulting business. At that time I also worked as an art/special ed teacher.