Homeopathy
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1676325
Original Article
The Faculty of Homeopathy

Phenomenological Characterization of Low-Potency Homeopathic Preparations by Means of Pattern Formation in Evaporating Droplets

Maria Olga Kokornaczyk
1  Society for Cancer Research, Hiscia Institute, Arlesheim, Switzerland
,
Sandra Würtenberger
2  Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Hevert-Arzneimittel GmbH & Co. KG, Nussbaum, Germany
,
Stephan Baumgartner
1  Society for Cancer Research, Hiscia Institute, Arlesheim, Switzerland
3  Institute of Integrative Medicine, University of Witten/Herdecke, Herdecke, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Funding This investigation was funded by institutional sources only.
Further Information

Publication History

05 July 2018

05 October 2018

Publication Date:
09 January 2019 (eFirst)

Abstract

Background Evaporation-induced pattern formation in droplets has been applied to test effects of high potencies. Here we propose for the first time the droplet evaporation method (DEM) as a tool to characterize low potencies on a qualitative and quantitative basis.

Materials and Methods The present investigation consisted of: (1) screening of 18 different substances of mineral, vegetal, and animal origin in the 1x to 6x potency range; choice of four substances with characteristic pattern-forming properties; (2) replication experiments aiming at the differentiation of four homeopathic preparations at the same potency levels (2x–6x); and (3) control experiments performed on three preparations. The DEM experimental protocol consisted of the evaporation of droplets of the analyzed potency per se, placed on microscope slides and in controlled conditions. The resulting patterns were photographed and subjected to computerized image analysis.

Results The screening experiments yielded a wide variety of patterns. Homeopathic preparations of mineral origin showed the largest variety of forms, whereas potencies of vegetal origin mostly created dendritic patterns, probably due to diffusion-limited aggregation. The here-analyzed image analysis variables (gray-level distribution, entropy, and inverse difference moment) allowed a highly significant differentiation of patterns prepared from four substances (Echinacea, Baptisia, Luffa, and Spongia) at the same potency levels in the range 2x to 4x, whereas patterns obtained from potencies 5x and 6x could no longer be differentiated and resembled the pattern of pure solute (purified water). The control experiments showed reasonable experimental model stability.

Conclusions DEM seems to be a promising tool for qualitative phenomenological characterization of homeopathic preparations in low potency. We propose the application of the current experimental model for investigating further research topics in this field, such as the comparison of potencies versus simple dilutions or the contribution of component remedies to the patterns formed by homeopathic combination medicines.

Highlights

• Droplet evaporation patterns from potencies of mineral origin show a great variety of forms.


• Patterns from potencies of vegetal origin show rather dendritic structures typical for diffusion-limited aggregation.


• Computerized pattern evaluation allowed us to differentiate between potencies deriving from different substances until 4x.


• Patterns from 5x and 6x potencies resembled the pattern of control water.


• The droplet evaporation method might serve to analyze the matter still present in low potencies and how it changes during consecutive potentization steps.