Thoughts on homeopathy

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Thoughts on homeopathy

Post by NHE » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:29 am

Homeopathy was developed by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. One of the founding principles of homeopathy is that the more dilute a substance is, the more biologically potent that substance becomes. Thus, something diluted 100x is considered to be more potent than that same substance diluted 10x and so on. Homeopathic dilutions are often labeled as X or D which is a 1:10 dilution and also as C which is a 1:100 dilution. Therefore a 6X dilution is 6 1:10 dilutions or 1:1,000,000 (1x10-6) and a 6C dilution is 6 1:100 dilutions or 1:1,000,000,000,000 (1x10-12). 30C dilutions are common and are considered to be the more potent than a 10X (or 10D) dilution. One example of a commonly used homeopathic substance is Oscillococcinum which is a 200C dilution of duck liver. That's 200 1:100 dilutions or 1x10-400. Wow! 1

Given the above, lets consider the case of homeopathic alcohol. According to homeopathy, diluting the alcohol will make it more potent. The following is a an example of a 30C dilution of ethanol. We're all familiar with ethanol. Drinking a pint of whiskey is likely to make most folks falling down drunk, in a black out, passed out, or perhaps choked on your own vomit dead. In contrast a 30C dilution of that very same pint of whiskey is side effect free!

Whiskey is 80 proof. That means it's 40% ethanol (alcohol) by volume. There are thus 189.27 mL of ethanol in that pint of whiskey. Ethanol has a density of 0.779 g/mL and its molecular weight is 46.07 g/mol. As such, there are 147.42 g of ethanol in that pint consisting of 1.923x1024 molecules. If we do 1:100 dilutions, we find that at 12C there are just 1.93 molecules remaining. At 30C, there are 1.93x10-36 molecules of ethanol. That's 36 orders of magnitude less than 1. Clearly, a 30C homeopathic dilution contains nothing of the original substance.

Now some might argue that water has a 'memory effect' such that its physical structure remembers the things it used to contain and that this 'memory effect' induces the supposed efficacy of homeopathic treatments.

Really? At a 30C dilution, one is left with pure water. Water has a concentration of 55.5 mols/L (3.34x1025 molecules per liter). All of the atomic bonds between hydrogen and oxygen in all of those water molecules will be bending and stretching. Moreover, all of those water molecules will be interacting with each other via hydrogen bonds. That's a considerable amount of energetic interaction just in the pure water. I suppose one could freeze a metal rod in some ice, pull out the rod and call the resultant hole a 'memory' of the rod. Melt the ice and refreeze it. See if you get your hole back.

So drink 30C whiskey. It's side effect free! You can even drive without fear of getting a DUI! Though you might have to pull over to pee depending on how much you drink and you could get fined for public urination depending on where and when you have to pee, but that's a different story.

Warning, drinking excessive amounts of water is not without risk. It can dilute your blood electrolyte levels which can be fatal. So, even with 30C whiskey (aka H2O) moderation is key!

1. For comparison, EU drinking water quality standards specify that lead, a known neurotoxin, must be less than 10 µg/L. Since a liter weighs 1000 g, that's 10 parts per billion (ppb). Numerically, this is 0.000000010. A 200C dilution of duck liver in Oscillococcinum is 1 part in 10400. That's a 1 preceded by 399 zeros after the decimal point.
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