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Drugs & Vehicles: When we want to take iron or lime, etc. as medicine, we do not directly bite out a morsel, but prepare the drug so as to be easily taken and easily assimilated. For this purpose, we mix with the drug inert substance such as sugar of milk or distilled water or add to it alcohol, in order to preserve its properties intact for a long period. These diluent or preserving substances are medicinally inert and are called Vehicles.

Regarding the drugs themselves, some are soluble, others are insoluble. The original insoluble drugs are called crude drugs; the original strong alcoholic solutions of soluble drugs are called mother tincture. Mother tinctures are indicated by the symbol Ó¨. These represent the full active principles of the soluble drugs and keep well for a long time, because of the alcohol used. Watery solutions do not keep well, hence the use of alcohol in making solutions.

In Homoeopathy, where one is concerned with small doses, drugs are seldom used in their crude form or in their mother tinctures. Attenuation of them are prepared and it is these attenuations or potencies (misnamed dilutions) that are of such tremendous value. The dry or insoluble drugs when attenuated with sugar of milk are called triturations or dry attenuations.

The principle on which the attenuation depends is this—when 1 part of crude drug or mother tincture is triturated or diluted with 9 parts of sugar of milk or alcohol, as the case may be, form 1 or first decimal potency; when attenuated with 99 parts, form first centesimal potency. Any of these potencies when triturated or diluted again with 9 or 99 parts of alcohol or sugar of milk, forms respectively the 2nd decimal or second centesimal potency. There are, however exceptions to this general rule.

Medicines for external applications are very few in number. They are prepared as follows One part of a drug mixed up with eight parts of water forms lotion, but with 8 parts of oil, soap, wax or lard, it forms liniment or ointment. (For further information the reader is referred to our Homoeopathic Pharmaceutics’ Manual.)

Classification of Potencies: The potencies are usually divisible into three groups

  • Lower Potencies 1x, 3x, 3, 6;
  • Medium Potencies: 12, 18, 30;
  • Higher Potencies 100, 200, 500 (D), 1000 (M), 1,00,000 (C.M.), 5,00,000 (D.M.), 10,00,000 (M.M).

According to the American Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia 1x—30 are lower potencies; all potencies above, 30 being considered as higher ones.

[In the Organon, in paragraphs 128 and 269, has been discussed the reason why such small doses are so effective. We shall discuss this subject in Appendix A].

How to keep Drugs: Drugs should be purchased from reliable firms only. They should be kept in places free from dust, sun’s, rays, smoke, strong smells and always away from camphor or its tincture, allopathic medicines, essences or. perfumes and the heavy odours of the sick- chamber. If it is desired to burn incense in the room, the medicines should be previously removed elsewhere. It is never allowable to put the cork or stopper of one phial on to that of another medicine phial.

How to use Drugs: In all cases where the Homoeopathic mode of treatment is to be commenced after allopathic or other systems have been tried, start with one or two doses of Camphor. Before taking a Homoeopathic medicine always rinse out the mouth with clean water. The water to be used should preferably be distilled water. Where ordinary filtered water is not available, it is better not to use any water at all. If the medicine is a powder, one has simply to put it into one’s mouth and gulp it down. If it is a tincture, a drop may be taken with water; or, in the absence of the latter, with globules or pilules or sugar of milk. Where a patient cannot swallow medicines, drop into his mouth globules or powders. Where even that is not possible, let him inhale the medicine selected. In dropping medicine from the phial, a dropper may be used or the lower end of the cork may be utilised for the purpose. It is a sound practice always to wash the dropper used in dropping medicines in alcohol or distilled water, before replacing the same.

Determination of Potency: In the following article we have indicated the potencies that we recommend; but as a general rule, it may be laid down—

  1. that Camphor should be used in its mother tincture; and Natrum, Sulph, Lycopodium etc. in their higher potencies;
  2. that in acute diseases, lower and medium potencies; while in chronic diseases, higher potencies should be used;
  3. that in cholera, one has to use at one’s discretion according to the urgency of the symptoms.

Dose: It should be suitable to the age of the patient and the condition of his health. As a general rule, the dose for….

An adult (14 years & upwards) 1
A child (3—14 yrs.) ½ …½ …1 …2
(up to 2 yrs.) ½ …½ …½ …1

If water is used as vehicle, the quantities suitable for a dose are—for an adult 4 drams; for a child 2 drams; and for an infant ½ dram or half a teaspoonful.

Repitition of doses: In acute cases, doses should be repeated every 1, 2, 3 or 5 hours; in fatal illness, every 10, 15 or 20 minutes—the potency being increased after every two unsuccessful doses; and in chronic cases once or twice a week.

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