Trituration and Succussion in the History of Medicine

My beloved teacher, the late Vaikunthanath Kaviraj (author of Homeopathy for Farm and Garden) often expressed his deep concern and frustration that homeopaths still do not grasp the depth and significance of trituration and succussion that are crucial steps in making homeopathic medicine. Homeopaths in general appreciate their importance, but Kaviraj’s apprehension was due to the lack of high-quality research in these procedures, which could help us move the science of homeopathy forward. To understand the gravity of his point, let us explore very briefly the history of trituration and succussion.

History reveals that Trituration in medicine (pulverizing in a mortar) is as old as the practice of Indian Medicine (5000 BC) also known as Ayurveda (Science of Life). In one recent study published by the International Research Journal of Pharmacy, scientists at the Mittal Punarvasu Ayurved College, Mumbai, demonstrated a pharmaceutical approach to making pearl into a bio-safe nano-medicine (ISSN 2230-8407). Why pearl? This gem is a valuable and highly regarded remedy in most of the Ayurvedic texts. In this research, pearl underwent the process of trituration 6 hours daily for 21 days. Through this, its particle size was reduced to the extremely minute nano-particles, which means the pearl transformed into nano-medicine, and this facilitates its intracellular activities. Advanced equipment was used in this study that clearly demonstrates the importance of trituration in significant reduction of particle size to increase its bioavailability (which refers to the presence of medicine where it is needed in the body). Keep in mind that in the drug industry each year, more than $65 billion is wasted due to poor bioavailability of medicines.

Nano Particles

As I mentioned, trituration has been in use by Ayurveda from ancient times till now. Traditional Chinese Medicine (since 2700 BC) is also using this process, triturating herbs for days! Different methodologies of trituration are now utilized in laboratories, but all for the same purpose, reduction of particle size.

The art of Trituration is a natural behavior known to all animals; our teeth grind and reduce food particles for better digestion. While this procedure was not invented by homeopathy, it was the genius of Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (April 10, 1755 – July 2, 1843) a German physician and scientist who detailed a precise standard operational procedure for the trituration process.

Dr. Hahnemann also shed light on the importance of succussion in the process of potentizing homeopathic medicine. That is, briskly shaking the liquid to create friction.

I would like to mention here that some biased medical-bigots ridicule and discredit Hahnemann, and they hold an opinion that these methods are irrational. I have to say, shame on them, as they mislead the general public by their ignorance. As a brilliant chemist of his time, Hahnemann said: “Far be it from me to prefer irrational quackery to the well-considered medicine.” I used the term ‘brilliant’ chemist because Hahnemann contributed to many branches of science including chemistry. Johann Friedrich Göttling was an outstanding chemist and pharmacist. He was the teacher of great chemists in history. He was appointed as an extraordinary professor of philosophy and chemistry in the University of Jena. In 1794, Professor Göttling said: “Chemistry has to thank Samuel Hahnemann for many important discoveries.”

The process of vigorous-shaking was known to Hahnemann before he systemized homoeopathy. But why did he use the term succussion instead of simply calling it shaking? History reveals that the term ‘succussion’ was used in the era of Hippocrates (460 BC – 377 BC), the Greek Physician regarded as Father of Medicine. Succussion was described by Hippocrates as a technique that consisted of shaking a patient to detect any fluid in the cavities of the body, particularly the lungs. Hippocrates insisted that the succussion process must be a firm and sudden shake; each shake should be equal in the extent of force, and those who perform it must be well trained. So how did Hippocrates came up with his technique of succussion? The answer is in his careful observation of the mechanism of cough! It is known that cough and its succussive mechanism has a forceful speed up to 50 miles per hour (about 80 Km/h).

Thus Dr. Hahnemann used the term succussion to convey the essence of vigorous force that is needed in shaking the liquid to create the friction and kinetic energy that is needed for potentization.

In a book about experimental chemistry, titled “The Sceptical Chymist” by Robert Boyle, published in London in the year 1661, I found this remarkable thought-provoking statement: “A few drops of the compound being shaken into a pretty quantity of the infusion.” This procedure suggests that the importance of succussion was known to chemists before Hahnemann. Dr. Hahnemann is guiding us in his book Organon of Medicine that “Succussion is nothing less than a Trituration of liquid substances”. After each series of succussions, comes the dilution step; these are crucial procedures. Dilution without succussion adds no kinetic energy to liquid, while succussion without an increase in dilution raises the level of potency in liquid only by one potency, regardless of how many times it is carried out.

It is indisputable that ongoing, unbiased high quality research studies with advanced technology are needed to further investigate this science so we can truly understand how molecules of a substance behave during their transformation in trituration, succusion and dilution.

So far, we can observe that nature teaches us that grinding food into minute nutrients by the teeth is similar to the trituration process. Also, the mechanism of a forceful cough could be the origin of the succussion method. In regards to dilution, I wish to use the following example to express a point. It is known by science that for human conception, in one ejaculation a male may send as many as 500 million sperm to the vagina. That transfers about 15,875 Gigabyte (GB) of data, equivalent to the capacity that is in about 7,000 computers. However, out of so many sperm, only one will fertilize an ovum. This single tiny sperm contains about 37.5 Megabytes (MB) of DNA information. You may find this example as irrelevant to the dilution process in preparation of homeopathic medicine; however, it may serve as food for thought to explore the potentials (in terms of information) that is in a single drop of homeopathic medicine.

Homeopathy is indeed waiting for science to catch-up. Let me conclude with Hahnemann’s quote: “It is infinitely easier to contradict than to investigate.”

Certainly, God is omniscient.

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