The medicines

Homeopathic medicines are manufactured by repeatedly diluting and succussing (shaking) a preparation of the original substance, mainly plants and minerals, in water and alcohol. After dilution the medicine is added to lactose tablets or pillules.

The strength of the medicines

Over-the-counter homeopathic medicines that you can buy in high street shops tend to be in either the 6c or 30c potency. 6c means that the substance has undergone 6 steps in a series of dilutions, where each step involves diluting 1 part medicine to 99 parts alcohol/water.

The more stages of dilution and succussion the preparation has gone through, the more potent the medicine is – so a 30c medicine is more potent than a 6c medicine.

Although this is opposite to the way most conventional medicines manifest their effects, where a greater dose has a greater physiological impact, there are some conventional drugs that have paradoxical, or inverse, effects at lower doses.  An example of an inverse dose-response relationship is the net vasodilator effect of adrenaline which, toward the lower range of the dose-response curve, increases with more dilute doses of the drug.