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Investigating the physico-chemical properties of high dilutions

Lead Researcher – Dr Steven Cartwright
Completed Feb 2018

During the manufacturing process, homeopathic medicines are repeatedly succussed (shaken vigorously), introducing kinetic energy. This process is thought to be responsible for making the final product biologically active, despite being highly diluted. The question is, what changes does succussion cause in the solution and how does this enable the homeopathic medicines to work?

This project aimed to observe potential physico-chemical differences between succussed solutions and unsuccussed solutions using particular types of highly sensitive coloured and fluorescent dyes (chromophoric probes). Investigations were carried out using UV/VIS and fluorescence spectrometers to analyse changes in the spectra of the chromophoric probes as a function of succussion, nature of the substance diluted and specific environmental factors.

Results indicate that adding a drop of a liquid homeopathic medicine (or ‘potency’), induces greater ordering in solution and in particular enhance the exclusion zone known to exist adjacent to hydrophilic surfaces – a phenomenon not seen with unsuccussed liquids. These are exciting results and are generating a number of specific and fruitful lines of investigation.


Dr Steven Cartwright gained his PhD in molecular biology from Edinburgh University, going on to develop techniques in cryoenzymology at the universities of California and Oxford before training in Homeopathy. He is currently heading a laboratory based research project at the Cherwell Innovation Centre outside Oxford investigating the physio-chemical properties of homeopathic medicines using a class of sensitive ionic dyes as molecular probes of diluted and succussed solutions.

Why is this project important?

“An understanding of, and explanation for, the action of homeopathic medicines would not only revolutionise the status of homeopathy in the world but also profoundly improve prescribing methods and our ability to treat illness.”

Dr Steven Cartwright PhD

Learn more about this project

HRI Research in Focus article – Issue 30, Winter 2015
To read a short plain language summary of Dr Cartwright’s ground-breaking work with solvatochromic dyes click here

HRI Rome 2015 conference presentation
Dr Cartwright presented results from this project at the 2nd HRI International Research Conference in Rome, June 2015
View his presentation here.

Open access peer-reviewed publications

Solvatochromic dyes detect the presence of homeopathic potencies
Cartwright SJ.
Homeopathy, 2015;05(1):55-65
Full text

Interaction of homeopathic potencies with the water soluble solvatochromic dye bis-dimethylaminofuchsone. Part 1: pH studies
Cartwright SJ.
Homeopathy, 2017;106(1):37-46
Full text

Publications related to this project

Characterization of Antimonium crudum activity using solvatochromic dyes
Bonamin LV, Pedro RRP, Mota HMG et al.
Homeopathy, 2020;109(2):79-86

Homeopathic potencies may possess an electric field(-like) component: evidence from the use of encapsulated solvatochromic dyes
Cartwright SJ.
Homeopathy, 2020;109(1):14-22

Degree of response to homeopathic potencies correlates with dipole moment size in molecular detectors: Implications for understanding the fundamental nature of serially diluted and succussed solutions
Cartwright, SJ.
Homeopathy, 2018;107(1):19-31


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