Physico-chemical properties of succussed high dilutions

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 aims to observe potential physico-chemical differences between succussed solutions and unsuccussed solutions using a particular type of highly sensitive (solvatochromic) coloured and fluorescent dyes, otherwise known as chromophoric probes. Investigations are being 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 polarisation and greater ordering in solution – 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
A short plain language summary of Dr Cartwright’s ground-breaking work with solvatochromic dyes here

HRI Rome 2015 conference presentation
Dr Cartwright presents results from this project at the 2nd HRI International Research Conference in Rome, June 2015

Publications generated by this HRI-funded project

Immobilization of Solvatochromic Dyes on Transparent Cellulose Films: an Improved Method for the Study of Homeopathic Potencies
Cartwright SJ. Homeopathy, 2023; 112(2):125-134

Bioresilience to Mercury Chloride of the Brine Shrimp Artemia Salina after Treatment with Homeopathic Mercurius Corrosivus
Cartwright, SJ et al.
Homeopathy, 2021;110(4):244-255

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

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

Solvatochromic dyes detect the presence of homeopathic
Open Access 

Cartwright SJ.
Homeopathy, 2015;05(1):55-65

Subsequent publications related to this topic

Interaction between Solvatochromic Dyes and Water Sampled from a Natural Source Treated with High Dilutions of Phosphorus 
Aparicio ACC, Bonamin LV, Cartwright SJ et al.
Homeopathy, 2020;109(3):126-132

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

Using the unique spectroscopic properties of push-pull molecular systems to investigate homeopathic potencies
Cartwright SJ.
Transdisciplinarity and Translationality in High Dilution Research. Signals and Images GIRI Series; Bonamin, L.V., Waisse, S.; Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Cambridge, UK, 2019; vol. 1, Chapter 7, p. 104-127.

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