Homeopathy 2014; 103(01): 4-21
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2013.08.003
Review
Copyright © The Faculty of Homeopathy 2013

High-dilution effects revisited. 1. Physicochemical aspects

Paolo Bellavite
1  Department of Pathology and Diagnostics, University of Verona, Strada Le Grazie 8, 37134 Verona, Italy
,
Marta Marzotto
1  Department of Pathology and Diagnostics, University of Verona, Strada Le Grazie 8, 37134 Verona, Italy
,
Debora Olioso
1  Department of Pathology and Diagnostics, University of Verona, Strada Le Grazie 8, 37134 Verona, Italy
,
Elisabetta Moratti
1  Department of Pathology and Diagnostics, University of Verona, Strada Le Grazie 8, 37134 Verona, Italy
,
Anita Conforti
2  Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Verona, Piazza L.A. Scuro 10, 37134 Verona, Italy
› Author Affiliations

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

Received27 March 2013
revised26 June 2013

accepted12 August 2013

Publication Date:
10 January 2018 (online)

Several lines of evidence suggest that homeopathic high dilutions (HDs) can effectively have a pharmacological action, and so cannot be considered merely placebos. However, until now there has been no unified explanation for these observations within the dominant paradigm of the dose–response effect. Here the possible scenarios for the physicochemical nature of HDs are reviewed. A number of theoretical and experimental approaches, including quantum physics, conductometric and spectroscopic measurements, thermoluminescence, and model simulations investigated the peculiar features of diluted/succussed solutions. The heterogeneous composition of water could be affected by interactive phenomena such as coherence, epitaxy and formation of colloidal nanobubbles containing gaseous inclusions of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, silica and, possibly, the original material of the remedy. It is likely that the molecules of active substance act as nucleation centres, amplifying the formation of supramolecular structures and imparting order to the solvent. Three major models for how this happens are currently being investigated: the water clusters or clathrates, the coherent domains postulated by quantum electrodynamics, and the formation of nanoparticles from the original solute plus solvent components. Other theoretical approaches based on quantum entanglement and on fractal-type self-organization of water clusters are more speculative and hypothetical. The problem of the physicochemical nature of HDs is still far from to be clarified but current evidence strongly supports the notion that the structuring of water and its solutes at the nanoscale can play a key role.