Potentized homeopathic medicines are commonly dispensed as medicated sugar pills or sugar of milk.
Sugar pills are made of cane sugar or sucrose. Sucrose is the organic compound belonging to the class of ‘carbohydrates’, commonly known as table sugar and sometimes called saccharose. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role in food. The molecule is a disaccharide composed of the monosaccharides glucose and fructose with the molecular formula C12H22O11.
Sugar of milk or Lactose is a disaccharide sugar found in milk. It has a formula of C12H22O11. Lactose is a disaccharide derived from the condensation of monosacharides galactose and glucose, which form a β-1→4 glycosidic linkage. Its systematic name is β-D-galactopyranosyl-(1→4)-D-glucose. The glucose can be in either the α-pyranose form or the β-pyranose form, whereas the galactose can only have the β-pyranose form: hence α-lactose and β-lactose refer to anomeric form of the glucopyranose ring alone. Lactose is hydrolysed to glucose and galactose, isomerised in alkaline solution to lactulose, and catalytically hydrogenated to the corresponding polyhydric alcohol, lactitol. Lactose crystals have a characteristic tomahawk shape that can be observed with a light microscope.
Both sucrose and lactose, used in homeopathic pharmacy, could be hydrolyzed into their sub-units by digestive enzymes, and absorbed into blood stream.
Use of cane sugar and sugar of milk in homeopathic pharmacy is equivalent to use of various ‘excipents’ in modern pharmaceutical industry. An excipient is generally a pharmacologically inactive substance formulated with the active ingredient of a medication. Excipients are commonly used to bulk up formulations that contain potent active ingredients (thus often referred to as “bulking agents,” “fillers,” or “diluents”), to allow convenient and accurate dispensation of a drug substance when producing a dosage form. They also can serve various therapeutic-enhancing purposes, such as facilitating drug absorption or solubility, or other pharmacokinetic considerations.
Excipients can also be useful in the manufacturing process, to aid in the handling of the active substance concerned such as by facilitating powder flowability or non-stick properties, in addition to aiding in vitro stability such as prevention of denaturation over the expected shelf life. The selection of appropriate excipients also depends upon the route of administration and the dosage form, as well as the active ingredient and other factors. Pharmaceutical regulations and standards require that all ingredients in drugs, as well as their chemical decomposition products, be identified and shown to be safe.
Cellulose seems to be a better choice for dispensing homeopathic medicines, when compared to sugar of milk and cane sugar. Cellulose is an organic compound with the formula (C6H10O5)n, a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to over ten thousand D-glucose units. Cotton fibers represent the purest natural form of cellulose, containing more than 90% of this polysaccharide.
In many ways, cellulose makes the ideal excipient for pharmaceuticals as well as food articles. A naturally occurring polymer, it is composed of glucose units connected by a 1-4 beta glycosidic bond. These linear cellulose chains are bundled together as microfibril spiralled together in the walls of plant cell. Each microfibril exhibits a high degree of three-dimensional internal bonding resulting in a crystalline structure that is insoluble in water and resistant to reagents. There are, however, relatively weak segments of the microfibril with weaker internal bonding. These are called amorphous regions but are more accurately called dislocations since microfibril containing single-phase structure. The crystalline region is isolated to produce microcrystalline cellulose.
Microcrystalline cellulose is a term for refined wood pulp and is used as a texturizer, an anti-caking agent, a fat substitute, an emulsifier, an extender, and a bulking agent in food production.The most common form is used in vitamin supplements or tablets. It is also used in plaque assays for counting viruses.
I have been doing some experiments in homeopathic dispensing by using cellulose, both as cotton fibers as well as commercially available microcystalline cellulose. Small quantity of pure cotton fibers were moistened with potentized drugs selected as similimum, and kept until it is dried and advised the patients to keep it under tongue for some time. It acted very promptly, much better than when administered by other conventional means. By keeping under tongue for extended periods, the molecular imprints adsorbed in the cotton get gradually released, thereby ensuring appropriate exposure and availability.
We can apply medicated cotton also as wound dressing, and to cover skin lesions as eczema. Medicated cotton has been used as anal plugging in haemorrhoids with promising results.
Microcrystalline cellulose is commercially available in the market in tablet forms, which could be moistened by potentized drugs and kept for long periods. They also gave excellent results in my experiments.