Free water molecules and hydrogen bonding form the basis of variation in homeopathic potencies as revealed by vibrational spectroscopy


  • Tandra Sarkar
  • Atheni Konar
  • Nirmal Chandra Sukul
  • Anirban Sukul
  • Indrani Chakraborty
  • Pallab Datta
  • Ashok Sutradhar



Calcarea carb, Silicea, potencies, free water molecules, hydrogen bonding, vibrational spectroscopy


Objective: Using Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) we have demonstrated that homeopathic potencies of Natrum mur, Cantharis, Nux vomica and Sulphur show differences with respect to the number of free water molecules and strength of hydrogen bonding. The purpose of the present study is to confirm this phenomenon in three potencies of two more drugs Calcarea carb and Silicea. Design: The potencies used for each of the two drugs were 30cH, 200cH and 1000cH. The control was 90% ethanol as also the potentized drugs. The control, as well as the potencies, were diluted with distilled water to reduce the level of ethanol to 0.03 molar fraction in each of them. FTIR spectra of all the potentized drugs, control and sterile distilled water (reference water) were taken in the wave number region of 4000-2800 cm-1. The full width at half maximum (fwhm) of OH band was measured for each spectrum. The width was divided into two in the middle. The difference spectrum (absorbance of drug solution - absorbance of reference water) for each potency and the control was obtained after normalization of the spectrum at 3410 cm-1. One difference spectrum so obtained for a potency was subtracted from another to find out if there is a difference between two different potencies. Results: The half width half maximum (hwhm) in both the high and low-frequency sides of the OH band is far less narrow in potencies than in the control as compared to that in water. The difference spectra for different potencies show different levels of fall in intensity at the wave number region of dip at 3630 cm-1. The level of dip at 3630 cm-1 and subsequent rise in intensity in the lower frequency region represent the quantity of free water molecules and strong alcoholic OH bond around 3250 cm-1, respectively. The results of subtraction between two different potencies are not zero but have marked positive or negative values. Conclusion (i) Potencies have stronger intermolecular interactions and a higher number of chemical environments than the control, as revealed by the data on hwhm. (ii) The three potencies of each of the two drugs show distinct variation in the number of free water molecules and strength of hydrogen bonding. (iii) There exists both inter-drug and inter-potency variation as revealed by the difference spectra and results of subtraction between two difference spectra.






Basic Research (Biology)

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