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Swan Potenzierung

Samuel Swan's Potentization Method

The Swan potencies were made by a Fluxion Process. In the Fluxion Process, the dilution of the remedy is the important measure, and not the succussion. Although the regular centessimal scale (1M, 10M, 50M, etc.) is used as labelling markers, these have to do with the amount of diluent rather than numbers of dilutions and succussions.

Swan speaks only of how he made his higher potencies. His starting point is unknown, although in similar Fuxion processes by others (Fincke, Skinner) the starting point was usually a 30C made in a Hahnemannian manner.

No pictures of the Swan Potentizer were ever published. We have only the brief description below.

Kent wrote, in 1903, "Swan's potencies were a fraud of the worst sort. I saw Swan make some and I discarded all I had."

The following description of the process appears in an article in The Organon Volume II, page 138-399, by Dr. Thomas Skinner.

(The reference to "Milwaukee friends" is in reference to the 1879 "Milwaukee Test" carried out by the AIH which proved there was no active material in the 30th (and above) potency. -JW)

The beauty of Swan's process is, that there is no mystery about it. Without his kind aid, the "fluxion" process would have remained a mystery and a great stumbling-block to myself, as it has bee to hundreds of other physicians.


Dr. Swan's Potentizer [described by Swan]

"The object sought in this invention was a rapid method of making high potencies. "Dr. Fincke having discovered and demonstrated that FLUXION ALONE was as efficacious as succession (and to him be all the honor of the discovery), it was desirable to endeavor to combine fluxion and succession with rapid operation. This Dr. Boericke accomplished to a certain extent, with his own ingenious and accurate machine; but it was not sufficiently rapid in its action. Accident introduced to my notice a water-meter, patented, but not yet made public, which was remarkable for the accuracy of its notation.

"A dial was graduated to cubic inches, and a circle of the dial indicated two thousand inches. Repeated experiments showed that the cubic inch contained three hundred drops, so that the passage of a cubic inch of water through a phial containing one drop of tincture, made the third centesimal potency. The water passes through the meter, and through a tube, closed at the end the lower face of which is perforated with very fine holes. This tube is inserted in the phial containing the tincture, and the water passing from the water-meter through the fine holes in the lower face, somewhat like the flat-rose of a watering-pot, causes a perturbation even more violent than succussion."

My friend, Dr. Swan, who is anything but a slow-coach, at least as regards the higher dynamizations, adopted an ingenious method of expediting the process, by taking fractional parts of the 1M, 10M, and so on, and attenuating from them. As the system of notation is as simple as it is ingenious and correct, I feel certain that the profession will appreciate it. I am not so certain of our Milwaukee friends, however.


Dr. Swan's rule for Potentizing

3 1/3 revolutions, or 333 1/3 cubic inches of water, with

  • 1 drop of tincture, makes the 1M potency.
  • 1/10 drop of 1M, makes the 10M potency.
  • 1/3 drop of 10M, makes the 30M potency.
  • 1/5 drop of 10M, makes the 50M potency.
  • 1/5 drop of 50M, makes the CM potency.
  • 1/5 drop of CM, makes the DM potency.
  • 1/10 drop of CM, makes the MM potency.
  • 1/10 drop of MM, makes the 10MM potency.
  • 1/5 drop of 10MM, makes the 50MM potency.
  • 1/5 drop of 50MM, makes the CMM potency.
  • 1/5 drop of CMM, makes the DMM potency.
  • 1/5 drop of DMM, makes the MMM potency.

"As these are the rule for all my high potencies, the estimate of their value is easily made."

Dr. Swan, in a letter to myself of the 2nd July last, speaking of his potencies and of his system of notation as above given, states: "As I said before, my system of notation is arbitrary, the potencies called CM and MM are all made by the same rule therefore reliable as to regularity. They act! and so well, that any who have used them, never fail to use them continually."

Dr. Berridge and I have used fluxion potencies since we began to practice as Hahnemannians, and we have no hesitation in stating that we find both Swan and Fincke's potencies "second to none." There is one point to which I would draw attention as regards Dr. Swan's rule for potentizing, and that is, that every time he takes a fraction of a drop of a previously made potency, say the tenth of the 1M he must necessarily take a fresh and perfectly clean tube and glass, or purify the one which made the 1M by means of heat. Unless this point is attended to, the expediting process will prove to be something worse than "The more haste the less speed." Dr. Swan believes in succussion, consequently, before putting up a particular potency in spirit, he gives the phial twenty-five succussions, in addition to "the perturbation" accompanying the development of each potency, as is stated to occur in his process.

by Julian Winston