They are extremely dilute amounts of natural substances. The sources may be plants such as aconite, dandelion or spruce bark; minerals such as iron phosphate, sulphur or sodium chloride; or animal sources such as squid ink or oyster shells.The original substance is diluted in 1:100 ratio many times until the desired dosage is obtained. The solution is shaken vigorously in between each dilution, and this is thought to activate or “potentize” the remedy, and allow it to work even in the smallest doses. Even highly toxic sources are rendered harmless by this process of repeated dilution and activation, and the remedies are generally available over the counter or by mail order for lay people, without any fear of side effects, drug-drug interactions or overdose issues.
Homeopathic medicines are prepared from the following 6 major sources :
Plant kingdom: About 60% of the homeopathic medicines are prepared from one or more parts of plants, such as leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, berries, and whole plants. All types of plants, benign, poisonous, and carnivorous, are used, in full or in part, in the preparation of homeopathic medicines. Common plant-based homeopathic medicines are Pulsatilla nigra, Bryonia alba, Aconite napellus, Belladona, Gelsemium, Coffea cruda, Rhus toxicodendron, etc.
Mineral kingdom: About 20% of the homeopathic medicines are prepared from minerals, including metals, non-metals, and their compounds. Some of the medicines prepared using minerals are Aurum metallicum (gold), Kali carbonicum (potassium), Natrum muriaticum (common salt), and Silica (sand). Almost all known metals and many important compounds have been used in homeopathy for their therapeutic properties.
Animal kingdom: Certain animal products, which are obtained without killing animals, are also used as homeopathic medicines. These include snake poison, spider poison, etc., which are used in extremely minute doses to prepare homeopathic medicines.
Examples include : Tarantula hispania, Lachesis, Ambra gresia, Bufo rana, and Naja naja, etc.
Diseased tissues: Some homeopathic medicines are prepared using tissues or secretions containing bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. Thus, homeopathy used miniscule amounts of microorganisms long before the introduction of vaccines. Some commonly used homeopathic medicines prepared in this manner include Tuberculinum, Syphillinum, and Variolinum.
Hormones and healthy tissues: Certain homeopathic medicines are derived from healthy human discharges as well as tissues. Examples of medicines prepared in this manner include Thyroidinum and Adreanline.
Imponderables: In homeopathy, certain invisible substances and energy sources, such as magnetism, x-ray, radiation, etc. are used to prepare certain homeopathic medicines by specific methods.