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(Translated from the Allgemeine Homoepathische Zeitung.)


At the convention of the homoeopathic physicians of the Rhine Provinces and Westphalia, held at Dortmund on the 26th of July 1860, a report on Jenichen's high potencies was made by Dr. C. von Boenninghausen.

Jenichen's high potencies, which for the last ten years have almost been forgotten, have lately been spoken of, here and there, in a suspicious manner.

The principal fault, and one apparently just and based upon good reasons, was that Jenichen had not publicly made known his mode of preparing medicines.

It was therefore taken for granted — we cannot see for what reason — that Jenichen employed a method different from that one adopted by Hahnemann; and this assertion is sustained by calculations of probabilities and arguments exabsurdo. The hope that we should be enlightened on this subject by Dr. Hering, who is believed to be in possession of Jenichen's communications on his mode of preparing medicines, has up to this day not been realized, and no one else is able to give any authentic communication on this subject. We were in doubt, and continue to remain so, on this really important point, but scepticism was carried further than was admissible, and finally it was asserted that there was nothing in this subject but undignified mystification, which should be opposed with energy. We will not recount how great and good men, who are devoted to our new art went too far in extending this suspicion; and because the mode of preparation was unknown to them, declined to make experiments. Nor shall I relate the many and important testimonials in praise of these preparations. We are inclined to forgive this excess of caprice, if it originated in a desire for clearness and purity in science. But many, and I am sorry to say, a great many, have no other excuse for rejecting these preparations than the gradual increase in the administration of the low dilutions, and sneer at those who remain true to the forward progress of Hahnemann. Under these circumstances we feel constrained to throw some light on this subject, and as a small contribution to this purpose we give a letter from Jenichen.

No one can for an instant suppose that this letter was either written for this end or for publication at all.

We will first give his own words as far as they touch the question at issue, and mark with numbers the sentences to which we will add a few remarks.

The letter is dated Wismar, January 2d, 1846, written in Jenichen's well known handwriting and therefore original. It is directed to our well known and esteemed Staph, from whom we received this letter long ago. The part referred to reads as follows: “The words of our Gross, where will it end,” (he meant the high potencies) “and who can mark the limit,” induced me — because we cannot know a priori, and because the experiment alone can solve the question (1) — to resolve on the 22d ult., to potentize Arsenic from 2500 up to 8000, and my ever-faithful arm-strength accomplished it in 165000 strong arm shakes (2). I enclose you these allmeasure-overstepping preparations, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 thousand (3); the middle potencies 35, 45, 55, 65, and 75 hundred (4) I will send later, if necessary. It will be very interesting for you to ascertain if Arsenic 8000 has any effect at all, or if the limit of its action has been reached by a lower potency. I have sent the same preparations to Gross yesterday, and am sending them today to Hering (5). The trial will require but little time, because if there is no result in 12 hours, as was the case with other high potencies, the choice was wrong and Ars. 8000 has no effect (6).

On the 1st “of January, 1846, at 2-30 a.m., (7) Arsenic 8000 was born. I feel a great desire to know if this little child will soon die or reach an age of some hundreds of years, which will be decided by its having none, some, or very great effects (8). I believe the latter (great effects) will be the res alt, but among us that does not mean much, since belief is' not of much value. Experiment, and experiment alone, must decide (9). And please give Arsenic 8000 where there can be no doubt that it is the remedy. I ask you also to send some of these preparations to Boenninghausen, so that he also may try them and give us his assistance in deciding this very interesting question (10). Were we only a month older, we would be able to draw conclusions in the range of potencies (11). If Arsenic 8000 cures, I shall potentize Chamomilla up to 4000, that we may expand our views. The triumph, for which I hope, does not belong to me, it belongs to Hering, who says “every year higher.”

It is not enough that Arsenic 8000 cures, but we will then most certainly find cases in which Arsenic 3 and 5000 fail, but where Arsenic 8000 cures. I am therefore glad that the next number of the Archiv does not appear before three months.”

This is the text of Jenichen's letter as far as it concerns this case: we will now give some short notes and explanations.

1. We will only say a few words about experiment and experience. If that which has been stated by Jenichen's (and our) adversaries is correct, that the highest potencies were only preparations of the same dilution more repeatedly shaken, he would not have been under the necessity first to wait for the experiment and the experience, as there is not the most remote supposition, based upon facts, that repeated shaking (or trituration) diminishes or suspends the previous efficaciousness. On the contrary there are thousands of facts known to the opposite, which induced Hahnemann to warn us against an excess.

2. From the 22d of December till January 1st are nine days, and if that part of the night of January 1st is counted, that much more. This space of nine days had Jenichen spent to elevate the potency of Arsenic from 2500 to 8000, that is, to make 5500 new potencies. If he applied, as he positively states, 165000 arm shakes it will give each number, according to plain calculation 30 arm shakes. In the same manner it is calculated (including the last night until 21/2 o'clock) for each day about 18000 arm shakes; for the hour, taking only twelve working hours in the day, 1500, and for the minute, 24 arm shakes, of which in this space of time 150 can be given by one accustomed to it. There was time enough left for one as experienced as Jenichen to empty the vial and fill it by a measure glass again. In these statements we can see nothing improbable, as some arithmeticians have tried to show by their calculations. What Jenichen says of his “ever faithful arm-strength” has reference to his unusual strength and endurance, well known to his friends and of which he has given frequent and astonishing proofs.

To further explain his mode of preparation I here annex a part of Jenichen's letter directed to me under date of the 8th of November, 1845.

“If the preparation, especially of the higher potencies, was not attended with so much toil, and took so much time. — The tiresome monotony is also a painful addition. — And moreover, there is no possibility of thinking of any thing else during the act of potentizing (in consequence of the counting of the shakes) if even preparations are to be accomplished. It would be no wonder that, before the end had been accomplished, the enthusiasm should begin to cool. But the knowledge that I make preparations for the whole sick world — (I at least hope that my preparations will be in the course of time, distributed all over the world), that I make preparations which no one else can prepare equally well, that is it which encourages me and revives my physical strength, and I therefore do not merit any special praise, because I only do my duty”

For those who are not satisfied with the words communicated in a confidential letter by a man of honor, I have nothing more to add.

3. The six preparations here-mentioned Jenichen did send our friend Staph, who (see 10) according to his wish divided them with me and also sent the above letter at the same time.

4. The intermediate potencies mentioned, Jenichen kept and later sent them to me. Herein lies a new proof that Jenichen made his preparations strictly after the Hahnemanian method, i. e. in the centesimal scale. The decimal scale was then almost unknown, an innovation by younger Homoeopathists never accepted by the strict adherents of Hahnemann, to which number Jenichen belonged, and which innovation, it is to be hoped, will never be accepted. It is more probable that Jenichen adopted Korsakoff's method; by this method the potency vial is every time emptied, (provided the potency is not to be preserved) and 99 to 100 drops of Alcohol are added to the fluid remaining in the glass. This would make no essential difference, as the proportion remains the same as if a fresh vial was taken for each number, which would only increase the expense.

5. Experience alone, as Jenichen very truly says, can here ascertain and decide where the efficacy of potentized medicine ceases. At that time he could have no forebodings, that by each further potentization the curative sphere of the medicine was enlarged, by developing powers till then latent. Something so marvelous and, a priori, entirely incredible could only be noticed by a few Homoeopathists, who for a number of years had employed high potencies, while they kept their journals exact. We are sorry that we are deprived of the testimony of two great defenders of the high potencies, Staph and Gross, who were convinced by experiment, both of whom are now dead. Nevertheless their testimony remains in the three volumes of the Neues Archiv fur Homoeopathische Heilkunst, forever a valuable legacy for the future, when we hope further experiments will be made.

6. What Jenichen here says about the quick curative action of the high potencies is so true and so entirely based upon facts, that I do not hesitate, after long years of experience, to endorse it unhesitatingly. But if this is true and if this is endorsed by all those without exception who have made continued experiments, we must find it incomprehensible, how many who have no experience at all, have the audacity to admit the applicability of the higher dynamizations in chronic cases, but not in acute diseases, where often the quickest relief becomes necessary. And this entirely erroneous and false view is daily repeated without the least proof, and with an assurance as if any contradiction was entirely inadmissible. But, if these assertions are properly sifted, we find readily that they are not based upon experiment, and that they are only a repetition of what somebody has said, who pretends to be a master of the art, and is not afraid of being contradicted by the inexperienced. Such bold and haughty propagandists of falsehoods are the most dangerous enemies of science, and deserve to stand on the pillory of literature as genuine forgers.

7. Mention as regards time has been made under 2.

8. Notwithstanding all the pains which have been taken to strangle the infant, the attempt to murder has failed and only so much has been accomplished, that for the present, until better and less prejudiced times come, it is to be nursed in a quiet retirement, where only the few initiated are admitted. It seems as if Homoeopathy for the last twenty years has undergone a process of fermentation and purification which will serve to separate falsehood from truth. For the present every one holds to his opinions and views; this is natural and excusable, though the reasons may not always be tenable; but consistency must not degenerate into blind obstinacy, and above all experiment must be allowed to decide the question. What experiment repeatedly confirms, cannot be denied by reasoning alone; and as we express ourselves today about the errors of our forefathers, so will posterity judge us; but then, as we doubt not, this child of Jenichen's will emerge from his present obscurity and fill the place which belongs to him by right.

9. Yes! experiment, and experiment only, must decide, and Hahnemann himself always appeals to it and always repeats the admonition “imitate faithfully:” this is also true in every thing Homoeopathy teaches or affirms. That in this doctrine we already possess so many things which we cannot comprehend and which seem even to be opposed to common sense, no Homoeopathist doubts — should he have a right to reject this small addition, solely the result of experiment, for no more weighty reason?

10. This communication was made because I had for the first time (in the first volume des Neues Archives fur die Homoeopathische Heilkunst, second part, page 30) already in 1844 openly spoken of the higher (the 200th) potency. Some of my adversaries, still living, have made it their business to bestow upon me and my two friends, Staph and Gross, who in a note in the same journal, declared their assent of this unheard-of and apparently nonsensical innovation, all sorts of abuse.

11. In this point Jenichen committed an error. Not one month, nor many months, but many years are required to collect facts in sufficient number to establish the experiment fully and without a doubt. Hahnemann has given us in this respect a most praise-worthy example. It required twenty years before Hahnemann thought proper to promulgate the 30th potency; he first tried the experiment and continued it twenty years with doses, which in our days are sometimes rejected by our young Homoeopathists after an experiment of only a few weeks.

Sufficient certainty can scarcely be arrived at with the high potencies in a shorter period; and as I began to make more extensive experiments with high potencies since 1843, there are three more years required to complete 20 years. Nevertheless we are now enabled to say with confidence that the result has been so satisfactory that we prefer them decidedly to all lower dynamizations, and that we shall never again return to the lower attenuations; we have treated a number of cases in which the usual 200th was insufficient and the cure was only accomplished by Jenichen's high potencies.

From the two above letters and from my remarks we may draw the conclusion that Jenichen prepared his medicines strictly after Hahnemann's directions, in the centesimal scale, and that he potentized each dilation with 30 shakes of an unusually powerful arm.

To contradict these conclusions in an admissible manner, we want facts to be brought forward; facts which merit belief; as long as such facts are wanting, it is allowable to hold the above as correct and true.


In the continuation of this report Boenninghausen dwells on the communications of Dr. B. Fincke, in the American Homoeopathic Review of March and April 1860, as confirming the superiority of the high potencies.

The child of Jenichen, over since its birth, has been carefully nursed, and the time does not seem far distant when its opponents will have exhausted all their bitter slander, their false testimony, their boasting and malice against the custodians of the growing giant. The child born on the 1st day of January 1846 was not Jenichen's only child. The experiment resulted as he had anticipated, that the 8000th potency would do much — he potentized Arsenic up to 40,000, and experience has sufficiently confirmed the fact that this very high potency is not only not without effect, but that this surpasses all the other preparations of Arsenic. The testimony of Dr. B. Fincke was unexpected — but the cases, as he relates them, carry truth with them, and will be accepted as another link in the chain of evidence now collecting — an accumulated collection of evidences based on experience on one side, and empty, vain contradictions, without the weight of experience, on the other — who cannot forsee the result! The child nursed in the cradle of fundamental principles and nourished by experiment has grown a giant and will soon burst forth and stand before the world a victor and a blessing.


Source: The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 02 No. 12, 1860, pages 543-551
Description: Jenichen's High Potencies.
Author: Boenninghausen, C.
Year: 1860
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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