Molecular Imprinting- Azeotropism- Molecular Mimicry- Molecular Competititions- Molecular Inhibitions: New Paradigms in Scientific Homeopathy

Hahnemann explaining homeopathic cure using the concepts of ‘vital force’ and ‘dynamic drug energy’ 230 years back is quite natural and understandable, considering the primitive state of scientific knowledge available during that period.

But when present day “hanemannians” stubbornly hesitate to update the theoretical system of homeopathy in this era of advanced scientific knowledge of modern life sciences, biochemistry and pharmacology, and talking about homeopathy using the same obsolete two century old concepts is simply foolish and ridiculous!

SIMILIMUM is actually a substance that contains certain chemical molecules that are conformationally SIMILAR to the pathogenic molecules that caused the molecular inhibitions existing in the patient we are dealing with. We can find out the similimum by different means depending upon the nature of the disease.

By observing and collecting diverse types of subjective and objective symptoms expressed by a patient, we homeopaths are actually trying to identify minutely the exact molecular targets that are affected, and the diverse types of pathological molecular errors that underlie the disease processes.

By trying to find out a drug substance that covers the totality of the symptoms in the patient, we are actually trying identify the drug molecules that are conformationally similar to the disease-causing molecules, so that that they are capable of competing to bind to same biological targets and produce similar molecular errors.

Molecular imprints of drug molecules that are conformationally similar to pathogenic molecules can bind to and deactivate those pathogenic molecules due to their conformational affinity, removing the pathological molecular inhibitions, and thereby curing the disease. This is the biological mechanism involved in homeopathic cure.

Molecular imprinting is a technique for the preparation of synthetic polymers with specific binding sites for a target molecule. This can be achieved if the target is present during the polymerization process, thus acting as a molecular template. Monomers carrying certain functional groups are arranged around the template through noncovalent or covalent interactions. Following polymerization with a high degree of cross-linking, the functional groups become fixed in defined positions by the polymer network. Subsequent removal of the template by solvent extraction or chemical cleavage leaves cavities that are complementary to the template in terms of size, shape and arrangement of the functional groups. These highly specific receptor sites are capable of rebinding the target molecule with high specificity, sometimes comparable to that of antibodies. Molecularly imprinted polymers have therefore been named “antibody mimics”. It has been shown that they can be substituted for biological receptors in certain formats of immunoassays and biosensors. They are characterized by high stability.

Target molecules for which we want to prepare ‘artificial binding sites’ or ‘molecular imprints’, which are normally large complex protein molecules, are identified and selected as ‘template molecules. These template molecules are added to a mixture of ‘monomers’ and ‘activators’ and thoroughly mixed. This mixture is allowed to undergo a process of ‘self assembling’ and ‘polymerization’, which is actually a ‘guest-host’ molecular complex, in which the template molecules are trapped in a hardened polymer matrix which act as ‘host’. This ‘host-guest’ complex is pulverized, and subjected to a process of ‘solvent extraction’, by which soluble template molecules are removed from insoluble polymer matrix. The resultant preparation consists of polymer matrix carrying empty spaces or ‘cavities’ where the template molecules were originally trapped. These cavities are called ‘molecular imprints’, which actually mimic a negative spacial conformation of template molecules. Due to this complementary conformation, these ‘molecular imprints’ exhibit a special affinity towards original template molecules, and act as ‘artificial binding sites’ for them.

Due to this special affinity, they could be used as substitutes for biological receptors in certain formats of immunoassays and bio-sensors. Even though molecular imprinting concept is subjected to studies related with modern drug designing, ‘molecular imprinted polymers’ prepared by this process is difficult to be used as drugs in living organisms, as they are synthetic polymers,

Drug potentization in homeopathy has to be studied from molecular imprinting. Since it is totally improbable for even a single drug molecule to remain in a dilution above avogadro limit, only way the medicinal properties of drug substances could be transferred to and preserved in such a medium is by molecular imprinting. Homeopathy uses water-ethyl alcohol azeotropic mixture as ‘host’ in place of polymers, and drug molecules as ‘templates’ or ‘guests’ for preparing molecular imprints that could be used as drugs. Since molecular imprints prepared by this process consist of only water and ethyl alcohol molecules, imprinted with three dimensional properties of drug molecules, they could be safely used as therapeutic agents. According to my view, homeopathic potentization is actually a biofriendly adaptation of molecular imprinting technology, originally done in polymers.

Most important objection raised against this concept is, how water can work as a medium for molecular imprinting, whereas water is not a polymer in its classical understanding. But all of us know, water has a lot of anomalous behaviors related with its physical properties such anomalous expansion, viscosity, diffusion, surface tension, melting and boiling points, crystallization, and role in solvation of molecules, ions, membranes, and proteins, which demonstrate water has some polymer-like properties, which were not so far sufficiently explained. A recently published research article throws some light into explaing this polymer-like properties of water.

This article, titled “Liquid water is a dynamic polydisperse branched polymer” is written by Saber Naserifar , William A. Goddard III , two scientists working at Materials and Process Simulation Center, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125. (

Authors developed a RexPoN force field for water based entirely on quantum mechanics. It predicts the properties of water extremely accurately. They observed that strong hydrogen bonds in water connect to form multibranched polymer chains of 151 H2O per chain at 24.85 celsius, where branch points have 3 strong hydrogen bonds and termination points have 1 strong hydrogen bond. This dynamic fluctuating branched polymer view of water provides a dramatically modified paradigm for understanding the properties of water. It may explain the angular correlation lengths at 24.85 celsius, and the critical point at 227 K in supercooled water. This new paradigm for water could have a significant impact on the properties for protein, DNA, and other materials in aqueous media.

In supramolecular chemistry, hyperbranched polymers represent highly branched, polydisperse macromolecules with a treelike topology and a large number of functional groups. During the last ten years, the rapidly growing interdisciplinary interest in the globular, highly uniform, and monodisperse dendrimers promoted the rediscovery of hyperbranched polymers. The tedious and complex multistep synthesis of dendrimers results in expensive products with limited use for large- scale industrial applications.
In contrast to ice, in which each water makes strong hydrogen bonds to four neighbors, researchers showed that upon melting the ice, the number of strong hydrogen bonds drops quickly to two in liquid water.

These two strong hydrogen bonds couple into chains containing around 150 H2O molecules resembling a branched polymer. Authors expect this dynamics-branched polymer paradigm may explain many long-standing puzzles of water.

Since each H2O on the average makes 2 strong hydrogen bonds, authors next traced out the connections between the strong hydrogen bonds.. They found that connecting just the strong hydrogen bonds leads to branched polymer chains with a largest cluster of 151 H2O molecules at 24.85 celsius containing a main chain of 39 H2O and 15 side chains ranging from 1 to 22 H2Os long. For lower temperatures the largest cluster size increases to 168 at 3.85 celsius, 177 at 0.35 celsius, and to 216 at -123.15 celsius. At a temperature of 24.85 celsius and below, these clusters may bond to their images in adjacent cells, leading to infinite sizes according to simulations.

According to the authors, they have proved that liquid water is a polydisperse dynamic multibranched polymer in which most H2Os form strong hydrogen bonds to just two others, with occasional branch points at waters bonded to 3 H2Os terminating at H2Os. The molecules that are not part of the largest cluster are mainly in small clusters with sizes ranging from 1 to 10 H2Os. At 76.85 celsius the big polymer chains split into smaller ones, with the number of H2Os bonded to two other molecules decreasing. At temperature -123.5 celsius the connected polymer includes all water molecules, which forms a highly branched polymer. This revelation concerning the polymeric nature of liquid water may have a dramatic impact on our perceptions about water, with possible implications on such physical properties as viscosity, diffusion, and solvation of molecules, ions, membranes, and proteins.

To prove that RexPoN fully explains the critical-point behavior of water requires far more extensive simulations, but these results suggests the potential impact of the paradigm that water is a dynamic polydisperse branched polymer might have on physical and chemical phenomena involving water.

We have to explore the dynamics of homeopathic potentization keeping this new paradigm of water in mind. It is not pure water that is used for homeopathic potentization, but an azeotropic mixture of ethanol and water. An azeotropic mixture is a mixture of substances that has the same concentration of vapour and fluid phases. It is basically a mixture that contains two or more liquids. A zeotropic mixture basically has constant or the same boiling points and the mixtures’ vapor will also have the same composition as the liquid. The azeotrope or constant boiling point mixture is a mixture of two or more liquids whose proportions cannot be altered or changed by simple distillation. This happens because when an azeotrope is boiled, the vapor has same portion of constituents as un-boiled mixture. The azeotropic composition of ethanol and water is 95.635 of ethanol and 4.375 of water by volume. Ethanol boils at 78.4°C and water boils at 100°C, but the azeotrope boils at 78.2°C which is lower than either of its constituents.

Perhaps the most important benefit of an azeotrope is the unexpected ability to mix flammable and nonflammable ingredients to produce a stable nonflammable mixture. This is an amazing chemical phenomenon. Azeotropes occur when fraction of the liquids cannot be altered by distillation. Typically when dealing with mixtures, components can be extracted out of solutions by means of Fractional Distillation, or essentially repeated distillation in stages. Ethanol and water form an azeotropic mixture at an ethanol molecular percentage of 91% by weight or 96% by volume, which prohibits ethanol from being further purified via distillation.

Aqueous solutions at different concentrations in ethanol have been studied both experimentally and theoretically. Azeotropic behaviour results from an unexpected concentration-dependence of the surface composition. While ethanol strongly dominates the surface and water is almost completely depleted from the surface for most mixing ratios, the different intermolecular bonding patterns of the two components cause water to penetrate to the surface region at high ethanol concentrations in azeotropic ratio. The addition of surface water increases its relative vapour pressure, giving rise to the azeotropic behaviour.

In water-ethanol azeotrope, the water is able to increase the amount of hydrogen bonding between ethanol molecules by increasing the density of hydrogen bond donors and acceptors per unit volume. At a low water concentration, the water also does not interfere greatly with the hydrophobic interactions between the ethyl ends of the molecules. As a result, the average intermolecular interaction for the ethanol molecules is stronger than in pure ethanol, and we have the necessary decrease in the vapor pressure of ethanol. For the water, when it is at low concentration in mixture, each water molecule is surrounded by ethanol molecules, so it has fewer hydrogen bonding interactions than in pure water. As a result, its average intermolecular interactions are weaker than in pure water. When the water concentration gets below what is required for the azeotrope, enough of the alcohol molecules interact only with other alcohol molecules that the deviation from ideality decreases. Considering the polydisperse branched polymer structure of water as well as the peculiar properties of water-ethanol azeotropic mixture, it is not at all irrational or unrealistic to approach the dynamics of homeopathic potentization in terms of molecular imprinting. A lot of studies remain to be conducted on these lines in future. At least, scientific community has to consider homeopathic potentization as a subject of serious further explorations in the field of modern drug designing.

Most important primary observation that initiated my logical thought process regarding molecular imprinting involvef in homeopathic potentization was that potentized drugs works therapeutically! And the obviously unscientific and spiritualistic explanations given in homeopathy texts for this phenomenon, such as vital force and dynamic energy was not acceptable for me at all. I wanted a rational explanation for homeopathy that is fitting to the modern scientific knowledge system and its methods.

My second observation was that potentized drugs do not work therapeutically, if they are not ‘similimum’ to the given case. More over, there are a lot of scientific studies which prove unpotentized ethanol-water mixture in the same ratio of potentized drugs do not have any therapeutic actions. There are scientific studies of eminent researchers showing that potentized forms of a drug can antidote or reverse the biological effects of same drug in their molecular forms, which could be possible only if the potentized forms contained some entities that can act as artificial binding pockets for their molecular forms, which clearly pointed to the possibility of molecular imprints. In vitro and in vivo experiments proved that potentized drugs can antidote the biological effects of their crude forms. This convinced me that the potentized drugs contained some active principles that can act upon biological molecules in a way just opposite to the action of crude drug molecules, which is posssible only if molecular imprinting happens during potentization.

Then I observed through calculations based on Avogadro constant that there is no chance for any drug molecule to be present in a drug potentized above 12c. Many studies have already proved that potentized drugs and unpotentized ethanol-water mixture have similar chemical constitution and chemical properties. This observation indicates that no chemical changes of any sorts happen to ethyl ethanol-water mixture due to the process of potentization. It is a common knowledge that potentized drugs when heated, or subjected to strong electrical or magnetic fields lose their therapeutic properties. This observation indicates that potentization may be involved with some physical changes happening in the ethanol-water mixture, that are liable to be reversed by physical forces such as heat, magnetism and electricity.

Evaporation rates and Freezing points of potentized drugs and control solutions have been found to differ, indicating a change in hydrogen bond patterns and supra-molecular rearrangements. A lot of published spectroscopic studies using different technologies are available, indicating supramolecular rearrangement happening during the process of potentization. Spectra were found to be different in potentized drugs and ethanol-water control solutions, which shows ethanol-water mixture have undergone some sort of supra-molecular clustering and re-organization during potentization.

Study of supra-molecular structure of water, hydrogen bonding, hydration shells, and supra-molecular clusters will convince us that water can exhibit some polymer-like properties at supra-molecular level. Scientific studies discussed in the first part of this presentation has proved water to be a dynamic polydisperse branched polymer, which provides a new paradigm of water entirely different from classical perspective. Ethanol- water mixture used in homeopathic potentization is in azeotropic ratios, which leads us into a deeper study of azeotropism, and its role in enhancing the polymer- like properties of water. Study of supramolecular properties of ethyl alcohol/water azeotropic mixtures shows that the hydrogen bond strength of water can be enhanced by the presence of ethyl alcohol molecules in azeotropic proportions, and can restrict the free movements of water molecules, thereby helping in the stabilization of hydration shells. New advancements in the field of the technology of ‘molecular imprinted polymers’ achieved by polymer scientists points to the possibility of using of ‘molecular imprints’ as artificial binding sites for pathogenic molecules in biological systems. This requires a deeper study of molecular imprinting, in search of a scientific solution for the riddles involved in homeopathic potentization.

A critical study of works done by Benveniste as well as Luc Montaigner regarding what they called ‘memory of water’ indicated some structural changes happening in water during successive dilution and succussion. Benveniste and Montaigner might have failed to comprehend the real mechanism involved in the phenomenon of so-called ‘water memory’ they observed, which led them to irrational and wrong conclusions. Some Russian scientists have earlier observed a phenomenon they called ‘shape memory property of water’, which they could not explain scientifically, since they also did not understand the real process of ‘molecular imprinting’ involved in it. Study of the phenomenon known as ‘hormesis’, which remains still eluding and unexplained scientifically, also led me to relate it with some sort of ‘supra-molecular’ re-arrangements happening in water in ultra dilutions.

Observation that potentized drugs act upon biological systems in a way exactly opposite to the original drugs indicated a process of generating three-dimensional nanocavities or intermolecular voids that can act as artificial binding sites for drug molecules and similar pathogenic molecules, which can happen only though ‘molecular imprinting’.

Then I took up a serious re-study of biochemistry and molecular biology. Study of ‘key-lock mechanism’ involved in the dynamics of enzyme inhibitions, ‘ligand-receptor’ interactions and ‘antibody-antigen’ interactions were found to be fitting well to the concept of ‘molecular imprints’ in potentized drugs. Through these studies, it became more and more clear to me that ‘similia similibus curentur’ could be explained in terms of competitive relationships between similar molecules and also phenomenon of molecular mimicry well explained by modern biochemistry.

Author: Chandran Nambiar K C

I am Chandran Nambiar K C Author, REDEFINING HOMEOPATHY Managing Director, Fedarin Mialbs Private Limited Developer. SIMILIMUM ULTRA Homeopathic Software I am not a scientist, academician, scholar, professional homeopath or anybody with 'big credentials', but an old lay man, a retired government servant, who accidentally happened to fall into the deep waters of the great ocean of homeopathic knowledge during his fiery teenage years, and was destined to live a whole life exploring the mysteries of that wonderful world with unending enthusiasm. My interest in homeopathy happened very accidentally when I was only 20 years old UNDERGRADUATE ZOOLOGY student, through a constant relationship with a local practitioner who happened to be father of my classmate. I was a regular visitor in his clinic, where from I started reading BOERICKE MATERIA MEDICA and other homeopathic books, which helped me to cure myself my troublesome asthma that have been haunting me since my childhood days. I became a voracious reader of homeopathy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: