This section is from the book "A Compend Of The Principles Of Homoeopathy", by William Boericke. Also available from Amazon: A Compend of the Principles of Homoeopathy as Taught by Hahnemann.
A product of animal life, one of the constituents of milk, obtained by evaporating the whey of the milk. It is of pure white color, faintly sweet taste, should be odorless and non-hygroscopic. For homoeopathic use, ought to be re-crystallized, as the ordinary product of the shops is not always perfectly pure. It must be kept in a dry place, as it becomes musty when exposed to dampness. The marvelous sagacity of Hahnemann is seen in his selection of sugar of milk for the process of triturating mineral drugs. No other known substance could equal the sharp, flinty crystals, in grinding to an inconceivably fine powder hard mineral substances, so that they can be rendered absorbable by the body. Its preservative properties are very great, keeping the minutest particles of triturated metals untarnished by oxidation indefinitely. It is easily made into tablets, which, in their pores, can be made to absorb medicinal, alcoholic solutions.
Alcohol is the most important menstruum used in homoeopathic pharmacy; it is seldom pure unless redistilled. Alcohol is formed whenever sugar comes in contact with a fermentable matter in water at a suitable temperature. It may be made from a great number of vegetable substances, that from rye or wheat being the best. Pure Alcohol is a colorless fluid which must not lather when rubbed in the hands and have no disagreeable odor. Strong Alcohol contains about 94 per cent by volume of Ethyl Alcohol. It is used principally in the preparation of tinctures or certain solutions.
Officinal Or Dispensing Alcohol is used for making the attenuations and is best adapted for medicating pellets. It contains 88 per cent by volume of Ethyl Alcohol.
Alcohol should be kept in well stoppered bottles and in a cool place.
Common water is always impure for medicinal preparations, being charged with gases, earthly matters, etc. Hence distilled water is essential. The still used should be used for no other purpose whatever. The crucial test of the purity of distilled water is its ability to keep. If it has any kind of odor, or becomes turbid it is unfit for homoeopathic preparations. It should be kept in glass-stoppered bottles and only in small quantities as it is very liable to deterioration from the entrance of inorganic dust and microbes.
Distilled Water is used as a solvent for many chemical substances; for making solutions of acids, and also converting triturations into liquid attenuations, as is done with all minerals, chemical salts and all other drugs first prepared by triturating them, after the third centesimal poteney.