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.
Hahnemann discovered the fact that any insoluble substance when triturated to the third centesimal or sixth decimal trituration, becomes so finely subdivided that its particles are held in suspension in the diluting menstruum, alcohol or water in other words are practically dissolved. In this way, all homoeopathic medicines made from minerals and other insoluble substances are nevertheless converted into liquid preparations retaining all the medicinal virtues of the drug. The process is thus described by Hahnemann and adopted by the homoeopathic profession:
"Sugar of Milk cannot be dissolved in pure Alcohol; this is the reason why the first dilution should be composed of one-half water and one-half alcohol, To one grain of the (1/1000000) third centesimal trituration, you add fifty drops of distilled water and turn the vial several times around its axis. By this means the Sugar of Milk becomes dissolved. Then you add fifty drops of Alcohol, and shake the vial. Only two-thirds of the vial ought to be filled with the solution". The vial is then marked with the name of the remedy and a figure 4, indicating the fourth centesimal potency. This preparation, containing one-half water cannot be used for saturating pellets as it would dissolve them. From this fourth the subsequent attenuations are made in the usual manner with pure alcohol. *
* One of the real dangers to Homoeopathy consists in the lack of attention to the exact preparation of homoeopathic medicines, and in substituting old school pharmaceutical methods for the precise and accurate instructions of Hahnemann. Dr. J. Hayward. calls attention to this subject in a presidential address delivered in Liverpool last year. He says: "It is much to be feared, in view of the great competition and endeavor to undersell each other amongst the present-day homoeopathic pharmacists, and with the low-priced tinctures, that many of the preparations are anything but those of genuine and pure drugs. This may be part of the cause of much of the disappointment we sometimes experience in practice. This risk is increased by the fact that many of our Pellets, Disks, Cones, etc., are forms of vehicles for prescriptions. They are made of sugar and are simply saturated with the liquid attenuation. They are a convenient form of administering remedies.
Tablets are a compressed form of the trituration itself, of recent introduction. They come in one and two grain sizes, and are, therefore, very convenient when a definite size of dose is desired.
For further study consult the forthcoming Pharmacopoeia of the American Institute of Homoeopathy.
Also, "Three Lectures on Homoeopathic Pharmaceutics," by the veteran pharmacist, Dr. F. E. Boericke.
Drugs are procured from ordinary wholesale drug-stores, where they are not prepared with the care necessary for homoeopathic medicines. It is very desirable that our own pharmacists should themselves collect and proeure the medicines and make the preparations. If they will not, then practitioners should procure and prepare, at least, some of them for themselves". - (From a general survey of our position in The Journal of the British Homoeopathic Society, January, 1896).