Most commonly, homeopathic remedies are herbs or extracts, but the practice has no shortage of odd and unusual remedies that proponents will also claim cure a whole host of illnesses and obscure maladies.
Because the process of succussion, in which the ingredient is diluted and shaken or struck in water or alcohol, is repeated dozens or hundreds of times, the purported ingredient is normally never actually present in the final remedy, allowing them to get away with strange and otherwise dangerous starting materials.
Roadkill — In 2009, the School of Homeopathy decided to do a proving on a mammal, as something like that had never been tried. Eventually, the decision was made to do this with a badger, mostly because the animal represented a bit of “English character”, although the logic behind this stemmed almost entirely from The Wind in the Willows. Apparently, homeopathic roadkill badger makes you randy.
The south pole of a magnet — No, homeopaths aren’t the first people to stumble upon a magnetic monopole. But they have genuinely made a remedy from a magnet. Although there is little information on what was actually taken and diluted, there is a huge list of things that Magnetis Polus Australis causes and/or cures from its proving.
Shipwreck — In 1887, The Helvetia was caught in a storm and ran aground in Rhossili Bay, Wales. A century or so later, homeopathic expert Mary English decided to try and prove the remains of the wreck as a homeopathic dilution. Diluting a scraping of the wreck to 30C, she gave it to 7 people and determined that the wreck could cure a “sense of stuckness” — as many of the provers were having problems getting stuck in traffic during their long commutes.
A stone circle — Another entry from the baffling world of Mary English, she made a homeopathic remedy from the Stanton Drew stones, the second largest stone circle in England (after Avebury, by diameter, not the more famous Stonehenge). The proving was done between 2001 and 2004 with a mix of 12 men and women. It might be worth noting that it is an offence to cause any damage to a scheduled monument without consent under the 1979 Ancient Monuments and Archaelogical Areas Act. Luckily, the remedy was made by collecting a few loose fragments of stone, and with a 6C dilution factor, there should be more than enough to go around to whoever wants some. Apparently, it makes you lethargic but community-minded.
Plutonium — No, really. For the reasonable sum of $25, you can get a book throughly describing the proving of a plutonium-based remedy.
It seems that other remedies could not touch the deep nucleus of the generative energy, the will, which Plutonium detonates.
Note, however, that homeopathic plutonium only has a four year shelf life.
Antimatter — In 1998 a homeopathic remedy was prepared by exposing a solution to the gamma radiation produced by the annihilation of positronium – an exotic atom-like structure containing an electron and its anti-particle, a positron. According to the description supplied by authors, positrons were produced by beta-plus decay of sodium-22, then passed through a nitrogen gas cell to form positronium “atoms“. These were then directed at a metal plate, where they annihilated and produced 511 keV gamma radiation, which irradiated some ethanol. Thus, the remedy never even came into contact with any antimatter – only with the radiation from its decay. Positronium is said to have themes of calming.
Light from Venus — Venus Stella Errans didn’t even require dissolving anything as it was made entirely from the focused light of the planet Venus — similar to the old joke about making a martini by shining a sunbeam through a bottle of vermouth. The Principle of Similars seems a little confused about this sort of thing; exactly what symptoms could be caused by the light of Venus? Luckily, the author of the proving explains:
Whilst I don’t think that the symptoms that can be cured by this remedy will be ones caused by exposure to the light of Venus, it is possible that individuals who have these symptoms are sensitive or susceptible to it.
This remedy is not to be trifled with — apart from the remarkable effects light is known to have on water already, the remedy is diluted to an immense 200C.
Water — Probably the crowning achievement of the homeopathic arts, there is homeopathic water available. However, just diluting and succussing water itself would, of course, be silly — this remedy is a succussion of “new” water, that is, water newly formed by reacting hydrogen and oxygen. Completely different from “old” water, that is, water less newly formed by reacting hydrogen and oxygen.
The remedy could be used to give to a patient in order for them to prove it. If my understanding is correct, they would prove themselves and so produce a stronger and clearer picture of their own state and so make finding a suitable remedy much easier.
Sounds like they’re well on the road to homeopathic homeopathy.
Cheers to The Thought Stash, a starting point for the list above.