Transformation Into Medicine

The transformation of Arnica into a homeopathic medicine

In order to transform plants into homeopathic medicines, the active substances need to be extracted. This process, which leads to the manufacture of the mother tincture, is perfectly controlled by Laboratoires Boiron. This unique know‑how is the result of more than half a century of experience and innovation.

The mother tincture is the point of departure for all homeopathic medicines. The manufacturing cycle of this mother tincture lasts approximately one month. Four steps are necessary:

  • Maceration: After being cut, the plants are macerated for several days in a mixture of water and alcohol in stainless steel containers. The moisture level of the plant, which is determined by weighing it on an infra‑red scale, makes it possible to precisely calculate the amount of purified water and alcohol to add. In the end, the alcohol content generally varies between 45% and 65% for most of Boiron’s mother tinctures.
  • Expression: The Boiron team then carries out the expression of the mother tincture using hydraulic presses. The expression of the juice makes it possible to separate the “green waste,” called the “cake,” from the future mother tincture. The cakes are recovered and used in compost.
  • Filtration: The solution is filtered to eliminate particles larger than 1 micron.
  • The control of the production of a mother tincture concerns its alcohol concentration, the examination of the dry residue, the identification of the characteristic components by thin layer chromatography, and the screening for impurities (residues from pesticides, heavy metals, etc.).

Once the homeopathic mother tincture has been obtained, Boiron carries out the subsequent dilutions. For this, 1/100th of the mother tincture is taken and diluted in  99/100th of the water/alcohol solution. The mixture is then shaken vigorously. This is called dynamization (or succussion). We then obtain a dilution of 1 CH.

The dilutions are carried out under laminar flow hoods that make it possible to work in an extremely pure atmosphere. When the desired dilution is ready, it is incorporated into neutral supports (granules and globules) during the medication phase.

Boiron uses the triple medication method, which is a specific patent that ensures homogeneous distribution. It takes 55 minutes to medicate 5 kg of globules.

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Arnica in numbers:

  • Approximately 20 professional picking partners
  • 48-hour maximum between harvest and arrival at the laboratory
  • About 15 Arnica deliveries to the laboratory between May and July
  • 8 people specific to the entire manufacturing process (all workshops and sites together)
  • 1 month from the start of maceration to the transmission of the sample mother tincture to the control laboratory

“We ensure as much quality as possible at each step of manufacturing with controls upon receipt, good manufacturing practices, and control of the mother tincture and the final or semi‑final product’’.

Jean‑Christophe Bayssat,
Pharmacist and Deputy Director General in charge of industrial operations at Boiron