Let Us Scientifically Verify The Belief That Camphor Is A Universal Antidote To Potentized Homeopathic Drugs

One of the most wide spread and unshakable beliefs among homeopaths is that “camphor is universal antidote to homeopathic drugs- camphor bottles should be kept away from other drugs”. They consider not only crude camphor, but even potentized camphor can antidote all other homeopathic drugs.

Is there any scientific basis for this belief? After studying the molecular structure of camphor and understanding the mechanism of its interactions, I think there could be some amount of truth in it, though somewhat distorted and far stretched. Camphor preparations containing molecular forms of camphor, such as crude camphor, mother tincture, low potencies below 12c as well as various camphor products can antidote a wide class of potentized homeopathic drugs- not ‘universal’.

Camphor is a volatile organic aroma compound with chemical formula C10H16O, belonging to the class known as terpenoids. When kept open, its molecules would easily diffuse into the atmosphere.

Camphor is a cyclic terpene, having a C=O moeity in its functional group. Such compounds are called carbonyl compounds, which also include aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acid, esters, amides, enones, acyl halides, acid unhydrides etc. Most of these substances are aroma compounds, which are responsible for the property known as fragrance and flavors. Compounds that contain C-O bonds each possess differing reactivity based upon the location and hybridization of the C-O bond, owing to the electron-withdrawing effect of sp hybridized oxygen.Medicinal properties of various vegetable substances and some animal products are mostly due to the presence of molecules having highly reactive C=O moeity in their functional groups.

In organic chemistry, functional groups are specific groups of atoms within molecules that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of those molecules. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reactions regardless of the size of the molecule it is a part of. However, its relative reactivity can be modified by nearby functional groups.

The word moiety is often used synonymously to “functional group,” but to be more specific, a moiety is a part of a molecule that may include either whole functional groups or a parts of functional groups as substructures. The atoms of functional groups are linked to each other and to the rest of the molecule by covalent bonds. When the group of covalently bound atoms bears a net charge, the group is referred to more properly as a polyatomic ion or a complex ion. Any subgroup of atoms of a compound also may be called a radical, and if a covalent bond is broken homolytically, the resulting fragment radicals are referred as free radicals.

Drug molecules act upon the biological molecules in the organism by binding their functional groups to specific active groups on the complex biological molecules. Here, the functional groups of drug molecules called ligands, and the biological molecules are called targets. Ligand-target intercation is always determined by a ‘key-lock’ relationship due to complementary configurational affinities.

It is to be specifically noted that same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reactions regardless of the size or configuration of of the molecule it is a part of. However, its relative reactivity can be modified by nearby functional groups known as facilitating groups. That means, different types of drug molecules or pathogenic molecules having same functional groups and facilitating groups can bind to same biological molecules, and produce similar molecular inhibitions and symptoms. Homeopathic principle of ‘similimum’ is well explained by this understanding. If a drug molecule can produce symptoms similar to symptoms of a particular disease, it means that the drug molecule and disease causing molecule has same functional groups on them. Obviously, similarity of symptoms means similarity of functional groups of pathogenic molecules and drug molecules. To be similimum, the whole molecules need not be similar, but similarity of functional groups is enough.

Potentized drugs would contain the molecular imprints of drug molecules, along with molecular imprints of their functional groups. These molecular imprints will have specific configurational affinity towards any molecule having same functional groups, and can bind and deactivate them.

As said above, most of the vegetable and animal drugs contains diverse types of aromatic drug molecules and esters having C=O functional groups, which are also present on camphor molecules. Potentized homeopathic drugs would contain molecular imprints of this functional groups, which can be easily deactivated by crude camphor molecules as well as other aromatic molecules. Molecules of Volatile substances such as camphor would easily diffuse into atmosphere and nearby potentized drugs, and bind to molecular imprints of C=O functional groups they contain. It would result in deactivation of molecular imprints, which we call antidoting.

I hope, I have scientifically explained the molecular mechanism of the phenomenon of antidoting of potentized drugs by perfumes and strong smelling substances. Most perfumes contains esters, which have C=O functional groups.

Now it is obvious that only crude camphor can antidote potentized drugs. Our belief that potentized camphor is a ‘universal’ antidote is totally baseless.



  1. Chandran Nambiar

    Antidoting happens only if there are similar functional groups on constituent molecules of drug substances. I am of the opinion that molecular forms of drug substances molecules can antidote only molecular imprints of drug molecules having similar functional groups. As such, antidoting will be in most cases partial. If nux vom contain any molecules having functional groups similar to camphor, they will antidote only the molecular imprints of that particular molecule, not Nux Vom as a whole.

    Chemical compounds belonging to groups such as Aldehydes, Ketones, Carboxylic Acid, Esters, Amides, Enones, Acyl halide, Acid anhydride etc contains C=O functional groups(carbonyl groups). Most of the volatile oils, perfumes and spices contains such molecules, especially ester groups. They can antidote potentized forms of molecules having carbonyl groups.

    In organic chemistry, a carbonyl group is a functional group composed of a carbon atom double-bonded to an oxygen atom: C=O. It is common to several classes of organic compounds, as part of many larger functional groups. Other organic carbonyls are urea and the carbamates, the derivatives of acyl chlorides chloroformates and phosgene, carbonate esters, thioesters, lactones, lactams, hydroxamates, and isocyanates. Examples of inorganic carbonyl compounds are carbon dioxide and carbonyl sulfide.

    Esters are chemical compounds having carbonyl functional groups derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH (hydroxyl) group is replaced by an -O-alkyl (alkoxy) group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and alcohols. That is, esters are formed by condensing an acid with an alcohol.

    Esters are ubiquitous. Most naturally occurring fats and oils are the fatty acid esters of glycerol. Esters with low molecular weight are commonly used as fragrances and found in essential oils and pheromones. Phosphoesters form the backbone of DNA molecules. Nitrate esters, such as nitroglycerin, are known for their explosive properties, while polyesters are important plastics, with monomers linked by ester moieties.

    Esters are responsible for the aroma of many fruits, including apples, pears, bananas, pineapples, and strawberries.


    Allyl hexanoate -pineapple
    Benzyl acetate- pear, strawberry, jasmine
    Bornyl acetate- Pine
    Butyl butyrate- pineapple
    Ethyl acetate- nail polish remover, model paint, model airplane glue
    Ethyl butyrate- banana, pineapple, strawberry
    Ethyl hexanoate- pineapple, waxy-green banana
    Ethyl cinnamate- cinnamon
    Ethyl formate- lemon, rum, strawberry
    Ethyl heptanoate- apricot, cherry, grape, raspberry
    Ethyl isovalerate- apple
    Ethyl lactate- butter, cream
    Ethyl nonanoate- grape
    Ethyl pentanoate- apple
    Geranyl acetate- geranium
    Geranyl butyrate- cherry
    Geranyl pentanoate- apple
    Isobutyl acetate- cherry, raspberry, strawberry
    Isobutyl formate- raspberry
    Isoamyl acetate- pear, banana (flavoring in Pear drops)
    Isopropyl acetate- fruity
    Linalyl acetate- lavender, sagelavender, sage
    Linalyl butyrate- peach
    Linalyl formate- apple, peach
    Methyl acetate- glue
    Methyl anthranilate- grape, jasmine
    Methyl benzoate- fruity, ylang ylang, feijoa
    Methyl butyrate (methyl butanoate)- pineapple, apple, strawberry
    Methyl cinnamate- strawberry
    Methyl pentanoate (methyl valerate)- flowery
    Methyl phenylacetate- honey
    Methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen)- Modern root beer, wintergreen, Germolene and Ralgex ointments
    Nonyl caprylate- orange
    Octyl acetate- fruity-orange
    Octyl butyrate- parsnip
    Amyl acetate (pentyl acetate)- apple, banana
    Pentyl butyrate (amyl butyrate)- apricot, pear, pineapple
    Pentyl hexanoate (amyl caproate)- apple, pineapple
    Pentyl pentanoate (amyl valerate- apple
    Propyl acetate- pear
    Propyl hexanoate- blackberry, pineapple, cheese, wine
    Propyl isobutyrate- rum
    Terpenyl butyrate- cherry

    Molecular imprints cannot deactivate each other. Drug ‘molecules’ having C=O functional groups can deactivate ‘molecular imprints’ of drug molecules having similar functional groups. I hope the difference is obvious.

  2. dr cpabid

    if molecular imprint of camphor can deactivate other medicines having c=o imprint,all drugs having c=o can acts as antidotes each other?

  3. are you saying that crude camphor or other aromatic substances (perfumes) can deactivate high potentised (12C+) drugs which have no molecules but only the imprints?
    Please clarify.

    Dr. J Tikari

  4. dr anil kumar tripathi

    Highly informative.Now it’s era where scientific approach is req. to blend with Homoeopathy for its growth and development

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