Earlier this year I took a trip to India, Goa to be precise. Though this fact is only of tangental interest, the real reason for this entry is the fact that before we headed out, one of my sister in law’s friends recommended a homeopathic remedy for jet lag, creatively called “No Jet-Lag”. My wife, thinking this was a great idea- Jetlag is a drag-, purchased the product and brought it home. Curious about the item I looked at the active ingredients, there were about five herbs listed as active ingredients listed and next to each there was written 30C.
Here’s where the trouble starts. This little unobtrusive inclusion means that the active ingredient is diluted by a factor of one hundred 30 successive times. “So what” you might be thinking, “molecules are tiny”. You would of course be correct in the second part. But lets see what happens to something when diluted this much. In one mole of substance there are 6.0221415 × 1023 molecules(For water this correlates to 18g).
To help illustrate the point I’ll write that out with all the zeroes, but instead of the usual commas after every three zeroes I’ll put numbers representing each successive dilution that will show how many molecules are left : 6011221014915800700600500400300200100 .
You can see that after the 11th dilution only 60 molecules remain and we aren’t even at the half way mark. So it’s easy to see that at 30C, your chances of finding even a single sub atomic particle of the original substance is slim to say the least. I recommend doing the calculations to see what volume of water you would need to carry out the dilution in a single step starting with 1mL. I tried but gave up when I got to 1 million cubic kilometres.
The “No Jetlag” Website: