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Characterization of Nanoparticles in 2X, 4X and 6X Potencies of Ferrum Phosphoricum

Marelize Caminsky, MTechHom; Avis Anya Nowbuth, MTechHom, BScHB

Context • Nanomedicine is a rapidly expanding field in which nanoparticles play an integral part. They have 2 distinct characteristics, namely a small size and large surface area, which influence a drug’s permeability, solubility, and bioavailability. The trituration technique used in the preparation of certain homeopathic remedies is similar to some processes used to manufacture nanoparticles. New research has confirmed the presence of nanoparticles in homeopathic remedies. The majority of these studies use transmission electron microscopy (TEM), alone or in combination with other methods, to characterize the nanoparticles. Objectives • The study intended to evaluate the use, efficacy, and application of 5 characterization techniques for investigating the presence and size of nanoparticles in Ferrum phosphoricum (iron phosphate) in 2X, 4X and 6X potencies. Design • Quantitative experimental study Setting • The study took place in the Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology, and the Department of Chemistry (Central Analytical facility and UJ Spectrum facility) at the University of Johannesburg in Johannesburg, South Africa. Outcome Measures • The study analyzed 2X, 4X, and 6X potencies of Ferrum phosphoricum using: (1) ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV-vis), (2) Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), (3) dynamic light scattering (DLS), (14) scanning electron microscopy (SEM) for energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and (5) transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Data were generated through imaging and the software programs of the equipment. Results • All 5 procedures confirmed the presence of Ferrum phosphoricum nanoparticles and nanofibers for all 3 potencies. Using all 5 techniques permitted characterization of different aspects of the particles, such as functional groups, elemental iron, concentration base, and size distribution. Conclusions • Although all 5 techniques used in the study showed the presence of iron phosphate nanoparticles in the 2X, 4X and 6X potencies of Ferrum phosphoricum, making them essential tools in determining the presence of nanoparticles, UV-vis, FTIR, and TEM analysis were best suited for the analysis of nanoparticles in high-dilution preparations such as homeopathic remedies, due to the limitations of DLS and EDX.

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