Scientific Research

Research on Homeopathy Part 13

Robert Medhurst, author of The Concordant Clinical Homeopathic Repertory, presents another in his series of articles highlighting research in homeopathy

It’s now become commonplace for some prominent academics, such as the former Exeter University’s Professor Edzard Ernst, the University College, London’s Professor Michael Baum, Professor John Dwyer from the Prince of Wales Hospital in Australia, and others, to be quoted as saying that there’s no evidence to justify the use of homeopathy, and the mainstream media appear to be happy to accept this as fact. With this in mind, following are some more abridged highlights from the annals of homeopathic research that show quite clearly that homeopathy works.

 

Human Studies

1. Mohan GR. Efficacy of Homeopathy in Childhood Asthmas. Homeopathic Links, Summer 2007, Vol 20, 104-107. This paper reports of work done in India by homeopath, GR Mohan, looking at the results of the homeopathic treatment of 81 children suffering from clinically defined asthma who had previously been treated unsuccessfully with conventional medicine. This open study involved the use of individually prescribed homeopathic medicines for a period of 2 years as a means of reducing the recurrence of asthma attacks. Results were assessed according the 12 point Modified Borg Scale, a subjective scale used to assess the severity of dyspnoea. At the end of the allotted 2 year period, the results were analysed and it was found that asthma had become controlled in 60.5% of children who’d been treated with homeopathy and some control was achieved in a further 21%. 12.3% of the group failed to respond to the treatment. The medicines used most frequently in this study were Arsenicum album, Merc solubilis, Hepar sulph, Arsenicum iod, Antimony tart, Pulsatilla and Calcarea carbonica

 

2. Pai PN. Nephrotic Syndrome. British Homoeopathic Journal, 1969, 58, 94.  In yet another case series, 23 children suffering from clinically diagnosed nephrotic syndrome were treated using individualised homeopathic medicines for periods varying from 1 month to 7 years. Subjects received short or long term treatment for the condition and in several acute episodes, corticosteroid therapy was used, in addition to the homeopathic management. For the majority of the children treated either with homeopathic or a combination of homeopathic and corticosteroid therapy, the severity of the symptoms they had previously experienced was reduced. The main homeopathic remedies used in the cases mentioned in this study included Apis mellifica, Arsenicum album, Natrum muriaticum and Silica.

 

3. Keil T, Witta CM, Roll S, Vancea W, Webera K, Wegscheiderb K,  Willich SN. Homoeopathic versus Conventional Treatment of Children with Eczema: A comparative Cohort Study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2008) 16, 15—21. This prospective, multi-centre, parallel-group, comparative cohort study was conducted in urban and mixed urban—rural regions of Germany. 118 children suffering from clinically defined eczema seen at 54 homeopathic practices and 64 conventional medical practices were treated for the condition with the respective therapeutic protocols normally used in these clinics, i.e. individualised homeopathic or conventional medical therapy. Treatment occurred over a period of 12 months and the outcomes of the 2 different methods of therapy were assessed at 6 months and 12 months by the children or their parents on the basis of eczema signs and symptoms and the quality of life. Overall, on the basis of clinical symptoms and quality of life, there was little difference in the response rates of both groups to their respective therapies although at 12 months after starting treatment, those children who were treated homeopathically had a greater level of recovery from symptoms than those treated with conventional medicine. No adverse reactions were reported for either group.

 

4. Karow JH, Abt HP, Fröhling M, Ackermann H. Efficacy of Arnica montana D4 for Healing of Wounds after Hallux valgus Surgery compared to Diclofenac. J Altern Complement Medorrhinum 2008 Jan-Feb;14(1):17-25. In this randomised, double-blinded, parallel group study, 88 people who were recovering from foot surgery were randomly assigned to receive either Arnica 4X at a rate of 10 pilules 3 times daily or Diclofenac 50mg 3 times daily. Both therapies were used for 4 days following the surgery. At day 4, subjects were assessed for their postoperative irritation, mobility, pain level, and their use of analgesics. Analysis of the results at this point showed that Arnica and Diclofenac provided the same level of reduction in wound irritation (including swelling) and mobility. Subjective assessment by patients rated Arnica as superior to Diclofenac for mobility. Diclofenac was superior to Arnica for pain reduction and there was no significant difference in analgesic use during the 4 days following surgery. It was also noted in the study that Arnica was 60% cheaper than Diclofenac.

 

5. Marian F, Joost K, Saini KD, von Ammon K, Thurneysen A, Busato A. Patient Satisfaction and Side Effects in Primary Care: An observational study comparing Homeopathy and Conventional Medicine. BMC Complement Altern Medorrhinum 2008 Sep 18;8(1):52. This was a study carried out by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health designed to determine levels of patient satisfaction and the perception of side effects following the use of homeopathic medicine. It was part of a national program designed to evaluate complementary and alternative medicine use in Switzerland. The bulk of the data used in the study came from questionnaires filled in over a specific 4 day period and was supplied by physicians using conventional medicine, physicians using homeopathic medicine and patient questionnaires filled in over a specific period, and from patients who’d filled in questionnaires mailed to them 1 month after treatment. 170 practitioners were involved in the study. A total of 3126 questionnaires were received by the researchers and analysis of these revealed the following.  21% of those treated with homeopathy reported “complete resolution” of the presenting complaint versus 28% of those on conventional therapy and 53% reported “complete satisfaction” with homeopathic treatment versus 40% of those given conventional therapy. The rate of side effects reported by those using homeopathy was less than the side effect rate experienced by those given conventional medicine.

 

6. Walach H, Möllinger H, Sherr J, Schneider R. Homeopathic Pathogenetic Trials produce More Specific than Non-Specific Symptoms: Results from Two Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Trials. J Psychopharmacol. 2008 Jul;22(5):543-52. Professor Harold Walach of the University of Northampton and his colleagues have made something of a habit of carrying out provings of homeopathic medicines (particularly Belladonna) within fairly rigidly controlled settings. In this instance the researchers set up 2 studies, both of which were carried out in blinded conditions. The first of these compared the symptoms seen in a controlled proving of homeopathically prepared Ozone with the effects of a placebo used in the same way. The second test compared the symptoms seen in a controlled proving on homeopathically prepared Ozone and Iridium, used individually, with the symptoms seen from the use of placebo. On analysis, the results showed that both Ozone and Iridium, when used under proving conditions, produced a statistically significant level of symptoms specific to the original provings for the homeopathic preparation.

 

Animal Studies

1. Banerjee P, Bhattacharyya SS, Pathak S, Naoual B, Belon P, Khuda-Bukhsh AR. Comparative Efficacy of Two Microdoses of a Potentized Homeopathic Drug, Arsenicum album, to Ameliorate Toxicity Induced by Repeated Sublethal Injections of Arsenic trioxide in Mice. Pathobiology. 2008;75(3):156-70. This concept has had previous attention by Datta, Kundu and others, and in this randomised controlled trial, 6C and 30C potencies of Arsenicum album (Arsenic trioxide) were given to mice prior to exposure to material doses of arsenic trioxide, as a means of determining whether or not the potentised Arsenicum album had any influence on the effects of arsenic. Mice were divided into 6 groups with 1 group receiving 6C Arsenicum album, another group receiving 30C Arsenicum album, and the remaining 4 groups receiving various control substances. Cellular and various biochemical parameters such as acid and alkaline phosphatases, aspartate and alanine aminotransferases, glutathione, lipid peroxidation, catalase and succinate dehydrogenase were assessed at 30, 60, 90 and 120 days from the beginning of the study. On analysis of these results it was found that both the 6C and 30C potencies of Arsenicum album provided protection against the effects of arsenic trioxide, with the 30C providing a slightly better level of protection than the 6C.

 

Plant Studies

1. Baumgartner S, Shah D, Schaller J, Kämpfer U, Thurneysen A, Heusser P. Reproducibility of dwarf pea shoot growth stimulation by homeopathic potencies of gibberellic acid. Complement Ther Medorrhinum 2008 Aug;16(4):183-91. In this Swiss study, which was a slight variation of previous work done in this area by Hamman and others, dwarf pea seedlings in 4 batches, containing seeds taken from adult plants in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000, were exposed to 17X and 18X potencies of Gibberellic acid (GA) and cultivated under controlled conditions alongside dwarf pea seedlings that had received the same level of exposure to 2 negative control substances. GA in material doses is often used commercially used to break periods of dormancy in seeds and has the capacity to stimulate the growth of seedlings. GA is an endogenous component of some seeds and is involved in the growth of seeds and alpha amylase activity within the plant. After 14 days all of these seedlings had their lengths measured and on inspection it was found that the controls had performed as predicted, the 1997 seedling batch previously exposed to GA 17X and GA 18X had exceeded the growth rate of the controls by an average of 11.2% and the 1998 batch responded with a mixture of either stimulation or suppression of growth. Batches from 1999 and 2000 failed to respond to either potency of GA.

About the author

Robert Medhurst

Robert Medhurst

Robert Medhurst BNat DHom DBM DRM DNutr is a qualified Naturopath & Homoeopath with 28 years of clinical experience and currently practices in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. He has written many articles and lectured on homeopathy throughout Australia and the U.S. Robert previously operated several natural therapies practices in Sydney and was involved in teaching and research. He was formerly the Expert Advisor on Homeopathy to the Federal Government of Australia, Dept. of Health & Ageing. He specialises in homeopathy and is the author of The Business of Healing, the definitive guide for clinical practice establishment and management. For more information see adelaidehillsnaturopath.com.au. Robert Medhurst is author of the recently released : The Concordant Clinical Homeopathic Repertory

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