Scientific Research

Research in Homeopathy 3

Homeopath Robert Medhurst provides studies on the effects of homeopathy on humans, animals, plants and in the laboratory..

Why is research in homeopathy important? It’s critical to have a solid research database in homeopathy because of the radical departure it makes from known scientific principles. Given the fact that other medicines used by natural therapists such as herbs and nutrients are essentially working at a pharmacological level, we don’t have to stretch our imaginations too far to accept the clinical evidence for them. However, unless one has had direct clinical experience of the benefits of homeopathy, it can take a much larger leap of faith to accept that a potentised substance diluted out often past the point where there’s any physically active material present, will produce any effect at all, let alone a therapeutic one.

So for many, particularly those with an orthodox science background, the brave new world of homeopathy is unlikely to be explored unless something solid can be felt under the explorer’s boot. With this in mind, following are some more abridged highlights from the annals of homeopathic research.

Human studies

1. Fisher P., Greenwood A, Huskisson EC, Turner P and Belon P.  Effect of Homoeopathic Treatment on Fibrositis, British Medical Journal, 5 August, 1989, 299, 365-366. Patients using Rhus tox 6C three times daily in a double blind placebo controlled crossover trial found significant relief with the medicine over the placebo.

2. Bignamini M, Saruggia M, Sansonetti G. Homeopathic Treatment of Anal Fissures using Nitricum acidum Berlin J on Res in Hom, 1, 4/5, 286-287, December 1991. Patients using Nitricum acidum 9C once daily in a double blind placebo controlled trial found subjective relief with the medicine over the placebo.

3. Alibeu JP, Jobert J. Aconite in Post-Operative Pain and Agitation in Children, Pediatrie, 1990, 45, 7-8, 465-6. Children given homeopathic Aconite in a double blind placebo controlled trial found significant relief (95%) with the medicine over the placebo.

4. Gibson R.G, & Gibson S.L. Homoeopathic Therapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Evaluation by Double Blind Clinical Therapeutic Trial, Br J. Clin. Pharmac., 9, 1980, 453-459. Patients using a number of different homeopathic medicines, prescribed according to homoeopathic principles, were given this medicine or a placebo with their normal anti-arthritic drug. The trial was carried out blind and significant results were achieved with the medicine over the placebo in all areas measured.

5. Gasssinger CA, Wunstel G, Netter P. A Controlled Clinical Trial for Testing the Efficacy of the Homoeopathic Drug, Eupatorium perfoliatum, D2 in the Treatment of Common Cold Arznei Forsch, 1981, 31, 4, 732-736. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either Aspirin or Eupatorium perfoliatum 2X. The latter was found to be as effective as Aspirin in reducing the duration and severity of symptoms.

6. Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D’Adhemar D, Balducci F. A Controlled Evaluation of a Homoeopathic Preparation in the Treatment of Influenza-like Syndrome. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 1989, Mar, 27, 3,  329-335. 487 people suffering from influenza were assigned to either Oscillococcinum (Anas barb.) 200CK or placebo, twice daily for 5 days. Significant results were achieved with the medicine over the placebo in all areas measured. This trial was repeated in 1998 (Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, Burkard G, Bengel J, Lehrl S, Belon P. Oscillococcinum in Patients with Influenza-like Syndromes. British Homeopathic Journal, April 1998, 87, pp69-76) with 372 people with the same results.

7. Barnes J, Resch KL, Ernst E. Homoeopathy for Post-Operative Ileus? J. Clin Gastroent, 1997, December, 25, 4, 628-633. A number of controlled studies comparing the activity of various homeopathic medicines with placebo were analysed. Patients using low potency homeopathics were found to have a significantly better response to the homeopathic medicines over the placebo.

8. Weisser M, Strosser W, Klein P. Homeopathic vs Conventional Treatment of Vertigo. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 1998, Aug, 124, 8, 879-885. In this study, 31 patients with vertigo from various aetiologies were treated with a homeopathic complex- regression of symptoms was seen in the majority of cases. This trial was repeated in1998 under double blind conditions and compared with an orthodox medicine routinely used for this condition in 118 people. The homeopathic provided similar results to the orthodox medicine.

9. Erythema Hill N, Stamm C, Tuinder S, Van haselen RA. Homoeopathic After-Bite Gel for Reducing Mosquito bite-induced Erythema. Eur J. Pharmacol, 1995, 49, 03-108. Under double blind placebo controlled trial conditions, patients using an after bite gel containing homeopathic ingredients for insect bites found significant relief with the medicine over the placebo.

10. Zell J, Connert WG, Mau J, Feuerstake G. Treatment of Acute Sprains of the Ankle. Biol Ther, 7, 1, 1989, 106. Under double blind placebo controlled trial conditions, patients using an ointment containing  homeopathic ingredients for soft tissue injury found significant relief with the medicine over the placebo.

11. Tveiten D,  Bruset S, Borchgrevink CFS, Norsch J. Arnica and Muscle Soreness Focus on Alternative and Complementary Medicine (FACT), 1998, 3 (4), 155-156. 46 competitors in the 3 day 1995 Oslo marathon were randomly assigned either Arnica or placebo twice daily and assessed for muscle soreness after the event. Those using Arnica found significant relief with the medicine over the placebo.

12. Taylor MA, Reilly D, Llewellan-Jones RH, McSharry C, Aitchison TC. Randomised Controlled Trial of Homoeopathy versus Placebo in Perennial Allergic Rhinitis with Overview of Four Trial Series. British Medical Journal, 2000, 321, 471-476, 19 August. 51 people suffering from allergic rhinitis were randomly assigned either potentised allergens or placebo. Those given the medicine experienced significant relief over those assigned the placebo.

Animal studies

1. Ruiz- Vega G, Perez- Ordaz L, Proa- Flores P, Aguilar- Diaz Y. An Evaluation of Coffea cruda effect on Rats. British Homeopathic Journal , 2000, 89, 122-126. This study tested the effects of Coffea 30C on the sleep patterns of rats assessed using EEG readings. The results showed a definite effect consistent with increased sleeping activity.

2. Spranger J. Testing the Effectiveness of Antibiotic and Homeopathic Medication in the Frame of Herd Reorganisation of Subclinical Mastitis in Milk Cows. British Homeopathic Journal, 2000, 89, Supplement 1, S62 This preliminary report on this study indicates that antibiotics and homeopathic medicines provide similar levels of protection against mastitis.

3. Day C. Stillbirth in Pigs. Veterinary Recorder, 1984, 9114, 216. Caullophyllum 30C given to pigs greatly reduced the number of stillbirths.

4. Guajardo-Bernal G, Searcy-Bernal R, Soto-Avila J. Growth Promoting Effect of Sulphur 201C in Pigs. British Homeopathic Journal , 85, January, 1996, 15-16. In a blind placebo-controlled trial Sulphur 201C was given to pregnant sows every 10 days. By day 30, significant increases were seen in weight and weight gain in the medicine group versus the placebo.

5. Williamson AV, Mackie WL, Crawford WJ, Rennie B. A Trial of Sepia 200. British Homeopathic Journal, 84, 1, January 1995, 14-20. Using a randomised placebo control method, Sepia 200C was assessed for its ability to increase reproductive performance in a herd of Fresian cross diary cows. Sepia increased all parameters measured.

Plant studies

1. Endler PC, Pongratz W. Homoeopathic Effect of a Plant Hormone? Berlin J on Res in Hom, 1, 3, June, 1991, 148-150. This study showed that Indole Butyric Acid, known at material levels to enhance the growth of new roots and leaves from plant slips, at a 33X potency, continued to provide enhancement of growth

2. Bornoroni C. Synergism of Action between Indolacetic Acid and Highly Diluted Solutions of Calc carb on the Growth of Oat Celeoptiles. Berlin J on Res in Hom, 1, 4/5, December 1991, 275-278. This study demonstrated that Calc carb 5X significantly increased the growth stimulating effects of the plant growth stimulant, indole acetic acid.

3. Jones RL, Jenkins MD. Plant Responses to Homoeopathic Medicines. British Homeopathic Journal, 70, 3, July 1981, 120-146. The authors show the effects of various potencies of Silver nitrate, on the growth characteristics of the leaf sheaths of wheat. Potencies of silver nitrate were shown to either inhibit or stimulate growth, depending upon the potency.

Laboratory Studies

1. Fougeray S, Moubry K, Vallot N, Bastide M. Effect of High Dilutions of Epidermal Growth Factor on in vitro Proliferation of Keratinocyte and Fibroblast Cell Lines. 6th Giri Symposium, Munich, Oct 1992, reported in British Homeopathic Journal, 93, 82. In this experiment, it was shown that 19X and 45X potencies of Epidermal Growth Factor inhibited the proliferation of keratinocyte and fibroblast cell Lines.

2. Fleisbach A, Fejfar V, Spranger J. Effects of Homoeopathic Potencies: Growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in Potentised Copper Sulphate Dilutions. British Homeopathic Journal, 2000, 89, Supplement 1, S65. Material concentrations of copper sulphate inhibit the growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Potentised dilutions of copper sulphate above that which would be expected to contain any physical amounts of copper sulphate, exhibited a potency dependant inhibition or enhancement of growth.

3. Poitevin B, Davenas E, Benveniste J. In Vitro Immunological Degranulation of Human Basophils is Modulated by Lung Histamine and Apis mellifica. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 1988, 25, 439-444. In this study, potentised dilutions of Apis mellifica and Histamine were found to significantly reduce basophil degranulation in vivo.

4. Chirumbolo S, Signorini A, Bianchi I, Lippe G, Bellavite P. Effects of Homoeopathic Preparations of Organic Acids and Minerals on the Oxidative Metabolism of Human Neutrophils. British Homeopathic Journal, 1993, 82, 237-244. The in vitro adhesion and superoxide production of human neutrophils were monitored in the presence of various homeopathic medicines. Sulphur 6X, Manganum phos 6X and 8X, and Magnesium phos 6X and 8X all lead to a 15-30% increase in these parameters.

5. Delbancut A,  Barrouillet MA, Maury-Brachet R, Boudou A, Dorfman P, Cambar J. Mechanistic Approach to the Effect of High Dilutions of Cadmium to Protect from Cytotoxic Cadmium doses in Renal Tubular Cell Cultures. International Research Group on Very Low Dose and High Dilution Effects, 1993 Giri Meeting, BHJ, April, 1994, 83, 84-100 Material concentrations of cadmium have strong toxic effects on renal tubules. Pre-treatment with cadmium 40X and subsequent exposure to material concentrations of cadmium led to a significant reduction in cadmium induced damage.


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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 Robert Medhurst is author of the recently released : The Concordant Clinical Homeopathic Repertory

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