Scientific Research

An Update on Research in Homeopathy

Written by Robert Medhurst

Homeopath and author Robert Medhurst shares abstracts of homeopathy research conducted on people, animals, plants and in vitro.

There are few natural therapies modalities that attract as much criticism from orthodox medicine as homeopathy. The most common of these criticisms is that homeopathic medicines are too dilute to have any effect, therefore can’t do anything.

This ignores two well-established points. This first of these is that homeopathic medicines are not merely diluted, but potentised – the essential step here being succussion or vigorous shaking, and there are numerous examples of research that confirms the difference between mere dilution and homeopathic potentisation1-4.

The second point is that physiological events in living organisms are commonly triggered by very low levels of physical agents. For example, Latini, et al5 found that physiological responses to adrenalin occur in concentrations as low as 10-12 which corresponds to the homeopathic potency 6C. Asmrain, et al6 observed responses to regulatory peptides at concentrations of 10-16 which corresponds to the homeopathic potency, 8C.

The other criticism commonly levelled at homeopathy is that there’s no evidence that confirms that it works. This is untrue. There is an abundance of such evidence and following are some highlights from recent work in this area that’s been published in peer-reviewed journals.

1.Brizzi M, et al. A biostatistical insight into the As(2)O(3) high dilution effects on the rate and variability of wheat seedling growth. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2005;12(5):277-83.

 

  1. Betti L, et al. Effectiveness of ultra high diluted arsenic is a function of succussion number as evidenced by wheat germination test and droplet evaporation method. Int J High Dilution Res, 2013, 12, 44, 127-128. Proceedings of the XXVII GIRI Symposium; 2013, Sep 03-04; Bern (Switzerland) 127.
  2. Casaroli-Marano RP, Alegre J, Campos B. Infrared Changes in Potentised Solutions. Revista Homeopatica, 1998, 38, 5- 12.

 

  1. Ive EC, Couchman IM, Reddy L. Therapeutic Effect of Arsenicum album on Leukocytes. Int J Mol Sci, 2012, 13, 3, 3979-87.

 

  1. Latini R, et al. Demonstration of a different sensitivity to epinephrine in isolated and in vivo hearts. Eur J Pharmacol. 1988;156(1):87-94.

 

  1. Ashmarin IF et al. The Effects of some Regulatory Peptides in Femtomolar and Lower Concentrations of Lymphatic Vessels. Ultra Low Doses, Doutremepuich, Taylor and Francis, 1991, 11-26.

Human Research

  1. Ram H, et al. Effects of Blatta orientalis on Treatment of Bronchial Asthma: A Prospective, Non-Randomised, Open-Label, Observational Study. Homœopathic Links. 2021;34(03):182-90. 100 people with bronchial asthma were treated with homeopathic Blatta orientalis in increasing homeopathic potencies from 30C for 6 months. Patients were diagnosed and assessed on the basis of the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) score and by spirometry findings. The paired t-test was applied to calculate the statistical significance of the study. A significant difference was found in pre- and post-treatment spirometry (forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity ratio) from baseline to 6 months (mean ± standard deviation [SD]: –10.27 ± 4.95; 95% confidence interval [CI]: –11.25 to –9.28; p = 0.00001). Also, significant difference was seen in the ACQ Score from baseline to 6 months (mean ± SD: 19.44 ± 8.69; 95% CI: 17.71–21.16; p = 0.00001).
  2. Rajvanshy T, et al. Usefulness of Curcuma longa in the Cases of Functional Dyspepsia—A Parallel Arm-Controlled Study. Homœopathic Links. 2022;35(01):024-030. A prospective single-blind placebo-controlled trial was conducted for 1 year with a 3 -month intervention and follow-up period. 80 people with functional dyspepsia were randomly allocated to experimental group (homeopathic

Curcuma longa 30C) or control (placebo). Both the arms followed dietary and lifestyle modifications. The usefulness of homeopathic medicine and placebo in cases with functional dyspepsia on day 35 was compared with baseline. Assessment and reassessment were done using gastrointestinal symptom (GIS) score.

Marked improvement was seen in 12 (30%) cases in the Curcuma group and 0 cases in placebo group, moderate improvement was seen in 8 (20%) cases in Curcuma and 1 (2.5%) in placebo group, mild improvement was seen in 6 (15%) cases in Curcuma and 2 (5%) cases in placebo group, no relief was seen in 14 (35%) cases in Curcuma longa and 37 (92.5%) cases in placebo group.

To analyse the change in the GIS scores of symptoms of functional dysplasia, paired t-test was applied for both treatment group and control group. It was observed from the paired t-test result that there was a one-point increase in the pre- and post-average GIS score (from 28.65 to 29.65) in the control group and it is not statistically significant (t = −0.760 and p = .452). Whereas there was 13.3-point decrease (from 29.55 to 16.25) in the treatment group and it is statistically significant (t = 9.347 and p = 0.000).

  1. Chakraborty M, et al. A Pre-Post Interventional Study for Evaluating the Usefulness of Homoeopathic Medicine Nux vomica to Combat the Side Effects of Liposomal Amphotericin B Injection in the Cases of Mucormycosis. Homœopathic Links. 2022;35(02):101-8. The aim of this study was to observe the effectiveness of the homeopathic medicine Nux vomica 30C to combat the side effects of liposomal amphotericin B (LAmB) injection in the cases of mucormycosis. 55 people with mucormycosis were enrolled in the study as per inclusion criteria. After reportorial analysis, Nux vomica was given to the patients from the 2nd day of administration of LAmB.

The Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale was used to assess the improvement in the cases by comparing the scores obtained before and after the treatment. Out of 55 cases, 42 showed marked improvement from 7th day onwards after administration of Nux vomica. Results was analysed by using one-way repeated-measures analysis of variance and post hoc Tukey Honest Significant Difference and was found statistically significant at 5% level of significance.

  1. Choubey G, et al. Role of Homoeopathy in Managing Chronic Paronychia: A Pretest–Posttest Interventional Study. Homœopathic Links. 2022;35(04):251-9. A pre-test/post-test clinical study was conducted on 40 patients with chronic paronychia (CP). The Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) and Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) were the outcome measures, assessed at baseline and after 2 months of individualised homeopathic treatment (IHT). Modified Naranjo Criteria (MNC) evaluated the effects of IHT.

There was a statistically significant reduction in pain NRS score (8.89 ± 0.84 vs 2.97 ± 1.17; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.44–6.39; p < 0.01) as well as DLQI score (19.35 ± 2.95 vs 3.59 ± 1.99; 95% CI = 15.06–16.45; p < 0.01) among 37 patients. The large effect size derived (4.17) clinically, substantiates the beneficial effects in managing the painful episodes of CP. The MNC scores (7–10) indicated improvement due to IHT.

  1. Champs NS, et al. Impact of Homeopathic Treatment on the Quality of Life of Women with Chronic Diseases: A Randomized Controlled Pragmatic Trial. Homeopathy. 2021;110(02):102-07. In a prospective trial, 106 women with chronic illnesses were randomly divided into 2 groups, one group underwent homeopathic treatment in the first 6-month period and the other did not receive any homeopathic treatment.

In both groups, patients maintained their conventional medical treatment when necessary. The World Health Organization Quality of Life abbreviated questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF) was used for QoL analysis prior to treatment and 6 months later.

Randomisation afforded similar baseline results in 3 domains of QoL analysis for both groups. After 6 months’ treatment, there was a statistically significant difference between groups in the physical domain of WHOQOL-BREF: the average score improved to 63.6 ± (SD) 15.8 in the homeopathy group, compared with 53.1 ± (SD) 16.7 in the control group.

  1. Talele G, et al. Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Feasibility Study, Evaluating the Efficacy of Homeopathic Medicines in the Prevention of COVID-19 in a Quarantined Population. Homeopathy. 2022;111(01):049-056. 2,233 COVID-19 exposed people were randomly divided into 6 groups. Each group received one of the following: Arsenicum album 30C, Bryonia alba 30C, a combination (Arsenicum album 30C, Bryonia alba 30C, Gelsemium sempervirens 30C and Influenzinum 30C), coronavirus nosode CVN01 30C, Camphora 1M, or placebo. 6 pills twice a day were administered for 3 days.

The primary outcome measure used was testing recruitment and retention in this quarantined setting. Secondary outcomes were numbers testing positive for COVID-19 after developing symptoms of illness, number of subjects hospitalised, and days to recovery.

Subjects who were randomised to either Bryonia or to the CVN01 nosode signalled (p <0.10) a lower incidence of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and a shorter period of illness, with evidence of fewer hospitalisations, than those taking placebo. The 3 other groups did not show signals of efficacy.

In Vitro Research

  1. Santos WA, et al. Effects of Phytolacca decandra on the viability of murine breast adenocarcinoma (4T1 cells) in vitro. Int J High Dilution Res. 2018;17(2):21-21. This study sought to evaluate the effects of Phytolacca decandra in different homeopathic dilutions on the phenotypic features, apoptosis index, and cell morphology of 4T1 cells (murine carcinoma cell lineage).

The potencies 6C, 12C, 30C and 200C prepared in sterile pure water were studied. Dynamised sterile pure water was used as control. The cytotoxicity was evaluated after different cell treatments in culture bottles (25ml) with the homeopathic medicines (equal to 10% of total medium volume).

Cells were cultured in a cell density of 5 x 105 cells / ml, treated with the respective potency and, after 24 hours, analysed for the apoptosis index using Annexin V kit and measured using the Countess® System. The morphology of the 4T1 cells was monitored by staining fixed cell smears with haematoxylin-eosin method.

Cells were previously adhered to a glass coverslip and fixed with absolute methanol. The samples were evaluated in quadruplicate and the data were analysed by one-way ANOVA. The results obtained showed that the treatment with Phytolacca 200C increased the apoptosis index in relation to the control.

Moreover, morphological changes were observed in the respective cell smears: the presence of multinucleated cells, some of them presenting up to 8 nuclei and the increase of eosinophilic staining pattern of cytoplasm, even in mononucleated cells.

  1. dos Santos MLF, et al. Metastatic melanoma cells are selective affected in vitro by Atropa belladonna 200 c. Int J High Dilution Res. 2018;17(2):19-20. The aim here was to investigate Atropa belladonna 200C (Bell 200C) in vitro anti-tumour effects on B16-F10 metastatic murine melanoma cells and its toxicity on Balb/3T3 normal murine fibroblasts.

Cells were treated for up to 72 hours. Assays to determine cytotoxicity, as well as functional and molecular cell patterns were carried out following standard protocols. Water treated cells were used as controls. All data were submitted to Shapiro-Wilk normality test followed by either Mann-Whitney or t-test. P value < 0.05 was considered significant. Bell 200C modulated cell cycle, leading to a decreased melanoma cell proliferation (44% less cells then control), and an increase in apoptotic cells number.

No effects on fibroblast proliferation and death were observed. Melanoma cells malignancy was also affected, as the following tumour progression related features were modulated. Melanin production was higher in treated cells. N-cadherin and CD44 expression were statistically decreased. Clonogenic capacity was decreased by 35%. Authors concluded that Bell 200C has the capacity to impair melanoma metastasis.

Animal Research

  1. de Souza Balbueono MC, et al. Evaluation of the Efficacy of Crataegus oxyacantha in Dogs with Early-Stage Heart Failure. Homeopathy. 2020;109(4):224-9. 30 dogs in the initial phase of heart failure from Myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) were randomised into 3 groups as follows: Crataegus 6C, Crataegus mother tincture (MT), and hydro-alcoholic solution (placebo). Animals were evaluated through echocardiography parameters, laboratory blood tests, and systolic blood pressure (SBP) measurements at 30, 60, 90, and 120 days after initiation of therapy, for statistical analysis and monitoring of the blinded study.

Patients who received Crataegus 6C showed a reduction in SBP 60 days after treatment, while those receiving Crataegus MT exhibited a reduction 90 days after the therapy was initiated. There was a significant linear regression when evaluating the effect of treatment with Crataegus 6C on SBP measurements over the evaluation intervals (linear equation: SBP = 176.57 mm Hg – 0.21x, where x represents days of treatment). There was an increase in both fractional shortening and iso-volumetric relaxation time for those patients receiving the homeopathic formulation.

Plant Research

  1. Nunes A, et al. Feasibility in seed germination of Hypericum perforatum L. submitted at different temperatures and treatments with high dilutions. Int J High Dilution Res. 2019;18(3-4):02-12. Three bioassays were carried out in chambers of germination, using a randomised experimental design and in duplicate. In the first bioassay, temperatures of 20, 25 and 30ºC were evaluated, with 20 replicates and 50 seeds in each replicate.

In the second, the effect of high dilutions (Kali carbonicum, Natrum muriaticum, Phosphorus and Silicea terra 12C) using 4 replicates with 50 seeds each. In the third, Kali carbonicum was tested at 6C, 12C, 20C, 30C with 50 seeds and 4 replicates.

The percentage of germination, germination rate index (GRI), average germination time (AGT) and seedlings with cotyledons were assessed and the data were analysed through R software at a 5% significance. At 25°C, 63% of the seeds germinated while at 20 and 30°C the percentage was 26% and 18%, respectively. In seeds treated with Kali carb 12C the germination rate increased significantly in relation to the control group. Kali carbonicum 6C increased the GRI of the seeds, while at 20C, it increased the AGT, showing delay in germination.

About the author

Robert Medhurst

Robert Medhurst BNat DHom DBM DRM DNutr is an Australian Naturopath & Homeopath with 40 years of clinical experience. He has written many articles and lectured on homeopathy throughout Australia and the U.S. Robert previously set up and operated 5 natural therapies practices in Sydney and Adelaide and was involved in teaching and medical 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, as well as The Concordant Clinical Homeopathic Repertory. For more information see adelaidehillsnaturopath.com.au.

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