Scientific Research

More Research on Homeopathy #54

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Homeopath Robert Medhurst describes a sampling of the relentless attacks on homeopathy, including those from the governments of Australia, UK, USA, France, Belgium and Germany. He then presents number 54 in his updates on research on homeopathy.

Globally, the practice of homeopathy is under threat. To take a few notable examples, in Australia it’s been declared to be ineffective for any health condition by the Australian federal government’s National Health and Medical Research Council, and private health insurers have ceased rebates for it. In the UK, National Health Service funding has been withdrawn from it. In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration has flagged new powers that allow it to ban commonly used homeopathic medicines. France’s national health authority, HAS, has said that is will stop reimbursing patients for homeopathic treatment from 2021. In Belgium, the Federaal Kenniscentrum voor de Gezondheidszorg, the official health information service, has stated that there is no valid empirical evidence of homeopathy beyond the placebo effect, and Belgian private health insurers are withdrawing reimbursements for homeopathic treatment. In Germany, the head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians has called for the withdrawal of reimbursements for homeopathy because there is insufficient evidence for the efficacy of homeopathic procedures. In most of these and other instances where attempts are being made to restrict the practice of homeopathy, the reason given is that there’s no good quality evidence for its effectiveness. Following is some of the more recent work that’s been done in this area.

Human Research

Nayak D, et al. Effect of Adjuvant Homeopathy with Usual Care in Management of Thrombocytopenia Due to Dengue: A Comparative Cohort Study. Homeopathy, 2019, 108, 3, 150-7. 138 patients received an individualised homeopathic medicine along with usual care (H+UC), and 145 patients received usual care (UC) alone. Assessment of thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 100,000/mm3) was the main outcome measure. Kaplan-Meier analysis enabled comparison of the time taken to reach a platelet count of 100,000/mm3. There was a statistically significantly greater rise in platelet count on day 1 of follow-up in the H+UC group compared with UC alone (mean difference = 12,337; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5,421 to 19,252; p = 0.001). This trend persisted until day 5 (mean difference = 14,809; 95% CI, 1,615 to 28,004; p = 0.02). The time taken to reach a platelet count of 100,000/mm3 was nearly 2 days earlier in the H+UC group compared with UC alone (H+UC: 3.44 days ± standard error of the mean [SEM] 0.18; 95% CI, 3.08 to 3.80; UC: 5.28 days ± SEM 0.29; 95% CI, 4.71 to 5.86; p < 0.001).

Tavares-Silva C, et al. Homeopathic medicine of Melissa officinalis combined or not with Phytolacca decandra in the treatment of possible sleep bruxism in children: A crossover randomized triple-blinded controlled clinical trial. Phytomedicine, 2019, 58, 152869. 52 children were selected based on the parents report of sleep bruxism (SB). The study comprised a crossover design that included 4 phases of 30-day treatment (Placebo; Melissa officinalis (MO) 12C; Phytolacca decandra (PD) 12C; and MO 12C + PD 12C), with a wash-out period of 15 days between treatments. At baseline and after each phase, the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) was used as the primary outcome measure to evaluate the influence of treatments on the reduction of SB. The following additional outcome measures were used: a children’s sleep diary with parent’s/guardian’s perceptions of their children’s sleep quality, the trait of anxiety scale (TAS) to identify changes in children’s anxiety profile, and side effects reports. Data were analysed by ANOVA with repeated measures followed by Post Hoc LSD test. Significant reduction of SB was observed in VAS after the use of Placebo (-1.72 ± 0.29), MO (-2.36 ± 0.36), PD (-1.44 ± 0.28) and MO + PD (-2.21 ± 0.30) compared to baseline (4.91 ± 1.87). MO showed better results compared to PD (p = 0.018) and Placebo (p = 0.050), and similar result compared to MO+PD (p = 0.724). The sleep diary results and TAS results were not influenced by any of the treatments. No side effects were observed after treatments.

Shukla I. A Prospective Observational Study on the Therapeutic Effect of Plantago Major in Reducing Craving for Tobacco. Homœopathic Links, 2019, 32, 03, 145-51. A prospective study was conducted with 30 randomly selected 30 patients who showed tobacco dependence. They were treated using the homeopathic medicine Plantago major and were reviewed in every 2 weeks. Outcomes were measured by fagerstrom test score changes. Of the 30 cases, 27(90%) cases showed change in tobacco dependence, 3(10%) cases didn’t show any change. To assess this change in tobacco dependence fagerstrom test score of patients before and after treatment were taken into consideration. The statistical analysis was done using the paired t test. Significance was accepted at p value < 0.05 to assess differences before and after taking medicine. Baseline Mean ± SD FTND was 6.93 ± 1.41 which improved to 5.33 ± 1.32 after treatment. A paired student t test showed that the above changes were statistically significant (p < 0.005) which shows a significant reduction in patient’s tobacco dependence. p-Value is < 0.001.

Agarwal R. Usefulness of Robinia pseudoacacia in the Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Homœopathic Links, 2019, 32, 03, 152-8. 30 patients suffering from GERD were enrolled in the study. The diagnosis was made on the basis of GERD questionnaire (GerdQ). Robinia pseudoacacia was prescribed in 6C potency in repeated doses to the enrolled patients. The improvement in patients was assessed using GerdQ which was evaluated at baseline and after the 6 months treatment by using the paired ‘t’ test. Of the 30 cases, 1 case was cured, 26 showed a good improvement and 3 did not respond to the treatment. Overall, statistically significant difference was found in pre- and post-treatment GERDQ scores (p < 0.001).

Gupta N. Clinical Evaluation of Homoeopathic Medicines in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Homœopathic Links, 2019, 32, 02, 82-7.  30 clinically subjects with BPH were given individualised homeopathic treatment and followed up for a period of 1 year. Treatment effects were analysed periodically by American Urological Association score (AUA score) and ultrasonography. Marked amelioration of symptoms and reduction in size of prostate gland in BPH subjects were observed after homeopathic treatment when analysed by AUA score and ultrasonography. There was marked reduction in various symptoms of BPH such as nocturia, straining, incomplete sensation after urination, interrupted flow of urination with dribbling of urine and urgency significantly from 21.60 ± 4.64 units to 12.23 ± 3.68, that is, ∼57% reduction in symptoms of obstruction of bladder problem. The reduction was statistically significant (p = 0.001). However, transabdominal pelvic ultrasonic scan did not show statistically significant results.

Animal Research

Mazon-Suastegui JM, et al. Evaluation of Homeopathic Phosphoric Acid, Silica and Pathogenic Vibrio on Digestive Enzyme Activity of Longfin Yellowtail Fish (Seriola rivoliana). Homeopathy, 2020, 109, 1, 3-13. This research aimed to observe the effect of homeopathically prepared Vibrio parahaemolyticus (ViP) and V. alginolyticus (ViA) and the homeopathic compound Similia (Phosphoricum acidum and Silicea terra) on the digestive enzyme activities of Seriola rivoliana juveniles under usual culture conditions. Biochemical analysis was used to study the effect of highly diluted substances (7C potency) prepared from ViP and ViA (Treatment 1: T1) and the homeopathic compound Phosphoricum acidum and Silicea terra (Treatment 2: T2) on changes in the main digestive enzymes on weaning-state fish (WS; 30 days post-hatching [DPH]) and early juveniles (EJ; 62 DPH) versus a reference control group that received no homeopathic medicines. Treatment T2 significantly increased the activity of trypsin and lipase and decreased the activity of amylase, whereas treatment T1 increased the activity of chymotrypsin and reduced the activity of aminopeptidase-N in WS fish. Except for alkaline phosphatase, which was significantly reduced in the intestine, no significant differences in enzymatic activity were found between treated EJ fish and controls. The fish of the WS group had a higher growth rate with the T2 treatment.

In-Vitro Research

Prajapati S, et al. Antimicrobial activity of different homoeopathic drugs and their potencies against ‘Aspergillus niger’ In vitro. Ind J Res Hom, 2019, 13, 3, 150-8. This study was undertaken with an aim to explore the antimicrobial effect of different homeopathic drugs and its potencies against the Aspergillus niger. 15 homeopathic mother tinctures (Θ) and their potencies (3x, 6x, 12x) were tested for their biological activity against the human pathogenic fungi A. niger using disc diffusion method according to clinical and laboratory standard (CLSIM44-A) with slight modifications. The diameter of zone of inhibition was measured and compared with vehicle control (Alcohol 90%). The experiment was performed twice to check the reproducibility. Marked antifungal activity was observed with Θ of Zingiber officinale; the growth of A. niger was inhibited and showed maximum zone of inhibition up to 15.4 ± 2.88 mm followed by Holarrhena antidysenterica (13.2 ± 1.09) and Terminalia chebula (10.6 ± 1.14). Different potencies (3x, 6x and 12x) were also exhibited significant zone of inhibition, especially Allium cepa 6x (10.4 ± 0.89), Caesalpinia bonducella 6x and 12x (12.8 ± 0.54 and 10.4 ± 1.14, respectively), Eucalyptus globulus 12x (11.3 ± 1.94), Ruta graveolens 12x (15.0 ± 2.23), Thuja occidentalis 6x (10.8 ± 0.83), and Zingiber officinale 3x and 6x (13.0 ± 2.73 and 11.4 ± 2.30, respectively) as compared to control.

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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