Unless you’re actively tuned into it in some way, it’s rare to hear good news about complementary medicine. You may see the occasional mention of things such as St John’s Wort or Glucosamine in the media but on the whole, it’s unusual. Rarer still is to see good news about homeopathy. Happily, there is some, in the form of positive findings in research, and following are summaries of recently seen published papers from this field.
- Bracho G, et al. Large-scale application of highly-diluted bacteria for Leptospirosis epidemic control. Homeopathy, 2010, 99, 3, 156-66. The use of homeopathically prepared materials as an alternative to conventional vaccination has attracted intense criticism and this Cuban study went some way towards addressing these criticisms. It was conducted in three provinces in Cuba where leptospirosis is endemic and active. As a means of attempting to control outbreaks, 2.3 million people were inoculated with a homeopathically prepared version of 4 of the strains of causative organisms endemic to the areas at that time, potentised to 200C. The data from post-innoculation surveillance were used to measure the impact of the intervention by comparing these outcomes with historical trend, forecast models for the regions and data from non-intervention areas. An analysis of these data showed that the use of the homeopathically prepared organisms was associated with a large reduction of disease incidence and relative control of the epidemic.
- Glatthaar-Saalmüller B. In vitro evaluation of the antiviral effects of the homeopathic preparation Gripp-Heel on selected respiratory viruses. Can J Physiol Pharmacol, 2007, 85, 11, 1084-90. This Austrian study was carried out at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna and sought to determine the in vitro effects of a combination of homeopathically prepared substances on a panel of viruses commonly associated with human illness. The effects of the combination were compared to several positive controls (acyclovir, ribavirin and amantadine hydrochloride) and assessment of the effects was done by standard viral viability tests (plaque reduction assay, cytopathogenic assays, virus titrations, analysis of the viral proteins in virus-specific enzyme immunoassays, and haemagglutination tests). On analysis of the results a significant association was shown between the homeopathic combination and a reduction in the activity or viability of Human herpesvirus 1, Human adenovirus C serotype 5, Influenza A virus, Human respiratory syncytial virus, Human parainfluenza virus 3, Human rhinovirus B serotype 14, and Human coxsackievirus serotype A9.
- Möllinger H, Schneider R, Walach H. Homeopathic pathogenetic trials produce specific symptoms different from placebo. Forsch Komplementmed, 2009, 16, 2, 105-10. This study, carried out at the University of Osnabrück in Germany, builds on previous work done in the area of pathogenetic trials conducted on homeopathically prepared substances. In this work, researchers compared the pathogenetic effects of Natrum muriaticum 30C and Arsenicum album 30C with placebo. Several other groups doing similar work have then gone on to contrast the pathogenetic symptoms produced by the test substances with those generally accepted as the traditional proving symptoms for these homeopathic remedies, but this was not the objective in this case. On analysis of the results in this instance, it was found that the active substances were associated with remedy-specific symptoms that differed significantly overall and differed from those associated with the placebo.
- Witt CM, et al, Homeopathic treatment of patients with chronic low back pain: A prospective observational study with 2 years’ follow-up. Clin J Pain, 2009, 25, 4, 334-9. Claudia Witt has done some excellent work in the area of homeopathic research and this adds to an already impressive tally. In this study, Witt and colleagues from the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany, evaluated what effects, if any, constitutionally prescribed homeopathy had on the health outcomes for people suffering from chronic low back pain. 129 adults suffering from medically diagnosed chronic low back pain for an average duration of 9.6 years were treated by homeopathic physicians who prescribed medicines according to their individual symptoms. Their progress was followed for 2 years and over this time an average of 6.8 different medicines were prescribed. On analysis of the symptom severity and quality of life changes over the period of observation, it was shown that the treatment was associated with marked and sustained improvement in both parameters. In addition, the use of homeopathic therapy was associated with a significant decline in the use of conventional treatment and health services.
- Witt CM, Lüdtke R, Willich SN. Homeopathic treatment of patients with dysmenorrhea: a prospective observational study with 2 years follow-up. Arch Gynecol Obstet, 2009, 280, 4, 603-11. In more good work from the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany, Claudia Witt and colleagues conducted a multi-centre observational study to determine what effects, if any, constitutional homeopathic prescribing had on women suffering from dysmenorrhoea. 128 women who’d been medically diagnosed with dysmenorrhoea and had had this condition for an average of 11.6 years, were treated by 57 separate physicians with an average of 7.5 different prescriptions. Using complaint severity and quality of life as outcome measures, this treatment was associated with significant improvements in both areas. In addition, the use of other health services was reduced, but there was little impact on the use of conventional medications.
- Relton C, Weatherley-Jones E. Homeopathy service in a National Health Service community menopause clinic: audit of clinical outcomes. J Br Menopause Soc, 2005, 11, 2, 72-3. In this study, an audit was performed to determine the outcomes of individualised homeopathic treatment for menopause in a National Health Service community menopause clinic in Sheffield in the UK. Patient-assessed outcomes from 2001 to 2003 were evaluated and were found to be consistent with the notion that this service was associated with an overall improvement in the condition. In particular, an improvement in headaches, flushing, fatigue and emotional and psychological symptoms were noted.
- Klocke P, et al.. A randomized controlled trial to compare the use of homeopathy and internal Teat Sealers for the prevention of mastitis in organically farmed dairy cows during the dry period and 100 days post-calving. Homeopathy, 2010, 99, 2, 90-8. Mastitis in organically farmed dairy cows is a major issue since, by definition, organically farmed animals cannot be given antibiotics. To deal with this, Swiss scientists from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture in Frick sought to come up with a solution using a herd specific homeopathic mixture in cows affected by mastitis. 102 cows were randomly assigned to receive teat sealing via Orbeseal, a sterile, non-antibiotic inflammatory infusion in the form of a viscous paste, the homeopathic mixture or no treatment. All cows were checked for clinical mastitis and somatic cell count for the first 100 days post-calving (milk from cows infected with mastitis generally have higher total bacteria counts and somatic cell counts than milk from uninfected cows). On analysis it was shown that the herd-specific homeopathic was effective in increasing the number of animals with normal milk secretion compared to untreated controls.
- Gazim ZC, et al. Efficiency of tick biotherapic on the control of infestation by Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus in Dutch dairy cows. Int J High Dilution Res. 2010; 9, 33, 156-164. This Brazilian work was done to investigate alternatives to conventional pesticides for the management of the tick Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) in cattle. To do this, 34 Dutch dairy cows infested with Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus were given either mineral salt alone or mineral salt impregnated with a 12C homoepathic preparation of the organism daily for 6 months, then a 30C preparation every second day for a further 22 months. At this point, engorged female ticks were collected from both groups, counted and weighed. In vitro tests were carried out to assess mass of ticks; egg mass; egg-hatching rate; and reproductive efficiency. After comparing these results from both groups it was shown that the use of the homeopathically prepared tick was associated with a significant decrease in the mass of engorged females, deposition and hatching rate of eggs, and a decrease of the reproductive efficiency of these ticks.
3. Braccini GL, et al. Morpho-functional response of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) to a homeopathic complex. Homeopathy, 2013, 102, 4, 233-41. This work looked at the effects of different concentrations of a homeopathic complex (Homeopatila 100) on the performance and prevalence of ectoparasites and the morpho-functional response of the liver and the branchiae of the fish, Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). This trial used farmed juvenile Nile tilapia that were randomly assigned to receive one of four treatments: negative control or 20 mL, 40 mL or 60 mL of the homeopathic combination per kg of fish meal food. There were four replications per treatment type over a period of 57 days. Assessment was via the number of hepatocytes/mm, the intercellular glycogenic behaviour, the rates of histological change (hyperplasia, lamella fusion and telangiectasia) and the percentage of neutral and acidic mucin-producing cells. Significant effect differences were found between the different homeopathic combination treatments and the hepatosomatic ratio of fish treated with it was significantly lower than that of fish from the control group. The best results in the liver and branchiae were achieved with a concentration or 40mL per kg of fish meal.