Despite the wishes and desires of its detractors, the evidence for homeopathy and its effectiveness continues to grow. For those of us with a professional or academic interest in such good news, the following are summaries of some of the relatively recent studies that have been published in this area.
1. Beringhs-Bueno A, Moreira HM, Pascalicchio VDAAAE. Mercury Intoxication: High Dilution as Mercury’s Chelating Agent. International Journal of High Dilution Research, 2006, 5, 16. In this study, which adds to similar work done previously, Brazilian researchers sought to determine what influence the homeopathic potencies of mercury may have on people intoxicated with this heavy metal. 52 people suffering from mercury toxicity were randomly assigned to receive either a homeopathic potency of mercury (Merc sol) or placebo. Quality of life (SF36) and pathogenetic symptom assessment, blood, urine and hair levels of mercury were recorded before the start of the study, and again at 30 and 60 days. On analysis it was found that when compared to controls, the use of the homeopathic potency of mercury was associated with increased urinary excretion of mercury, reduced hair levels of mercury as well as an improvement in pathogenetic symptoms and associated quality of life.
2. Teut M, Ludtke R, Schnabel K, Willich SN, Witt CM. Homeopathic treatment of elderly patients – a prospective observational study with follow-up over a two year period. BMC Geriatr. 2010 Feb 22;10(1):10. [Epub ahead of print]. This cohort study was conducted on a group of 3981 people who’d been treated by homeopathic physicians in Germany and Switzerland. Data was analysed on patients 70 years of age or older suffering from a chronic illness (mostly hypertension and sleeping disorders) who’d seen the physician for the first time. Over a 2 year period, the progress of the homeopathic therapy was monitored and measured using both patient and practitioner assessed complaint severity scale and quality of life (SF-36) scale at baseline, 3, 12 and 24 months. At the end of the observation period, the homeopathic treatment was associated with a significant reduction in both patient and physician assessed symptom severity.
1. Banerjee P, Bhattacharyya SS, Pathak S, Boujedaini N, Belon P and Khuda-Bukhsh AR. Evidences of Protective Potentials of Microdoses of Ultra-high Diluted Arsenic Trioxide in Mice Receiving Repeated Injections of Arsenic Trioxide. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, eCAM Advance Access published online on February 25, 2009. This blinded study was carried out to further confirm previously published evidence that a homeopathic potency of Arsenic trioxide (Arsenicum album) can protect against the hepatotoxic effects of arsenic. Researchers from the Department of Zoology, University of Kalyani, in Kalyani, India exposed mice (36 per series) previously treated with Arsenicum album 200C to material doses of arsenic and compared the response to mice pre-treated with succussed or unsuccussed control solutions, as well as 2 other control groups which did not receive any exposure to arsenic. Assessment was carried out using liver enzyme studies, electron microscopy of liver samples and an array or other biomarkers at day 0, day 90 and day 120. When compared to the mice in control groups, those that received Arsenicum album 200C showed, “positive modulations of all parameters studied, thereby providing evidence of protective potentials of the homeopathic drug against chronic arsenic poisoning.”
2. Bellavite P, Magnani P, Zanolin E, Conforti A. Homeopathic Doses of Gelsemium sempervirens Improve the Behavior of Mice in Response to Novel Environments. Evid Based Complement Alternat Medorrhinum 2009 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print] This blinded Italian study was designed to determine what effects, if any, homeopathically potentised (5C, 7C and 30C) Gelsemium sempervirens has on certain behavioral parameters in mice. Several hundred mice were assigned to receive various potencies of Gelsemium, material doses of diazepam, or placebo, and then challenged with various “open field” scenarios testing their ability to cope with new environments and their desire to explore them. On analysis of the results it was found that when compared to placebo and diazepam, homeopathically potentised Gelsemium has the capacity to improve exploratory behavior and reduce the fear of novel environments, which may go some way to confirm the utility of this remedy in the relief of stress.
3. Fontes OL, Chaudr MV, Alves MIF, Gutierrez MA, Foltran FP, de Carvalho GGA. Comparative Study of the Effect of Different Doses of Dynamic Arsenicum album 6CH. International Journal of High Dilution Research, 2006, 5, No 17, 6-8. For as long as homeopathic medicines have been used, debate has continued on what constitutes the most effective volume of medicine to be used in any given circumstance. In an effort to steer the debate towards closure, researchers from the Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba in Brazil, using previously confirmed data, gave mice suffering from arsenic toxicity daily doses of 2 drops, 5 drops or 10 drops of Arsenicum album 6C, over a 30 day period, and using the urine measured their renal arsenic clearance, assessed via atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Subsequent analysis found no statistical difference between any 3 of the Arsenicum volumes; with all 3 providing effective renal clearance of material quantities of arsenic.
4. Queiroz AO; Xavier SCC; Faria KG; Bernardo RR; Leitão6 TCA. Evaluation of Trypanosoma cruzi 30dH biotherapic: an in vitro study. International Journal of High Dilution Research, 2006, 5, 17. In this Brazilian study, research was carried out to evaluate the plausibility of using a homeopathic potency of Trypanosoma cruzi to protect mice against the effects of this parasite. To determine this, mice were randomly assigned to either be pre-treated with a 30X preparation of Trypanosoma cruzi prior to exposure to the parasite, or were given the homeopathic potency at the same time as being exposed to the same parasite. Parasite specific IgM and IgG antibody levels for all mice were then assayed using indirect immunofluoresence and it was found that the mice pre-treated with the homeopathic potency had a 50% improvement in their response to the infection associated with the parasite.
5. Silva NL, Moletta JL, Minho AP, Filippsen LF. Use of biotherapic in the control of natural infestation by Boophilus microplus: pilot study. International Journal of High Dilution Research 2008, 7, 22, 36-38. In an effort to reduce the dependence on chemicals to which ticks are becoming increasingly resistant, this work was carried out to determine if a homeopathic medicine made from the tick can provide a viable alternative. 27 tick-infested cattle were divided into 3 groups. One received no treatment, the next received the normal dose of Amitraz (a chemical based tick dip) and the third received a 12C potency of Boophilus microplus. When compared to the control, the dip and the 12C potency provided the same level of reduction in ticks.
6. Mathie RT, Baitson ES, Hansen L, Elliott MF, Hoare J. Homeopathic prescribing for chronic conditions in equine veterinary practice in the UK. Vet Rec. 2010 Feb 20, 166, 8, 234-8. This was a veterinary cohort study examining the clinical outcomes from the homeopathic treatment of horses suffering from a range of clinical conditions. 12 veterinary surgeons qualified in homeopathic prescribing recorded the data from 777 consecutive consultations over a 12 month period that included the individual details of each consultation and the owner-assessed clinical outcomes that arose from each. Follow-up assessments were available from 234 consultations involving chronic disorders and at the end of the study period only 4.3% were receiving conventional medication and 17.1% were being given some other complementary medicine in addition to homeopathy.
7. Jonas WB, Dillner DK. Ultra-Low, Serial Agitated Dilutions Prepared from Francisella tularensis-Infected Tissue. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2000, 14, 1, 35–52.
Wayne Jonas and Debra Dillner, in this study, set out to determine the effect of a homeopathic potency of Francisella tularensis, the bacteria involved in Tularema, on mice exposed to material quantities of the same organism. 147 mice were randomly assigned to receive the homeopathic preparation or a control substance and were then exposed to the bacteria. In a series of 15 repetitions, each instance showed that a statistically significant protective effect was provided by the homeopathically prepared bacteria. Succussion on the remedy was carried out using a vortex mixer, and interestingly, the degree of protective effect was related to the extent of vortex mixing and 2 of the homeopathic preparations used were associated with the in-vivo production of specific anti-tularemia IgG antibody.
1. Malarczyk E, Kochmanska-Rdest J and Jarosz-Wilkolazka A. Influence of very low doses of mediators on fungal laccase activity – nonlinearity beyond imagination. Nonlinear Biomedical Physics 2009, 3, 10. Carried out at the Biochemistry Department, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland, this trial was conducted by Elzbieta Malarczyk and her colleagues to determine the effect of various homeopathically potentised substances (1C to 10C) hydroxybenzotriazole (HBT) and 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) ), on the activation of extracellular Laccase, an enzyme with industrial application that’s responsible for the aerobic transformations of some natural phenolics. HBT and ABTS at material dose are known laccase activators. The experiment was done by exposing 2 high laccase fungal strains to 1C to 10C potencies of HBT and ABTS over 14 days, the laccase produced assessed for activity via PAGE and colorimetric tests and the level of demethylation activity assessed after incubation with veratric acid. On all assessments the potentised versions of HBT and ABTS demonstrated a statistically significant effect.