For those of us who accept the fundamental premise of homeopathy, Similia Similibus Curantur, do we need to have this validated by research? To many, the principle is so well accepted that it’s become common sense and therefore doesn’t require any validation. A lot of what we do in our clinics is based on that same common sense, what we have learnt from others in training, from texts or journals or what we have learnt through personal experience or observation. But what about those for whom this isn’t common sense – clients, potential clients, healthcare practitioners from other disciplines and people who can potentially influence our capacity to practice our craft or the way in which we practice it, such as those working in or on behalf of various levels of government? For these people, some sort of objective and credible evidence can be helpful if not essential, and it’s with this need in mind that I’ve summarised some of the more recent and notable pieces of research into homeopathy.
1. Colin P. Homeopathy and respiratory allergies: a series of 147 cases. Homeopathy, 2006, 95, 2, 68-72. In this case series, 147 consecutive patients suffering from respiratory allergy who attended a private homeopathic clinic were assessed for their response to constitutional homeopathic treatment. Of these patients, 105 were sufferers of ear, nose and throat allergies. Only 2 of these patients failed to respond to treatment and none experienced an exacerbation of symptoms. The other 42 patients were sufferers of pulmonary allergies, all except 5 of whom experienced relief, with 2 of these experiencing an exacerbation of symptoms.
2. Frass M, et al. Influence of potassium dichromate on tracheal secretions in critically ill patients. Chest. 2005, 127, 3, 936-41. Stringy tracheal secretions often complicate or even prevent extubation of people breathing with continuous positive airway pressure. This issue provoked the development of a study involving 50 people breathing spontaneously with continuous positive airway pressure who were randomly assigned to receive either 5 globules twice daily of Kali bic 30C or the same dose and frequency of placebo globules. The study results were assessed using the amount of tracheal secretions from day 2 of the study, the amount of time spent by the subjects in the ICU in which they were staying and the time until successful extubation. After the results were assessed, it was found that those who’d been given the Kali bic produced less tracheal secretions than those on placebo, their stay in the ICU was shorter than those on placebo as was their time to successful extubation.
3. Frei H, Thurneysen A. Homeopathy in Acute Otitis Media in Children: Treatment Effect or Spontaneous Resolution? British Homeopathic Journal, 2001, 90, 4, 180-2. In a study involving 230 children with acute otitis media, homoeopathic treatment was compared with placebo to determine whether homoeopathic treatment provided a faster resolution of symptoms than placebo. After 12 hours, 72% of those using homoeopathy experienced significant relief of symptoms, which was 2.4 times faster than the response to placebo.
4. Friese KH, Zabalotnyi DI. Homeopathy in acute rhinosinusitis : A double-blind, placebo controlled study shows the efficiency and tolerability of a homeopathic combination remedy. HNO (Organ of the Deutsche Gesellschaft der Hals-, Nasen- und Ohrenärzte)2007, 55, 4, 271-7. Using a randomized, double-blind study method, 144 people with acute rhinosinusitis were treated with a either a combination of homeopathic remedies (Group A) or placebo (Group B) and assessed at days 0, 7, 14 and 21 of treatment using a 5 point sinusitis symptom score (the worst score being 20). After analysing the results it was found that those in Group A experienced a drop in symptom scores from 12.1+/-1.6 to 5.9+/-2.0 points after 7 days. Those in Group B found a decrease from 11.7+/-1.6 to 11.0+/-2.9 points (p<0.0001). The final results showed that the homeopathic combination resulted in freedom from complaints in 90.3% of the patients and improvement in a further 8.3%, whereas in the placebo group, the complaints remained unchanged or became worse in 88.9% of the patients.
1. Chaudhuri S, Varshney JP. Clinical management of babesiosis in dogs with homeopathic Crot. horridus 200C. Homeopathy, 2007, 96, 2, 90-4. Babesiosis is a protozoal disease suffered by dogs. It’s associated with infestation by Babesia gibsoni and is normally transmitted by ticks. In this clinical case comparison the effects of Crot. horridus 200C on dogs suffering from this condition were compared with the effects of the standard pharmaceutical treatment, diminazine aceturate. At 18 days after the medications were given results were assessed and on the clinical scores for the various symptoms produced by the dogs in response to the protozoa, it was found that Crot. horridus 200C provided the same level of clinical recovery from the illness as did diminazine aceturate.
2. de Paula Coelho C, et al. Therapeutic and pathogenetic animal models for Dolichos pruriens. Homeopathy, 2006, 95, 3, 136-43. This study was designed to determine the effect of various homeopathic potencies of Dolichos pruriens on artificially induced itch in laboratory rats, and also to determine if these potencies could elicit a proving effect in normal rats. In the first part of this study (performed blind) the rats with the induced itch were given ascending potencies of the remedy over a 30 day period and the results compared to placebo controls. It was found that all potencies of the remedy provided a therapeutic effect against the induced itch. In the second part of the study, also performed blind, no proving effects were seen.
3. Falkowski GJS, et al, Causticum hahnemanni, Conium maculatum and Lycopodium clavatum highly diluted medications decreases parasitemia in mice infected by Trypanosoma cruzi. Int J High Dilution Res, 2012, 11, 40, 198-199. Proceedings of the XXVI GIRI Symposium; 2012,Sep, 20-22; Florence (Italy). This Brazilian research looked into the effect of homeopathically prepared Causticum 13C, Conium maculatum 13C and Lycopodium clavatum 13C, on mice infected with T. cruzi, the organism associated with Chagas’ disease in humans. In a blind randomized controlled trial design, mice were given one of the 3 medicines being tested, or a placebo, to test the preventative capacity of these substances. Parasitaemia and clinical parameters were assessed daily. When compared to the control, all of the medicines tested provided a significant level of protection, with the best results seen in the mice given Lycopodium.
4. Chakraborty I, Sukul A, Sukul NC. Nux Vomica 200 CH reduced acute hypnotic effect of alcohol in young toads. Int J High Dilution Res, 2012, 11, 40, 208-208. Proceedings of the XXVI GIRI Symposium; 2012, Sep, 20-22; Florence (Italy). Previous research has shown that homeopathically prepared Nux vomica has the capacity to correct ailments produced by alcohol. In this Indian study, a replication of this work was performed. Using 10 repetitions of the same experiment, young toads given either Nux vomica 200C or a control substance, and then exposed to sufficient quantities of ethanol to cause them to become unbalanced. They were then assessed for their capacity to regain that balance and it was shown that, compared to the control, Nux vomica 200C was associated with a significant reduction in ethanol related imbalance.
1. Trebbi G, et al. Phytopathological and nutraceutical evaluation of cauliflower plants treated with high dilutions of arsenic trioxide.Int J High Dilution Res, 2012, 11, 40, 161-162. Proceedings of the XXVI GIRI Symposium; 2012, Sep, 20-22; Florence (Italy). The fungus, Alternaria brassicicola, is a common cause of dark leaf spot disease in cauliflower (Brassica oleraceaL.). In this study, researchers from the University of Bologna tested the antifungal capacity of homeopathically prepared Arsenic trioxide 35X and Cuprum metallicum 5X and compared to controls. 2 experiments were performed. In the first, spore suspensions were prepared in the test substances and their inhibiting effect on germination was recorded microscopically after incubation at 25°C for 5 hours. In the second experiment, the same treatments were tested on plants artificially inoculated with the fungus. To do this the test field in which the plants were to be grown was divided into plots according to a complete randomized block design. In the first trial, plants were artificially inoculated and treated every week; the infection level was evaluated on cauliflower heads. The second trial was performed on the same field with the aim to induce a natural infection, mediated by infected crop residues. Measurement endpoints concerned the evaluation of some physiological parameters along with the glucosinolate content on cauliflower heads. On analysis, the team found that Arsenic 35X and Cuprum 5X induced a significant decrease of mean infection level (-50%). In addition, physiological and nutraceutical analyses of healthy heads demonstrated that Arsenicum induced a significant increase of both head size and glucosinolate content.
1. Huh YH, Kim MJ, Yeo MG. Homeopathic Rhus toxicodendron treatment increased the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 in primary cultured mouse chondrocytes. Homeopathy, 2013, 102, 4, 248-53. In this in-vitro research, cultures of mouse chondrocytes were exposed to 4X, 30X, 30C and 200C homeopathic potencies of Rhus toxicodendron. Assessments were then made ofthe expression of collagen type II, a marker protein of chondrocytes, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which is responsible for the biosynthesis of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and the regulation of the inflammatory response, using biochemical and immunological methods such as reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), quantitative (or real-time) RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunoblot assays. The anti-inflammatory effects of the remedies were significant. All of the Rhus tox potencies, most notably the 30X, increased the mRNA expression of COX-2, and mRNA expression in both RT-PCR and qRT-PCR analyses. The 4X, 30X and 30C potencies inhibited collagen type II expression, suggesting that Rhus tox induced the dedifferentiation of chondrocytes. In addition, treatment with 30X Rhus tox significantly increased PGE2 release compared with other homeopathic dilutions of Rhus tox.