Scientific Research

Research in Homeopathy – Part 21

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Homeopath Robert Medhurst performs an invaluable service through his excellent series on research in homeopathy. September 2014

Good quality research in homeopathy is very valuable. The means by which homeopathy works has yet to be fully explained and until it is, objective and well-designed scientific evidence is one of the best means that we have of presenting it as a viable healthcare option to those who’ve yet to use it. What follows are summaries of some of the more recent or recently unearthed research in homeopathy that add to the growing body of material in this area.

 

Human Research

Goldstein MS, Glik D, Use of and satisfaction with homeopathy in a patient population. Altern Ther Health Med, 1998, 4, 2, 60-5. Carried out in 9 homeopathic clinics in the Los Angeles area, this study was done to determine the success or otherwise of constitutional homeopathic practice as assessed by the people who’d undergone this therapy. The study also looked at the characteristics of the people involved in the study. Information was provided by 77 clients. At 4 months after treatment, 71% of clients reported improvement in their health status. This is contrasted with the fact that 80% of all clients enrolled in this survey had had previous orthodox medical treatment for their condition which they had found unsuccessful. The most common presenting complaints involved the respiratory, gastrointestinal and female reproductive systems and most clients were highly educated but had little knowledge of homeopathy prior to their treatment with it.

 

Haidvogl M, Riley DS, Heger M. Homeopathic and conventional treatment for acute respiratory and ear complaints: a comparative study on outcome in the primary care setting. BMC Complement Altern Medorrhinum 2007, 7:7  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-7-7. The aim of the authors of this study was to compare the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment for acute respiratory and ear complaints with orthodox medical treatment for the same conditions. 1577 clients from 57 clinics from Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the USA were enrolled in the study. They were asked to rate their response to either therapy at 14 days after beginning treatment. 86.9% of those given homeopathic medicines declared that they had had either a complete recovery or major improvement in their symptoms. 86% of those given orthodox medical treatment reported the same thing. Subgroup analysis found that 88.5% of children given homeopathics reported a complete recovery or major improvement in symptoms whereas 84.5% of those given orthodox medical treatment reported similar success. In addition, the onset of improvement within the first 7 days after treatment was significantly faster in those with homeopathic treatment, both in children and adults.

 

Itamura R. Effect of homeopathic treatment of 60 Japanese patients with chronic skin disease. Complement Ther Med. 2007, 15, 2, 115-20. 60 people were enrolled in this uncontrolled trial which was carried out in Obitsu Sankei Hospital in Kawagoe which was designed to determine the effect of individualised homeopathic medicines on several common skin disorders. These disorders included atopic dermatitis, eczema, acne, urticaria, psoriasis and alopecia universalis. Treatment occurred over a period of 3 months to 2 years and 7 months and subjects were permitted to use conventional dermatological treatments while taking part in the trial. Using the trial participants’ own assessment, improvement or otherwise was assessed using a nine-point scale similar to the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital Outcome Scale. On this basis, 6 people reported a complete recovery, 23 reported a 75% improvement, 24 found a 50% improvement and 7 had a 25% improvement). In all, 88.3% of patients reported over 50% improvement.

 

Klopp R, Niemer W, Weiser M. Microcirculatory effects of a homeopathic preparation in patients with mild vertigo: an intravital microscopic study. Microvasc Res, 2005, 69, 1-2,10-6. The aim of this non-randomized, open study was to test the effectiveness of a homeopathic combination product on variables related to microcirculation in 16 people suffering from vestibular vertigo, compared to a control group of 16 untreated people also suffering from vestibular vertigo. Measurements were carried out in two areas (defined by selecting 60 blood-cell perfused nodal points of arterioles, venules, and capillaries with a mean diameter > or = 40 microns): the cuticulum/subcuticulum of the inside left lower arm and an area 5 mm behind the left earlobe. After 12 weeks of treatment, those people receiving the homeopathic preparation exhibited an increased number of nodal points, increased flow rates of erythrocytes in both arterioles and venules, increased vasomotion, and a slight reduction in hematocrit vs. baseline. None of these changes were observed in the control group. Measurements were also made of partial oxygen pressure and the numbers of cell-wall adhering leucocytes, both of which were significantly increased in the test group compared to the control group. All of these parameters were associated with a reduction in the severity of the vertigo symptoms, both on patient as well as practitioner assessment.

 

Animal Research

Dos Santos AL, et al. In vivo study of the anti-inflammatory effect of Rhus toxicodendron. Homeopathy, 2007, 96, 2, 95-101. This study was essentially designed to do two things; to determine which homeopathic potency of Rhus tox provides the most effective anti-inflammatory action, and to reconfirm the results of previous studies aimed at demonstrating any anti-inflammatory effect of Rhus tox on paw oedema in rats. Of 6C, 12C, 30C and 200C potencies of this remedy, 6C was found to provide the highest level of activity, and, using an in-vivo inflammation model, researchers confirmed the anti-inflammatory activity of the remedy by interfering with inflammatory processes involving histamine, prostaglandins and other inflammatory mediators, when compared with controls.

 

Epstein OI, Pavlov IF, Shtark MB. Improvement of Memory by Means of Ultra-Low Doses of Antibodies to S-100B Antigen. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2006, 3, 4, 541-545. Antigen S-100B of nervous tissue affects the mechanisms of nervous system plasticity and memory. In this trial, 28 rats were given either a placebo, or Antigen S-100B, at a 6C potency to determine the effect of either on three learning behavioural models; inhibitory avoidance, choosing of bowls with sucrose, and feeding behaviour cessation after auditory signal. For all three tasks, parameters of reproduction of the learned skills improved after per oral administration of potentiated antibodies to S-100B antigen immediately after learning when compared to placebo.

 

Sukul A, Sukul NM. Effect of Rhus tox and Causticum on rat adjuvant arthritis. Int J High Dilution Res, 2013, 12, 44, 135-136. Proceedings of the XXVII GIRI Symposium; 2013 Sep, 03-04; Bern (Switzerland) 135. Indian researchers set out to confirm the effects of homeopathically prepared Causticum 30C and Rhus tox 30C on rats suffering from musculoskeletal inflammation. Rats were given the homeopathic medication or controls for 18 days and assessed before and after treatment for inflammatory swelling, locomotor capacity and open field activity. An analysis was made of the collected observational data and it showed that when compared to controls, the rats given the homeopathically prepared materials had significant improvement in all of the three parameters measured.

 

da Silva DM, et al. Oral, topical, and inhalation of Calcarea carbonica derivative complex (M8) to treat inflammatory mammary carcinoma in dogs. Int J High Dilution Res, 2012, 11, 40, 166-167. Proceedings of the XXVI GIRI Symposium; 2012, Sep, 20-22; Florence (Italy), This reports on an investigation carried out at the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil using a combination of homeopathically prepared materials (M8) with dogs suffering from inflammatory mammary carcinoma (IMC). 3 dogs diagnosed with this condition and with an average age of 10 years were treated with M8 orally, topically or via inhalation or with oral pyroxican. Thoracic radiographs showed pulmonary metastasis in all dogs. After 7 days of treatment all of the dogs showed clinical improvement, specifically a reduction of mammary gland inflammation, decreased pain sensitivity, and owner-reported quality of life. One dog had 8 months of complete remission, and the other two died 1 and 2 months after initial treatment. However none of the dogs had progressive pulmonary disease, showed by radiographic examination, which would have been a normal consequence to the IMCs.

In-Vitro Research

Walchli C, Baumgartner S, Bastide MJ. Effect of low doses and high homeopathic potencies in normal and cancerous human lymphocytes: an in vitro isopathic study. Altern Complement Med, 2006, 12, 5, 421-7. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of pretreatment with either low doses, or homeopathic potencies, of cadmium chloride on the ability of normal lymphocyte or cancerous lymphocyte cultures to withstand exposure to toxic doses of cadmium. Normal lymphocytes exposed to toxic levels of cadmium which were pretreated with either low dose of cadmium or potentised cadmium showed a significant increase in viability. This effect was the same in the cancerous lymphocytes except that these cells showed no increase in viability after pre-treatment with potentised cadmium.

 

Arora S, et al. Anti-proliferative effects of homeopathic medicines on human kidney, colon and breast cancer cells. Homeopathy, 2013, 102, 4, 274-82. This study set out to investigate the potential cytotoxicity of homeopathic mother tinctures and 30C, 200C, 1M and 10M homeopathic potencies of Sarsaparilla, Ruta graveolens and Phytolacca decandra, against cell lines deriving from tumors of particular organs. Sarsaparilla was tested against ACHN cells from human renal adenocarcinoma as well as non-malignant Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. Ruta was tested against COLO-205 cells from human colorectal carcinoma, and Phytolacca was tested against MCF-7 cells from human breast carcinoma. Cytotoxicity was measured using the 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazolyl-2)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) method, anti-proliferative activity by trypan blue exclusion assay, apoptosis determined by dual staining the cells with ethidium bromide (EB) and acridine orange (AO) dyes. On analysis it was found that all of the remedies tested (particularly the mother tinctures), produced cytotoxicity and a decrease in cell proliferation. Signs of apoptosis were evident including cell shrinkage, chromatin condensation and DNA fragmentation. The MDCK cells were unaffected by any of the Sarsaparilla potencies.

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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

2 Comments

  • DEAR DR
    STATICS DATA GIVEN IN THE CASES OF HUMAN RESEARCH ON-ACUTE RESPIRATORY AND EAR COMPLAINT-,SKIN DISEASES AND VERTIGO HAS NO MEANING UNLESS HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES USED WERE GIVEN
    THANKS

  • Thank you Mr. Medhurst for this wonderful series. I learn something from it every month, and often quote it to friends and critics alike.

    Glenda

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