Placebo controlled clinical research into the effects of homoeopathic medicines has been going on now for many decades. Previous issues of this journal have carried summaries of trials that have seen positive effects from trials on homoeopathy and what follows is more news from the researchers.
1. Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D. Homeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea: combined results and meta-analysis from three randomized, controlled clinical trials. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2003 Mar;22(3):229-34. In this meta-analysis (an analysis carried out to determine overall trends in a group of similar studies) three double blind clinical trials of diarrhoea in 242 children aged 6 months to 5 years were analyzed as one group. The children received either an individualised homeopathic medicine or a placebo, for 5 days after each unformed stool. Records were kept by parents and the duration of diarrhea was defined as the time until there were less than 3 unformed stools per day for 2 consecutive days. Diarrhoea ceased in those taking homeopathic medicines after 3.3 days and after 4.1 days in those using placebo.
2. Hitzenberger G, Korn A, Dorcsi M, Bauer P, Wohlzogen FX. Controlled randomized double-blind study for the comparison of the treatment of patients with essential hypertension with homeopathic and with pharmacologically effective drugs. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1982 Dec 24;94(24):665-70.
In this randomized double-blind cross-over study involving 10 subjects, the effects of pharmaceutical drugs for hypertension were compared to individualized homeopathic medicines. The results from this study were interesting in that the drugs appeared to be superior to homoeopathy as a method of lowering blood pressure, but the two therapies produced similar outcomes for the subjective symptoms of the disease.
3. Cavalcanti AM, Rocha LM, Carillo R Jr, Lima LU, Lugon JR. Effects of homeopathic treatment on pruritus of haemodialysis patients: a randomised placebo-controlled double-blind trial. Homeopathy. 2003 Oct;92(4):177-81. Pruritus, commonly experienced by those undergoing haemodialysis, was treated in 20 subjects under double-blind placebo-controlled randomised trial conditions comparing individualised homeopathic treatment to placebo. Assessments were made at 15, 30, 45 and 60 days of treatment, and after collating the results, researchers found that homeopathic management reduced pruritis by 49%. The majority of the reduction in pruritis had occurred by day 30.
4. Tveiten D, Bruset S. Effect of Arnica D30 in marathon runners. Pooled results from two double-blind placebo controlled studies. Homeopathy. 2003 Oct;92(4):187-9. In this study combing the effects of two clinical trials on Arnica D30 (30X), the homeopathic remedy was compared to placebo in 82 Oslo marathon runners for muscle enzymes, electrolytes and creatinine (indicating cell damage) and the subjective control of muscular soreness. Those runners taking Arnica experienced less muscle soreness when compared to placebo, but there was no difference between both groups for muscle enzymes, electrolytes and creatinine.
5. Wolf M, Tamaschke C, Mayer W, Heger M. Efficacy of Arnica in varicose vein surgery: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2003 Oct;10(5):242-7. In this trial Arnica D12 (12X) was compared to placebo to determine its effect on the size and pain of bruising after surgery. Arnica was used once prior to surgery and then 3 times a day for 2 weeks after surgery. 60 people participated in the trial and on completion it was found that Arnica reduced the size of the bruising by 76% compared to 72% for placebo and pain was reduced by 43% from arnica and by 28% from the placebo.
6. Bell IR, Lewis DA 2nd, Brooks AJ, Schwartz GE, Lewis SE, Walsh BT, Baldwin CM. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2004 May;43(5):577-82. 53 people suffering from fibromyalgia took part in this trial, comparing individualised homeopathic treatment to placebo. The levels of tender points and tender point pain as well as quality of life, mood and general health were assessed by the practitioners and subjects involved in the trial. 3 months after commencing treatment, all parameters were found to be improved by the use of homeopathy when compared to placebo.
In Vitro Studies
1. Pathak S, Multani AS, Banerji P, Banerji P. Ruta 6 selectively induces cell death in brain cancer cells but proliferation in normal peripheral blood lymphocytes: A novel treatment for human brain cancer. Int J Oncol. 2003 Oct;23(4):975-82. In this uncontrolled study, 15 people suffering from various intracranial tumors were treated with a combination Ruta 6C and homeopathic calcium phosphate. All forms of tumors, particularly gliomas, were found to regress under treatment with these medicines and the trial subjects also exhibited an increase in normal peripheral blood lymphocytes. Further examination of a possible mechanism for the tumor-killing effect of this combination found that it was due to cancer cell telomere erosion, causing a selective early death of these cells
1. Mallick P, Mallick JC, Guha B, Khuda-Bukhsh AR Ameliorating effect of microdoses of a potentized homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album, on arsenic-induced toxicity in mice. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2003 Oct 22;3(1):7. In a further development of previous studies in this area, Indian researchers using mice as a model for the management of human arsenic toxicity from drinking contaminated groundwater in rural India, assessed the toxicity from arsenic in mice pretreated with homeopathic Arsenicum album 30C and 200C. When compared to controls, the homeopathic remedies were found to reduce experimentally induced arsenic toxicity.
2. Kuzeff RM, Mecheva RP, Topashka-Ancheva MN. Inhibition of (-)-propranolol hydrochloride by its enantiomer in white mice–a placebo-controlled randomized study. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2004 Feb;11(1):14-9. In a similar mode to the previous study, researchers in this trial from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne examined the effects on toxicity from (S)-(-)-propranolol hydrochloride of a homeopathically prepared optical isomer version of the same substance. When used in mice prior to exposure to (S)-(-)-propranolol hydrochloride, a remedy made from (R)-(-)-propranolol hydrochloride was found to reduce the toxicity resulting from its isomer.
3. Macedo SB, Ferreira LR, Perazzo FF, Carvalho JC. Anti-inflammatory activity of Arnica montana 6cH: preclinical study in animals. Homeopathy. 2004 Apr;93(2):84-7. In a continuation of the previous theme, researchers in this study evaluated the protective effect of Arnica 6C on the acute inflammatory effects in mice of carregeenin and the chronic inflammatory effects of Nystatin. Arnica was given prior to the induction of both forms of inflammation and it was found to provide a protective effect against Nystatin, but not carrageenin induced inflammation.
4. Varshney JP, Naresh R.Evaluation of a homeopathic complex in the clinical management of udder diseases of Riverine buffaloes. Homeopathy. 2004 Jan;93(1):17-20. Indian researchers involved in this trial developed a homeopathic complex against mastitis and tested it, without placebo controls, with 102 Riverine buffaloes suffering from various levels of mastitis. The treatment was deemed to be 80 to 97% effective against the disease, depending on the severity of the condition.