Update on Research in Homeopathy

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Written by Robert Medhurst

Homeopath and author Robert Medhurst shares updates on recent research in homeopathy. Cerebral Stroke, backache, infantile colic, periodontitis and insomnia among the topics covered.

For some people, the notion that a highly diluted substance can have any physiological effect, let alone a therapeutic effect, is implausible. For a few, even if they’re shown good quality evidence for its effect, homeopathy remains and will always be impossible. However, for those who are wise enough to be aware that, to paraphrase Shakespeare, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their philosophy, there is a large quantity of well-constructed research that attests to the effectiveness of homeopathy. Following are some recently published examples.

Human Research

Nath A, et al. The role of homoeopathic treatment in women suffering from post-caesarean backache: An open observational clinical trial. Ind J Res Hom, 2019, 13, 2, 81-90. 45 women suffering from post-caesarean backache subjects were treated with individualised homeopathic medicines. The Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ) and Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire (ODQ) were used as the outcome measures, assessed at baseline and after 3 months of treatment. Medicines prescribed followed homeopathic principles. Non-parametric Wilcoxon signed rank test was applied to compare the dependent observations. P < 0.05 two-tailed was considered statistically significant. There were statistically significant reductions in pain rating index percentage score (median 83.3 (IQR 66.7 to 100) vs. median 66.7 (IQR 33.3 to 71.1), P < 0.001); visual analogue scale score (median 7.0 (IQR 6.0 to 8.0) vs. median 6.0 (IQR 4.8 to 7.0), P < 0.001); present pain index score (median 3.0 (IQR 2.0 to 3.0) vs. median 2.0 (IQR 2.0 to 3.0), P = 0.019) and ODQ% score (median 44.0 (IQR 39.5 to 50.0) vs. median 39.0 (IQR 31.9 to 44.0), P < 0.001) over 3 months of treatment. Natrum muriaticum (n = 11, 22%); Staphysagria (n = 8, 16%); Bryonia alba and Rhus toxicodendron (n = 6 each, 12%) and Pulsatilla nigricans (n = 4, 8%) were prescribed frequently.

Abbas A, et al. An open-label pilot study to identify the usefulness of adjuvant homoeopathic medicines in the treatment of cerebral stroke patients. Ind J Res Hom, 2018, 12, 4, 194-201. In an open-label pilot study, 50 patients presenting with episodes of cerebral stroke of the different period were assessed by the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) Score, prior homeopathic treatment and after 6 months of treatment. Of 50 patients, 10 patients had stroke more than 1 year and suffering with sequelae, 27 patients had stroke episode between 1 month and 1 year and 13 patients had a stroke episode within 4 weeks. The reduction in NIHSS score after 6 months of treatment was statistically significant in all three groups. The useful medicines found were Causticum (n = 11), Arnica montana (n = 7), Nux vomica (n = 6), Lycopodium (n = 6) and Lachesis (n = 3). Neither patient had worsening signs nor any new infarcts during the study.

Raak C, et al. Effectiveness of a homeopathic complex medicine in infantile colic: A randomized multicenter study. Compl Ther Med, 2019, 45, 136-41. Data were drawn from a prospective, multicenter, randomised, open-label, controlled clinical trial that was conducted in 2009 in 3 Russian outpatient clinics. Children received either Enterokind (Chamomilla D6, Cina D6, Colocynthis D6, Lac defloratum D6 and Magnesium chloratum D6) or Simethicone. Data from infants ≤ 6 months with infantile colic are presented here. The main outcomes assessments were the change of total complaints score (maximum 17 points) and total objective symptoms score (maximum 22 points) after 10 days of treatment. Data from 125 infants ≤ 6 months with infantile colic were analysed. The differences in total complaints and objective symptoms scores between baseline and day 10, estimated from the ANCOVA model, were found to be highly significant (p < 0.0001; ITT) in favour of Enterokind, both for complaints (Δ=-2.38; 95% confidence interval (CI): [-2.87; -1.89]) and for objective symptoms (Δ=-2.07; 95% CI: [-2.65; -1.49]).

Mourao L, et al. Homeopathy and Periodontal Treatment in Type II Diabetic Patients: a 1-Year Randomized Clinical Trial. Braz Dent J, 2019, 30, 2, 139-45. 80 individuals with Chronic periodontitis (CP) and Diabetes mellitus type 2 (DMII) , were divided into two groups: control group (CG) and the test group (TG), and both groups received the non-surgical periodontal therapy (NSPT). TG also received homeopathic therapy, including Berberis, Mercurius solubilis/Belladonna/Hepar sulphur and Pyrogenium, while CG received placebo. Clinical and laboratorial examinations (CAL) were evaluated at baseline and after 1, 6 and 12 months of treatment. Both groups showed significant improvement throughout the study, for most of the parameters studied, but TG presented significative gain of CAL at 1 and 12 months compared to CG. Mean glucose and glycated haemoglobin significantly decreased in both groups after 6 and 12 months. However, there was a significantly further reduction of these parameters in TG, as compared to CG

Michael J, et al. Efficacy of individualized homeopathic treatment of insomnia: Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Compl Ther Med, 2019, 43, 53-59. In this double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, two parallel arms trial, 60 patients were randomised to receive either individualized homeopathy (IH) /verum or control/placebo (1:1). Patient-administered sleep diary (6 items; 1: latency to fall asleep, 2: minutes awake in middle of night, 3: minutes awake too early, 4: hours spent in bed, 5: total sleep time in hours, and 6: sleep efficiency) and Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) were taken as the primary and secondary outcomes respectively, measured at baseline, and after 3 months. Trial arms were comparable at baseline. In the verum group, except sleep diary item 3 (P =  0.371), rest of the outcomes improved significantly (all P < 0.01). In the control group, there were significant improvements in diary item 6 and ISI score (P < 0.01) and just significant improvement in item 5 (P =  0.018). Group differences were significant for items 4, 5 and 6 (P < 0.01) and just significant (P =  0.014) for ISI score with moderate to large effect sizes; but non-significant (P > 0.01) for rest of the outcomes.

Yakir M, et al. A Placebo-Controlled Double-Blind Randomized Trial with Individualized Homeopathic Treatment Using a Symptom Cluster Approach in Women with Premenstrual Syndrome. Homeopathy, 2019, 108, 4, 256-69. 96 women with PMS entered a 2-month screening phase with prospective daily recording of premenstrual symptoms by the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ). They were included after being diagnosed with PMS. A reproducible treatment protocol was used: women received a homeopathic prescription based on symptom clusters identified in a questionnaire. The symptoms were verified during a complementary, structured, interview. Only women whose symptoms matched the symptom profile of one of 14 pre-selected homeopathic medicines were included. Each participant was administered active medicine or placebo via random allocation. Primary outcome measures were differences in changes in mean daily premenstrual symptom (PM) scores by the MDQ. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. 43 women in the active medicine group and 53 in the placebo group received the allocated intervention with at least one follow-up measurement and their data were analysed. Significantly greater improvement of mean PM scores was measured in the active medicine group (0.443 [standard deviation, SD, 0.32] to 0.287 [SD, 0.20]) compared to placebo (0.426 [SD, 0.34] to 0.340 [SD, 0.39]); p = 0.043.

Andrade DC, et al. Efficacy of a Homeopathic Medicine of Capsicum frutescens L. (Solanaceae) in the Treatment of Hot Flashes in Menopausal Women: A Phase-2 Randomized Controlled Trial. Homeopathy, 2019, 108, 2, 102-7. 40 menopausal women were randomised to receive, the homeopathic medicine Malagueta (Capsicum frutescens L) (30 CH), or placebo, for 4 weeks. The primary outcome was the intensity of hot flashes, measured by the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP) instrument. The effect of Malagueta on the primary outcome, the intensity of hot flashes, assessed by MYMOP, was superior to that of placebo over the 4 weeks of treatment, with worsening in both groups after treatment was interrupted (after week 4, p < 0.001 in ordinal logistic regression). The odds ratio for treatment response (reduction of at least three MYMOP categories) was 2.78 (95% confidence interval, 0.77 to 10.05). Treatment with Malagueta, compared with placebo, also reduced the intensity of the secondary symptoms(p = 0.001) and improved level of activity (p = 0.025) and well-being (p = 0.008).

Animal Research

Eizayaga FX, et al. Effects of Ultra-Low-Dose Aspirin in Thrombosis and Haemorrhage. Homeopathy, 2019, 108, 3, 158-68. This article is a review of the totality of articles published by the Laboratory of Hematology of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Bordeaux, reporting different doses and dilutions of aspirin, different kinds of inhibitors, transgenic mice and animal models of disease such as portal hypertension and cirrhosis. Homeopathic dilutions of aspirin, notably 15C, have shown a pro-thrombotic effect in humans and in in-vivo animal studies. Longitudinal studies in rats have also shown an initial anti-thrombotic effect followed by a pro-thrombotic effect of aspirin several days after a single high-dose administration. This pro-thrombotic effect seems to act by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 pathway in studies performed with COX selective inhibitors and in knock-out mice without COX-1 or COX-2. This effect may explain the thrombo-embolic complications described after aspirin withdrawal for the purposes of surgery or after non-compliance with anti-platelet therapy, and it may be beneficial in normalising primary haemostasis and decreasing haemorrhage in animal models of portal hypertension and cirrhosis.

de Barros GP, et al. Effect of Homeopathic Medicines and a Nosode on Larvae of Cochliomyia hominivorax (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Homeopathy, 2019, 108, 3, 177-182. Cochliomyia hominivorax is the major fly causing primary myiasis in livestock animals in Brazil; its larvae develop in the host’s living tissues, causing mutilations, which can even lead to death. This study evaluated how the emergence of adult insects is affected by the use of the homeopathic medicines Sulfur 12C and Pyrogenium 12C, and the nosode produced from C. hominivorax larvae at potencies 8C and 12C, on third-stage larvae of a C. hominivorax colony. Control groups were distilled water, alcohol, no substance, and the organophosphate insecticide trichlorfon. For each group, 10 replicates were performed. Emergence rate of adult insects was evaluated by descriptive statistics followed by analysis of variance. Homogeneity of variances was verified by F-test and group means were compared with Tukey’s test. Mortality rates in control groups were 2.7% for 30% (v/v) alcohol, 4.3% for distilled water, 3.2% for no substance (p > 0.05). In the trichlorfon group, the mortality rate of larvae was 90.8%. For Sulfur 12C, the mortality of larvae was 94.6%, and for Pyrogenium 12C it was 98.6%. The latter three means were not statistically different from each other or from the mean found for the trichlorfon group. The mortality rates of larvae were 61.3% and 66.6% for nosode C. hominivorax 8C and 12C, respectively (p > 0.05).

About the author

Robert Medhurst

Robert Medhurst BNat DHom DBM DRM DNutr is an Australian Naturopath & Homeopath with 40 years of clinical experience. He has written many articles and lectured on homeopathy throughout Australia and the U.S. Robert previously set up and operated 5 natural therapies practices in Sydney and Adelaide and was involved in teaching and medical 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, as well as The Concordant Clinical Homeopathic Repertory. For more information see adelaidehillsnaturopath.com.au.

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