Scientific Research

An Update on Research in Homeopathy – Part 19

In Part 19 of his ongoing series, Homeopathy Robert Medhurst presents updates on homeopathy research related to people, animals and plants.

At the time of writing this, here in Australia the Federal Government’s peak advisory body on healthcare, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), has just completed a study into the research that’s been done on homeopathy. Apparently, there’s no evidence to support it. The list of data sources that the NHMRC chose to come to this conclusion, makes interesting reading and to someone who’s a little sceptical of the process used by the NHMRC, it might seem as if the data was deliberately selected to reach a particular conclusion. The sceptic may have this view reinforced by the fact that the panel of experts who assessed the data was notable by its lack of a homeopath. For some time now the pages of this journal have carried summaries of positive research on homeopathy, much of which was apparently invisible to the NHMRC. More of these follow.

 

Human Research

 

1. Baduluci S, et al. Zinc: Immunoglobin Relationship in Patients with Cirrhosis of the Liver Before and After treatment with Zincum metallicum 5C. International Research Group on Very Low Dose and High Dilution Effects, 1993 Giri Meeting, British Homoeopathic Journal, April, 1994, 83, 84-100. 10 people suffering from Zinc deficiency as determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry were treated with homeopathically prepared Zincum metallicum 5C. Analysis following this treatment showed a substantial improvement in zinc levels.

 

2. Belon P, et al. Can administration of potentized homeopathic remedy, Arsenicum album, alter antinuclear antibody (ANA) titre in people living in high-risk arsenic contaminated areas? I. A correlation with certain hematological parameters. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2006, 3, 1, 99-107. To investigate whether or not potentised Arsenicum album has an effect on arsenic-induced elevations of antinuclear antibody (ANA), selected inhabitants of arsenic affected villages in India’s West Bengal were randomly assigned to receive either Arsenicum album or placebo. After 2 months of administration, it was found that not only did the remedy provide superior results in reducing the ANA titre, it also caused a correction of arsenic-induced haematological changes such as total count of red blood cells and white blood cells, packed cell volume, haemoglobin content, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and blood sugar level.

 

3. Belon P, et al. Homeopathic remedy for arsenic toxicity? Evidence-based findings from a randomized placebo-controlled double blind human trial. Sci Total Environ, 2007 Oct 1;384(1-3):141-50. Epub 2007 Jul 12. This was a pilot study carried out on 25 people from an Indian village where arsenic contamination was endemic and 18 people from another Indian village without arsenic contamination. These people were randomly assigned to receive either Arsenicum album 30C or a succussed placebo control. After 2 months on either active medicine or placebo, these people had their blood and urine assessed for arsenic as well as several widely accepted toxicity biomarkers and pathological parameters related to arsenic toxicity. The use of Arsenicum album 30C had a beneficial effect on these biomarkers. It was also found to improve the appetite and general health of those people who previously exhibited signs and symptoms of arsenic toxicity.

 

4. Bornhoft G, et al. Effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in general practice – summarized health technology assessment. Forsch Komplementarmed. 2006, 13, Suppl 2, 19-29. This was an effectiveness and safety study on homeopathy carried out for the Swiss Federal Office for Public Health. Using Internet-based resources, manual search and contact with experts, and assessed according to internal and external validity criteria, investigators found that the trend was in favour of a therapeutic benefit from homeopathic intervention. In addition, it was stated by the authors of the study that, “…effectiveness of homeopathy can be supported by clinical evidence and professional and adequate application be regarded as safe. “

 

Animal Research

 

1. Aboiutboul R. Snake remedies and eosinophilic granuloma complex in cats. Homeopathy, 2006, 95, 1, 15-19. An Israeli veterinary clinic compiled case records involving Eosinophilic granuloma complex (EGC) in cats taken over an 8 year period. 20 cases of the condition were seen during this period and details of 15 of these cases were recorded. EGC is a syndrome characterised by lesions affecting the skin and the oral cavity. Conventional treatment is mainly symptomatic and may have undesirable side effects. The cases recorded involved the use of homeopathic snake remedies (the most frequently used being Lachesis) and in all 15 cases, reactions were mostly quick, leading to significant improvements, including complete recoveries.

 

2. Berchieri A Jr, Turco WC, Paiva JB, et al. Evaluation of isopathic treatment of Salmonella enteritidis in poultry. Homeopathy, 2006, 95, 2, 94-7. 180 chickens were divided into 4 groups. 2 of these groups were given pre-treatment with placebo and 2 were given different pre-treatment with preparations of a homeopathic nosode made from an antibiotic resistant strain of Salmonella enterica (Enteritidis) at a 30X potency, over a 10 day period. On day 17 the chickens were challenged with a culture of the same species of Salmonella from which the nosode was made. Cloacal swabs taken twice daily from the chickens at this point revealed that the birds that received the nosode showed a reduction in the growth of the bacteria compared to those given placebo.

 

3. Fontes OL, et al. The problem of dose in homeopathy: evaluation of the effect of high dilutions of Arsenicum album30cH on rats intoxicated with arsenic. Int J High Dilution Res, 2011, 10, 36, 218-219. Proceedings of the XXV GIRI Symposium and VIII CBFH; 2011 Sep 04-07; Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil) 218. A significant amount of work has been done to confirm the notion that homeopathically prepared arsenic increases the rate of arsenic excretion in animals. This study sought to determine if the volume of homeopathically prepared arsenic had any effect upon this excretion, Brazilian researchers gave rats that were intoxicated with arsenic undiluted homeopathically prepared Arsenicum album 30C or a 1% solution of the same material. Blood and urine from the rats was assayed via atomic absorption spectrophotometry for arsenic before, during and after treatment, and the results compared to samples from untreated intoxicated and unintoxicated controls. The rats treated with undiluted Arsenicum 30C and 1% Arsenicum 30C eliminated significant amounts of arsenic through urine when compared to the control groups. The group treated with undiluted Arsenicum 30C eliminated significantly higher amounts of arsenic than the group treated with the same medicine in 1% solution.

 

4. Haine GB, et al. Assessment of homeopathic medicine Aconitum napellus in the treatment of anxiety in an animal model. Int J High Dilution Res, 2012, 11, 38, 33-42. Aconite has a long history of use in homeopathy for people experiencing anxiety. This Brazilian research sought to test the effects of this medicine in mice. 48 mice were randomly divided into six groups and given the following treatments 1) positive control (diazepam); 2) negative control (saline); 3) Aconite 6C; 4) Aconite 12C); 5) Aconite 30C or 6) 30% ethanol. Behavioral effects were blindly and randomly assessed in elevated plus maze (EPM) and open field test. The results showed that mice given Aconite 12C and 30C exhibited possible anxiolytic effects on the central nervous system since they increased the number of entries in the EPM open arms (12C and 30C) and the permanence time in the EPM open arms (30C only).

 

Plant Research

 

1. Sukul S, Mondal S, Sukul NC. Sepia 200 cH in 1:1,000 dilution counteracts the effect of salt stress in cowpea seedlings but vehicle 90% ethanol proves ineffective in the same dilution. Int J High Dilution Res, 2012, 11, 41, 237-246. Work carried out at the Department of Botany, Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal, looked at the influence of homeopathically prepared Sepia 200C on the very common problem experienced by those growing cowpea in soil with rising salinity levels- salt stress. To do this, the team grew cowpea seedlings over moist filter paper in Petri dishes and divided them into 4 groups: (1) control in sterile water, (2) in 50 mM NaCl solution, (3) seeds pretreated with 90% ethanol diluted with water 1:100 and then transferred to 50 mM NaCl solution, and (4) seeds pretreated with Sep 200C diluted with water 1:100 and transferred to 50 mM NaCl solution. The data were analyzed by ANOVA followed by Student’s t-test and this showed that, compared to controls, Sepia 200C significantly increased the growth, sugar, chlorophyll, protein and water content of the seedlings, thereby confirming that it counteracted the effects of salt stress.

 

In-Vitro Research

 

1. Ramachandran C, et al. Investigation of cytokine expression in human leukocyte cultures with two immune-modulatory homeopathic preparations.J Altern Complement Medorrhinum 2007, 13, 4, 403-7. The aim of the researchers from Miami Children’s Hospital in Florida who carried out this study was to determine the effects of homeopathics on cellular signalling pathways, specifically, the effects of 2 anti-influenza homeopathic combination products on normal human leukocyte cultures. When the researchers compared the effects of the homeopathic combinations to 20% ethanol solvent controls, it was found that exposure to either of the homeopathic combinations stimulated the production of pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines by these cells.

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

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