There are few natural therapy modalities that attract as much criticism from orthodox medicine as homeopathy. The most common of these criticisms is that homeopathic medicines contain nothing, so it can’t do anything and the therapy is therefore a waste of time and money. For readers interested in homeopathy and who are keen to acquire some ammunition to dispute this criticism, following are some of the more notable clinical trials in this series of articles on research in homeopathy.
- Mohan G.R., Anandhi K.S. Efficacy of homeopathic drugs in dermatitis of atopic diathesis. Homoeopathic Links, 2003, Winter, 16, 4, 257-260. The authors treated 31 people suffering with either atopic skin and respiratory symptoms, or atopic skin symptoms alone. Both groups were treated with individualised homeopathic therapy over a period of 5 years. During a 6 month assessment period following this treatment, the authors determined that 41% of the group with skin and respiratory symptoms achieved not less than a 76% improvement in symptoms and 58% of the group with skin symptoms alone achieved this outcome.
- Van Wasserhoven M., Ives G. An Observational Study of Patients receiving Homeopathic Treatment. Homeopathy, 2004, 93, 3-11. 782 people suffering from a wide range of diseases who had visited 80 general medical practices in Belgium were treated with individualised homeopathic medicines over an average period of 9 years and 2 months. Most of these people had previously been treated using conventional drugs. The outcomes from this treatment were assessed both by the patients and the practitioners via questionnaires. 13% of the patients assessed in the study expressed satisfaction with previous conventional treatment and 89% of patients expressed satisfaction with their homeopathic treatment.
- Guthlin C., Lange O., Walach H. Measuring the Effects of Acupuncture and Homeopathy in General Practice: An Uncontrolled Prospective Documentation Approach. Biomed Central Public Health, 2004, 4, 1, 6. 5000 people were treated for various ailments using acupuncture and 900 people were treated using individualised homeopathy by German medical practitioners in a number of clinics throughout Germany. Most of these people had previously been treated using conventional therapy. After treatment, of those being given acupuncture, 36% stated that they felt “very much better” and 49% felt, “somewhat better”. Of those being treated using homeopathy, 39% stated that they felt “very much better” and 38% felt, “somewhat better”.
- Glatthaar-Saalmuller B., Fallier-Becker P. Antiviral Action of Euphorbium Compositum and its Componants. Forschende Komplementarmedizin Und Klassiche Naturheikunde, 2001, 8, 207-212. In this in vitro study, human cell cultures were infected with influenza A virus, respiratory syncitial virus, human rhinovirus or herpes simplex virus type1, and then treated with Euphorbium compositum, a homeopathic complex. Various anti-viral drugs such as acyclovir, rabavirin and amatadine were used as positive controls against which to compare the results of the complex. When compared with control cells exposed to the same concentration of ethanol used in the complex, the complex showed anti-viral properties comparable to the effects of the drugs against respiratory syncitial virus and herpes simplex virus type 1.
- Rabe A., Weiser M., Klein P. Effectiveness and tolerability of a homoeopathic remedy compared with conventional therapy for mild viral infections. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2004 Sep, 58, 9, 827-32. In this study, 485 people suffering from mild viral infections were treated either with conventional medical treatment or with the homeopathic complex, Gripp-Heel. 78.1% of those using the homeopathic complex declared it to be successful and 52.2% of those using conventional medical therapy found this method effective.
- Schlappack O. Homeopathic treatment of radiation induced itching in breast cancer patients. A prospective observational study. Homeopathy, 2004, 93, 210-215. 25 women suffering from post-radiotherapy induced itching were treated at the University of Vienna’s Department of Radiotherapy and Radiobiology using individualised homeopathic medicines. After assessment (1-27 days after beginning the treatment) it was found that homeopathic treatment had been successful in 21 of the 25 women enrolled in the study.
- Sukul N.C., Ghosh S., Sinhababu S.P., Sukul A. Strychnos nux vomica extract and its ultra high dilution reduce voluntary ethanol intake in rats. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2001, April, 7, 2, 187-193. In an attempt to determine the effect of homeopathic Nux vomica on alcoholism, potentially alcoholic laboratory rats housed in the Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal, India, after being divided into 4 groups, were given a choice of drinking from bottles containing either 20% ethanol in water or plain water. The rats were given diluent, or strychnine, or Nux vomica tincture, or Nux vomica 30C. When compared to the control group (diluent only) both the Nux vomica tincture and Nux vomica 30C groups of rats showed a distinct aversion to the 20% ethanol drinking bottle.
- Endler P.C., et al. Pretreatment with Thyroxine 10-8 Enhances a Curative Effect of Homeopathically prepared Thyroxine 10-13 on Lowland Frogs. Forschende Komplementarmedizin Und Klassiche Naturheikunde, 2003, 10, 137-42. In this randomised, placebo-controlled trial carried out simultaneously by 3 independent researchers, tadpoles were exposed to an equivalent of a 13X potency of thyroxine. This hormone, normally responsible for an increase in metamorphosis, was found to inhibit this process when potentised into a homeopathic medicine.
In Vitro Studies
- Belon P., Cumps J., Ennis M., Mannaioni P.F., Roberfroid M., Sainte-Laudy J., Wiegant F.A. Histamine Dilutions Modulate Basophil Activation. Inflammation Research, 2004, May, 53, 5, 181-8. In this study, which was a replication of work by Jacques Benveniste published in Nature in 1988, the researchers attempted to use homeopathic dilutions of histamine to inhibit the activation of human basophils exposed to an inflammatory mediator. The study was carried out blind in 4 separate laboratories. On examination of the results, histamine dilutions equivalent to 30X and 38X were found to inhibit basophil activation and subsequent histamine release.
- Singh L.M., Gupta G. Antiviral Efficacy of Homeopathic Drugs against Animal Viruses. British Homeopathic Journal, 1985, July, 74, 3. Researchers at the Indian Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow carried out a study to determine the inhibiting effects of various potencies of 10 homeopathic remedies on chicken embryo virus and simliki forest virus (a virus capable of causing encephalitis, paralysis and death in mice). Homeopathic Typhoidinum 200C, Hydrophobinum 1M, Tuberculinum 1M, Nux vomica 200C and Malandrinum 1M all produced 100% inhibition of the chicken embryo virus.