Editor’s note: You can now access the cumulative research posted by Robert Medhurst at :
Why do we need to carry out research into homeopathy? It’s useful in testing untested theories. It’s useful in testing whether variations to previously confirmed practices are effective. It’s useful for re-confirming the results of previous research. In the case of homeopathy though, given that it attracts so much criticism as a therapy without a generally accepted mechanism, it’s useful simply as a means of proving the validity of the concept. Happily, there’s an abundance of proof and following are abstracts from the work done in this area.
- Gundimeda RM. Herniated Lumbar Disc. Homoeopathic Links, Winter, 2008, 21, 217-220. In this study, 20 people diagnosed via MRI with disc herniation were advised to undergo surgery by a neurosurgeon. Instead, these people chose to pursue constitutional homeopathic management. The process and outcomes are described and show that after 4 years of treatment and patient assessment according to a symptom- based visual analogue scale, the use of prescribed homeopathic medicine was associated with 76-99% relief for 7 people, 51-75% relief for 2 people, 26-50% relief for 10 people and 0-25% relief for 1 person.
- Goossens M, et al. Evaluation of the quality of life after individualized homeopathic treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis. A prospective, open, non-comparative study. Homeopathy, 2009, 98, 1, 11-6. This Belgian study was conducted to determine the effectiveness or otherwise of constitutional homeopathic intervention for seasonal allergic rhinitis. 46 people suffering from this condition were prescribed homeopathic treatment by one of seven homeopathic physicians based on their individual symptoms and assessed using the Rhino-conjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire at baseline and again 3 and 4 weeks later. A physicians’ assessment was also carried out at 4 weeks. On analysis of the results it was found that the average patient-assessed level of symptom severity had fallen significantly and the physician’s assessment showed that 4% of patients were cured, 44% were much better, 25% were better, 4% a little better, 9% unchanged and 4% were worse.
- Cardigno P. Homeopathy for the treatment of menstrual irregularities: a case series. Homeopathy, 2009, 98, 2, 97-106. In this Italian study, results from women treated with individualised homeopathy for amenorrhoea and oligo-amenorrhoea were compiled to determine whether or not this form of intervention could be shown to provide any benefits. Data from 18 consecutive patients with these conditions over an average treatment period of 21 months were collected. From this it was found that constitutional homeopathic treatment was associated with an increase in the average frequency of spontaneous menstrual cycles per year from 4.32 before treatment to 9.6 cycles per year by the end of treatment period.
- Schneider C, et al. The role of a homoeopathic preparation compared with conventional therapy in the treatment of injuries: an observational cohort study. Complement Ther Med, 2008, 16, 1, 22-7. This work was carried out to compare the effects of a proprietary mixture of homeopathically potentised materials with conventional therapy for a range of injuries, predominantly acute injuries such as muscular sprains, strains and bruising. 69 people suffering from these types of complaints were treated with the homeopathic mixture and 64 people with similar injuries were treated using conventional therapy. Data from both groups were assessed according to the numbers of people who experienced complete resolution of the principal complaint by the end of the trial period. This was achieved by 41 people (59.4%) who’d been given the homeopathic mixture and 37 people (57.8) from the group receiving conventional treatment.
- Rostock M, et al. Classical homeopathy in the treatment of cancer patients–a prospective observational study of two independent cohorts. BMC Cancer, 2011 Jan 17; 11:19. This observational study carried out at the Albert Ludwig’s University in Freiburg, Germany, was designed to assess the potential inherent in constitutional homeopathy for the treatment of cancer, with particular reference to quality of life. People receiving conventional care for cancer were matched for demography, tumor type and previous therapies, to people receiving homeopathic care, and monitored for 12 months. Measurements were made at 3 and 12 months for quality of life, fatigue, anxiety and depression. 639 people were originally enrolled in the study and while the numbers of fully matched pairs that made it to the end of the study were probably insufficient to be statistically reliable, there was a significant trend towards an improvement in the quality of life at both 3 and 12 months in the group receiving homeopathic compared to conventional treatment but little difference between the two groups in perceived fatigue, anxiety or depression.
- Nayak C, et al. A multi-centric open clinical trial to evaluate the usefulness of 13 predefined homeopathic medicines in the management of acute rhinitis in children. Int J High Dilution Res 2010, 9, 30, 30-42. This uncontrolled trial was carried out under the auspices of India’s Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy and was done to confirm the utility of homeopathic management for acute rhinitis. 638 six month to fifteen year old children suffering from clinically confirmed acute rhinitis were given one of thirteen homeopathic medicines that had been nosologically selected on the basis of the particular symptoms for the condition. The medicines were prescribed in 6C potency, repeated as required, the medicine changed when warranted, and the response monitored for 7 days. The medicines most frequently prescribed were Nux vomica, Mercurius sol. and Belladonna. On analysis of the results a significant change in the score from the baseline (p<0.05) was observed.
- Oberholzer HM, Pretorius E. Investigating lung remodelling in Modul8 treated BALB/c asthmatic animals. Micron, 2009, 40, 8, 775-82. This trial was carried out at the faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa’s University of Pretoria and was performed to investigate what effect, if any, a specific homeopathic combination product (Module 8) had against hydrocortisone, compared to a control, in mice suffering from atopic asthma. Assessment was made via the analysis of tissue structures and the numbers of eosinophils found on bronchial lavage before and after treatment. On analysis of the results noted at the end of the trial, the use of hydrocortisone and the homeopathic formula were both associated with a significant reduction in tissue structure changes and eosinophil count.
- Welles SU, et al. Pretreatment with thyroxin 10(-8) and the effect of homeopathically prepared thyroxin 10(-30) on highland frogs–a multi-researcher study. Forsch Komplementmed, 2007, 14, 6, 353-7. This builds on previous work done in this area that showed that homeopathically potentised thyroxin slowed the rate of metamorphosis in highland frogs. In this study, tadpoles were pretreated with a 10 to the minus 8 molar solution of Thyroxin, which should be expected to stimulate metamorphosis. They were then exposed to either a homeopathically prepared Thyroxin 30X or a negative control. Four sets of these experiments were carried out, each by a different researcher. On analysis of the results it was found that the tadpoles that had been exposed to the Thyroxin 30X had a slower rate of metamorphosis than controls, which is consistent with previous findings and does not support the notion that pretreatment with a 10 to the minus 8 molar solution of Thyroxine alters this outcome.
- Lopes CR, et al. Effect of different homeopathic medicines on histopathology of mice infected by Trypanosoma cruzi. Int J High Dilution Res, 2013, 12, 44, 141-142. Proceedings of the XXVII GIRI Symposium; 2013, Sep, 03-04; Bern (Switzerland) 141. This Brazilian study attempted to assess the effectiveness of different homeopathic medicines on skeletal muscle, heart and intestine parasitism of mice infected by Trypanosoma cruzi, the organism implicated in the generation of Chagas’ disease. Mice were given homeopathically prepared Lycopodium 13C. Causticum 13C, Conium maculatum 13C, or a control substance, as a means of preventing infection by T. cruzi. The mice were then exposed to the parasite and examined for infection. An analysis of the data collected showed that both Lycopodium and Causticum had a significant protective effect against the parasite when compared to controls. Conium was found to be relatively inactive.
- Hostanska K, et al. Effect of two homeopathic remedies at different degrees of dilutions on the wound closure of 3T3 fibroblasts in in vitro scratch assay. Int J High Dilution Res, 2012; 11, 40, 164-165. Proceedings of the XXVI GIRI Symposium; 2012, Sep, 20-22; Florence (Italy). Swiss scientists performed this trial to determine the extent to which two homeopathic combination products (Similasan Arnica and SIM WuS) could influence the activity of cultured fibroblasts, and thereby demonstrate a possible role in wound healing. In doing this, cell proliferation, cell migration and the wound closure promoting effect of the homeopathic preparations and negative controls were investigated on mouse fibroblasts. Cell viability was determined by WST-1 assay, cell growth was assessed using BrdU uptake, cell migration by chemotaxis assay and wound closure by CytoSelect Wound Healing Assay Kit which generated a defined wound area. All assays were performed in three independent controlled experiments. On analysis of the results, compared to the control, it was found that cell viability and proliferation were unaffected by either of the homeopathic combinations. Similisan did exert a stimulating effect on fibroblast migration (32% vs 15% for the control). Similisan also promoted in-vitro wound closure by 60% vs 22% for the control.