Homeopathy research

Homeopathy always triggers strong feelings. This type of treatment is repeatedly attacked – but in most cases unobjectively – in the trade and lay press, and sometimes in television programs. The opponents bring up a lot of different arguments. The most frequently cited “counterargument” often is the issue of dilution: According to this argument, in homeopathy agents are often used whose dilution was so great that mathematically not a single molecule of the active ingredient could be left. In addition, the similarity principle that homeopathy is based on has been critically scrutinized.

In theoretical models and experimental approaches the mechanism of action, i.e., the principles behind the effect of homeopathic remedies, has been examined for years. A number of positive results were obtained without the general public knowing about them – which also may certainly be due to the lack of response by the media that is generally critical of homeopathy. In the next few years, it will be the task of homeopathy research to make these and other experimental findings that make the case for its efficacy more comprehensible using appropriate theories.

In addition to the experiments on the mechanism of action, for years numerous studies have also been conducted on the efficacy of homeopathic medicines. Critics often claim that there are no positive clinical trials on homeopathy, but this is just not true: There are now approximately 300 clinical trials, many of which were positive and provided evidence about the efficacy of the examined homeopathic remedies.

Below we will provide an overview of the most important theoretical models being discussed in homeopathy research, as well as of promising experimental research results and results from clinical research.

1. Explanatory models and theories on homeopathy’s mechanism of action

1.1 Biophoton theory
1.2 Imprint theory, clustering and water memory
1.3 Quantum phenomena
1.4 Nano research

2. Experimental research on homeopathy’s mechanism of action

2.1 Experimental research on the similarity principle
2.2 Experimental research on potentized remedies

3. Clinical research on the efficacy of homeopathy

As was already mentioned at the beginning, in recent years around 300 clinical trials have been con-ducted with homeopathic remedies. Nevertheless, the study design, the homeopathic treatment ap-proach and also the remedies used differed greatly among them. In evidence-based medicine it is common to evaluate multiple trials investigating one treatment approach in overview articles, referred to as reviews, in the form of a meta-analysis. This means that the number of patients or individual results from each study are summarized and evaluated, based on specified statistical criteria in their entirety. This has also been done in the past for clinical trials of homeopathic medicines. The approaches thus taken and the problems associated with them, is shown in the following.

To research clinical studies with homeopathic remedies and further literature, consult the CAM-Quest database by the Karl and Veronica Carstens foundation: www.cam-quest.org

3.1 Different treatment methods make comparisons difficult
3.2 Review articles on the status of clinical research
3.3 New approaches

4. Outlook for clinical research

In general, it is clear that the current state of research on the efficacy of homeopathic remedies or therapies is significantly better than is often alleged by critics. There is abundant scientific literature that supports the efficacy of homeopathy. Although the number of several hundred studies at first glance seems like a lot, it is still minuscule compared to the number of published clinical studies for conventional treatments. In this case it is important to address the positive results already obtained; to verify and expand on them. To do this, though, clinical homeopathy research is in need of more financial support.

The main problem is that clinical homeopathy research has thus far been almost exclusively financed through funds from complementary medicine foundations or by homeopathic medicine manufacturers. In other words, there has been no systematic research of the clinical efficacy of homeopathic remedies supported by public research money. Accordingly, many homeopathy studies are accused of lacking quality, since they are often not carried out in the same dimensions (e.g., number of participating pa-tients and clinics) as the conventional pharmaceutical research studies. However, because in the field of complementary medicine remedies the profit margin is significantly smaller than with many conventional medicine products, for which a package of a patented drug regularly costs several hundred euros, and, additionally, no patents may be submitted for homeopathic remedies, only limited resources for clinical research are provided by pharmaceutical manufacturers. There are relatively few resources, especially in the field of basic research on the mechanism of action of potentized remedies. High-quality and large-scale studies, as demanded by critics, however, depend on a large budget of > EUR 5,000,000. In addition, allegations that the so-called “homeopathy lobby” are influencing the study results may be difficult to refute, as long as the sponsors of homeopathy research consist exclusively of complementary medicine-oriented foundations and homeopathic pharmaceutical manufacturers.

But because the acceptance of homeopathy in the population is very high, as several surveys have shown, and studies of health services research in homeopathy attest to positive effects, it should also be in the public interest to support this research increasingly using public research funds.

Literature

  • Atmanspacher H, Römer H, Walach H: Weak Quantum Theory: Complementarity and Entanglement in Physics and Beyond. Foundations of Physics 2002;32:379-406
  • Barnard GP, Stephenson JH: Microdose paradox: A new biophysical concept. Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy 1967;60:277-86
  • Bellavite P, Magnani P, Marzotto M, Conforti A: Assays of homeopathic remedies in rodent behavioural and psychopathological models. Homeopathy 2009;98:208-27
  • Chikramane PS, Suresh AK, Bellare JR and Kane SG: Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective. Homeopathy 2010;99:231-42
  • Deutscher Zentralverein homöopathischer Ärzte: Studienübersicht. Ein Reader zur Homöopathieforschung. retrieved on 08/27/2013].
  • Endler PC, Lüdtke R, Heckmann C, Zausner C, Lassnig H, Scherer-Pongratz W, Haidvogl M, Frass M: Pretreatment with thyroxin (10-8 parts by weight) enhances a "curative" effect of homeopathically prepared thyroxin (10-13) on lowland frogs. Research on Complementary Medicine / Forschende Komplementärmedizin 2003;10:137-42
  • Graunke H, Endler PC, Scherer-Pongratz W, Frass M, Lothaller H: Treatment of Lowland Frogs from the Spawn Stage on with Homeopathically Prepared Thyroxin (10-30). The Scientific World Journal 2007;7:1697-702
  • Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D: Homeopathy for childhood diarrhea: combined results and metaanalysis from three randomized, controlled clinical trials. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2003;22(3):229-234.
  • Jäger T, Scherr C, Simon M, Heusser P, and Baumgartner S: Effects of homeopathic arsenicum album, nosode, and gibberellic acid preparations on the growth rate of arsenic-impaired duckweed (Lemna gibba L.). ScientificWorldJournal 2010;10:2112-29
  • Jäger T, Scherr C, Simon M, Heusser P, and Baumgartner S: Development of a Test System for Homeopathic Preparations Using Impaired Duckweed (Lemna gibba L.). J Altern Complement Med 2011;17:315-23
  • Karl und Veronica Carstens-Stiftung. Homöopathie – Zum Stand der klinischen Forschung. Stand: März 2006. [retrieved on 11/22/2013]
  • Lenger K: Homeopathic potencies identified by a new magnetic resonance method. Homeopathy – An Energetic Medicine. Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine 2006;15:225-44
  • Lenger K, Bajpai RP, Drexel M: Delayed luminescence of high homeopathic potencies on sugar globuli. Homeopathy 2008;97:134-40
  • Lenger K: A new biochemical model of homeopathic efficacy in patients with different diseases. Subtle Energies & Energy medicine 2010;19:1-34
  • Lingg G, Endler PC, Frass M, Lothaller H: Treatment of Highland Frogs from the Two Legged Stage with Homeopathically Prepared Thyroxin (10-11 – 10-21). The Scientific World Journal 2008;446-50
  • Lüdtke R, Wiesenauer M: A meta-analysis of homeopathic treatment of pollinosis with Galphimia glauca. Wien Med Wochenschr 1997; 147 (14):323-7.
  • Scherr C, Simon M, Spranger J, and Baumgartner S: Effects of potentised substances on growth rate of the water plant Lemna gibba L. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2009;17:63–70
  • Taylor MA, Reilly D, Llewellyn-Jones RH, McSharry C, Aitchison TC: Randomised controlled trials of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series. BMJ 2000;321:471-476.
  • Upadhyay RP, Nayak C: Homeopathy emerging as nanomedicine. Int J High Dilution Res 2011;10:299-310
  • Welles SU, Endler PC, Scherer-Pongratz W, Suanjak-Traidl E, Weber S, Spranger H, Frass M, Lothaller H: Pretreatment with Thyroxin (10-8 M) and the Effect of Homeopathically Prepared Thyroxin 10e-30 on Highland Frogs - Results of a Multi-Researcher Study. Research on Complementary Medicine / Forschende Komplementärmedizin 2007;14:353-7
  • Wijk van R, Wiegand FAC: The Similia Principle. An Experimental Approach on the Cornerstone of Homeopathy. Essen: KVC Verlag, 2006
  • Witt CM, Lüdtke R, Baur R, Willich SN: Homeopathic medical practice: Long-term results of a cohort study with 3981 patients. BMC Public Health 2005;5:115.
  • Witt C. Physikalische Untersuchung homöopathischer Hochpotenzen. 1. Nachdruck. Essen: KVC Verlag, 2006
  • Wolf U, Wolf M, Heusser P, Thurneysen A, and Baumgartner S: Homeopathic Preparations of Quartz, Sulfur and Copper Sulfate Assessed by UV-Spectroscopy. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2011, Article ID 692798, doi:10.1093/ecam/nep036, 2011
  • Zausner C, Lassnig H, Endler PC, Scherer W, Haidvogl M, Frass M, Kastberger G, Lüdtke R: Die Wirkung von "homöopathisch" zubereitetem Thyroxin auf die Metamorphose von Hochlandamphibien. Ergebnisse einer multizentrischen Kontrollstudie. Perfusion 2002;17:268-7
International mail order

Here you will find German pharmacies which also sell and deliver abroad.

International mail order