Scientific Research

An Update on Research in Homeopathy

Last modified on July 18th, 2018

Robert Medhurst
Written by Robert Medhurst

Homeopath Robert Medhurst shares summaries of some recent homeopathy research done with people, and in vitro, in plants and with animals.

Homeopathy works. For those of us who use it regularly that’s an incontestable fact. But for many potential clients our confidence that homeopathy works may not be enough for them to want to use it without some form of objective evidence of a positive clinical outcome from someone they know and trust, or objective evidence from some other trusted source. While there’s debate about the validity of the standard clinical trial, it currently serves as a trusted source of evidence and is the generally accepted tool used to assess the effects of a clinical intervention. There is a large body of human, animal, plant and in-vitro trials that attest to the effectiveness of homeopathy and homeopathically potentised substances. Following are summaries of some recent examples of that evidence taken from peer-reviewed journals.

Human Studies

  1. Miglani A, Manchanda RK. Azadirachta indica in treatment of acne vulgaris–an open‑label observational study. Indian J Res Homoeopathy, 2014, 8, 218-223. This prospective, non‑randomised, open‑label interventional study was conducted to assess the effect of the homeopathic medicine Azadirachta indica prescribed in raising potencies from 6C up to 1M in the management of acne in 29 people diagnosed with the disease. The observational period was 6 months. Outcome measures were Lesion counts, Global Acne Grading System (GAGS) score and Acne‑specific Quality of Life questionnaire (Acne‑QoL) score. Data was analysed using paired t‑test, Wilcoxon signed rank tests and Pearson’s correlation tests. At the end of the study it was found that the use of the medicine was associated with a statistically significant improvement in Lesion counts, GAGS and Acne QoL score (P < 0.001) but no effect was seen in inflammatory lesions.
  2. Alizadeh Charabandabi SM, Biglu MH, Yousefi Rad K. Effect of Homeopathy on Pain Intensity and Quality Of Life of Students With Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Iran Red Crescent Med J, 2016, 18, 9, e30902 doi: 10.5812/ircmj.30902. The objective here was to evaluate an association between homeopathy and pain relief and quality of life improvement in a double-blind placebo-controlled randomised trial with 2 parallel arms. 54 students with primary dysmenorrhea residing at the dormitories of the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Iran, who had moderate or severe menstrual pain, were randomised to receive either a homeopathic remedy or placebo. The homeopath and participants were blinded to treatment assignment. Primary outcomes were pain intensity and quality of life assessed using a 10-cm visual analogue scale and short-form 36 (SF-36), respectively, and the secondary outcome was number of analgesic pills used. Each group initially comprised 27 students; with 26 in the homeopathic goup and 21 in the placebo group able to be followed up. Compared with the baseline scores, statistically significant improvements were observed in pain intensity (P = 0.021) and physical health (P = 0.020) scores only in the homeopathic group; and in the mental health score in both groups (P = 0.014 in the homeopathy group and P = 0.010 in the placebo group).
  3. Nayak D, et al. Managing acute alcohol withdrawal with Homoeopathy: A prospective, observational, multicentre exploratory study. Indian J Res Homoeopathy, 2014, 8, 224-230. This reports the results of a prospective, observational, exploratory, multicentre trial to assess the role of homeopathy in acute alcohol withdrawal (AAW). Individualised homeopathic treatment was provided to 112 patients reporting with AAW. The clinical assessment was done for 5 days using the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment Scale of Alcohol‑Revised (CIWA‑Ar). At post‑withdrawal phase, the quality of life of patients was assessed at the end of the 1st, 3rd and 6th month, using the World Health Organisation quality of life (WHOQOL)‑ BREF scale. The results showed a significant decrease in CIWA‑Ar mean scores and increase in quality of life score (P < 0.001). The medicines most commonly prescibed were Arsenicum album, Lycopodium clavatum, Belladonna, Nux vomica and Pulsatilla.
  4. Kumar M, et al. Use of homoeopathic remedies in the management of learning disabilities. Indian J Res Homoeopathy, 2014, 8, 87-94. The objective of this study was to assess the therapeutic usefulness of homeopathy in the management of learning disabilities (LD), viz., dyslexia and dysgraphia. A 3‑year randomised double blind case control study was carried out in three Marathi‑medium schools in Mumbai.on 67 children between ages 8-12 years fulfilling the criteria of LD (ICD-10) for dyslexia and dysgraphia with a minimal observation period of one year. The children, all of whom fulfilled the criteria of LD (ICD-10) for dyslexia and dysgraphia, were studied for a minimal observation period of one year. All received remedial education as it is the standard mode of management. 32 children constituted Group I and were administered the indicated homeopathic medicine in the 200th potency in infrequent repetition while 35 children from Group II were given placebo. The children and the Remedial Educators who were the assessors were blinded for the study. The researchers found that the children under homeopathic treatment with remedial education showed an early response to remedial inputs and a statistically significant change in the indicators of dyslexia and dysgraphia. There was also a significant change in the co‑morbid behavioural condition notably Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  5. Jacobs J, Taylor JA. A randomized controlled trial of a homeopathic syrup in the treatment of cold symptoms in young children. Complement Ther Med, 2016, 29, 229-234.This study was conducted to determine if a homeopathic syrup was effective in treating cold symptoms in preschool children. Children 2-5 years old diagnosed with an upper respiratory tract infection were randomised to receive a commercial homeopathic cold syrup or placebo. Parents administered the study medication as needed for 3 days. The primary outcome was a change in symptoms 1 hour after each dose. Parents also assessed the severity of each of the symptoms of runny nose, cough, congestion and sneezing at baseline and twice daily for 3days, using a 4-point rating scale. A composite cold score was calculated by combining the values for each of the four symptoms. Among 261 eligible participants, data on 957 doses of study medication in 154 children were analysed. Analysis of twice daily data on the severity of cold symptoms compared to baseline values found that improvements in sneezing, cough and the composite cold score were significantly greater in the first day after beginning treatment among those receiving the cold syrup compared to placebo recipients.
  6. Chakraborty D, et al. A comparative study of homoeopathic medicine – Sulphur with the Multidrug therapy in the treatment of paucibacillary leprosy. Indian J Res Homeopathy, 2015, 9, 158-166. Workers in this study sought to compare the effect of a homeopathic medicine, Sulphur, with standard pharmaceutical therapy in the treatment of paucibacillary leprosy according to WHO guidelines.60 people with confirmed Borderline Tuberculoid (BT) leprosy, aged 14 to 60 years, were enrolled in the trial. All patients were randomly and equally divided in two groups. One group was treated with Sulphur in 200 potency in liquid orally once in week for two years and the other group received Paucibacillary (PB) regimen as recommended by WHO. Assessment was carried out via a histopathological analysis of the affected skin. At the end of two years the results showed that standard pharmaceutical therapy and homeopathic medicine were found equally effective in relieving paucibacillary leprosy. The most significant clinical sign observed in all cases treated with Sulphur was the reappearance of normal skin colour and a recovery from the loss of sensation of the skin lesion.

Animal Studies

  1. Hanif K, et al. Homoeopathic medicine Mercurius solubilis treatment improves cerebral blood flow and memory in experimentally induced dementia in rats. Indian J Res Homoeopathy, 2017, 11, 58-63. Researchers from the CSIR in India investigated the effect of Merc. sol in various homeopathic potencies (6C, 30C, 200C, and 1M) administered for 17 days on learning, memory and cerebral blood flow (CBF) in rats with impaired learning and memory functions. The Morris water maze test was used to evaluate the learning and memory function on the 14th, 15th, and 16th days of the study. A laser doppler flow meter was used to measure CBF on the 17th day. An analysis of the results showed a statistically significant improvement in cerebral blood flow and memory in the subjects.
  2. de Paula Coelho C, et al. Homeopathic medicine Cantharis modulates uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC)-induced cystitis in susceptible mice. Cytokine, 2017, 92, 103-109. This randomised, blinded, placebo controlled trial was designed to study the effects of Cantharis 6C, a homeopathic medicine, on E coli-induced cystitis in mice. 24 adult susceptible female BALB/c mice suffering from E.coli cystitis were offered Cantharis 6C or vehicle (placebo) by free access into the drinking water (1:100), for 24 h and assessed via immunohistochemistry for anti-CD3, CD79, MIF, NK and VEGF antibodies; the cytokines present in the bladder washing fluid were measured using a LUMINEX-Magpix KIT. Mann-Whitney and Fisher exact test were used as statistical analysis. The use of Cantharis 6C was associated with an increase in IL12p40, IFN-γ and decreased IL10 concentrations in the bladder fluid (p⩽0.05); in the bladder mucosa, it increased the ratio between B and T lymphocytes (31%) and between B lymphocytes and MIF+ macrophages (57%, p⩽0.05). In the pelvis, instead, it decreased the B/T cells ratio (41%, p⩽0.05) and increased the M1/M2 macrophage ratio (42%, p⩽0.05). The inverted balance of inflammatory cells and cytokines in bladder and pelvis mucosa showed specific local immune modulation induced by Cantharis 6C.

Plant Studies

  1. Betti L, et al. Number of succussion strokes affects effectiveness of ultra-high-diluted arsenic on in-vitro wheat germination and polycrystalline structures obtained by droplet evaporation method. Homeopathy, 2017, 106, 1, 47-54. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the number of succussion strokes applied after each dilution step when preparing homeopathic treatments influences the effectiveness of ultra-high-diluted (UHD) arsenic trioxide at the 45th decimal dilution/dynamisation (As2O3 45X). To do this, wheat seeds, previously stressed with ponderal As2O3, were treated with: As2O3 45X, H2O 45X (dynamised control), or pure water (negative control). The succussion was done manually, and various succussion durations (numbers of strokes) were tested for each treatment. Treatment effectiveness was tested blind using the in-vitro germination test and the droplet evaporation method (DEM). Data were processed by the Poisson test (germination test) and by two-way analysis of variance (DEM). The team evaluated both the in-vitro germination rate, by counting the non-germinated seeds, and the complexity of polycrystalline structures (PCS) (local connected fractal dimension (LCFD)) obtained by evaporating leakage droplets from stressed seeds that had been watered with the different treatments. A highly significant increase in germination rate was noted when the number of strokes (NS) was ≥32 for both As2O3 45X and H2O 45X, and a significant increase in the LCFD of PCS for As2O3 45X when the NS was ≥32 and for H2O 45X when it was 70. Both experimental approaches showed increased effectiveness for treatments prepared with a higher number of succussion strokes.

In-Vitro Studies

  1. Olsen S. Effects of ultra-high dilutions of sodium butyrate on viability and gene expression in HEK 293 cells. Homeopathy, 2017, 106, 1, 32-36. Recent research has reported the capability of homeopathic medicines to modulate gene expression in cell cultures and this study examined whether ultra-high dilutions (30C and 200C) of sodium butyrate (SB) can affect the expression levels of genes involved in the acquisition of a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells. Cell viability was evaluated using a 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The expression levels of TNF-α, interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-6 and IL-10 genes were determined by real-time PCR assay. Exposure to both 30C and 200C SB over 48 hours led to a significant decrease of the level of expression of TNF-α gene, while expression of IL-2 gene was increased when exposed to 30C SB, and expression of IL-10 gene was decreased when exposed to 200C SB. No changes in expression levels of genes were observed in cells treated with both 30C and 200C SB during the first 24 hours. The observed changes in gene expression levels after exposure to 30C and 200C SB during 48 hours suggest that extremely low concentrations of this agent can modulate the transcription of HEK 293 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 . Robert Medhurst is author of the recently released : The Concordant Clinical Homeopathic Repertory

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