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An update on recent research in homoeopathy.

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Users and prescribers of homoeopathic medicine know that it works. It's worked very well for over 200 years all around the world in human and veterinary medicine, in agriculture, and it's a key component in the healthcare systems of many nations around the world. For many though, this isn't enough. In an age of ever-increasing reliance upon scientific' evidence for the efficacy of healthcare interventions, establishing the evidence base for homoeopathy has become an important issue. It's with this in mind that I've put together a summary of some of the more notable research from recent issues of the scientific and medical journals.

Animal Studies

1. Mathie RT, et al.

Homoeopathic prescribing for chronic conditions in equine veterinary practice in the UK. Vet Rec, 2010 Feb 20;166 (8):234-8.

In this British study, 12 UK Faculty of Homoeopathy veterinarians recorded data systematically at 777 consecutive homoeopathic appointments for horses over a period of 12 months. A spreadsheet enabled the recording of information, which included the main problem treated; whether the condition was chronic or acute; whether the appointment was new or a follow-up; owner-assessed clinical outcome on a seven-point scale, ranging from -3 to +3, compared with the first appointment; homoeopathic medicine(s) prescribed; and whether any conventional or other complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) was being used concurrently to treat the condition. Data from 289 horses comprised a total of 305 individual conditions identified as chronic in nature, of which 234 had a follow-up assessment. At the final appointment for chronic cases during the study period, only 4.3 per cent required conventional medication and 17.1 per cent were being given another CAM treatment in addition to homoeopathy. The eight chronic conditions most frequently treated with homoeopathy were: arthritis, headshaking, laminitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sweet itch, dermatitis, sarcoidosis and Cushing's syndrome.

2. Pinto SA, et al.

An animal model for the study of Chamomilla in stress and depression: pilot study. Homoeopathy, 2008 Jul;97(3):141-4.

Pinto and a team from the Brazilian Institute for Homoeopathic Studies described the behavioural and haematological effects of treatment with Chamomilla 6C in mice subjected to experimental stress. To do this, mice suffering from Ehrlich's tumor were individually paired with other healthy mice, and the latter were given daily doses of Chamomilla 6cH or control or received no treatment. After 7 days, the animals were observed in an open-field arena and blood samples taken. Mice that cohabitated with a sick cage-mate showed a decrease in their general activity, but those treated with Chamomilla 6cH were less severely affected. No hematological changes were observed. In a second experiment, a swimming test was applied to mice pre-treated with Chamomilla 6C. When compared to controls, the mice treated with the homoeopathic medicine showed both a decrease in leukocyte count and anxiety.

Plant Studies

1. Datta SC, Datta R.

Potentized Artemisia nilagirica Extract (Cina) Increases Silk Production and Effective Rate of Rearing in a Field Trial. Hpathy Ezine, July, 2008.

In this Indian study from the Department of Zoology, VisvaBharati University, researchers set out to determine the effects of homoeopathically potentized Artemisia nilagirica Extract (Cina) soaked globules on root-knot disease caused by Meloidogyne incognita in mulberry (Morus alba L., Cv. ' S1) in the naturally infected field condition, to examine the growth of healthy and infected plants treated with Cina, and to examine the effects of leaves of Cina-treated healthy and infected-plants on the leaf consumption and growth of silkworm larvae (Bombyx mori L.) and effective rate of rearing (ERR%). Sucrose globules, soaked with Cina mother tincture, Cina 200C and Cina 1000C respectively, were mixed with distilled water @ 7.2 mg/ml and applied by foliar spray @ 10ml/plant on healthy and M. incognita infected mulberry plants once daily for 15 days. On analysis of the results it was shown that all potencies of Cina treated healthy and infected plants showed improved growth in terms of number and surface area of leaves, and protein content (%) of leaf and root. Healthy plants treated with Cina 200C showed the greatest positive growth. All nematode infected plants treated with Cina had significantly reduced root-knot disease in terms of root gall number and nematode population in root and soil. Silkworm larvae feeding on the leaves of Cina-treated plants showed improved growth, increased silk gland weight, shell weight, shell ratio (SR%) and effective rate of rearing (ERR %), fewer feeding and number of feeding days, shorter starting time of spinning day and span of spinning, shorter moulting time to cocoon formation, and zero mortality rate.

2. de Olivera SM, et al.

Effects of 200cH medications on mice bone marrow cells and macrophages. I nternational Journal of High Dilution Research, 2011, 10, 35, 75-76.

Researchers from the Federal University of Parana in Brazil describe the results of experimental studies aimed at verifying the effects of 200C homoeopathic potencies of Mercurius solubilis, Atropa Belladonna, Lachesis muta and Bryonia alba on the bone marrow cells and macrophages from mice. Individual groups of mice were allowed free access to the individual medicines via their drinking water for 7 days, at which point blood and bone marrow samples were assessed against those from un-medicated control mice. The bone marrow cells were immunophenotyped with hematopoietic lineage markers on a flow cytometer and the following results were observed. Mercurius solubilis treated mice showed an increase in CD3 expression and in CD11b. Atropa Belladonna increased CD45R and decreased Ly-6G expression. Lachesis muta increased CD3, CD45R and, CD11c expression and decreased CD11b. Bryonia alba increased Ly-6G, CD11c and CD11b expression. These results indicate that the homoeopathic medicines act on immune cells activating macrophages, and changing the expression profile of hematopoietic lineage markers and allowing proliferation and differentiation of progenitor cells.

Human Studies

1. Hutsol L, et al.

Homoeopathy in Cardiac Arrhythmia. Proceedings from the 60th Conference of the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica, 2008.

This report presents results from a research team from the Vinnitsa National Medical University in the Ukraine aiming to study the efficacy of homoeopathic treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF). Twenty three elderly patients diagnosed with AF were treated with constitutional homoeopathy and their clinical progress followed for 1 to 7 years. During this time 1 to 3 different medicines were used in high potency. In 20 of the 23 patients, clinical improvement was marked by the end of the third week of the treatment. Two months after the beginning of the therapy all patients reported a stable normalization of cardiac rhythm as well as a stable improvement in their ability to work, a reduction of cardialgia frequency and intensity and a significant decrease of the number of concomitant pathology symptoms.

2. Wodick RE, Steininger K, Zenner S.

Treatment of Degenerative Articular Affections with Zeel T Ointment: Results of a Prospective Drug Survey Conducted with 498 Patients. Biological Medicine, 1993, 3, 127-135.

This study was designed to investigate the effectiveness of the homoeopathic combination ointment Zeel T, and tolerance to its application, among a total of 498 patients. The largest subset of the total patient population for whom this preparation was employed represented those suffering from monarthrosis followed by those treated with the ointment for polyarthrosis, spondylarthrosis, periarthropathia humeroscapularis, and other degenerative articular disorders. The physicians participating in this survey administered medicinal as well as non-medicinal measures at their own discretion as adjuvant therapy, insofar as they felt such treatment was necessary for the respective symptom pictures. Throughout the course of therapy, the patients experienced rapid and definite relief from such complaints as pain experienced during the night, pain upon onset of motion, and pain during articular movement. The participating physicians assessed overall results of therapy as either very good or good for 75.1%of the patients. The patients' tolerance to the preparation was also reported as good.

3. Orellana AG, Ruiz de Vinaspre AP, Kaszkin-Bettag M.

A series of case reports: clinical evaluation of a complex homoeopathic injection therapy in the management of pain in patients after breast cancer treatment. Altern Ther Health Med, 2010 Jan-Feb;16(1):54-9.

Chilean Obstetrics and Gynecology researchers set out to determine what effect, if any, a complex homoeopathic product, Traumeel, had on pain following surgery for breast cancer. Nine patients suffering from a high level of pain after breast cancer therapy despite use of postoperative treatment with conventional analgesics, were invited to participate. A Traumeel and procaine injection was administered once a week for three to 10 sessions. The level of pain was assessed by a pain score and physical and psychological status by a questionnaire before and directly after injection and again at follow-up visits after 3 and 6 months. At the end of the observation period, all patients reported a marked reduction of their level of pain on average from 7.6 +/- 1.5 to 2.4 +/- 1.4 points on a scale from 1 to 10 points and overall the medicine was well tolerated.

4. Mousavi F, Sherfati S, Mojaver YN.

Ignatia in the Treatment of Oral Lichen Planus. Homoeopathy, 2009 Jan;98(1):40-4.

This research was carried out at the Department of Oral Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran, and focused on the treatment of oral lichen planus in human subjects.The trial was carried out using a single blind, randomised, controlled design, 30 consecutive patients with oral lesions consistent clinically and histologically with erosive and/or atrophic oral lichen planus were recruited. The patients were randomly divided into two groups to receive homoeopathically potentised Ignatia 30C or placebo. They were treated for 4 months. On analysis at the end of the study it was found that the mean lesion sizes and mean pain measures differed between control and treatment groups favoring Ignatia 30C.

Laboratory Studies

1. Hofbauer R, et al.

Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor expression in KATO-III cells after Helicobacter pylori stimulation under the influence of strychnos Nux vomica and Calendula officionalis. Homoeopathy, 2010, July, 99, 3, 177-182.

Homoeopathic potencies Nux vomica and Calendula have a history of use for the treatment of gastritis and gastric ulceration. Previous studies have shown the stimulating effect of Helicobacter pylori on the gene expression of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor (HBEGF) using the gastric epithelial cell line KATO-III. To investigate the influence of Nux vomica and Calendula officinalis on HB-EGF-like growth factor gene expression in KATO-III cells under the stimulation of H. pylori strain N6 using real-time PCR with and without addition of Nux vomica and Calendula officinalis as a 10C or 12C potency was studied. On analysis it was found that the use of Nux vomica 10Cc and Calendula officinalis 10C in a 43% ethanolic solution led to a significant reduction of H. pylori induced increase in gene expression of HB-EGF (reduced to 53.12+/-0.95% and 75.32+/1.16% vs. control; p<0.05), respectively. Nux vomica 12C in a 21.5% ethanol showed a smaller effect (71.80+/-3.91%, p<0.05). Interestingly, this effect was only observed when the drugs were prepared in ethanol, not in aqueous solutions. The data suggest that both drugs prepared in ethanolic solution are potent inhibitors of H. pylori induced gene expression.

2. Sainte-Laudy J, Belon P.

Inhibition of basophil activation by histamine: a sensitive and reproducible model for the study of the biological activity of high dilutions. Homoeopathy, 2009 Oct;98(4):186-97

French researchers, Sainte-Laudy and Belon, have a long history of publication in this area, and this work adds more to our knowledge of the effects of homoeopathically potentised histamine on basophils, and its capacity to inhibit basophil activation. This multi-centre study looked at the biological effect of centesimal histamine dilutions on basophils, using state of the art detection and analysis techniques and compared these with the effects of inert controls and inactive analogues of histamine and histamine antagonists. Their findings, which were consistent with previous studies, demonstrated that high dilutions of histamine, in the range of 15-17C induce a reproducible inhibition of basophil activation.

Robert Medhurst | BNat DHom
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Author:Medhurst, Robert
Publication:Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Mar 1, 2014
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