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An update on research in homoeopathy.

Despite the wishes and desires of its detractors, the evidence for homeopathy and its effectiveness continues to grow. For those of us with a professional or academic interest in such good news, following are summaries of some of the more recent studies that have been published in this area.

HUMAN STUDIES

1. Beringhs-Bueno A, Moreira HM, Pascalicchio VDAAAE. Mercury Intoxication: High Dilution as Mercury's Chelating Agent. International Journal of High Dilution Research, 2006, 5, 16. In this study, which adds to similar work done previously, Brazilian researchers sought to determine what influence the homeopathic potencies of mercury may have on people intoxicated with this heavy met al. 52 people suffering from mercury toxicity were randomly assigned to receive either a homeopathic potency of mercury (Merc sol) or placebo. Quality of life (SF36) and pathogenetic symptom assessment, blood, urine and hair levels of mercury were recorded before the start of the study, and again at 30 and 60 days. On analysis it was found that when compared to controls, the use of the homeopathic potency of mercury was associated with increased urinary excretion of mercury, reduced hair levels of mercury as well as an improvement in pathogenetic symptoms and associated quality of life.

2. Teut M, Ludtke R, Schnabel K, Willich SN, Witt CM. Homeopathic treatment of elderly patients a prospective observational study with follow-up over a two year period. BMC Geriatr. 2010 Feb 22;10(1):10. [Epub ahead of print]. This cohort study was conducted on a group of 3981 people who'd been treated by homeopathic physicians in Germany and Switzerland. Data was analysed on patients 70 years of age or older suffering from a chronic illness (mostly hypertension and sleeping disorders) who'd seen the physician for the first time. Over a 2 year period, the progress of the homeopathic therapy was monitored and measured using both patient and practitioner assessed complaint severity scale and quality of life (SF-36) scale at baseline, 3. 12 and 24 months. At the end of the observation period, the homeopathic treatment was associated with a significant reduction in both patient and physician assessed symptom severity.

ANIMAL STUDIES

1. Banerjee P, Bhattacharyya SS, Pathak S, Boujedaini N, Belon P and Khuda-Bukhsh AR. Evidences of Protective Potentials of Microdoses of Ultra-high Diluted Arsenic Trioxide in Mice Receiving Repeated Injections of Arsenic Trioxide. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, eCAM Advance Access published online on February 25, 2009. This blinded study was carried out to further confirm previously published evidence that a homeopathic potency of Arsenic trioxide (Arsenicum album) can protect against the hepatotoxic effects of arsenic. Researchers from the Department of Zoology, University of Kalyani, in Kalyani, India exposed mice (36 per series) previously treated with Arsenicum album 200C to material doses of arsenic and compared the response to mice pre-treated with succussed or unsuccussed control solutions, as well as 2 other control groups which did not receive any exposure to arsenic. Assessment was carried out using liver enzyme studies, electron microscopy of liver samples and an array or other biomarkers at day 0, day 90 and day 120. When compared to the mice in control groups, those that received Arsenicum album 200C showed, "positive modulations of all parameters studied, thereby providing evidence of protective potentials of the homeopathic drug against chronic arsenic poisoning."

2. Bellavite P, Magnani P, Zanolin E, Conforti A. Homeopathic Doses of Gelsemium sempervirens Improve the Behavior of Mice in Response to Novel Environments. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print] This blinded Italian study was designed to determine what effects, if any, homeopathically potentised (5C, 7C and 30C) Gelsemium sempervirens has on certain behavioral parameters in mice. Several hundred mice were assigned to receive various potencies of Gelsemium, material doses of diazepam, or placebo, and then challenged with various "open field" scenarios testing their ability to cope with new environments and their desire to explore them. On analysis of the results it was found that when compared to placebo and diazepam, homeopathically potentised Gelsemium has the capacity to improve exploratory behavior and reduce the fear of novel environments, which may go some way to confirm the utility of this remedy in the relief of stress.

3. Fontes OL, Chaudr MV, Alves MIF, Gutierrez MA, Foltran FP, de Carvalho GGA. Comparative Study of the Effect of Different Doses of Dynamic Arsenicum album 6CH. International Journal of High Dilution Research, 2006, 5, No 17, 6-8. For as long as homeopathic medicines have been used, debate has continued on what constitutes the most effective volume of medicine to be used in any given circumstance. In an effort to steer the debate towards closure, researchers from the Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba in Brazil, using previously confirmed data, gave mice suffering from arsenic toxicity daily doses of 2 drops, 5 drops or 10 drops of Arsenicum album 6C, over a 30 day period, and using the urine measured their renal arsenic clearance, assessed via atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Subsequent analysis found no statistical difference between any 3 of the Arsenicum volumes; with all 3 providing effective renal clearance of material arsenic.

4. Queiroz AO; Xavier SCC; Faria KG; Bernardo RR; Leitao6 TCA. Evaluation of Trypanosoma cruzi 30dH biotherapic: an in vitro study. International Journal of High Dilution Research, 2006, 5, 17. In this Brazilian study, research was carried out to evaluate the plausibility of using a homeopathic potency of Trypanosoma cruzi to protect mice against the effects of this parasite. To determine this, mice were randomly assigned to either be pre-treated with a 30X preparation of Trypanosoma cruzi prior to exposure to the parasite, or given the homeopathic potency at the same time as being exposed to the same parasite. Parasite specific IgM and IgG antibody levels for all mice were then assayed using indirect immunofluoresence and it was found that the mice pre-treated with the homeopathic potency has a 50% improvement in their response to the infection produced by the parasite.

5. Silva NL, Moletta JL, Minho AP, Filippsen LF. Use of biotherapic in the control of natural infestation by Boophilus microplus: pilot study. International Journal of High Dilution Research 2008, 7, 22, 36-38. In an effort to reduce the dependence on chemicals to which ticks are becoming increasingly resistant, this work was carried out to determine if a homeopathic medicine made from the tick can provide a viable alternative. 27 tick-infested cattle were divided into 3 groups. One received no treatment, the next received the normal dose of Amitraz (a chemical based tick dip) and the third received a 12C potency of Boophilus microplus. When compared to the control, the dip and the 12C potency provided the same level of reduction in ticks.

6. Mathie RT, Baitson ES, Hansen L, Elliott MF, Hoare J. Homeopathic prescribing for chronic conditions in equine veterinary practice in the UK. Vet Rec. 2010 Feb 20, 166, 8, 234-8. This was, in effect, a veterinary cohort study examining the clinical outcomes from the homeopathic treatment of horses suffering from a range of clinical conditions. 12 veterinary surgeons qualified in homeopathy recorded the data from 777 consecutive consultations over a 12 month period that included the individual details of each consultation and the owner-assessed clinical outcomes that arose from each. Follow-up assessments were available from 234 consultations involving chronic disorders and at the end of the study period only 4.3% were receiving conventional medication and 17.1% were being given some other complementary medicine in addition to homeopathy.

7. Jonas WB, Dillner DK. Ultra-Low, Serial Agitated Dilutions Prepared from Francisella tularensis-Infected Tissue. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2000, 14, 1, 35-52.

Wayne Jonas and Debra Dillner, in this study, set out to determine the effect of a homeopathic potency of Francisella tularensis, the bacteria involved in Tularema, on mice exposed to the same organism. 147 mice were randomly assigned to receive the homeopathic preparation or a control substance and were then exposed to the bacteria. In a series of 15 repetitions, each instance showed that a statistically significant protective effective was provided by the homeopathically prepared bacteria. Succussion on the remedy was carried out using a vortex mixer, and interestingly, the degree of protective effect was related to the extent of vortex mixing and 2 of the homeopathic preparations used were associated with the in-vivo production of specific anti-tularemia IgG antibody.

IN-VITRO STUDIES

1. Malarczyk E, Kochmanska-Rdest J and Jarosz-Wilkolazka A. Influence of very low doses of mediators on fungal laccase activity--nonlinearity beyond imagination. Nonlinear Biomedical Physics 2009, 3, 10. Carried out at the Biochemistry Department, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Poland, Elzbieta Malarczyk and her colleagues set out to determine the effect of various homeopathically potentised substances (1C to 10C hydroxybenzotriazole (HBT), 2,2'-azinobis (3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS)), on the activation of extracellular Laccase, an enzyme with industrial application that's responsible for the aerobic transformations of some natural phenolics. HBT and ABTS at material dose are known laccase activators. The experiment was done by exposing 2 high laccase fungal strains to 1C to 10C potencies of HBT and ABTS over 14 days, the laccase produced assessed for activity via PAGE and colorimetric tests and the level of demethylation activity assessed after incubation with veratric acid. On all assessments the potentised versions of HBT and ABTS demonstrated a statistically significant effect.

2. Montagnier L, Issa JA, Ferris S, Montagnier J-L, Lavallee C. Electromagnetic Signals Are Produced by Aqueous Nanostructures Derived from Bacterial DNA Sequences. Interdiscip Sci Comput Life Sci (2009) 1: 81-90. In this ground-breaking study, Dr Luc Montagnier, joint winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Physiology in Medicine for his discovery of HIV, and colleagues, using segments of bacterial DNA, set out to prove the assertion that these segments, when homeopathically potentised, are able to emit segment specific low frequency electromagnetic waves. Subsequent research published in this paper not only proved this assertion but found that these electromagnetic waves were able to influence the formation of specific nanostructures in water to which the waves were exposed, thus contributing to the current evidence for the "memory" of water in homeopathy.

3. Chirumbolo S, Brizzi M, Ortolani R, Vella A, Bellavite P. Inhibition of CD203c membrane up-regulation in human basophils by high dilutions of histamine: a controlled replication study. Inflamm Res. 2009 November; 58, 11, 755-764. In this controlled study replicating previous work by Benveniste, Ennis and others, researchers at the Department of Pathology and Immunology at the University of Verona in Italy, proceeded to measure the effect of homeopathically potentised histamine on human basophil degranulation. Using strictly controlled flow cytometric measurement and a standardized dilution and succession process, multiple sets of human basophils were incubated with 2C and 10C to 16C potencies of histamine, exposed to ant-IgE antibodies, and the basophils then stained for immunotyping. Upon analysis it was found that the 2C, 10C, 14C and 16C potencies of histamine were associated with a statistically significant reduction in basophil degraulation.

4. Gupta G, Srivastava AK. In-vitro activity of Thuja occidentalis Linn. against human pathogenic aspergilla. Homoeopathic Heritage, 2002, January, 27, 1, 5--12. Research carried out at the Gaurang Clinic and Centre for Homoeopathic Research in Lucknow, India was designed to ascertain the effect of various homeopathic potencies of Thuja occidentalis on the effects of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger. Both strains of this microorganism were grown on nutrient agar, exposed to the Q, 30C, 200C, 1M, 10M and 50M homeopathic potencies of Thuja, incubated at 37 degrees Celsius and assessed at days 3, 6 and 9 for the remedy's effect on percentage inhibition, spore formation and exudation in comparison to controls. Antifungal activity against both strains was seen as most efficient in the cultures using the 30th and 200th potencies of Thuja, and in fact both potencies provided slightly better action against the bacteria than did the positive control, ketoconazole.

PLANT STUDIES

1. Gangar HU. Management and Control of Genetic Processes in Cotton Plants through Homoeopathy. Indian Journal of Research in Homeopathy, 2007, 1, 1, 1-5. This study, carried out at the Mumbai Central Institute of Cotton Technology, was designed to determine what effects, if any, homeopathic medicines had on the physiology of plant bodies. When compared to controls, Dr Gangar found that homeopathic potencies of Baryta carb, Abrotanum, Iodum, Phosphorus were variously able to accelerate the germination process, shorten the cultivation period, enhance yield as well as the quality of cotton crops and make it possible to grow it during the traditional off-season. In addition to this, Gangar was able to show that both electrically neutral and pure distilled water develops a remedy and potency specific electrical charge after specific homeopathic potencies are added to it.

2. Rossi F, Melo PCT, Ambrosano EJ, Guiraao N, Schaminass EA. Application of homeopathic remedy Carbo vegetabilis and development ofplants oflettuce. International Journal of High Dilution Research, 2006, 5, 17. Researchers in this study set out to determine what effects, if any, various homeopathic potencies of Carbo veg had on the growth of lettuce seedlings, under various growth conditions, when compared to controls. Lettuce seedlings grown under stressful (shaded) and normal greenhouse conditions, were exposed to 6C, 12C, 30C, 100C, 200C homeopathic potencies of Carbo veg, or 2 control substances, and their growth monitored over 15 days. On analysis of the results it was found that Carbo veg, particularly the 100C potency, produced a positive effect on growth characteristics.

3. Marques RM, Marques-Silva GG, Bonato CM. Effects of high dilutions of Cymbopogon winterianus Jowitt (citronella) on the germination and growth of seedlings of Sida rhombifolia. International Journal ofHigh Dilution Research, 2008, 7, 22, 31-35. This experiment was carried out to assess the potential of various homeopathic potencies of citronella, when compared to controls, to influence the germination and growth of Sida rhombifolia (Paddy's Lucerne) seedlings. Tests were carried out using 5 individual sets of Lucerne exposed to 3C, 6C, 12C, 24C, 30C citronella and a water control, and an analysis was made of the response via root growth, shoot length, total fresh mass, germination percentage and germination speed. The 3C, 6C and 12C potencies all increased shoot length and the 24C inhibited it. 6C, 12C, 24C and 30C led to an increase in mass, and the 12C potency was associated with an increase in germination percentage as well as an increase in germination speed.

Robert Medhurst

B.Nat, D.Hom
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Author:Medhurst, Robert
Publication:Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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