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Update on research in homoeopathy.

Readers of this Journal will have seen homoeopathic research summaries in previous issues. The following are updates on some of the more notable trials that have found benefits with homoeopathy.

Human Studies

Rabe A, Weiser M, Klein P. Effectiveness and tolerability of a homoeopathic remedy compared with conventional therapy for mild viral infections. International Journal of Clinical Practice 2004;58:827-32.

In this observational cohort study, 485 people with symptoms of mild viral infection (fever, headache, myalgia, cough or sore throat) were treated either by conventional medical means or with a homoeopathic combination product. On a practitioner evaluation basis at the end of the treatment, the homoeopathic combination provided a successful outcome in 78% of cases and conventional treatment in 52% of cases.

Ammerschlager H, Klein P, Weiser M, Oberbaum M. Treatment of inflammatory diseases of the upper respiratory tract--comparison of a homoeopathic complex remedy with xylometazoline. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2005;12(1):24-31.

In a multicentre, controlled, cohort study, 739 people suffering from rhinitis or sinusitis were given either xylometazoline (a drug commonly used for nasal congestion, sinusitis and hay fever) or a homoeopathic combination. Both forms of therapy provided similarly effective results.

Issing W, Klein P, Weiser M. The homeopathic preparation Vertigoheel versus Ginkgo biloba in the treatment of vertigo in an elderly population: a double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2005;11:155-60.

Over a 6 week period, 170 people with an age range of 60-80 years with atherosclerosis related vertigo were treated for this condition using either a homoeopathic combination or the herb Ginkgo biloba. Using a patient-assessed dizziness questionnaire and practitioner assessment via line walking and other tests as methods of measurement, participants found that the homoeopathic combination provided outcomes as good as those with Ginkgo.

Jacobs J, Herman P, Heron K, Olsen S, Vaughters L. Homoeopathy for menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors: a preliminary randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2005;11:21-7.

This study compared the effects of an individualised homoeopathic prescription with a homoeopathic combination and placebo in 55 women suffering from menopausal symptoms for a period of 1 year.

Both the individualised and combination homoeopathic therapy provided an improvement in symptoms over placebo, with the individualised homoeopathy showing the best outcomes over the first 3 months of the assessment period.

Kim LS, Riedlinger JE, Baldwin CM, Hilli L, Khalsa SV, Messer SA, Waters RF. Treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis using homoeopathic preparation of common allergens in the Southwest Region of the US: a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2005;39(4):617-624.

In this double-blind trial, 34 people diagnosed with moderate to severe seasonal allergic rhinitis were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or a combination of potentised allergens (made from the pollens of trees, grasses or weeds identified as allergens).

After the 4 week treatment period using 2 sprays 3 times a day of either the potentised allergen mix or placebo, the trial subjects were assessed on the basis of their allergy specific symptoms using 3 separate questionnaire formats. The potentised allergen mix showed significant positive changes compared to placebo.

Weatherley-Jones E, Nicholl JP, Thomas KJ, Parry GJ, McKendrick MW, Green ST, Stanley PJ, Lynch SP. A randomised, controlled, triple-blind trial of the efficacy of homoeopathic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2004;56(2):189-97.

In this well controlled trial, where the practitioner, trial subject and data analyst were all blinded to the group assignments until the end of the data collection period, individualised homoeopathic prescriptions were compared to placebo in 79 people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (as determined by the Oxford criteria for CFS).

The trial was carried out over a 6 month period with monthly observations used to determine clinical progress according to the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI) as a primary measure and the Fatigue Impact Scale and Functional Limitations Profile as secondary measures. On the primary MFI measure, those using the individualised homoeopathy had significant improvement over placebo.

Animal Studies

Pedalino CMV, Perazzo FF, Carvalho JCT, Matinho KS, Massoco C de O, Bonamin LV. Effect of Atropa belladonna and Echinacea angustifolia in homoeopathic dilution on experimental peritonitis. Homeopathy, 2004;93:193-198.

Thirty-six mice with experimentally induced peritonitis were given either Echinacea angustifolia 4X, a combination of belladonna and Echinacea in mixed homoeopathic potencies, a combination of Echinacea in mixed potencies, 2 separate combinations of belladonna in mixed potencies or a control substance. Outcomes were measured using polymorphnuclear cell migration, mononuclear cell percentages, degenerate leucocyte proportions and phagocytosis characteristics.

All of the homoeopathic test substances produced positive outcomes with the belladonna and Echinacea potency combination providing the maximal increase in polymorphnuclear cell migration and phagocytosis.

Sato DYO, Wal R, de Oliveira CC, Cattaneo RI, Malvezzi M, Gabardo J, Buchi D de F. Histopathological and immunophenotyping studies on normal and sarcoma 180-bearing mice treated with a complex homoeopathic medication. Homeopathy 2005;94(1):26-32.

Fifty-five mice with experimentally induced sarcomas were given placebo or a homoeopathic combination product and observed daily over a period of 21 days.

Compared to those receiving placebo, the mice being given the homoeopathic combination showed a reduction in tumour size, an increased infiltration by lymphoid cells, granulation tissue and fibrosis surrounding the tumour, all of which are indicative of a positive outcome.

Biswas SJ, Khuda-Bukhsh AR. Evaluation of protective potentials of a potentized homoeopathic drug, Chelidonium majus, during azo dye induced hepatocarcinogenesis in mice. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 2004;42(7):698-714.

In this study, groups of mice were given substances that would normally be expected to induce the formation of liver cancer. At the same time, selected groups of these mice were given either homoeopathic Chelidonium in 30C or 200C potencies or a placebo control.

Both potencies of Chelidonium provided a significant protective effect against the formation of liver cancers and favourably modulated some of the haematological markers normally associated with hepatotoxicity.

Plant Studies

Baumgartner S, Thurneysen A, Heusser P. Growth stimulation of dwarf peas (Pisum sativum L.) through homoeopathic potencies of plant growth substances. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2004;11(5):281-92.

In an effort to determine the effects of homoeopathically potentised plant growth substances on the shoot growth characteristics of dwarf peas, plant cultures were immersed for 24 hours in solutions containing 4 different plant growth substances in 12X to 30X potencies. These were compared to cultures grown in a control substance.

At shoot length measurement after a 14 day growth period, the cultures grown in the potentised growth substances showed a measurable effect on the seed growth characteristics when compared to the control substance, the most notable of these, gibberellin 17X, producing the largest growth stimulation.

In Vitro Studies

Glatthaar-Saalmuller B, Fallier-Becker P, Weiser M. Influence of homoeopathically processed coenzyme Q10 on proliferation and redifferentiation of endothelial cells. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2004; 11(5):267-73.

Coenzyme Q10, known for its ability to regulate cell metabolism and proliferation, was assessed for its ability to promote the same functions after being homoeopathically potentised. Undifferentiated human umbilical vein endothelial cell cultures were exposed to various potencies of CoQ10 (5X to 10X). The division rate was then assessed by flow cytometry and cell differentiation determined by von Willebrand factor expression. The 7X to 10X potencies of CoQ10, and particularly the 8X potency, increased cell proliferation while none of the potencies appeared to enhance cell differentiation.
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Author:Medhurst, Robert
Publication:Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 1, 2006
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