AIH Guide to Homeopathic Research
Those of us within the homeopathic medicine community often hear the criticism that there is no research in support of homeopathic medicine. There are in fact hundreds of homeopathic research studies. The following studies have been selected to demonstrate the different types of homeopathic research and some of the important research findings in support of homeopathic medicine.
Methodological Issues for Homeopathic Clinical Research
Homeopathic research, and the criticisms of homeopathic research, cannot be understood if the philosophical assumptions of homeopathic medicine are not understood. These philosophical assumptions necessitate a different set of criteria for assessing the validity of homeopathic research. In the following article, the authors recommend a method for assessing the model validity of homeopathic RCTs that is consistent with the basic tenets of homeopathic medicine.
- Mathie RT, Roniger H, Van Wassenhoven M, Frye J, Jacobs J, Oberbaum M, Bordet MF, Nayak C, Chaufferin G, Ives JA, Dantas F, Fisher P. Method for appraising model validity of randomised controlled trials of homeopathic treatment: multi-rater concordance study. BMC Med Res Methodol 2012;12:49.
RCTs using Individualized Homeopathic Medicines
Homeopathic medicines treat persons, not diseases -- that is, the prescription for an individual with a disease is based on the expression of the disease in that particular person, rather than on the disease diagnosis per se. Thus, not every person in an RCT will receive the same homeopathic medicine. This principle of homeopathic medicine increases the complexity of any RCT on the efficacy of homeopathic medicines. The following studies were designed with respect for homeopathic principles and yielded statistically significant positive results.
- Chapman EH, Weintraub RJ, Milburn MA, Pirozzi TO, Woo E. Homeopathic Treatment of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. J Head Trauma Rehabil 1999;14(6):521–542.
- Bell IR, Lewis II DA, Brooks AJ, Schwartz GE, Lewis SE, Walsh BT, and Baldwin CM. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo. Rheumatology 2004;43:577–582.
- Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jiménez-Pérez M, Crothers D. Homeopathy for childhood diarrhea: combined results and metaanalysis from three randomized, controlled clinical trials.
Pediatr Infect Dis J 2003;22(3):229-34.
RCTs using Non-Individualized Homeopathic Medicines
- Frass M, Dielacher C, Linkesch M, Endler C, Muchitsch I, Schuster E, Kaye A. Influence of potassium dichromate on tracheal secretions in critically ill patients. Chest 2005;127;936-941.
- Witt CM, Lüdtke R, Baur R and Willich SN. Homeopathic medical practice: Long-term results of a cohort study with 3981 patients. BMC Public Health 2005;5:115-122. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-115
- Witt CM, Lüdtke R, Mengler N, and Willich SN. How healthy are chronically ill patients after eight years of homeopathic treatment? – Results from a long term observational study. BMC Public Health 2008;8:413-421. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-413
Use of Homeopathic Medicines for Prophylaxis
Homeopathic medicines can also be used as prophylactic treatment against epidemic diseases.
Bracho G, Varela E, Fernandez R, Ordaz B, Marzoa N, Menendez J, Garcia L, Gilling E, Leyva R, Rufin R, de la Torre R, Solis RL, Batista N, Borrero R, Campa C. Large-scale application of highly-diluted bacteria for Leptospirosis epidemic control. Homeopathy 2010;99(3):156-66. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2010.05.009.
Effects of Homeopathic Medicines vs Placebos
Despite the findings of statistically significant positive results in well-controlled studies, some critics of homeopathic medicine assert that positive findings are due to a placebo effect. The following study demonstrates that effects of homeopathic medicines differ from the effects of placebos.
- Möllinger H, Schneider R, Walach H. Homeopathic pathogenetic trials produce specific symptoms different from placebo. Forsch Komplementmed 2009;16:105–110.
Veterinary Homeopathic Research
Further evidence that the positive findings in homeopathic research are not due to the placebo effect is that veterinary homeopathic research also yields statistically significant clinical results. Several important studies are:
- Aboutboul R. Snake remedies and eosinophilic granuloma complex in cats. Homeopathy 2006; 95(1):15-9.
- Alecu A, Alecu M, Mârcuş G, Brezeanu R, Cojocaru A. Effect of the homeopathic remedies Arnica montana and Staphisagria on the time of healing of surgical wounds. Int J High Dilution Res 2007;6(20):19-21.
Research on the homeopathic treatment of diseased plants also yields statistically significant results, emphasizing again that it is unlikely that the positive results of homeopathic treatment are due to the placebo effect.
- Betti L., et al. Effect of high dilutions of Arsenicum album on wheat seedlings from seeds poisoned with the same substance. British Homeopathic Journal 1997;86:86-89.