British Homoeopathic journal

Publications
The tumoricidal and antiviral effects of Staphylococcal toxins are well documented. In a preliminary study we investigated the immune modulating properties of these toxins by administering single oral doses of a 12c potency of a lysate of Staphylococcus aureus Cowan I, to 4 healthy probands and 12 HIV infected patients with clinical symptoms. We observed a decrease of circulating immune complexes in the healthy probands as well as in the HIV positive patients, accompanied in the latter by a significant increase of CD4 lymphocytes, CD4/CD8-ratio and an improvement of the HIV related symptoms. None of the dose dependent toxic effects commonly found in Staphylococcal sepsis were noticed. Further research on the immune modulating effects of potencies of bacterial superantigens is suggested, especially in view of a possible treatment for HIV infected and other immune compromised patients.
 
This lecture attempts to analyse the progress made by homeopathy in recent years, by analysing consumer awareness, sales and distribution trends of homeopathic products, and research publications. Sales of homeopathic medicines are growing rapidly, but remain a very small fraction of the total pharmaceutical market. The proportion of combination to single medicines varies widely between countries. The market is concentrated in a relatively small number of the available medicines; many available homeopathic medicines are never used. Regulation of homeopathic practitioners and medicines is problematic, the legal position varies between countries. The volume of research is growing steadily. A series of recommendations is made, including modernisation of the terminology of homeopathy, training of more practitioners, a defined research agenda and integration into the medical system.
 
The objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a homeopathic complex in terms of intensity of attacks and duration of remission between attacks of genital herpes. Fifty three patients aged 18 or over with a minimum of four attacks annually were followed in this open multicentre study in a primary care setting. The principal parameters analysed were: frequency of attacks; intensity of symptoms, during treatment and/or after stopping treatment; treatment tolerance. Eighty-two percent of patients treated for recurrent genital herpes benefited. In 41% of cases, there was no recurrence after the first treatment with follow-up of between 8 and 50 months. In 32% of patients, one or two relapses, in 9% of patients recurrences continued but with reduced frequency and intensity.
 
The objective of this research was to determine if the homeopathic medicine Betula 30c is more effective than placebo at reducing symptoms of pollen allergy in patients sensitive to birch pollen. It was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Tablets were given both as a prophylactic agent, once a week four weeks before the pollen season and as an acute remedy during the pollen season. The study was done in Oslo, Norway, in May 1996 and involved 73 children, adolescents and young adults from 7 to 25 y of age. Allergy-symptoms were assessed on a visual analogue scale (VAS) by patients or parents. Main outcome measure was the median (with its 95% confidence interval) of the symptom scores for all the treated patients, each day during a 10-day period. The pollen count was very low in 1996, only three days were high enough to provoke allergic symptoms. Surprisingly, the verum treated patients fared worse than the placebo group; they used more rescue medication and had higher symptom scores during these three days. Homeopaths might attribute the findings to a putative aggravation response, but the results certainly do not lend support to the usefulness of the tested prophylactic approach, under conditions of low allergen exposure.
 
A study of the consistency of responses by allergic patients in repeated studies of the homeopathic remedy Betula 30c or placebo against birch pollen allergy, was made. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed including participants with a known allergy to birch pollen. Allergy symptoms were assessed on a visual analogue scale (VAS) by patients or parents each day during a 20-day period during two different pollen seasons. The work was carried out in Oslo, Norway during May 1995, 1996 and 1997. There were 51 patients ranging in age from 7 to 50y. The homeopathic remedy Betula 30c or placebo was given as tablets, both as a prophylactic agent, once a week for 4 weeks before the pollen season started, and as an acute remedy during the pollen season. The mean value of the symptom scores on the visual analogue scale, for all registration days from each patient was the main outcome. The patient groups that received either placebo or Betula 30c for two successive years showed a consistent response (r=0.75, P=0.01 and r=0.70, P=0.003, respectively). No such correlation was found in the two groups that changed remedy from one year to another (either from placebo to Betula or vice versa). Subjective assessment of allergic symptoms to birch pollen differed more from one year to another when different regimens (placebo or homeopathic) had been administered these two seasons, than when the same treatment had been given.
 
The objective of the study was to examine the effect of the homeopathic remedy Betula 30c vs placebo for patients with birch pollen allergy. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was carried out. Tablets were given for 4 weeks during the birch pollen season. The setting was Oslo, Norway, May 1995. Patients were aged between 18 and 50 y; 32 patients received Betula 30c tablets and 34 patients received placebo tablets. The main outcome measure was the total score of 17 different allergy symptoms. Daily total scores were calculated, as well as differences and ratios between the run-in and the following time periods. Point estimates of the median difference between the experimental and placebo groups, with their 95% confidence intervals, were the main measure of effect. No statistically significant difference between the groups was found during the first and last period of May. However, from 8 to 18 May, a clinically interesting difference was revealed between the groups, those receiving Betula 30c having fewer and less serious symptoms. For some days these differences were statistically significant. Surprisingly, this group reported more aggravation from the tablets than did the placebo group. With a statistical power of 70% for a defined clinically interesting difference (25%), the present results indicate that treatment with Betula 30c during the pollen season deserves further attention.
 
To evaluate the efficacy of homeopathy in preventing migraine attacks and accompanying symptoms, a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted. There was a one-month registration period without treatment, followed by four months individualised homeopathic treatment or identical placebo. Patients were stratified for common or classical migraine. Seventy-three patients were randomised, 68 completed the trial. Baseline values were similar in the two groups. Both the homeopathy and placebo groups had reduction in attack frequency, pain intensity and drug consumption, with a statistically non-significant difference favouring homeopathy. Migraine diaries showed no difference between groups. The neurologists’ trial evaluation showed a statistically significant reduction in attack frequency in the homeopathy group (P=0.04) and non-statistically significant trends in favour of homeopathy for pain intensity and overall evaluation. Further research, with improved trial design, on the possible role of homeopathy in migraine prophylaxis is justified.
 
An audit was conducted of 829 consecutive patients presenting for homeopathic treatment of a chronic illness, conventional treatment had either failed, plateaued in effect, or was contraindicated by adverse effects, age or condition of the patient. Of the 829 patients, 503 (61%) had a sustained improvement from homeopathic treatment, of these:
 
Unlabelled: Male adult albino mice were administered potentized Nux vomica 30 c (Nux v). The drug was mixed with sterile distilled water at 0.05 ml/2 ml water and given at 0.05 ml/individual. Control consisted of blank ethanol solution. Ethanolic extract from the seeds of Strychnos nuxvomica L was mixed with 90% ethanol 1:100 and sonicated for 30 s at 20 KHz. This was further diluted and sonicated in 30 steps to produce Nux v 30 c. Six hours after treatment, mice were given 25% ethanol i.p. at 4 g/kg body wt. The duration of sleep time starting from the loss of righting reflex until its restoration was recorded for each mouse. The duration of sleep time with ethanol was recorded in four sessions for the same group of mice with an interval of 10 d between sessions. Treatments: session 1 with control solution, 2 with Nux v (oral), 3 with control solution and 4 with Nux v (i.p.). Nux v (oral) produced the shortest sleep time as compared to other treatments which did not differ from each other significantly with respect to sleep time. In another experiment Nux v 30 c was prepared with distilled water and pure absolute ethanol by the above process of successive dilution and sonication. These two preparations together with Nux v 30 c, prepared with 90% ethanol, were tested on mice for their effect on alcohol-induced sleep time. Only Nux v 30 c prepared with 90% ethanol was effective in reducing the sleep time in mice. It is concluded that the solution structure of ethanol/water mixture carries the specificity of the Nux v at ultra high dilution. It is further concluded that the effect is mediated through oral receptors.
 
Two homeopathic pathogenetic trials (HPTs, provings), of identical design were conducted: of Acidum malicum 12 cH and Acidum ascorbicum 12 cH. Each trial included 20 healthy volunteers. Both were of double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, four period crossover design, with two sequences. 'Healthy' was defined in terms of SF-36 scores, medical judgement and blood tests. All volunteers had regular interviews with the same supervisor. No serious adverse reactions occurred. The causal relationship of each symptom with treatment was judged, blind, by the volunteer, the supervisor and a 9-item pathogenetic index. For Acidum malicum 79 symptoms were identified by the supervisor, 57 were included in the final analysis, 22 occurred in verum treatment periods. For Acidum ascorbicum, of 55 symptoms, 39 were included in the analysis. 16 occurred in verum treatment periods.
 
To evaluate the overall effectiveness in general practice of homeopathy and acupuncture, and to estimate costs. Prospective documentation of all patients insured with an insurance company who are provided with free treatment of acupuncture and homeopathy. 4000 patients treated by acupuncture and 1000 patients by homeopathy will be enrolled. All patients will be followed up from the beginning of treatment for another 4 years. Doctors will provide data on each visit (diagnosis, treatment, change of symptoms, etc.), patients will fill in questionnaires at the beginning and at the end of treatment, as well as each year after the end of treatment (complaints, current treatment, general health status as measured by the MOS-SF 36). Insurance data on workdays lost will be provided by the insurance company. Data acquisition and entry is continuing. Up to now data from the first questionnaire of 1453 patients have been entered and 951 patients have returned the follow-up questionnaire. Doctors' ratings of the change of the main diagnosis shows improvement of around 80% with only 2% deteriorated. This impression is vindicated by the patients' follow-up questionnaire. 36% patients rated the therapy as efficacious, 47% as partially efficacious. Quality of life as measured by the SF 36 questionnaire improved significantly in all dimensions. Data on workdays off will be presented. Homeopathy and acupuncture are clinically effective in a variety of medical problems.
 
The conventional antibiotic treatment of acute otitis media (AOM) faces a number of problems, including antibiotic resistance. Homeopathy has been shown to be capable of treating AOM successfully. As AOM has a high rate of spontaneous resolution, a trial to prove any treatment-effect has to demonstrate very fast resolution of symptoms. The purpose of this study was to find out how many children with AOM are relieved of pain within 12 h after the beginning of homeopathic treatment, making additional measures unnecessary. Two hundred and thirty children with AOM received a first individualized homeopathic medicine in the paediatric office. If pain-reduction was not sufficient after 6 h, a second (different) homeopathic medicine was given. After a further 6 h, children who had not reached pain control were started on antibiotics. Pain control was achieved in 39% of the patients after 6 h, another 33% after 12 h. This resolution rate is 2.4 times faster than in placebo controls. There were no complications observed in the study group, and compared to conventional treatment the approach was 14% cheaper.
 
Acute low back pain is a very common condition in Western industrialised countries. In most cases analgesics or topical medications are prescribed at first encounter with the general practitioner (GP). The aim of this study was to investigate whether the homeopathic gel Spiroflor SRL® gel (SRL) is equally effective and better tolerated than Cremor Capsici Compositus FNA (CCC) in patients with acute low back pain. A multi-centre, randomised, double-blind, controlled clinical trial was conducted in the practices of 19 GPs in the districts of Bristol and Manchester, UK. One hundred and sixty-one subjects suffering from acute low back pain were treated for one week either with SRL or with CCC. Pain was scored on a 100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS). Main efficacy parameter VAS reduction was compared between treatments. Evaluation of safety was primarily based on the number of subjects with adverse events (AEs), withdrawals due to an AE and adverse drug reactions (ADRs). The mean difference between the VAS reduction in the SRL group and the CCC group adjusted for VAS at baseline and age was −0.6 mm (90%CI=−6.5–5.3 mm). Fewer subjects in the SRL group (11%) experienced an AE than in the CCC group (26%). The same applies to the number of subjects with an ADR (3/81=4% vs 18/74=24%) and the number of subjects withdrawn due to an ADR (0/81=0% vs 8/74=11%). In conclusion, SRL and CCC are equally effective in the treatment of acute low back pain, however, SRL has a better safety profile. Spiroflor SRL® gel is preferable to Capsicum-based products for the topical treatment of low back pain, because of the lower risk of adverse effects.
 
Previous studies have been interpreted as suggesting that low concentrations of N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) have an adaptive effect in the cultured lymphocytes of responsive donors (that is, the cells are protected against the mutagenic effects of a subsequent challenge with a higher concentration of MNNG). The objectives of the present study were to investigate, under stringent experimental conditions, whether a protective effect exists at very low and extremely low doses of MNNG (10−8 and 10−24M, respectively). Peripheral blood lymphocytes from a donor considered responsive in a previous study were stimulated to divide and were cultured under standard conditions. Pre-adaptive treatments with dilutions of MNNG were added to the cultures repeatedly before a challenge treatment with MNNG. Bromodeoxyuridine was added at the same time as the challenge treatment and, following mitotic arrest, cells were differentially stained so that the number of sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) could be counted. The study was designed to address potential criticisms of earlier studies which did not include replicate cultures. Samples of blood were divided into two identical batches for independent processing. Five replicate cultures were prepared for each combination of pre-adaptive and challenge treatments in each batch. The complete experiment was repeated to provide a further test of the consistency of results. Five replicates per treatment combination were chosen in an attempt to provide an experiment of adequate statistical power. Considerable precautions were taken to minimise the effect of factors outside experimental control on the results. Scoring was done by three scorers. In order to minimise inter-scorer variation, 240 cells were scored at each treatment observation (five cells per scorer, three scorers per culture, four cultures per batch, two batches per experiment and two experiments). The study was designed in this way to take account of the sources of variability to ensure that any response obtained would exceed that obtainable by experimental variability alone. A high level of quality assurance monitoring was undertaken throughout the investigation. Two measures of SCE induction were used: (i) the mean frequency of SCEs; (ii) proportion of cells with at least 20 SCEs. In both experiments, the challenge concentration of MNNG significantly increased SCE frequency. There were, however, highly significant differences between the two experiments. The proportion of high frequency cells (HFCs) in Experiment 1 was increased significantly; the proportion of HFCs was also increased in Experiment 2, but the increase was not statistically significant. The pre-adaptive concentrations of MNNG included an extremely low dilution of 6.8 × 10−24 M and a very low dilution of 6.8 × 10−8 M in Experiment 1 and 1.4 × 10−7 M in Experiment 2. The various pre-adaptive concentrations used had no consistent protective effect against the SCE-inducing capacity of the challenge concentration of MNNG of 6.8 × 10−6 M. It is concluded that an adaptive response to the alkylating agent MNNG could not be demonstrated in cultured human lymphocytes. Neither a very low nor an extremely low dilution of MNNG elicited an adaptive response in terms of SCE induction (measured either as SCE frequency or as proportion of HFCs). This is in contradiction to previous reports published by us and other groups. This study was carefully designed with large numbers of replicates, a preliminary statistical power calculation, predefined comparisons and extensive quality assurance at each treatment administration. Despite these precautions the variability between scorers and between batches was much larger than anticipated. This resulted in some statistically significant differences, but these are likely to be false positives. Our findings indicate the need for such methodological refinement in human cell adaptive response studies.
 
To evaluate the safety of homeopathic medicines by critically appraising reports of adverse effects published in English from 1970 to 1995. Systematic review on information regarding adverse effects of homeopathic medicines identified using electronic databases, hand searching, searching reference lists, reviewing the bibliography of trials, and other relevant articles, contacting homeopathic pharmaceutical companies and drug regulatory agencies in UK and USA, and by communicating with experts in homeopathy. The mean incidence of adverse effects of homeopathic medicines was greater than placebo in controlled clinical trials (9.4/6.1) but effects were minor, transient and comparable. There was a large incidence of pathogenetic effects in healthy volunteers taking homeopathic medicines but the methodological quality of these studies was generally low. Anecdotal reports of adverse effects in homeopathic publications were not well documented and mainly reported aggravation of current symptoms. Case reports in conventional medical journals pointed more to adverse effects of mislabelled 'homeopathic products' than to true homeopathic medicines. Homeopathic medicines in high dilutions, prescribed by trained professionals, are probably safe and unlikely to provoke severe adverse reactions. It is difficult to draw definite conclusions due to the low methodological quality of reports claiming possible adverse effects of homeopathic medicines.
 
Nux vomica 30c, 200c and 1000c were administered orally to three batches of albino mice for three days. Six hours after the last dose on the third day the mice were injected i.p. with ethanol 4g/kg body wt. They lost their righting reflex and lay motionless apparently sleeping due to alcohol. Mice treated with three potencies of Nux vomica regained their righting reflex more quickly than the corresponding untreated controls. Each of the three batches of mice was tested twice for ethanol sedation, once with a potency of Nux vomica and another time with a placebo control. The time interval between drug treatment and control was 10 days. NMR spectra of Nux 30, Nux 200, Nux 1000, alcohol 30, alcohol 30 (unagitated) and 90% alcohol showed significant difference from each other with respect to the spin-lattice relaxation time (T1) of the deuterium nuclei. This gives a measurable physical basis of the effective high potencies of Nux vomica.
 
Top-cited authors
Flavio Dantas
  • Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU)
Maurizio Brizzi
  • University of Bologna
Daniele Nani
  • IMAGO PROXIMA CENTAURI Medical Association
Lucietta Betti
  • University of Bologna
Maurizio Peruzzi
  • Associazione per la Cristallizzazione Sensibile