The belief that ‘homeopathy works’, is effective and can
demonstrate clinical efficacy, while encouraging, has little
to do with the philosophy, practice or relevance of phenomenology
to homeopathy. Jeremy Swayne’s editorial draws a
spurious link between positive outcome studies and the
capacity for homeopathy to ‘open up a rich vein of scientific
enquiry and clinical opportunity’.7 So too, Tom
Whitmarsh’s understanding of phenomenology suggests
that homeopathy and phenomenology are ‘pretty similar’
in terms of how they look at the world.9 As long as the
homeopath remains ‘untainted by what he knows’ and is
‘doing (his) best to avoid received opinion’ phenomenology
is made to appear logical and easily applied in practice.
Together, Swayne’s and Whitmarsh’s understanding
diminish the complexity of phenomenology as a research
methodology and as a method of clinical engagement.
Their understanding misconstrues phenomenology as being
‘purely descriptive,’ ignoring the prospect that description
and observation are actually based upon interpretation
of patient phenomena, not objective and unprejudiced observations.
Our previous studies of Toxicodendron pubescens (Rhus tox) in homeopathic dilutions have shown anti-inflammatory activity in line with the principle of similia. The present study aimed to evaluate its anti-inflammatory activity in 1M, 10M and CM dilutions in rats.
Arthritis was induced by subplantar injection of 0.1 ml of Complete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA) in the right hind paws of rats. The severity of inflammatory lesions was measured plethysmometrically on 21st day post CFA injection. The intensity of pain was measured using digital Von Frey apparatus. Other estimations included serum C-reactive protein (CRP), hematological parameters, body weight changes, arthritic pain score and radiological analysis of the arthritic paws.
The 1M, 10M and CM homeopathic dilutions of Rhus tox reduced primary and secondary arthritic lesions, improved body weight gain and protected rats against CFA-induced hematological and radiological perturbations. A significant reduction in the serum levels of CRP and an improvement in pain threshold of injected paws was observed in the groups treated with the Rhus tox dilutions.
The anti-arthritic potential of Rhus tox is retained at 1M, 10M and CM dilutions.
Allergies, especially respiratory allergies, are one of the indications for which homeopathic treatment is most frequently sought. The progress of 147 cases of respiratory allergy since in private homeopathic practice is reported here. Only two cases of ear, nose and throat (ENT) allergies out of a total of 105 showed no improvement, no patients deteriorated. Two cases with worsening and three without improvement were noted out of 42 cases of pulmonary allergies. The constitutional homeopathic remedies varied, Lycopodium, Pulsatilla and Sulphur were most frequently prescribed for ENT allergies, there was no predominantly prescribed remedy in the pulmonary allergy group. Thirty one cases of respiratory allergies consulted only once. The reasons for such a state have been reviewed. If all these cases were therapeutic failures, the success rate of the homeopathic treatment is 87.6%.
Following the publication of a randomised controlled trial of Arnica in hand surgery, a number of reports of apparently beneficial effects of Arnica came to the author's attention. Many of these apparent responses could have been due to other factors including the use of herbal (non-diluted) Arnica, placebo response and natural course of disease.
Canova is a homeopathic complex medicine, used as an immune modulator. We studied its effects in normal and sarcoma 180-bearing mice. Three control groups were also evaluated. The mice were examined at daily intervals and the tumours observed histologically. Peripheral blood was analysed by flow cytometry.
A delay in the development, and a reduction in size of the tumours, and increased infiltration by lymphoid cells, granulation tissue, and fibrosis surrounding the tumour were observed with active treatment compared to control. All animals from the treated group survived, 30% of control groups died. In 30% of treated animals, a total regression of the tumour was confirmed using light microscopy, no regression was found in the control groups. Treatment with Canova increased total numbers of leukocytes and lymphocytes. Among lymphocytes, TCD4, increased in normal-treated group and B and NK cells in S180-treated groups. The results reflect enhanced immune response of the host after treatment with Canova.
In 2010 the 200th anniversary of the Organon is celebrated by the homeopathic community. Samuel Hahnemann's Organon of Rational Therapeutics, published in 1810, however, marks neither the beginning of homeopathy nor the endpoint of its development. On the one hand, its contents are based on terms and concepts developed and published by Hahnemann during the preceding two decades. On the other hand, the five revised editions of the Organon that followed in the next three decades contain major changes of theory and conceptions. Hahnemann's basic idea, running through all the stages of the foundation, elaboration, and defence of his doctrine, may be detected by a comparative review of his works from a historical and philosophical perspective.
The quality of information gathered from homeopathic pathogenetic trials (HPTs), also known as 'provings', is fundamental to homeopathy. We systematically reviewed HPTs published in six languages (English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Dutch) from 1945 to 1995, to assess their quality in terms of the validity of the information they provide.
The literature was comprehensively searched, only published reports of HPTs were included. Information was extracted by two reviewers per trial using a form with 87 items. Information on: medicines, volunteers, ethical aspects, blinding, randomization, use of placebo, adverse effects, assessments, presentation of data and number of claimed findings were recorded. Methodological quality was assessed by an index including indicators of internal and external validity, personal judgement and comments of reviewers for each study.
156 HPTs on 143 medicines, involving 2815 volunteers, produced 20,538 pathogenetic effects (median 6.5 per volunteer). There was wide variation in methods and results. Sample size (median 15, range 1-103) and trial duration (mean 34 days) were very variable. Most studies had design flaws, particularly absence of proper randomization, blinding, placebo control and criteria for analysis of outcomes. Mean methodological score was 5.6 (range 4-16). More symptoms were reported from HPTs of poor quality than from better ones. In 56% of trials volunteers took placebo. Pathogenetic effects were claimed in 98% of publications. On average about 84% of volunteers receiving active treatment developed symptoms. The quality of reports was in general poor, and much important information was not available.
The HPTs were generally of low methodological quality. There is a high incidence of pathogenetic effects in publications and volunteers but this could be attributable to design flaws. Homeopathic medicines, tested in HPTs, appear safe. The central question of whether homeopathic medicines in high dilutions can provoke effects in healthy volunteers has not yet been definitively answered, because of methodological weaknesses of the reports. Improvement of the method and reporting of results of HPTs are required. REFERENCES: References to all included RCTs are available on-line at.