Not a Placebo: Scientific Evidence Exists for Homeopathy – The Epoch Times
Getting through the most difficult times of COVID, it has become increasingly clear that the key to enhancing our good health is by boosting and balancing our own immunity. We are not necessarily promoting the precise therapies of homeopathy, but rather offering a different angle of understanding the subtleness and multi-faceted nature of the human body.
An article titled “Homeopathy” published in 1989 in Yoga Journal described one case in which a woman suffering from lupus was cured by homeopathy.
After years of unsuccessful conventional treatment, the lady enlisted the help of a homeopathic physician. The first step was to treat her drug dependency and relieve her pericarditis. She was prescribed a homeopathic dose of Cactus grandiflorus, which would produce heart palpitations and depression in healthy people. However, in her case, the Cactus grandiflorus reduced the inflammation caused by pericarditis.
Then, she started to experience a set of symptoms, including anger, bitterness, and stress-powerful emotions that existed prior to the development of her pericarditis. The homeopathic physician then treated her with nux vomica (poison nuts), which cause hyperirritability and nervous cramping in healthy individuals, and her emotional problems were resolved.
Dr. Leon Vannier (1880-1963) was one of the major figures in modern homeopathy. He founded the journal L’Homoeopathie Francaise in 1912 and the Homeopathic Center of France in 1931. Furthermore, he established the doctrine of homeopathy in 1924, and he was tirelessly promoting homeopathy during his lifetime.
According to the book “La práctica de la homeopatía” (The Practice of Homeopathy) written by Dr. Vannier, in early 1933, a 44-year-old woman came to consult him about her liver disorders, stomach problems, abnormal menstrual cycles, and constipation. Instead of operating on her as she requested, Dr. Vannier prescribed thuja for her treatment. Two months later, the woman had gained weight, and her symptoms had been relieved.
Nowadays, many well-known personalities have also claimed to have benefited from homeopathy, and some of them have since become avid supporters of homeopathy.
The word “homeopathy” is derived from the Greek words homoios, meaning “similar” and pathos, meaning “suffering.” Homeopathic remedies are generally dilutions of natural substances from plants, minerals, and animals.
Homeopathy was invented in 1789 by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann, who was dissatisfied with many medical practices at that time, including bloodletting. The principles of homeopathy are very different from the conventional medical theories. Two theories central to homeopathy include:
According to the book “Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide” written by Larry Trivieri, JR, and John W. Anderson, the long-term benefits homeopathy brings to patients are the alleviation of symptoms and reestablishment of their bodies’ internal order at the deepest levels, thus providing a lasting cure.
George Vithoulkas, founder of the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy in Greece and honorary professor at multiple European universities, is recognized as the person who has re-established homeopathy in the 20th century. He once said, “Homeopathy has been of tremendous value in reversing diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, bronchial asthma, epilepsy, skin eruptions, allergic conditions, mental or emotional disorders, especially if applied at the onset of the disease.”
According to the book “Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide,” the World Health Organization (WHO) has cited homeopathy as one of the systems of traditional medicine that should be integrated worldwide with conventional medicine in order to provide adequate global health care in the 21st century.
Homeopathy is regarded as a form of alternative medicine in many countries, such as Australia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, and France. The book “Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States” was first published in 1897, and it is still in publication today.
Health Canada regulates homeopathic products as natural health products.
According to a survey conducted in 2018 by the market research firm Ipsos, 76 percent of French people had a good impression of homeopathy; and 77 percent of respondents had experienced homeopathic treatments. The world’s largest homeopathic medicine manufacturer, Boiron, is also located in France. In a cross-sectional study published in 2014, the mean score of Iranian patients’ satisfaction with homeopathic treatment was 77.48 out of 100. Also, according to Swiss Health surveys conducted between 2007 and 2012, homeopathy was one of the most popular complementary medicine methods.
However, due to many studies discrediting the therapeutic claims of homeopathy for its lack of scientific justification, homeopathy has lost its funding from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Since homeopathy has enjoyed the patronage of the British royal family for several generations, Prince Charles previously tried unsuccessfully to persuade the NHS to keep its support for homeopathy.
Several meta-analyses have claimed that homeopathy only generates placebo effects. Wikipedia, one of the most visited websites, blatantly states that homeopathy is a pseudoscience.
However, such negative findings cannot preclude homeopathy’s efficacy, since many well-designed studies conducted by authoritative figures in their respective fields have proven that the homeopathic effects are not placebo effects, and that homeopathy can improve patients’ conditions, although the mechanism is still subject to further research.
In 2006, some scientists compiled a Health Technology Assessment report commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for Public Health. After systematically searching online databases and printed manuals and consulting experts, the researchers concluded that the effectiveness of homeopathy could be supported by clinical evidence, and that professional application of homeopathy was safe with few side effects.
Specifically, homeopathic treatments were found to be able to induce changes in cells or living organisms. 20 of 22 (90 percent) systematic reviews examined by the researchers showed results in favor of homeopathy. Five other studies provided indubitable evidence for effective homeopathic therapy. Six of 7 (86 percent) controlled studies showed that homeopathic treatment results were at least equivalent to conventional medical interventions. Furthermore, 8 of 16 (50 percent) placebo-controlled studies showed that homeopathic treatments yielded significantly better results.
In a 1991 article (pdf) published in the British Medical Journal, 107 controlled clinical studies performed between 1966 and 1990 were reviewed by researchers from the University of Limburg in the Netherlands. Eighty-one of these studies (76 percent) showed that homeopathic medicines were beneficial in treating headaches, respiratory infections, digestive system diseases, ankle sprains, postoperative infections and symptoms, and other health-related disorders.
In a study by researchers from the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, three double blind clinical trials were conducted. In them, 242 children aged 6 months to 5 years were randomized to receive either an individualized homeopathic medicine or placebo, to study acute childhood diarrhea. The subsequent meta-analysis showed that the group receiving the homeopathic medicine had a duration of diarrhea of 3.3 days, whereas the placebo group had a duration of 4.1 days. Therefore, homeopathic treatment had a statistically significant superiority over the placebo, rejecting the hypothesis that homeopathy is a placebo. The researchers concluded that homeopathy should be considered to be used as a supplementary treatment.
Today the 10 most common diseases treated by homeopaths are (in order of frequency) asthma, depression, otitis media (middle ear infection), allergic rhinitis (hay fever), headache and migraine, neurotic disorders, non-specific allergy, dermatitis, arthritis, and hypertension.
A group of medical doctors and immunologists from University of Glasgow have tested, under independent conditions, the reproducibility of evidence of homeopathic therapy from three trials. A meta-analysis of all three trials strengthened the evidence that homeopathy does more than placebo (p=0·0004).
The first two trials were done in hayfever and the third one was in asthma.
Here are the key results of the asthma randomized double blind clinical trial. Twenty-eight patients with allergic asthma, most of them sensitive to house-dust mite, were randomly allocated to receive either oral homeopathic immunotherapy to their principal allergen or identical placebo. A difference in visual analogue score in favor of homeopathic immunotherapy appeared within one week of starting treatment and persisted for up to 8 weeks (p=0·003). There were similar trends in respiratory function and bronchial reactivity tests.
In a study published in 2000 in the British Medical Journal, 25 patients with perennial allergic rhinitis a homeopathic dilution, and another group of the same number of patients received a placebo. As it turned out, 21 percent of the patients in the first group had a significant improvement of their symptoms, whereas only 2 percent in the placebo group experienced a significant improvement. The homeopathy group had a significant objective improvement from baseline in nasal airflow compared with the placebo group over the 3rd and 4th weeks after randomization (21 percent versus 2 percent, P=0.0001). Interestingly, the researchers designed the study with the intention to prove that homeopathy was a pseudoscience. However, the study results completely changed their opinion.
Several studies have found that homeopathic remedies are effective in treating patients with hay fever. One group of researchers conducted 11 trials in total, and they discovered that the homeopathic medicine Galphimia glauca could be used to treat hay fever. In another study conducted by researchers from University of Glasgow and a medical institution, a homeopathic preparation of mixed grass pollens or a placebo was given to patients with hay fever. As it turned out, the patients that received the homeopathic treatment experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms, in comparison with the placebo group.
In a study published in 1980 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis was attested. In the study, one group of 23 patients with rheumatoid arthritis received conventional first-line anti-inflammatory treatment plus homeopathy, and the second group of 23 patients received the same first-line treatment plus a placebo. As per the results, the patients in the first group experienced a significant improvement in subjective pain, articular index, stiffness, and grip strength, while there wasn’t much change in the second group. Therefore, homeopathic treatments were effective in alleviating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Also, it’s worth mentioning that no side effects were observed with the homeopathic remedies.
Homeopathic remedies have also been proven to be effective in treating flu symptoms. In a double-blind study conducted by researchers from the Grenoble University Hospital in France, 478 people with flu-like symptoms were given either Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic medicine, or a placebo. After a 48-hour period, 17.1 percent of those who received the homeopathic treatment had fully recovered, compared to only 10.3 percent of the placebo group. Furthermore, patients in the placebo group also used more drugs to relieve their symptoms.
In a double-blind cross-over study (pdf) published in 1989 in the British Medical Journal, the homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron resulted in a 25 percent reduction in fibromyalgia-related pain compared to a placebo group. The improvement in muscle tenderness was particularly distinct. Therefore, homeopathy is also effective in treating fibromyalgia.
According to the book “The Scientific Basis for Homeopathic Medicine,” homeopathy can also be useful in assisting with childbirth. In a double-blind study of 93 pregnant women, patients received either a placebo or a homeopathic remedy consisting of Caulophyllum, Actea, Raemosa, Arnica, Pulsatilla, and Pelsenium. The women who received the homeopathic remedy had a labor duration of an average of 5.1 hours, which was three hours shorter than that in the placebo group, whose labor period averaged 8.1 hours.
In a study published in 1997 in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 103 children aged between 6 months and 11 years received homeopathic single remedies to treat their acute pediatric otitis media. And in the placebo group, there were 28 children. Within one year after the treatment, 70.7 percent of the children who received homeopathic remedies were free of recurrence, and 29.3 percent of them had a maximum of 3 recurrences. In comparison, 56.5 percent of the children in the placebo group were free of recurrence, and 43.5 percent had a maximum of 6 recurrences. Therefore, it’s evident that homeopathy can cure otitis media in children.
As aforementioned, the meta-analysis by researchers from the University of Washington showed that homeopathic treatment could reduce the duration of acute childhood diarrhea, and therefore it was recommended by the researchers to treat the illness.
Homeopathy can also be used to treat vertigo. In an article published in 2005, the meta-analysis results of four clinical trials comparing the homeopathic medicine Vertigoheel with conventional therapies were presented. A total of 1,388 patients had participated in these clinical trials. All four trials showed equivalent reductions of vertigo with Vertigoheel and with the usual treatments. Therefore, the researchers concluded that homeopathic medicine shows good efficacy and tolerability in patients with vertigo.
According to several books, homeopathic treatments can also be used to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, bronchitis, sinusitis, migraines, ental neuralgic pain, and motion sickness.
Nowadays, many homeopathic practitioners use a combination of several remedies to treat a broad range of symptoms for an acute condition. Their rationale is that the appropriate remedies in such a formula will have a therapeutic effect, while the unnecessary remedies will have no effect at all. So the body can absorb the remedies that it needs, while discarding the ones that are not useful.
Homeopathic remedies are extracted from plants, minerals, and animals. They are diluted in water or alcohol. According to homeopaths, since the active ingredient is diluted, none of it remains, but the water will have the memory of the substance to fight the disease.
Why is a diluted ingredient stronger than a non-diluted one? According to homeopathy, non-diluted medicine only works at the molecular-physical level, while diluted medicine works beyond the physical plane into the mental, energetic, and quantum levels, and at the quantum level of particles, there are energies that interact, resulting in the improvement of diseases and symptoms.
A session with a homeopathic practitioner is significantly different from a conventional medical consultation. The first thing a homeopath does is to record all of the physical, mental, and emotional qualities that will help determine the right remedies for the patient.
Practitioners of classical homeopathy consult compendiums, which contain detailed records of how healthy individuals reacted to certain substances. They match the symptoms to the patient’s medical profile. Then they start eliminating the immediate symptoms, progressing to treat the underlying symptoms.
According to Dr. Tshediso Sekonyela, of the Dr. Tshediso Sekonyela Center for Homeopathic Medicine in South Africa, and a researcher of homeopathy, the manufacturing of homeopathic remedies causes solvent and remedy particles to collide, leading to the reduction in the surface area of the involved particles and creating nanoparticles.
A study published in 2010 in the journal Homeopathy, confirmed the existence of such nanoparticles. Under an electron microscope, the researchers discovered that active substance nanoparticles in homeopathic medicines of high dilutions do exist.
According to a study published in 2015 in the Journal of Nanobiotechnology, when researchers extracted alkaloids from Aconitum sinomontanum in nanoparticular form, the former’s therapeutic capability was unaffected. However, their toxicity was reduced. Therefore, it can be inferred from the study that nanoparticles can possess physical properties, and have the same therapeutic power as the molecules, while having less toxicity. Therefore, homeopathic remedies’ therapeutic powers should remain unaffected at nanoparticle size while their morbidity gradually disappears along at high dilutions.
Homeopaths believe that this theory explains why low potencies of homeopathic remedies are toxic, while high dilutions show greater therapeutic power. So, the higher the homeopathic dilution, the higher the therapeutic effect of the remedy.
As per the book “Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide,” the renowned Italian physicist Emilio Del Giudice proposed a theory that water molecules form structures capable of storing minute electromagnetic signals, which show that specific frequencies are dominant in each homeopathic substance. Therefore, a homeopathic remedy may send an electromagnetic “message” to the body, which matches the specific electromagnetic frequency of a disease, in order to stimulate the body’s own natural healing response to cure the illness.
In 2009, Nobel Laureate Luc Montagnier published a paper titled “Electromagnetic Signals are Produced by Aqueous Nanostructures Derived by Bacterial and Viral Species is Able to Emit Specific Radio Waves.” He then proposed in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany in 2010 a new method for detecting viral infections, which bore some similarities to the basic tenets of homeopathy. That is, water can be structured by biological molecules and preserve their information. So, when people make high dilutions, the structure of water is also maintained by the molecules.
Furthermore, Marc Henry, a professor of quantum physics and chemistry, has verified these facts. As water contains biological information, the nanostructure of water has a coherent pattern that remains. So every time a substance is diluted, its biological information is still present in the water, and the nanoparticles are stored even more coherently when more water is present. According to him, “the more the coherence domains, the more the number of memorized frequencies, and the higher the complexity of the memorized signal (from organisms). So high dilutions yield high biological activity.” In this sense, “homeopathy is a natural quantum nanomedicine.”
Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, once said, “The highest ideal of cure is the speedy, gentle, and enduring restoration of health by the most trustworthy and least harmful way.”
For Hahnemann, it was very important that the flow of “vital force” in our body is not interrupted. He believes that this energy is the motor of the organism, and it can boost our immunity to fight diseases. Getting through the most difficult times of COVID, it is more and more clear for everyone that boosting and balancing our own immunity is the fundamental goal of enhancing our health. We are not necessarily promoting the precise types of homeopathy here, but rather offering a different angle of understanding the subtleness and many facets of the human body.
Official acceptance of homeopathy and its integration into the American health-care system could have an enormous impact on lowering the cost of national health-care due to the low cost, safety, and effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.
However, the use of one system doesn’t preclude the other, as conventional medicine is still effective. However, conventional medicine is only one facet of a solution, and homeopathy, too, is one of the many possible sides. According to Hippocratic principles, upon which both systems are based, both conventional medicine and homeopathy are part of our natural world.
Source: La práctica de la homeopatía (The Practice of Homeopathy) by Dr. Leon Vannier
Larry Trivieri, JR, and John W. Anderson. 2002 Alternative Medicine. The Definitive Guide. Second Edition. Homeopathy. Celestial Arts. Berkeley. [Book]
Larry Trivieri, JR, and John W. Anderson.. The Definitive Guide. Second Edition. Homeopathy. Page 270-277. Celestial Arts. Berkeley. [Book]
https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(86)90410-1 Full paper
17R.A. Anderson. The Scientific Basis for Homeopathic Medicine (Lynwood, WA:American Health Press, 2000), 434.
Larry Trivieri, JR, and John W. Anderson.. The Definitive Guide. Second Edition. Homeopathy. Celestial Arts. Berkeley. [Book]