There are many very good clinical research trials in homeopathy, conducted around the world, and published in recognised scientific journals. The following outlines are simply a starting point. Please do follow the links to other well respected sites to find out more.
Homeopathy is one of the most commonly used systems of medicine in the World today. In the UK around 8,000,000 people trust homeopathy. 100 million European citizens use over the counter homeopathic remedies and prescriptions. Homeopathy is part of the NHS in Britain, Germany, France, India and Brazil.
- Global TGI Barometer, issue 33; Jan-08
- Commission Report to the European Parliament and Council on the Application of Directives 92/73 and 92/74 Com(97) 362 final; Jul 97.
Homeopathy has been shown in small clinical trials to help women coping with hot flushes and other distressing symptoms of the menopause (81% of 102 patients in a Clinic in Sheffield) reported improvements after seeing a homeopath.
Renton, C, Weatherly-Jones, E, 2005. Homeopathy Service in an NHS community menopause clinic: audit of clinical outcomes. J. Br. Menopause Society; 11(2):72-73.
Colou, JC, Vincent, S, Marijnen, P, et al., 2012. Efficacy of a non-hormonal treatment on menopausal hot flashes: a multi-centre, randomised, double blind, double blind, placebo controlled trial. Drugs RD., 12(3):107-119.
Emotional stress caused by grief, shock or major life changes amongst other things can leave us drained and prone to illness. For example stress has been linked to decreased functioning of the immune system and open to an increased risk of developing obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It is clear that mental and emotional health have a significant impact on physical health.
Bartoli, F, Carra, G, Crocamo, C, et al. 2013. Metabolic Syndrome in People Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: a Systematic Review and Meta Analysis. Metab. Syndr. Relat. Disorder: June 2013.
Purdy, J, 2013. Chronic Physical Illness: a psychological approach for chronic physical illness. Yale J. Biol. Med: 86(2013): 15-28.
“A service evaluation at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital recorded the outcome of homeopathic treatment in over 6,500 consecutive patients during a 6 year period and found that 70% of patients reported an improvement in their health”.
Spence D, Thompson E, and Barron S. Homeopathic treatment for chronic disease: A 6 year, university-hospital outpatient observational study. J Altern Complement Med 2005: 5: 793-8.
Some critics of homeopathy ask how can such highly diluted substances actually work? Experiments have shown for example that ‘ultra-high dilutions’ like homeopathic medicines, which contain no remaining molecules, do have effects. For example the homeopathic remedy thyroxine when prepared to ‘30c’ was shown to slow down the process of metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs. This experiment was replicated by five separate laboratories in Austria and similar results have been produced in Brazil.
Endler PC, Heckmann C, Lauppert E, et al. The metamorphosis of amphibians and information of thyroxine. In: Schulte J, Endler PC (eds). Fundamental Research in Ultra High Dilution and Homeopathy. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998.
In Germany a health insurance company commissioned research to determine whether to fund homeopathic treatment. The study found homeopathic treatment was more effective than conventional treatment for some chronic conditions commonly seen in General Practice including headaches, low back pain, depression, insomnia, sinusitis in adults and atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and asthma in children.
Witt C, Keil T, Selim D, et al. Outcome and costs of homeopathy and conventional treatment strategies: a comparative cohort study in patients with chronic disorders. Complement Ther Med, 2005; 13:79-86.
The idea that a substance can be damaging in large amounts, but beneficial in small amounts is not new to science. In fact this concept (referred to as hormesis) has been around for decades and is increasingly well documented in such fields as biology and toxicology.
Calabrese, EJ, 2010. Hormesis is central to toxicology, pharmacology and risk assessment. Hum Exp Toxicol; 29(4): 249-264.
Real-life effect of classical homeopathy in the treatment of allergies: A multicenter prospective observational study. 2012
OBJECTIVE: The prevalence of allergic disorders in western industrialized countries has steadily increased during the last three decades. Public acceptance of complementary treatment methods is high. The aim of this study was to assess the real-life efficacy of classical homeopathic treatment and the potential to reduce conventional medication dosage
RESULTS: 40 …were found to meet the eligibility criteria. All clinical symptoms were shown to improve substantially, in most cases quite markedly (p < 0.001). 21 patients undergoing conventional medication therapy at baseline (62%) were able to discontinue at least one medication, while the remaining patients (38%) reported a dose reduction in at least one medication. No side effects were reported during treatment.
CONCLUSION: The symptoms of patients undergoing homeopathic treatment were shown to improve substantially and conventional medication dosage could be substantially reduced. While the real-life effect assessed indicates that there is a potential for enhancing therapeutic measures and reducing healthcare cost, it does not allow to draw conclusions as to the efficacy of homeopathic treatment per se.
What about a cost – benefit analysis?
Treatment by a homeopath can achieve better outcomes for similar or lower costs
A German study involving 493 patients seen in general practice found that treatment by a homeopath gave better outcomes than conventional treatment for similar costs.
The study published in 2005 was commissioned by a German health insurance company to see whether they should continue to cover homeopathic treatment. The outcomes and costs of homeopathic and conventional treatment were compared in patients being treated for chronic conditions commonly seen in general practice. These included headache, low back pain, depression, insomnia and sinusitis in adults, and atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and asthma in children
Limitations of the study: This study was non-randomised meaning that the patients decided whether they wanted homeopathic or conventional treatment; although this reflects real life, critics would say that there may be differences between the people tending to choose each treatment which could influence the results.
Witt C, Keil T, Selim D, et al. Outcome and costs of homeopathic and conventional treatment strategies: a comparative cohort study in patients with chronic disorders. Complement Ther Med 2005; 13: 79-86
Treatment by a homeopath can reduce the need for conventional drugs
A survey involving 223 patients in an NHS General Practice found that over a 1 year period that treatment by a homeopath was made available, the number of consultations with GPs was reduced by 70% and expenses for medication were reduced by 50%.
Limitations of the study: The costs of homeopathic treatment were not calculated, preventing a comparison with the savings made in the area of conventional treatment.
A 500-patient survey at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital showed that many patients were able to reduce or stop conventional medication following homeopathic treatment. The size of the effect varied between diagnoses, for example 72% of patients with skin complaints reported being able to stop or reduce their conventional medication; for cancer patients there was no reduction.
A study compared treatment by a homeopath with conventional treatment for acute ear infections in children. Out of 103 children in the homeopathy group only 5 needed antibiotics. The children receiving homeopathy had faster pain relief during the initial infection and fewer ear infections over the following year
The results found that median duration of pain during acute otitis media (middle ear infection) was 2 days in the homeopathy group; 3 days in conventional care group. 70.7% of the homeopathy group had no recurrence over the following year, compared with 56.5% of conventional care group. 29.3 % ofthe homeopathy group had a maximum of three ear infections within one year, compared with The study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics concluded that homeopathy should be the first line treatment for acute otitis media in children.
Friese K-H, et al. Homeopathic treatment of otitis media in children: comparisons with conventional therapy. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther, 1997; 35: 296-301 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=9247843