Dr. Rukshin Master

Efficacy of Homoeopathy


  1. In 1991, three professors of medicine from the Netherlands, none of them homoeopaths, performed a meta-analysis of 25 years of clinical studies using homoeopathic medicines and published their results in the British Medical Journal. This meta-analysis covered 107 controlled trials, of which 81 showed that homoeopathic medicines were effective, 24 showed they were ineffective, and 2 were inconclusive.
    The professors concluded, "The amount of positive results came as a surprise to us." Specifically, they found that:
    • 13 of 19 trials showed successful treatment of respiratory infections,
    • 6 of 7 trials showed positive results in treating other infections,
    • 5 of 7 trials showed improvement in diseases of the digestive system,
    • 5 of 5 showed successful treatment of hay fever,
    • 5 of 7 showed faster recovery after abdominal surgery,
    • 4 of 6 promoted healing in treating rheumatological disease,
    • 18 of 20 showed benefit in addressing pain or trauma,
    • 8 of 10 showed positive results in relieving mental or psychological problems, and
    • 13 of 15 showed benefit from miscellaneous diagnoses.
      [J. Kleijnen, P. Knipschild, G. ter Riet, "Clinical Trials of Homoeopathy," British Medical Journal, February 9, 1991, 302:316-323]
  2. A recent clinical trial evaluating homoeopathic medicine was a unique study of the treatment of asthma. Researchers at the University of Glasgow used conventional allergy testing to discover which substances these asthma patients were most allergic to. Once this was determined, the subjects were randomized into treatment and placebo groups. Those patients chosen for treatment were given the 30c potency of the substance to which they were most allergic (the most common substance was house dust mite). The researchers called this unique method of individualizing remedies "homoeopathic immunotherapy" (homoeopathic medicines are usually prescribed based on the patient's idiosyncratic symptoms, not on laboratory analysis or diagnostic categories). Subjects in this experiment were evaluated by both homoeopathic and conventional physicians.
    This study showed that 82% of the patients given a homoeopathic medicine improved, while only 38% of patients given a placebo experienced a similar degree of relief. When asked if they felt the patient received the homoeopathic medicine or the placebo, both the patients and the doctors tended to guess correctly.
    The experiment was relatively small, with only 24 patients. As noted, for statistically significant results, small experiments must show a large difference between those treated with a medicine and those given a placebo. Such was the case in this study.
    [ - David Reilly, Morag Taylor, Neil Beattie, et al., "Is Evidence for Homoeopathy Reproducible?" Lancet, December 10, 1994, 344:1601-6.]
  3. Another recent study, published in the American journal Pediatrics, tested homoeopathic medicine for the treatment of a condition recognized to be the most serious public health problem today, childhood diarrhea. Over 5 million children die each year as the result of diarrhea, mostly in nonindustrialized countries. Conventional physicians prescribe oral rehydration therapy (ORT, a salt solution that helps children maintain fluid balance), but this treatment does not fight the infection that underlies the diarrhea.
    Conducted in Nicaragua in association with the University of Washington and the University of Guadalajara, this randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 81 children showed that an individually chosen remedy provided statistically significant improvement of the children's diarrhea as compared to those given a placebo. Children given the homoeopathic remedy were cured of their infection 20% faster than those given a placebo, and the sicke children responded most dramatically to the homoeopathic treatment. A total of 18 different remedies were used in this trial, individually chosen based on each child's symptoms.
    [Jennifer Jacobs, L. Jimenez, Margarita, Stephen Gloyd, "Treatment of Acute Childhood Diarrhea with Homoeopathic Medicine: A Randomized Clinical Trial in Nicaragua," Pediatrics, May 1994, 93,5:719-25.]
  4. A study of the homoeopathic treatment of migraine headache was conducted in Italy. Sixty patients were randomized and entered into a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients regularly filled out a questionnaire on the frequency, intensity, and characteristics of their head pain. They were prescribed a single dose of a 30c remedy at four separate times over two-week intervals. Eight remedies were considered, and prescribers were allowed to use any two with a patient. While only 17% of patients given a placebo experienced relief of their migraine pain, an impressive 93% of patients given an individualized homoeopathic medicine experienced good results.
    [Bruno Brigo, and G. Serpelloni, "Homoeopathic Treatment of Migraines: A Randomized Double-blind Controlled Study of 60 Cases," Berlin Journal on Research in Homoeopathy, March 1991, 1,2:98-106.]
  5. A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed on 175 Dutch children suffering from recurrent upper respiratory tract infections. Children in the treatment group were prescribed a "constitutional medicine" for their overall health as well as acute medicines to treat the acute respiratory infections they developed. The study found that the children given homoeopathic medicines had a 16% better daily symptom score than children given a placebo.
    This study also found that the number of children given a placebo who had to undergo adenoidectomy was 24% higher than for the children given homoeopathic remedies. A 54.8% reduction in the use of antibiotics in the children given homoeopathic medicines was reported, while the children who received a placebo experienced a 37.7% reduction in antibiotic use
    . (This reduction in both groups was determined to be the result of the normal growth and development of the child, dietary changes° the study provided written nutritional advice to the parents° and the change in expectations as the result of being under medical care.)
    [E. de Lange de Klerk, J. Blommers, D.J. Kuik, et al., "Effect of Homoeopathic Medicines on Daily Burden of Symptoms in Children with Recurrent Upper Respiratory Tract Infections," British Medical Journal, November 19, 1994, 309:1329-32.]
  6. Another study that involved individualized homoeopathic care was in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The study involved 46 patients. Two homoeopathic physicians prescribed individually chosen medicines to each patient, though only half of them were given the real remedy, while the other half were given a placebo. The study found that 82% of those given an individualized homoeopathic remedy experienced some relief of symptoms, while 21% of those given a placebo experienced a similar degree of relief.
    [R.G. Gibson, S. Gibson, A.D. MacNeill, et al., "Homoeopathic Therapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Evaluation by Double-blind Clinical Therapeutic Trial," British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 1980, 9:453-59.]
  7. One other very interesting trial that utilized semi-individualization of care was in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia (also called fibrositis). Patients with fibrositis were admitted into a trial in which homoeopathic physicians chose between three possible remedies, Arnica, Rhus tox, and Bryonia. Half of the patients were given one of these remedies, and the other half were given a placebo. There was no discernible difference between these groups. However, as an integral part of the experiment's design, a panel of homoeopaths evaluated the accuracy of each prescription. This analysis found that those patients whom the panel considered to have received the correct remedy experienced a statistically significant improvement in symptoms as compared to those patients given the "incorrect" remedy or the placebo.
    [P. Fisher, "An Experimental Double-Blind Clinical Trial Method in Homoeopathy: Use of a Limited Range of Remedies to Treat Fibrositis," British Homoeopathic Journal, 1986, 75:142-47.]
  8. These same researchers next conducted a more sophisticated trial in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia. This double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial admitted only those patients who fit the symptoms of Rhus tox. The researchers found that this constituted 42% of the patients interviewed. One-half of these 30 patients were given Rhus tox 6c during the first phase of the experiment, while the other half were given a placebo. During the second phase, those patients initially given the medicine were given a placebo, and those patients initially given a placebo were now given the homoeopathic remedy. Researchers determined at the beginning of the experiment that improvement in pain and sleeplessness were the outcome measures most important in evaluating the results of this trial, and the results showed that 25% more of the patients experienced pain relief when taking the homoeopathic remedy compared to when they were given a placebo and almost twice as many had improved sleep when taking the remedy.
    [P. Fisher, A. Greenwood, E.C. Huskisson, et al., "Effect of Homoeopathic Treatment on Fibrositis," British Medical Journal, August 5, 1989, 299:365-66.]
  9. There have been over 100 studies evaluating the prophylactic and therapeutic effects of homoeopathic doses of normally toxic substances. A collaborative effort of scientists from German research institutions and from America's Walter Reed Hospital performed a meta-analysis of these studies. Like the meta-analysis described earlier on clinical trials using homoeopathic medicines, most of the studies were flawed in some way. However, of the high quality studies, positive results were found 50% more often than negative results. What was particularly intriguing was that researchers who tested doses in the submolecular range (potencies greater than 24x) were found to have the best designed studies and more frequently found statisticially significant results from these microdoses. Specifically, several researchers gave, usually to rats, crude doses of arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, mercury chloride, or lead. The research showed that animals who were pretreated with homoeopathic doses of these substances and then given repeated homoeopathic doses after exposure to the crude substance, excreted more of these toxic substances through urine, feces, and sweat than did those animals given a placebo.
    [K. Linde, W.B. Jonas, D. Melchart, D., et al., "Critical Review and Meta-Analysis of Serial Agitated Dilutions in Experimental Toxicology," Human and Experimental Toxicology, 1994, 13:481-92.]
  10. Homoeopathic research has also explored the benefits of homoeopathic medicines to protect against radiation. Albino mice were exposed to 100 to 200 rad of X-rays (sublethal doses) and then evaluated after 24, 48, and 72 hours. Ginseng 6x, 30x, and 200x and Ruta graveolens 30x and 200x were administered before and after exposure. When compared with mice given a placebo as treatment, mice given any of the above homoeopathic medicines experienced significantly less chromosomal or cellular damage.
    [ - A.R. Khuda-Bukhsh, S. Banik, "Assessment of Cytogenetic Damage in X-irradiated Mice and its Alteration by Oral Administration of Potentized Homoeopathic Drug, Ginseng D200," Berlin Journal of Research in Homoeopathy, 1991, 1,4/5:254. Also Khuda-Bukhsh, A.R. Maity, S., "Alteration of Cytogenetic Effects by Oral Administration of Potentized Homoeopathic Drug, Ruta graveolens in Mice Exposed to Sub-lethal X-radiation," Berlin Journal of Research in Homoeopathy, 1991, 1, 4/5:264.]
  11. Albino guinea pigs were exposed to small doses of X-ray that cause reddening of the skin. Studies showed that Apis mellifica 7c or 9c had a protective effect and a roughly 50% curative effect on X-ray-induced redness of the skin. Apis mellifica (honeybee) is a homoeopathic medicine for redness, swelling, and itching, common symptoms of bee venom.
    [J. Bildet, M. Guyot, F. Bonini, et al., "Demonstrating the Effects of Apis mellifica and Apium virus Dilutions on Erythema Induced by U.V. Radiation on Guinea Pigs," Berlin Journal of Research in Homoeopathy, 1990, 1:28.]
  12. There have been several studies investigating very high dilutions of histamine (above 30x) on isolated guinea pig hearts, showing that this remedy increases blood flow through the heart. What is particularly interesting about these studies was that this effect was completely neutralized if the very high dilutions were exposed to 70 degrees Centigrade for 30 minutes or exposed to magnetic fields of 50 Hz for 15 minutes. Needless to say, it is unlikely that these microdoses could have only a placebo effect when known physical stresses to the medicine can halt its activity.
    [J. Benveniste, "Further Biological Effects Induced by Ultra High Dilutions: Inhibition by a Magnetic Field," in Ultra High Dilution, P.C. Endler and J. Schulte, (eds.), Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1994, 35. Also J. Benveniste, B. Arnoux, L. Hadji, "Highly Dilute Antigen Increases Coronary Flow of Isolated Hart from Immunized Guinea-pigs," FASEB Journal, 1992, 6:Abs.1610.]
  13. In late 2011, the Swiss government's report on homoeopathic medicine represents the most comprehensive evaluation of homoeopathic medicine ever written by a government and was just published in book form in English (Bornhoft and Matthiessen, 2011). This breakthrough report affirmed that homoeopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective and that homoeopathic treatment should be reimbursed by Switzerland's national health insurance program.
  14. In a three-year study on 40 farms in Westfalia, Germany, farmers were able to reduce antibiotic use from 90 % to 26 %. In 60% of all cases, the homoeopathic treatment was successful on its own. (Carstens Stiftung, Muenster from German Pharmaceutical Review, January 2002.)
  15. There was a study carried out on 213 children (38.6%) with atopic diseases out of 551 children consecutively examined from September 1998 to December 2008. They used the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital Outcome Score to evaluate the results that were classified on the basis of a Likert scale. Eighty-three (39%) children were affected by asthma, 51 (24%) by allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, 76 (36%) by AD and 3 (1%) by food intolerance. Follow-up patients were 104 (48.8%), and 65 (62.5%) of them reported a major improvement or resolution. The parents of paediatric patients suffering from AD, who had started homoeopathic treatment at <4.9 years of age were invited to follow-up assessment 8 years later and 40 children (mean age 12.9) were examined; 28/40 (70%) had a complete disappearance of AD, 12/40 children (30.0%) were still affected by AD; 8/40 (20%) had asthma and 8/40 patients had, or developed, allergic rhinitis.
    These preliminary results seem to confirm a positive therapeutic effect of homoeopathy in atopic children
    . Furthermore, according to the data from the literature paediatric patients treated with homoeopathy seem to show a reduced tendency to maintain AD and develop asthma (and allergic rhinitis) in adult age.
  16. A prospective, multi-centre cohort study included 103 primary care / homoeopathy practices in Germany and Switzerland. Data from all patients (age > 1 year) consulting the physician for the first time were recorded: 2,851 adults and 1,130 children. The main outcome measures were patient and physician assessments and quality of life at baseline, and after 3, 12, and 24 months. Ninety-seven percent of all diagnoses were chronic (average duration 8.8 years). 95% of patients had received conventional treatment prior to the start of the study. Disease severity decreased significantly (P < 0.001) between baseline and 24 months. For adults and young children, major improvements were observed for quality of life, whereas no changes were seen in adolescents. Disease severity and quality of life demonstrated marked and sustained improvements following homoeopathic treatment.
    Witt CM, Lüdtke R, Baur R, Willich SN (2005). Homoeopathic medical practice: long-term results of a cohort study with 3,981 patiënts. BMC Public Health, 5:115 [PubMed]
  17. An observational study at a public sector homoeopathic hospital in the UK included over 6,500 consecutive patients with over 23,000 attendances in a 6-year period. 70% of follow-up patients reported improved health, 50% major improvement. The most common diagnostic groups were Dermatology, Neurology, Rheumatology, Gastroenterology, Psychiatry and Ear, Nose & Throat. The best treatment responses were reported in childhood eczema or asthma, and in inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, menopausal problems and migraine. The main weakness of this study (apart from those inherent to non-controlled designs) is the crudeness of the outcome measure; the strength of the work is in its size and comprehensiveness.
    Spence D, Thompson EA, Barron SJ (2005). Homoeopathic treatment for chronic disease: a 6-year university-hospital outpatiënt observational study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 5:793–798 [PubMed]
  18. A large study conducted in France showed that patients with chronic musculoskeletal disorders had a 50% reduced usage of conventional pain medication by being under the care of a physician who specializes in prescribing homoeopathic medicines (Rossignol, Begaud, Engel, et al, 2012).
  19. A large study conducted in France showed that patients with chronic musculoskeletal disorders had a 50% reduced usage of conventional pain medication by being under the care of a physician who specializes in prescribing homoeopathic medicines (Rossignol, Begaud, Engel, et al, 2012).
    This study of 1,153 patients with musculoskeletal disorders* compared treatments from conventional physicians (CM), physicians who specialized in homoeopathic medicine (Ho), and physicians who engaged in a mixed practice of conventional and natural treatments (Mx). Some of the musculoskeletal disorders of patients who were included in this study were: Osteoarthritis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, tendinitis, rotary cuff syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, intervertebral disc disorders, neck pain, torticollis, and spinal stenosis.
    This study was approved by the French National Data-Protection Commission and the French National Council of Physicians. Prior to the start of the study, a higher percentage of patients who received care from a MD homoeopath were found to have a "chronic" musculoskeletal disorder (61%), as compared with those going to conventional MDs (50%) or to MDs who practiced a mixed treatment (52%).
    Despite the fact that the homoeopathic patients were considered ill for a longer period of time, this study showed that the patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain had a 50% reduced use of conventional pain medication, while patients with acute musculoskeletal pain had a 38% reduced use. In addition to this significant reduction in the use of painkillers, the patients who received homoeopathic treatment showed a similar clinical progression of their musculoskeletal disease as assessed by standardized functional scales.
    The researchers of this study were a diverse and prestigious group of professors of epidemiology, biostatistics, and medicine from the University of Paris, the Pasteur Institute, University of Bordeaux, University of Pierre and Marie Curie, McGill University, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

To ignore the body of experimental data that presently exists on homoeopathic medicines and to deny the body of clinical experience of homoeopaths and homoeopathic patients, one would have to be virtually blind. One can only assume that this blindness is a temporary affliction, one that will soon be cured.
We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt