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but only two of these provided adequate data for full analysis. Two of the trials were unpublished, according to the New Zealand Guidelines Group, which provides evidence-based reporting on [[complementary and alternative medicine]] to the New Zealand Ministry of Health. <ref name=NZGG>{{citation
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  | title =  Homoeopathic oscillococcinum for the prevention and treatment of influenza
 
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Please help improve this post-approval draft version of the approved article Homeopathy, for eventual replacement of the currently approved version.
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Homeopathy, or homoeopathy, is a system of alternative medicine that uses extremely small doses of drugs diluted in water or ethanol and dispensed in pills or liquid form. The term derives from the Greek hómoios (similar) and páthos (suffering). In greater concentrations, these ingredients would create symptoms similar to those which the patient is experiencing. According to homeopathic theory, these "remedies"[1] stimulate the body's ability to heal itself.[2] In homeopathic theory, every person has a vital force-the power for intrinsic healing and/or maintaining homeostasis (biology); disturbing this life energy, according to homeopaths, can lead to health problems; homeopathic treatment intends to restore this vital force and heal a person. The underlying concept is "like cures like"—a principle described by Hippocrates more than 2,000 years ago. Much of homeopathy is rejected by mainstream medicine, but for multiple reasons; some of Hippocrates' ideas are still respected, while others have been found to be incorrect.

What laymen call disease is, to a homeopath, a disturbance in the "vital force". Even today, most homeopaths believe that the fundamental causes of disease are internal and constitutional, and that it is contrary to good health to suppress symptoms with large doses of drugs. Most also accept the concept of "miasms", a homeopathic concept of disease in which the symptoms of an organism’s imbalance indicate that a specific anti-miasmatic remedy is sometimes needed.

Homeopathy's basic principles were first described by Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843), a physician who observed that a medicine sometimes evoked symptoms similar to those of the illness for which it was prescribed. "Classical homeopathy" refers to the original principles in which individual remedies are chosen according to the overall physical, emotional, and mental symptoms that the sick person is experiencing, rather than only the diagnosis of a disease. "Commercial" or "user-friendly" homeopathy refers to the use of a mixture of remedies in a single formula, generally chosen for their ability to treat a specific disease.

The premise of homeopathy is that the signs and symptoms are not simply the result of the breakdown of the organism, but are part of the organism's defenses. Homeopaths do not try to inhibit symptoms or suppress disease; they work to strengthen what they consider the vital force to assist the body in healing itself.

Some materials scientists, physicists, and other scientists have investigated how homeopathic medicines might work,[3][4] but the fact that there is no established mechanism of action for the preparations used in homeopathy makes it difficult to study. This remains a stumbling block to its acceptance by most medical and scientific institutions in the world. Homeopaths point out, for their part, that there are and always have been certain well-accepted medical treatments for which the mechanism of action remains unknown.

Cochrane Reviews did a meta-analysis of seven randomized controlled trials, three prevention trials (number of participants, ) and four treatment trials, . The authors considered only two were statistically adequate, but data from the prevention trials showed no effect. Data from the treatment trials showed enough efficacy that further trials were recommended, but that the remedy could not be recommended for first-line therapy. [5] No homeopathic counterarguments to these specific meta-analyses have been published, but homeopaths often consider large trials invalid because they do not reflect the individualized nature of homeopathic treatment.

Some physicians maintain that homeopathy, like other alternative medicine, is relatively unsafe, because, it in some cases, might delay the conventional, medically proper treatment, if it doesn't work. Homeopaths assert that the side effects from conventional drugs pose a greater risk, which is a major area of conflict: too much emphasis in avoiding a controllable side effect may delay other therapy until the conventional treatment is no longer needed, because the problem/disease may go away on its own. Mainstream physicians, however, do not believe that a responsible, evidence-based drug is more dangerous than the condition it might avert or mitigate, and do not accept the homeopathic argument that appears, to a physician, to be opposed to all non-homeopathic drugs.

Homeopathy is practiced worldwide by many licensed practitioners as well as by some conventional medical physicians[6][7], with the necessary homeopathic certification.

The basics of homeopathy

Historical origins of homeopathy

For more information, see: History of Homeopathy.

For the early Greek physician Hippocrates of Cos, who lived at about 400 BC,[8] the four "humors" (blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm) were the key to understanding disease. His ideas persisted through the writings of Galen (131-201 AD) until at least 1858, and Rudolf Virchow's theories of cellular pathology. Diseases, it was thought, were the result of some "imbalance" of the humors, and physicians of the day focused on restoring that balance, either by trying to remove an excess of a humour, or by suppressing the symptoms. "Bloodletting, fever remedies, tepid baths, lowering drinks, weakening diet, blood cleansing and everlasting aperients and clysters (enemas) form the circle in which the ordinary German physician turns round unceasingly", wrote Hahnemann while translating into German the Treatise on Materia Medica (1789) by the Edinburgh physician William Cullen. [9] [10]

After 1783, disillusioned with medicine and the many toxic effects of its cures, German physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) gave up his medical practice and devoted himself to the translation of medical books, as he was conversant in nine languages. Cullen had written that cinchona bark (which contains quinine) was effective in the treatment of malaria because of its bitter and astringent properties. Hahnemann, himself an eminent physician and chemist as well as a prominent public health reformer, questioned these assertions because he knew that other substances were as bitter and astringent had no therapeutic value in this deadly disease. Being an avid experimenter, Hahnemann took cinchona bark himself and saw that the symptoms that it causes were similar to the symptoms of the diseases for which it was prescribed. Hahnemann then experimented with other substances and found that the symptoms that they caused were similar to the symptoms of the diseases for which they were prescribed. This led him to formulate the 'Principle of Similars' on which homeopathy is based, expressed by him as similia similibus curentur or 'let likes cure likes', which means that a remedy can cure a disease/problem, if the presenting symptom syndrome is similar to what it can produce in the 'crude' drug form.

For the first two decades of Hahnemann's experimentation with the principle of similars, he used small but still physiological doses of medicines. Over time, he found that his therapeutic results were better the more he potentized the medicine, that is, the more he diluted it, in a 1:10 or 1:100 dilution, with vigorous succussion (shaking) in-between each dilution. As dilutions of this magnitude no longer had much in the way of the original product, he concluded, in much the same way as other vitalists of his time, that diseases are caused by what he called "spirit-like derangements of the spirit-like power that animates the human body", and that effective and healing medicinal effects can only be created by medicines that enhance what homeopaths call the vital force.

Hahnemann named his system of health care "homeopathy" (meaning "like disease") and coined the term "allopathy" ("different than disease") to refer to conventional medicine of the day, because its drugs may have temporarily relieved symptoms of the sick person, but that the drugs used were sometimes "similar," sometimes "opposite," and more often its drugs were simply "different" than the symptoms of the sick person.[11][12]. During the 19th century homeopathy grew in popularity. In 1830, the first homeopathic schools opened, and throughout the 19th century dozens of homeopathic institutions appeared in Europe and the United States. Hahnemann's contributions to medicine initially were well received by conventional physicians in America, so much so that the Medical Society of the Country of New York bestowed honorary membership to Samuel Hahnemann. However, a few years later the society rescinded this membership when they realized the "ideological and financial threat" that homeopathic medicine posed.[13] In 1844, the first US national medical association - the American Institute of Homoeopathy (AIH) was established.[14]

The primary reason that homeopathy became popular in the 19th century was the remarkable results that homeopathic physicians experienced in treating people suffering from the infectious disease epidemics that raged at the time. [15] [16] Epidemics of cholera, scarlet fever, typhoid, and yellow fever were rampant and killed large numbers of people who became ill with them. And yet, death rates in homeopathic hospitals were commonly one-half or even one-eighth of the death rates in the conventional medical hospitals.[17]

Homeopathic "provings" and remedies

For more information, see: homeopathic proving.

Homeopathic practitioners derive the use of their remedies from experiments that they call "provings," in which volunteers are given substances (usually in single-blind or double-blind trials), the effects of which are recorded in both books (called materia medica and repertories) and software programs. The symptom complexes that these substances cause are subsequently used to compare with a patient's symptoms in order to select, as a remedy, the substance whose effects are closest to the patient's symptoms - the remedy that works is called the "similimum".

Today, homeopaths use about 3,000 different remedies from animal, plant, mineral, and synthetic substances. Homeopaths often capitalize the names for their remedies.

Representative remedies
Homeopathic name Composition and reference Associated symptoms
Natrum Muriaticum sodium chloride[18]
Oscillococcinum 200C product made from duck heart and liver flu-like symptoms
Arnica mountain daisy [19]
Rabies Nosode saliva of a rabid dog

A few homeopaths use more esoteric substances, known as "imponderables" because they are said to originate from electromagnetic energy "captured" by ethanol or lactose, such as "X-Ray" or "Magnetic North" (north pole of a magnet).

In the USA, the Homœopathic Pharmacopœia of the United States is the approved reference for homeopathic remedies.[20] This reference is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the governmental agency that regulates drugs. According to the FDA,
FDA regulates homeopathic drugs in several significantly different ways from other drugs. Manufacturers of homeopathic drugs are deferred from submitting new drug applications to FDA. Their products are exempt from good manufacturing practice requirements related to expiration dating and from finished product testing for identity and strength. Homeopathic drugs in solid oral dosage form must have an imprint that identifies the manufacturer and indicates that the drug is homeopathic.[21]

In 1938, the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was passed and signed into law. The chief sponsor of this bill was Senator Royal Copeland, who was a homeopathic physician. This bill gave the FDA the power to regulate drugs, and in this process, it gave legal recognition to the "Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States" as a compendium of drugs. In contrast, non-homeopathic drugs for which a New Drug Application (NDA) is required must be accompanied by approved evidence of safety and efficacy; simple listing in a reference is not sufficient. [21]

Most homeopathic remedies are available over-the-counter and do not require a doctor's prescription. However, in most countries, a homeopathic remedy has a tendency to be a prescription drug, available only from a doctor's prescription, if the dosage is in a relatively non-potentized dose. In the USA, if a homeopathic remedy claims to treat a serious disease such as cancer it can be sold by prescription only. Only products sold for so-called self-limiting conditions--colds, coughs, fever, headaches, and other minor health problems that eventually may or may not go away on their own--can be sold without a prescription (over-the-counter).

Homeopathic remedies can be purchased or used in several different ways (single medicine, homeopathic formula or complex medicines, and a limited number of external applications). Remedies for internal consumption are placed in either pill form (in various sizes) or in liquid.

Preparation of homeopathic remedies

The most characteristic — and controversial — principle of homeopathy is that the efficacy of a remedy can be enhanced and its side-effects reduced by a process known as 'dynamization' or 'potentization', whereby liquids are diluted (with water or ethanol) and shaken by ten hard strikes against an elastic body ('succussion'), to get the next, succeeding higher potency. For this, Hahnemann had a saddlemaker construct a wooden 'striking board', covered in leather on one side and stuffed with horsehair (it is displayed at the Hahnemann Museumin Stuttgart). When insoluble solids such as quartz or oyster shell are used for remedies, they are diluted by grinding them with lactose ('trituration'). The original serial dilutions by Hahnemann used a 1 part in 100 (centesimal; potencies), or 1 part in 50,000 ( Quintamillesimal; potencies). The dilution factor at each stage is 1:10 ('D' or 'X' potencies) or 1:100 ('C' potencies); Hahnemann advocated dilutions for most purposes (i.e. dilution by a factor of 10030 = 1060). The number of molecules in a given weight of a substance can be calculated by Avogadro's number; the chance that there is even one molecule of the original substance in a 15C solution is small, and it is very unlikely that one molecule would be present in a dilution. Thus, homeopathic remedies of a high 'potency' contain just water, but water that, according to homeopaths, retains some essential property of one of the substances that it has contacted in the past. [22]

Hahnemann's explanation for how higher potencies could be more efficacious was that the friction involved in succussion might release some hidden curative power. He wrote in 1825: "The effect of friction is so great, that not only the physical properties, such as caloric, odour, etc., are thereby called into life and developed by it, but also the dynamic medicinal powers of natural substances are thereby developed to an incredible degree".

Similia similibus curentur: the law of similars

Similia similibus curentur or 'let likes cure likes', means that a remedy can cure a disease/problem, if the presenting symptom syndrome is similar to what it can produce in the 'crude' drug form.

Today, two notions, vaccination, and hormesis, are used as analogies for homeopathy's law of similars and the use of small doses.

Vaccination

For more information, see: Immunology.

Emil Adolph von Behring (1854-1917)[23], who won the first Nobel Prize in medicine in 1901 for discoveries that led to vaccines against tetanus and diphtheria, and who some consider to be the father of immunology, asserted that vaccination is, in part, derived from the homeopathic principle of similars.

In spite of all scientific speculations and experiments regarding smallpox vaccination, Jenner’s discovery remained an erratic blocking medicine, till the biochemically thinking Pasteur, devoid of all medical classroom knowledge, traced the origin of this therapeutic block to a principle which cannot better be characterized than by Hahnemann’s word: homeopathic. [24]

Despite the fact that homeopathic remedies and vaccinations both use small doses of what might cause a problem in order to help to prevent and/or treat it, there are important differences between homeopathic remedies and vaccines. The doses used in homeopathic medicine are almost always much lower. Second, vaccines produce a measurable immune response (e.g., immunoglobulin production.

Some homeopaths might say these are applications of the principle of similars, but these conventional treatments involve application of small but measurable doses of substances, at levels known to activate mechanisms of cellular response, as opposed to externally observed symptoms in response to subphysiologic amounts of a substance (due regard must be given to the different uses of the terms symptom and sign in homeopathy and medicine). Homeopathic preparations above the or potencies do not contain physiologically relevant levels of molecules known to activate any given metabolic or signalling pathway.

Mithridatization and hormesis

Mithridatization (which is not a term used in contemporary science or medicine) may be a better methaphor than vaccination for the process claimed to take place in the course of an homeopathic treatment[25]. Mithridatization is the chronic administration of subtoxic doses of a toxin, in an attempt to strengthen the defenses of an individual, in prevention of an actual intoxication. It is believed that the Roman emperor Mithridate used this technique to protect himself from his enemies. People repeatedly exposed to (for example) snake bites can become "tolerant" to the venom; in this case, this is usually the result of antibody production. However tolerance to drugs and toxins can develop in many different ways; for example, tolerance to morphine arises because of an alteration in the coupling of the opioid receptor at which morphine acts to intracellular pathways.

Both mithridatization and homeopathy might be considered as instances of hormesis, which describes the phenomenon that many chemicals at high concentrations have opposite biological effects to those at low concentrations. This biphasic dose-response relationship can arise in many different ways; for example the hormone cortisol at low concentrations binds specifically to a single receptor type (the mineralocorticoid receptor) but at high concentrations also binds to a second receptor (the glucocorticoid receptor). As these receptors are expressed in different cells and are coupled differently to effector processes, the effects of high concentrations are different to those that would be expected from the response at low concentrations. [26]

Dynamisation

While the law of similars was re-introduced by Hahnemann after centuries of oblivion, the principle of dynamization (or potentiation/potentization), was discovered (or invented) by pure chance. Hahnemann saw that the efficacy of his remedies was greater in patients he had met in their homes. In Hahnemann's time, the mode of transportation was horseriding. He hypothesised that the agitation during the travel was responsible for the enhanced efficacy. Thus the notion of dynamization was born.

Some scientists have suggested that dilution and vigorous succussion (shaking in a particular way) makes the substance "imprint" the water or ethanol used for diluting [27]. Others have reported that the vigorous shaking of the water in glass bottles can cause small amounts of silica fragments or “chips” to fall into the water [28], and suggest that these silica fragments might interact with the medicinal solution [29], but homeopaths generally believe that the remedies are not influenced by the silica.

Professional homeopaths: who are they?

There are no universal standards for homeopathic education, so licensing and regulation varies from country to country, and state to state within each country. In some countries, all (or virtually all) professionals that use homeopathic treatments are MDs (such as France, Spain, Argentina, Colombia), some countries have exclusively homeopathic medical schools (India, Pakistan, Mexico), some countries have naturopathic medicine colleges in which students are taught homeopathy as part of their curriculum (Germany has its "heilpraktica"/health practitioners; the US, Canada, and Australia have naturopathic medicine schools that include homeopathy along with their usual studies) and some countries certify "professional homeopaths" who have attended homeopathic schools and who then pass independent examinations that grant them "certification" as homeopaths. In the US, MDs and DOs are eligible for this certification, though there is also a separate certification process available only to MDs and DOs (there are similar choices of certification available in the UK for medical doctors, who've done at least MBBS).

A typical homeopathic visit

As homeopathic remedies can be prescribed by such a varied array of practitioners, from naturopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors, oure homeopaths to medical doctors, the gathering of information may be different depending on the professional. Trained homeopaths place emphasis on the patient's symptoms as well as the person's psychological state in choosing a homeopathic remedy. Practitioners of classical homeopathy gather this information from what they call a comprehensive interview with the patient. Generally, a typical homeopathic interview can last from 15 minutes to two hours, with 5 to 45 minute follow-up consultations.

Medical and other health professionals who practice homeopathy perform medical history taking, which is supplemented with homeopathic history taking. They also perform a basic physical examination, with additional examination of body parts or systems that may be associated with a symptom; diagnostic imaging and tests from the clinical pathology laboratories as suggested by the differential diagnosis, questions raised by the history, and physical examination. Investigations like blood and urine analysis and diagnostic imaging, can be helpful but are generally not essential for selecting a homeopathic remedy.

To determine which remedy to prescribe, classical homeopaths place more emphasis on the way a person experiences whatever disease they have more than the name of the disease s/he has. They thus give higher priority to the unique syndrome of symptoms of the patient than the objective results of conventional medical tests.

  • A physician qualified in homeopathic and allopathic methods, after diagnosing a chronic condition that does not have consistently effective allopathic treatments, may prescribe a homeopathic remedy which he feels may be more effective and is likely to have fewer side effects than allopathic drugs.
  • Homeopaths recognize that trauma can be a surgical emergency, but may use homeopathic remedies adjunctively.
  • Homeopaths disagree with mainstream medicine about the role of immunization and chemoprophylaxis for infectious diseases.
  • Situations for which homeopathic practitioners work in a manner complementary to that of conventional medical practitioners include asthma and acute bronchitis, where immediate and certain temporary relief from metered-dose inhalers, nebulizers, or parenteral drugs is sometimes necessary. Homeopathic remedies might also be used after an asthmatic episode with the intent to prevent recurrences by improving the natural healing processes of the body (in homeopathic theory).
  • An adequately trained homeopath is expected to recognize symptoms that indicate an acute and potentially fatal condition. Such symptoms as unexplained chest pain of sudden onset, especially with other symptoms suggestive of a major cardiovascular event, ethically will activate EMS for immediate transfer to an appropriate staffed and equipped medical facility. The practitioner is expected to have emergency medical training and equipment appropriate to his or her level of medical training in the place of practice (e.g., dressings and basic airway management tools for an individual with training at the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) of Basic or higher level, and preferably an automatic external defibrillator and advanced cardiac life support resources generally accepted as appropriate for an office.

When considering the person's symptoms for constitutional treatments, some categories of change are identified as being important:

(1) emotions; (2) mentation; (3) specific physical functioning; (4) general physical changes; (5) perception of self; (6) relationships; (7) spirituality; (8) lifestyle; (9) energy; (10) dream content and tone; (11) well-being; (12) perceptions by others; (13) life relationships; (14) a sense of freedom or feeling less "stuck"; (15) sleep; (16) coping; (17) ability to adapt; (18) creativity; and (19) recall of past experiences.[30]

The treatment of acute ailments or injuries does not need the same depth or breadth of the interview process as homeopathic constitutional treatment. The homeopathic treatment of minor acute ailments still requires individualized treatment. Potentially serious acute ailments may require medical supervision, though homeopathic medicines can be prescribed concurrently. One person's symptoms of a common cold or a headache or an allergy will have his/her own unique syndrome of symptoms that will require an individually chosen medicine. People who experience an injury, howeer, generally need the same healing process to recover from trauma, so clinical experience has led homeopaths to believe that some homeopathic remedies might be routinely useful for trauma.

Once a case-taking has been conducted, the homeopath may use a detailed index of symptoms called "repertories," and/or a "materia medica", which details the symptoms that each remedy is thought to cause or cure. Many homeopathic textbooks have now been integrated into software and most homeopaths world-wide use some such software. Some homeopaths make quick prescriptions based on "keynotes" -the highlights of the best known characteristics of a remedy.

There is rarely a specific remedy for a disease or ailment in homeopathy, instead, remedies are chosen based on the overall syndrome of the patient, not just by the name of the disease. The homeopath seeks to find the "similimum," that is, the remedy that will cause, in overdose in experimental subjects, the most similar syndrome of symptoms that the sick person is experiencing.

There are, however, specific homeopathic remedies that homeopaths prescribe for common injuries. Homeopaths view injuries in a different manner than they view diseases, because they believe that everybody needs the same type of healing response to injuries, whereas a single disease may produce very different symptoms in different people.

Homeopathy as a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Specific studies of homeopathy as a complementary technique, has been funded by the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). In NCCAM's taxonomy of complementary and alternative medicine, homeopathy is first considered a "whole system" that is an alternative to the entire medical mode, although it can be complementary to conventional care. The funded studies include:

  • A study on fibromyalgia, published in the journal of the British Society for Rheumatology, that showed clinical benefits from individually chosen homeopathic medicines as well as objective differences in EEG readings in homeopathic and placebo subjects. [31] [32]
  • Homeopathy for mild traumatic brain injury, conducted at a Harvard-affiliated hospital. [33] This pilot study indicate a significant benefit from the homeopathic treatment but requires large-scale, independent replication.

Scientific basis of homeopathy

See articles on solitons, clathrates, nanobubbles and The memory of water.

At present, there is no scientific explanation of the physiological means by which homeopathy may work. There are observations about the alteration of water by homeopathic preparations, but there are no generally accepted theories on how those altered properties would affect biological systems. Some homeopaths and a few scientists have proposed that research on solitons, clathrates and nanobubbles might suggest how homeopathic remedies might differ from pure water. Some think that better understanding of hormesis might help also in understanding biological responses.

Water is not simply a collection of molecules of H2O, it contains several molecular species including ortho and para water molecules, and water molecules with different isotopic compositions such as HDO and H218O. These water molecules as part of weakly-bound but partially-covalently linked molecular clusters containing one, two, three or four hydrogen bonds, and hydrogen ion and hydroxide ion species. In addition, there are always adventitious solutes in liquid water. Even double-distilled and deionized water always contains significant and variable trace amounts of contaminating ions, and different samples will differ in the contaminants that they contain.

There is some support for the notion that water can have properties that depend on how it has previously been processed (that is, water has, in some sense, a kind of "memory"). The experimental evidence indicates that the "memory" are due primarily to solute and surface changes occurring during this processing. In particular, water, as a result of repeated vigorous shaking, might include Redox molecules produced from water, dissolved atmospheric gases and airborne contaminants, Silicates - tiny glass "chips", nanobubbles and their material surfaces, dissolved ions, including from the glassware. It may be contaminated by material that adheres to the surfaces of glassware, for example by bacterial material. There might also be some effects of successive shaking on water structure - "clustering" of water molecules. For homeopaths, only the memory of the original medicinal substance is important.

These mechanisms are not mechanisms of memory in any cognitiove sense; the term memory here is used as a metaphor, implying only that the past history has a discernible influence on the present properties.

Tests of the efficacy of homeopathic remedies

In vitro

A systematic review of the in vitro evidence of homeopathic high potencies evaluated 67 experiments (mostly performed on basophils) in 75 publications (1/3 of them replications. Nearly 3/4 of them found a high potency effect, including 12 of 18 studies that scored 6 points or more for study quality and which controlled for contamination. Nearly 3/4 of all replications were positive. The authors concluded that even experiments with a high methodological standard could demonstrate an effect of high potencies, but no positive result was stable enough to be reproduced by all investigators. [34]

In vivo

A meta-analysis of 105 animal trials evaluated the use of homeopathic medicines in the treatment of environmental toxicology.[35] Of these, 28 studies were considered high quality, and positive effects from homeopathic doses were reported 50% more often than no effects. The authors also noted, "experiments using the 'high' dilution range (by our definition those preparations diluted beyond the presence of original substance) had higher quality evaluations than experiments in lower dilution ranges, making their validity more likely. Second, our reevaluation of results from these studies using the raw data showed that over 70% had positive effects."which authors? Source needed for quote

One group of researchers tested the effects of heavy metals on mice who were given homeopathic doses of these toxic substances after exposure. Using Arsenicum album (arsenic oxide) and/or to treat mice who were exposed to crude doses of arsenic, they found that it significantly reduced the cytotoxic effects of arsenic, including the levels of two liver enzymes which are indicators of liver toxicity and both of which are increased as a result of arsenic poisoning. [36]

Randomized controlled trials in humans

Homeopaths assert that homeopathic remedies generally have to be individually prescribed to a sick person based on his/her totality of symptoms, not just the disease that he/she has been diagnosed to have. Therefore, homeopaths argued that many clinical trials are inappropriate tests for homeopathic treatment. Homeopaths acknowledge that there are sometimes exceptions to the need for individualization (the experience above with Oscillococcinum is one such exception).

Clinical trials are the "gold standard" for efficacy in mainstream medicine, often creating an impasse. Despite the wide popularity of homeopathy, the general view of mainstream medical researchers in medicine and biology is that the efficacy of homeopathy is confined to the placebo effect. The main reasons for this are the lack of both a plausible explanation for the cellular effects of homeopathic remedies, and of a plausible theory of how such a physiological mechanism to respond to such remedies might have evolved.

Some individual RCTs have shown no statistically significant effect, while others do have data that indicate a positive difference in people receiving homeopathic treatment. Single RCTs in favor of homeopathy for a number of other conditions, including: allergic rhinitis, [37] acute otitis media, influenza,[38] ankle sprain, bronchitis, chronic fatigue and premenstrual syndrome.

Some trials have been performed that partially meet these criteria, and some of these have reported positive effects. These have not been considered as providing compelling evidence, partly because of deficiencies in trial design, but mainly because of the possibility of "publication bias" - the phenomenon whereby trials that happen by chance to appear to show a positive outcome are more likely to be published than those which are inconclusive or appear to show a negative outcome.

Nevertheless, even if homeopaths distrust clinical trials, some have shown, in small groups, enough positive results to justify larger tests. Positive results came from Taylor and colleagues, writing on their placebo-controlled randomized controlled trial of a homeopathic treatment for allergic rhinitis, concluded " this study has failed to confirm our original hypothesis that homoeopathy is a placebo". [37]Two invited commenters were published alongside, and found the study interesting, but of small size. They urged larger trials, and cited the challenge of doing "large trials that really could change thinking," citing work on influenza by Vickers et al. [39] and Ferley et al., on muscle recovery,[38] as having done large-scale trials. The muscle soreness trial showed no significant effect of homeopathic treatment; but the abstract did not break out the groups. Effects were measured by formal methods of the runners' subjective soreness.

The second trial, on influenza, used the objective endpoint of time to return to normal body temperature as the endpoint. They observed that more people in the active drug group than the control group had faster recovery While they could not explain the result, they called for "rigorously designed clinical studies."

Meta-analyses on humans

Some authors of meta-analyses have concluded that the placebo response is an inadequate explanation for the positive responses that have been reported in some trials [40] This review assessed 105 trials, 81 of them positive. The authors concluded: “Based on this evidence we would be ready to accept that homeopathy can be efficacious, if only the mechanism of action were more plausible”, “the evidence presented in this review would probably be sufficient for establishing homeopathy as a regular treatment for certain indications”, and "the evidence of clinical trials is positive but not sufficient to draw definite conclusions".

Linde and colleagues analyzed 89 trials and found a in favor of homeopathy.[41] When considering just those trials of “high quality” and after correcting for publication bias, the findings remained significant The main conclusion was that the results “were not compatible with the hypothesis that the effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo.” The authors later analyzed these trials and concluded that higher quality trials were less likely to be positive than those of lower quality, saying “There is increasing evidence that more rigorous trials tend to yield less optimistic results than trials with less precautions against bias.”

Cochrane meta-analysis of Oscillococcinum

Oscillococcinum is a commercially available homoeopathic remedy manufactured from wild duck heart and liver that is sold as a remedy for influenza, and which is particularly popular in France. A Cochrane review of seven placebo-controlled studies [5] included:

  • three prevention trials (number of participants )
  • four treatment trials .

but only two of these provided adequate data for full analysis. Two of the trials were unpublished, according to the New Zealand Guidelines Group, which provides evidence-based reporting on complementary and alternative medicine. [42]

The review found no evidence that Oscillococcinum-like homeopathic medicines had any preventative effect for influenza and influenza-like symptoms (). However, treated patients considered the homeopathic therapy to be effective , and there was evidence for a small effect on duration of illness (Treatment reduced the duration by 0.28 days ). This was felt to justify further research, but the review concluded that the data were not strong enough to make a general recommendation to use Oscillococcinum for first-line treatment of influenza.

The Lancet controversy

In 2005, the Lancet published a meta-analysis of 110 placebo-controlled homoeopathy trials and 110 matched conventional-medicine trials. [43] A press report on the article [44], which described the Lancet study as performed by Swiss scientists, who concluded that the only effects of homeopathy were in the mind.

There was considerable criticism of the Lancet article from journals in complementary and alternative medicine. In an editorial referring to the Shang article published by The Lancet, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine asked,

One cannot but wonder and inquire, in all seriousness,

what drove the editors of one of the most highly respected and influential journals of our time to allow through peerreview and thence to publication, a manuscript that fails totally to provide the information necessary for full independent

replication or analysis[45]
While Shang was listed as the lead author, the work was done under the Swiss Complementary Medicine Evaluation Programme (Programm Evaluation Komplementärmedizin, PEK). PEK's review board has protested about political interference in the scientific process, according to Peter Fisher, Director of Research, Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital, in a commentary article in the journal, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.[46]

The outcome suggested that the clinical effects of homeopathic remedies might all be placebo effects. The Lancet study is notable as a "global" meta-analysis of homeopathy, not an analysis of particular remedies, i.e. it tested the hypothesis that all of the reported effects of homeopathic remedies are placebo effects. If so, then reports of positive effects reflect publication bias (the tendency to publish results when they show a positive effect but not when they are negative), and the magnitude of such effects should diminish with sample size and study quality. They analyzed an equal number of conventional medicine trials similarly; these showed a real effect of treatment, in that the size of the reported effect was independent of sample size, but the trials of homeopathy remedies did not. The study does not prove that homeopathy is never effective, but is consistent with the interpretation that all reported effects are placebo effects. The Lancet subsequently published a selection of critical correspondence.

Several of these published responses remarked (incorrectly) that the researchers evaluated only those studies that met certain criteria for “high quality” scientific investigations. Of the original 110 trials, 21 of the homeopathic studies fit this definition but only nine of the conventional studies did so. The researchers then considered only those trials that had a large number of patients, as trials with a larger sample size have greater statistical power. They thus compared eight homeopathic trials with six conventional medical trials, even though these trials were only matched as being of large size and good quality. The results of this subanalysis was that the effects observed in the homeopathic trials were no greater than the placebo effects observed in the clinical trials. They suggested that no further research on homeopathy is necessary, while advocates of homeopathy assert that almost all of the eight homeopathic trials used only a single homeopathic medicine given to every subject without the typical individualization of treatment that is commonly used in homeopathic practice. Advocates of homeopathy assert that this study's emphasis on certain large homeopathic trials lacked external validity, that is, the trials were not consistent with the homeopathic methodology, thereby reducing the meaning of the study's conclusions.

Other Meta-analyses

Several meta-analyses evaluating the homeopathic treatment of specific diseases has also found positive results. These studied childhood diarrhea, [47] and postoperative ileus. [48]

Are the right things being analyzed?

However, other meta-analyses, on homeopathy in a wide range of conditions, have suggested that the effect from a homeopathic medicine was no better than a placebo, although several found that there was justification for further research. Some of these analyses did not emphasize the frequent complaint of homeopaths that RCTs are inappropriate because they do not use individual remedy prescription. Instead, they suggested that the truly key thing to study, perhaps more so than yet another placebo-controlled trial of a remedy, are systematic observational studies of the interaction between homeopath and patient, in contrast with the interaction between patient and conventional health care worker.

In purely conventional medicine, there is enormous concern, within the U.S. healthcare economics area, about even collecting minimal data on the quality of encounters. One policy study stressed the need not to understand the nature of the interaction, but even to get basic demographics on the encounter;[49]especially in programs servicing low-income populations, there may be little more than billing data. There are a number of trial programs to use nurses and other providers, at a lower cost than physicians, to do case management of chronic disease. Case management interactions may be as long as some of those with homeopaths.[50] It is not unreasonable to note that a number of nursing associations call for more holistic patient interactions than is typical for conventional medicine, and to wonder if the most important lessons from current homeopathy are not the ones primarily studied. Proposals for studying nursing may be relevant.

In one specific meta-analysis of 6 trials , there were six RCTs, which used different treatments that were difficult to form into a meaningful pool. The authors observed that they used standardized treatment, which probably differs from the homeopathic standard of practice. They observed "There has been only a limited attempt to measure a 'package of care' effect (i.e., the effect of the medication as well as the consultation, which is considered a vital part of individualised homeopathic practice)." The conclusion was that there was not enough usefu data, and strongly recommended, in addition to RCTs, collecting "observational data to document the different methods of homeopathic prescribing and how patients respond. This will help to establish to what extent people respond to a 'package of care' rather than the homeopathic intervention alone." [51] In conventional medicine, there have been comparisons where the actual treatment was the same, but the variable was the type of encounter (e.g., short or long, physician specialist vs. generalist, nurse-educator rather than physician).

Another study, conducted by a trained homeopathist (Ernst), was able to identify 17 useful articles.[52] Six, however, re-analyzed the same major meta-analysis.[41] This major study observed some differences between homeopathic treatment and placebo, but also could find no specific evidence of efficacy for any specific condition; "Further research on homeopathy is warranted provided it is rigorous and systematic."

The meta-analysis of 17 papers concluded "Until more compelling results are available, homeopathy cannot be viewed as an evidence-based form of therapy," but strongly recommended formal study "individualized, empathetic and time-intensive approach most homeopaths adopt to healthcare yields good clinical results. This emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic encounter and is in accordance with a wealth of information in this area".[52] In other words, there may be extremely useful information about the methods by which patients interact with homeopath, and that, according to the author, may be a more fruitful area of research than the memory of water.

Popular opinion and over-the-counter homeopathic remedies

Homeopathy is popular in Europe and in India, but less so in the USA and Great Britain.[53]

Professional studies of opinion

In a press release, the British Homeopathic Society, from a pilot study published, on 26 July, 2008, recommended homeopathy as a useful treatment option for NHS patients in the U.K.[54] In Switzerland, overall patient satisfaction was significantly higher in homeopathic than in conventional care. Homeopathic treatments were perceived, by patients, as a low-risk therapy with two to three times fewer side effects than conventional care[55].

Economics

There are estimated to be more than 100,000 practitioners worldwide, and 500 million people receiving Homeopathic treatment. In Germany, homeopathy has been recognized as a "special form of therapy" since 1978, meaning that its remedies do not have to have been shown to be efficacious, but since 2004, most are not covered by public health insurance. In Switzerland, homeopathic remedies were covered by the basic health insurance system, if prescribed by a physician, until June 2005, when the Government, after a 5-year trial, withdrew insurance coverage for homoeopathy and four other complementary treatments, as they did not meet efficacy and cost-effectiveness criteria.

Regulation of over-the-counter remedies

In the UK, homeopathic remedies are sold over the counter, and five homeopathic hospitals are funded by the National Health Service. Many homeopathic remedies sold in health food stores and pharmacies today are "low potencies," that is, at doses that do contain tiny amounts of the original substance, while remedies at potencies higher than about 24X, D24, or 12C (10-24) contain no detectable ingredients apart from the diluent (water or ethanol). There is scientific doubt about whether these doses can have any biological effect[56] [57] [58], although there are studies which show that there can be a biological effect.

While homeopathy is not practised by most of the medical profession it is supported by some physicians and scientists,[6][7] by the Prince of Wales and other members of the British Royal Family[59] and many other well known people.[60]

Questions about homeopathic theory

As I understand it, the claim is that the less you use Homeopathy, the better it works. Sounds plausible to me (David Deutsch, physicist) [2]

Homeopathy was developed at a time when many of the most important concepts of modern chemistry and biology, such as molecules and germs, were understood poorly if at all. While proponents may consider the mechanism of homeopathy to be an interesting side issue, others consider the lack of any plausible mechanism to be a serious problem; they raise the bar for the quality of evidence required before accepting the existence of the phenomenon by citing the common phrase, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof".[61]

In Hahnemann's day, many chemists believed that matter was infinitely divisible, so that it was meaningful to talk about dilution to any degree. Although the hypothesis of atoms can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, their size was not calculated until 1865 (by Josef Loschmidt). There are 6.02×1023 particles in a mole (Avogadro's number, or, in German-speaking countries, Loschmidt's number), so homeopathic dilutions greater than about or are virtually certain to contain not even a single molecule of the initial substance. This is recognized by advocates of homeopathy, who assert that the essential healing power of their preparations is not to be found in the chemical action of molecules, but perhaps in the arrangement of the water molecules, giving rise to the expression 'the memory of water'.

The idea of the memory of water is parallel to the idea of vital force. Homeopathic preparations change properties of the water such that they can affect vital force, but, since neither vital force nor the means of affecting it are measurable, the process is not compatible with current scientific testing. Vital force was discarded by the scientific community as more and more life processes came to be describable in purely materialistic terms, and as the medical model of disease came to be focused on the failure of particular organs and processes in the body.

There have been occasional reports of effects of highly diluted solutions on organic processes, including on histamine release by basophils. [62] However, attempts to replicate these studies failed.[63]. An extremely biologically active substance such as a specific immunoglobulin, in a modern purified form, may or may not be a reasonable surrogate for a preparation prepared with the chemistry available in the early 19th century.

Non-homeopaths question if homepathic theory is logically consistent, pointing out what appear to be inconsistency. The theory assumes that water is imprinted by the properties of molecules that it once came in contact with, even when the molecules are diluted away. If so, then where did the pure water used in this process come from? The water that homeopaths use was once in contact with other chemicals, including chemical wastes, radioactive metals, dinosaur urine, and various poisons. According to this interpretation of homeopathic theory, all water in the world should remember its contact with millions of chemical substances and not just the properties of the chemicals that the homeopath claims will be useful.[64] Homeopaths respond to these concerns by asserting that homeopathic manufacturers, who in each country are regulated as drug companies, use a double-distilled water which may clear the "memory" of past water history.

Medical organizations' attitudes towards homeopathy

In the U.S., the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health, funds research into homeopathy. It states that controlled clinical trials of homeopathy have produced mixed results; in some, homeopathy appeared to be no more helpful than a placebo, but in others, more benefits were seen than expected from a placebo.[65]

NCCAM's acting deputy director, Jack Killen, said, in a Newsweek article, homeopathy "goes beyond current understanding of chemistry and physics." He added, "There is, to my knowledge, no condition for which homeopathy has been proven to be an effective treatment." [66]

Historically, the American Medical Association (AMA) was founded in 1847, three years after the forming of the American Institute of Homeopathy,[67]. From 1860's to the early 20th century, the AMA's ethic code disallowed its members to consult with fellow medical doctors who practiced homeopathy. Although the AMA didn't enforce many of its ethical guidelines, the "consultation clause" was one of the few that was.[68] Today, the AMA is no longer overtly antagonistic to homeopathy. Their current policy statement says: "There is little evidence to confirm the safety or efficacy of most alternative therapies. Much of the information currently known about these therapies makes it clear that many have not been shown to be efficacious. Well-designed, stringently controlled research should be done to evaluate the efficacy of alternative therapies".[67]

Homeopathy is practiced by large numbers of conventional medical physicians through Europe, including 30-40% of French doctors and 20% of German doctors, while 45% of Dutch GPs consider homeopathy efficacious in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections or hay fever.[6] According to the UK National Health Service (NHS), homeopathy is one of the most popular alternative and complementary treatment modalities. The NHS recognizes that there have been about 200 randomised controlled trials evaluating homeopathy, some show efficacy of treatment and some don't. They conclude, "Despite the available research, it has proven difficult to produce clear clinical evidence that homeopathy works".[69]

Homeopathy is one of the National Systems of Medicine in India,[70] and it plays an important role in health care for many people. "Its strength lies in its evident effectiveness as it takes a holistic approach towards the sick individual through promotion of inner balance at mental, emotional, spiritual and physical levels."

Medical concerns about safety of homeopathic remedies

The highest ideal of cure is the speedy, gentle, and enduring restoration of health by the most trustworthy and least harmful way (Samuel Hahnemann)

The European Union allows homeopathic medicinal products, provided they are prepared according to the European Pharmacopoeia or the pharmacopoeias currently used officially in the Member States. Further the products must be diluted sufficiently so that there is no risk for the patient. In particular, the product may not contain either more than one part per 10 000 of the mother tincture or more than 1/100th of the smallest dose of an active substance that requires doctor's prescription. No specific therapeutic indication may be given on the label of the product.[71]

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's view of homeopathy is that there is no real concern about the safety of most homeopathic products because its dosages "have little or no pharmacologically active ingredients".

The main concern about the safety of homeopathy arises not from the products themselves, but from the possible withholding of possibly more efficacious treatment or from misdiagnosis of dangerous conditions by a non-medically qualified homeopath. While he is a critic of homeopathy, and this quote is not intended to say that homeopathy is or is not a placebo effect, Sagar sums the choices with a bit of humor:
The choice is entirely with the individual. Those who believe in the power of undetected subatomic fields may continue taking homeopathic medicine with an excellent placebo effect, but at a financial cost that cannot be ignored. Those who maintain faith in today’s science may continue to see their physician and receive conventional medication proven in clinical trials, rather than in succussion. However, if you choose to save money and avoid side effects, a teaspoon of honey (composed mainly of sugar and water) may be more attractive—unless, of course, you are allergic to bees or pollen.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

Homeopathic concerns about safety of medical drugs

Virtually every modern pharmacologist would agree with Samuel Hahnemann about the drugs prescribed by physicians of the early 19th century, for whom he used the term "allopath", not as a general synonym for mainstream medicine, but for the irrational and often dangerous prescring customs of the time. He wisely warned not to prescribe medicines "whose action is unknown". Substantially more is known about the mechanism of actions of drugs in the early 21st century, but some homeopaths still advise against all conventionally prescribed medications.

For example, a 2006 survey by the UK charitable trust 'Sense About Science' revealed that homeopaths were advising travelers against taking conventional anti-malarial drugs, instead providing them with a homeopathic dilution of quinine. Even the director of the The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital condemned this:

I'm very angry about it because people are going to get malaria - there is absolutely no reason to think that homeopathy works to prevent malaria and you won't find that in any textbook or journal of homeopathy so people will get malaria, people may even die of malaria if they follow this advice. [72]

A particular concern is that homeopaths discourage the use of vaccines. Homeopathy is superficially like vaccination, in that vaccines contain a small dose of the 'disease' against which they offer protection (a vaccine is usually made from a bacterium or virus that is either dead or weakened so that it cannot produce symptoms, while still providing enough information to the immune system to generate antibody production).

However, some homeopaths believe that vaccination has the potential to create serious health consequences, in part because of the mercury in them, in part because the bacterium or virus in the vaccine may neither be dead nor weak enough and in part because they believe that some childhood diseases (i.e. measles, chicken pox) may have certain immunological benefits that should not be prevented.[73]

Such advice is generally considered irresponsible by public health professionals. Measles is not a major killer in the western world, where the vast majority of children are vaccinated against the disease at about two years old. However, in less developed countries the death toll is much higher, and in 1999 there were 875,000 deaths from measles worldwide, mostly in Africa. In 2001, a "Measles Initiative" was initiated involving organisations such as the American Red Cross, Unicef and the World Health Organisation, and between 1999 and 2005 more than 360 million children across the world were vaccinated. By 2005 the death toll had dropped by 60% to 345,000. [74]

Notes

  1. "Remedy" is a term of art in homeopathy, which refers to the preparations described. Homeopaths use the term "remedy" regardless of whether their effectiveness has been established or is widely accepted.
  2. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Questions and Answers About Homeopathy
  3. Martin Chaplin, ed. (2007) "The Memory of Water." Homeopathy. 96:141-230 (Copies of the articles in this special issue are freely available at an independent website along with discussion). Homeopathy Journal Club Bad Science, a blog by Ben Goldacre
  4. Khuda-Bukhsh AR (2003). "Towards understanding molecular mechanisms of action of homeopathic drugs: an overview". Mol Cell Biochem 253: 339–45. PMID 14619985[e]
  5. 5.0 5.1 Vickers AJ, Smith C. (2006), "Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes.", Cochrane Database Syst Rev., DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD001957.pub3 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001957.pub3
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Knipschild P et al. (1990) Soc Sci Med. 31:625-6
  7. 7.0 7.1 Fisher P et al. (1994) Medicine in Europe: complementary medicine in Europe BMJ 309:107-11
  8. Boylan, Michael (2006), Hippocrates (c. 450 BCE to 380 BCE), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  9. Peter Morrell, Articles on Homeopathy
  10. "Homeopathy Timeline", Whole Health Now: Homeopathy Information for the Professional
  11. Hahnemann S (1796) translated into English as "Essay on a New Principle". Hahnemann's[http://www.homeopathyhome.com/reference/organon/organon.html Organon der Heilkunst] in English translation
  12. Dean ME (2001) Homeopathy and the progress of science Hist Scixxxix
  13. Martin Kaufman, "Homeopathy in America: The Rise and Fall and Persistence of a Medical Heresy", in N. Gevitz, Other Healers: Unorthodox Medicine in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1988.
  14. American Institute of Homeopathy
    Winston, Julian (2006). "Homeopathy Timeline". The Faces of Homoeopathy. Whole Health Now.
  15. Coulter H.L., Divided Legacy (vol. II, pp 544-6; III, pp 267-70, 298-305). Berkeley: North Atlantic, 1973, 1977.
  16. Martin Kaufman, '"Homeopathy in America: The Rise and Fall and Persistence of a Medical Heresy", in N. Gevitz, Other Healers: Unorthodox Medicine in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1988.
  17. Bradford TL (1900) The logic of figures: The comparative results of homeopathic and other treatments. Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel
  18. ABC Homeopathy: Natum Muriaticum
  19. Bandolier, Efficacy of Homeopathic Arnica
  20. Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States, The Homœopathic Pharmacopœia of the United States
  21. 21.0 21.1 Homeopathy: Real Medicine or Empty Promises?, Food and Drug Administration
  22. There are 6.02 × 1023 molecules in one mole of a substance (Avogadro's number). Seawater tastes salty because it contains sodium chloride (common table salt), and typically one drop (0.05 ml) contains about 200 mg of salts, mainly NaCl - about 2 × 1019 molecules. One drop of a dilution of this would be expected to contain at most one molecule of NaCl. Water Structure and Behaviour has references to current scientific understanding of water, with entries on "memory effects" and homeopathy
  23. Emil von Behring, The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1901
  24. Behring AE von (1905) Moderne Phthisiogenetische und Phthisotherapeutische: Probleme in Historischer Beleuchtung. Margurg: Selbsteverlag des Verfassers
  25. Bastide, M. (1998), "Basic research on high dilution effects", High Dilution Effects on Cells and Integrated Systems
  26. Calabrese EJ, Baldwin LA (1998) Hormesis as a biological hypothesis Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements 106, Number S1
  27. Chaplin M (2007) The memory of water; an overview, Homeopathy 96:143-50. doi:10.1016/j.homp.2007.05.006. Further reference information on the research, theories, and controversies on the "memory of water" is available at: Water Structure and Science.
  28. Demangeat J-L et al. (2004) Low-Field NMR water proton longitudinal relaxation in ultrahighly diluted aqueous solutions of silica-lactose prepared in glass material for pharmaceutical use, Applied magnetic resonance 26:465-81.
  29. Anick DJ, Ives JA (2007) The silica hypothesis for homeopathy: physical chemistry Homeopathy 96:189-95. doi:10.1016/j.homp.2007.03.005
  30. Bell IR et al. (February 2003). "Homeopathic practitioner views of changes in patients undergoing constitutional treatment for chronic disease". J Altern Complement Med 9: 39–50. DOI:10.1089/10762800360520785. PMID 12676034. Research Blogging.
  31. Bell IR et al. (2004) Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo, Rheumatology January 20, 2004:1111-7.
  32. Bell IR et al. (2004) EEG Alpha sensitization in individualized homeopathic treatment of fibromyalgia. Int J Neurosci 114:1195-220.
  33. Chapman E et al. (December 1999), "Homeopathic treatment of mild traumatic brain injury: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial", J Head Trauma Rehab 14: 521-42
  34. Witt CM et al. (2007) The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies: A systematic review of the literature Complementary Therapies in Medicine 15:128-38. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2007.01.011
  35. Linde K et al. (1994), "Critical review and meta-analysis of serial agitated dilutions in experimental toxicology", Human and Experimental Toxicology 13: 481-92
  36. Mallick, P et al. (2003), "Ameliorating effect of microdoses of a potentized homeopathic drug, Arsencium Album, on arsenic-induced toxicity in mice", BMC Complement Alt Med 3: 7
  37. 37.0 37.1 Taylor MA et al. (2000), "Randomised controlled trials of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series", British Medical Journal 321: 471–476
  38. 38.0 38.1 Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D'Adhemar D, Balducci F. (1989), "A controlled evaluation of a homoeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes", Br J Clin Pharmacol 27: 329-335
  39. Vickers AJ, Fisher P, Smith C, Wyllie SE, Rees R. (1998), "Homeopathic arnica 30x is ineffective for muscle soreness after long-distance running: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.", Clin J Pain 14: 227-231
  40. Kleijnen J et al.(1991) Clinical trials of homeopathy. British Medical Journal 302:316–23.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Linde K et al., "Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials", Lancet 350: 834–43
  42. New Zealand Guidelines Group (July 26, 2004), Homoeopathic oscillococcinum for the prevention and treatment of influenza
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  44. Boseley, Sarah (August 26 2005), "As a fourth study says it's no better than a placebo, is this the end for homeopathy?", The Guardian
  45. Jobst KA (2005). "Homeopathy, Hahnemann, and the Lancet 250 years on: a case of the emperor's new clothes?". J Alt Comp Med 11: 751-54.
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  53. An international market research survey reported relatively high levels of "trust" in homeopathy worldwide (pdf file) Specifically, they found that 64% of people in India, 58% of Brazilians, 53% of Chileans, 49% of Saudi Arabians, 49% of United Arab Emirates, 40% of French, 35% of South Africans, 28% of Russians, 27% of Germans, 25% of Argentians, 25% of Hungarians, 18% of Americans, and 15% of British "trust homeopathy."
  54. British Homeopathic Association (24-07-2008), Press release: new multi-centre study confirms the value of homeopathy referring to Thompson EA et al. (July 2008), "Towards standard setting for patient-reported outcomes in the NHS homeopathic hospitals", Homeopathy vol 97:3: pp. 114-21
  55. Marian F et al. (2008), "Patient satisfaction and side effects in primary care: An observational study comparing homeopathy and conventional medicine", BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 8: 52, DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-8-52
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  58. Mastrangelo D (2006) Hormesis, epitaxy, the structure of liquid water, and the science of homeopathy. Med Sci Monit 13:SR1-8 pmid 17179919
  59. The British Royal Family has advocated the use of homeopathy since the 1830s and today serve as the patron to the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital.
    Leary B et al (1998) "It Wont Do Any Harm: Practice and People At The London Homeopathic Hospital", 1889-1923, in Juette R et al (1998) Eds. 'Culture, Knowledge And Healing: Historical Perspectives On Homeopathy In Europe And North America' Sheffield Univ. Press, UK Homéopathe International The English language version
  60. These include some transcendentalists (Goethe, Alfred Tennyson, George Bernard Shaw), politicians (including 11 U.S. Presidents, two British Prime Ministers, Mahatma Gandhi, San Martin and numerous other world leaders), corporate leaders (John D. Rockefeller, Charles Kettering), clergy and spiritual leaders (seven popes and dozens of Eastern spiritual teachers), sports stars (David Beckham, Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker), musicians (Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederick Chopin, Tina Turner, Cher), artists (Vincent van Gogh, Camille Pissorro), and many other cultural icons. Charles Darwin is known to have taken homeopathic remedies, Sir William Osler greatly admired Hahnemann, Charles Frederick Menninger first trained as a homeopath, and C. Everett Koop was inspired as a child by the family homeopathic physician. See [1].
  61. Coined by Marcello Truzzi and popularized in slightly different form by Carl Sagan
  62. Davenas E et al (1988). "Human basophil degranulation triggered by very dilute antiserum against IgE". Nature 333: 816-8.
  63. Walach et al (2005). "Research on homeopathy: state of the art". J Alt Comp Medicine 11: 813–29.
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  67. 67.0 67.1 American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs (June 1997), alternative theories including homeopathy, Report 12
  68. Harris Coulter, Divided Legacy: The Conflict Between Homoeopathy and the American Medical Association. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 1975.
  69. NHS Direct, Homeopathy, Health Encyclopedia
  70. Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  71. Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to medicinal products for human use.
  72. Ghosh, Pallab (13 July 2006), "Homeopathic practices 'risk lives'", BBC
  73. Randall Neustaedter, The Vaccine Guide. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 2004.
  74. "Vaccine drive cuts measles deaths", BBC, 19 January 2007