Homeopathy is time less and without limit

(NewsTarget) Homeopathy is an ancient idea, recognised by keen observers of nature. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was born around 460 BC. He recognised that diseases come from natural sources, rather than the superstitious sources popular at the time. He became a careful observer. He recognised that each case is individual. He also recognised that when treating a hitherto unknown case, he could use similar remedies, from similar cases.

As well as recognising that a body can heal itself, he understood the importance of cleanliness, of a good diet and of exercise: ideas that took a couple of millennium to become common practice.

Paracelsus (1493 – 1541) was an alchemist and a doctor. He was outspoken against doctors doing more harm than good. He stated: “All things are poison, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities … it is only the dose which makes a thing poison.” This is close to the homeopathic principle of using minute doses of the substance, even poisons. He believed that health rested on “the inner harmony of man”, something homeopaths easily identify with.

William Cullen (1710 – 1790), a Scottish physician and lecturer on chemistry, wrote A Treatise of Materia Medica in 1789.

In 1790, Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of modern day homeopathy, translated this work into German. It was here that he discovered the idea that cinchona bark produces the very same fever in a healthy person that it so capably heals in a sick person. This was a eureka moment for Hahnemann and he experimented with this idea on himself. When he took a dose, he developed the same symptoms it was known to cure. And so, based on ancient wisdom, modern day homeopathy was born.

Samuel Hahnemann was a highly intelligent man, far ahead of his time. He was a doctor, a chemist and a linguist. (He was proficient in Latin, Greek, Italian, Hebrew, Arabic and French.) He was interested in philosophy and literature.

His change from practicing medicine to discovering homeopathy came about after he found it unacceptable to continue with the current medical practice of doing more harm than good.

He spent the rest of his life experimenting, observing, developing the complete philosophy of homeopathy and writing guide-lines for following practitioners. One of his most important instructions is:

“The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable, and most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principles.”

He clearly understood the nature of disease, the nature of the medicines and the nature of man – the three key areas fundamental to healing.

The 100 odd medicines he developed homeopathically are still as much in use today, for exactly the same reasons, as they were 200 years ago. There may have been large changes in our environment and in our technology, but there have been no changes in who we are and how we respond to outside pressure.

Much good can be done by using some of the common remedies in home prescribing. However, this highly sophisticated medical modality works best when it is practised by a competent professional homeopath who works by understanding the mental and emotional state the person is in. This is when miracles can occur, when the incurable is cured.

Homeopathy is one of the few modalities of health which fully appreciates the mind-body connection.

Homeopathy works as well on animals as it does on people.

Based on highly ethical procedures, all homeopathic testing (called provings) are done on healthy people.



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Successful Experiment Shows Homeopathic Arnica Stimulates Wound Healing Genes

Given the central role of macrophages in tissue repair and regeneration, we formulated the hypothesis that one of the cellular targets of Arnica m. an action is the macrophage and accordingly decided to evaluate this plant’s effects in vitro on the THP-1 human cell line, a widely used model for immune modulation. This cell line is widely used in laboratories for the study of macrophage biochemistry and molecular biology.

The advantage of a cell line resides essentially in the easier reproducibility of experiments in the same conditions, avoiding the variations due to individual sensitivity of different donors. Since we used very low doses of drugs—even with the highest Arnica m. 2c dilution, in the assay medium the sesquiterpene lactones are in the 10−8 Mol/L dose—we expected small effect sizes and so preferred to use a highly reproducible model. THP-1 cells resemble primary monocytes, but when treated with low doses of phorbol esters (PMA) they differentiate to cells with the morphological and functional features of tissue macrophages. On the basis of environmental cues and molecular mediators, macrophages differentiate to either a proinflammatory type (M1) or to an anti-inflammatory or pro-reparatory type (M2).

Accordingly, we used THP-1 macrophages polarized by interleukin-4 (IL-4) treatment to a phenotype that takes on characteristic properties functional to immune regulation, wound healing, and tissue remodeling. The results of this work indicate that Arnica m. acts on macrophages by modulating a number of genes and by increasing cell motility. RNA-Seq analysis allowed the identification of several genes which are particularly sensitive to ultra-low doses and high dilutions of this plant extract.

Molecular analysis of gene expression suggests that a primary action of this medicinal plant is the stimulation of tissue matrix synthesis. These findings provide new insights into wound-associated molecular events and specifically point to macrophage fibronectin production as a potential therapeutic target of Arnica m. for the treatment of wound repair.

Successful Experiment Shows Homeopathic Arnica Stimulates Wound Healing Genes

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Depression Fastest Growing Condition in UK and Homeopathy Can Help

According to a recent report in GP online(1), depression is now the fastest growing condition in the UK.

470,000 new cases were reported in 2015/16, which exceeded obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. This leaves the total number of patients over the age of 18 with recorded depression standing at 3.8m people or 8.3% of the population.

The report is based on analysis prevalence data from Quality and Outcomes Framework(QOF), published in NHS digital.2 In the meanwhile, waiting times for patients to access talking therapies such as Cognigive Behavioural Therapy is, according to the General Practitioners Committee deputy chairman Dr. Richard Vautrey unacceptably long.

Homeopathy and depression

Given that women are up to three times more likely to develop major depressive order, findings from a recent trial where homeopathy was given to peri-menopausal and menopausal women with depressive symptoms is very interesting.

This randomized, placebo controlled trial took place in Mexico and included 133 women. 54.5% of women responded positively to homeopathic treatment, which was similar to the response to fluoxetine but significantly higher than from placebo. Only homeopathic treatment led to a reduction of menopausal symptoms, which is in line with its whole person effects.

1. http://www.gponline.com/depression-fastest-growing-condition-gps-record-470000-new-cases-2015-16/mental-health/depression/article/1414006

2. http://content.digital.nhs.uk/QOF

3. Aguilar-Faisal L, Asbun-Bojalil J (2015) IndividualizedHomeopathic Treatment and Fluoxetine for Moderate to Severe Depression in Peri- and Postmenopausal Women (HOMDEP-MENOP Study): A Randomized, Double-Dummy, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0118440. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118440


Depression Fastest Growing Condition in UK and Homeopathy Can Help

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Switzerland Joins Canada in Making The Homeopathic Profession An Official Health Discipline

The Swiss interior ministry has announced its intention to elevate five complementary therapies including homeopathy to the same level as conventional medicine. Homeopathy, holistic medicine, herbal medicine, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine will acquire the same status as conventional medicine by May 2017.

Canada’s largest province, Ontario, has now officially “proclaimed” homeopathy as a health profession. It gives professional homeopaths equal footing with other health disciplines.

The United Kingdom’s  Society of Homeopaths’ voluntary register has been accredited under a new scheme set up by the Department of Health and administered by an independent body, the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, which is accountable to the United Kingdom’s Parliament.

Switzerland Joins Canada in Making The Homeopathic Profession An Official Health Discipline

The Swiss government has a long and widely-respected history of neutrality, and therefore, reports from this government on controversial subjects need to be taken more seriously than other reports from countries that are more strongly influenced by present economic and political constituencies. When one considers that two of the top five largest drug companies in the world have their headquarters in Switzerland, one might assume that this country would have a heavy interest in and bias toward conventional medicine, but such assumptions would be wrong.

In late 2011, the Swiss government’s report on homeopathic medicine represents the most comprehensive evaluation of homeopathic medicine ever written by a government and was just published in book form in English (Bornhoft and Matthiessen, 2011). This breakthrough report affirmed that homeopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective and that homeopathic treatment should be reimbursed by Switzerland’s national health insurance program.

The Swiss government’s inquiry into homeopathy and complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments resulted from the high demand and widespread use of alternatives to conventional medicine in Switzerland, not only from consumers but from physicians as well. Approximately half of the Swiss population have used CAM treatments and value them. Further, about half of Swiss physicians consider CAM treatments to be effective. Perhaps most significantly, 85 percent of the Swiss population wants CAM therapies to be a part of their country’s health insurance program.

It is therefore not surprising that more than 50 percent of the Swiss population surveyed prefer a hospital that provides CAM treatments rather to one that is limited to conventional medical care.

Beginning in 1998, the government of Switzerland decided to broaden its national health insurance to include certain complementary and alternative medicines, including homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, anthroposophic medicine, and neural therapy. This reimbursement was provisional while the Swiss government commissioned an extensive study on these treatments to determine if they were effective and cost-effective. The provisional reimbursement for these alternative treatments ended in 2005, but as a result of this new study, the Swiss government’s health insurance program once again began to reimburse for homeopathy and select alternative treatments. In fact, as a result of a national referendum in which more than two-thirds of voters supported the inclusion of homeopathic and select alternative medicines in Switzerland’s national health care insurance program, the field of complementary and alternative medicine has become a part of this government’s constitution (Dacey, 2009; Rist, Schwabl, 2009).

The Swiss Government’s “Health Technology Assessment”

The Swiss government’s “Health Technology Assessment” on homeopathic medicine is much more comprehensive than any previous governmental report written on this subject to date. Not only did this report carefully and comprehensively review the body of evidence from randomized double-blind and placebo controlled clinical trials testing homeopathic medicines, they also evaluated the “real world effectiveness” as well as safety and cost-effectiveness. The report also conducted a highly-comprehensive review of the wide body of preclinical research (fundamental physio-chemical research, botanical studies, animal studies, and in vitro studies with human cells).

And still further, this report evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses, outcome studies, and epidemiological research. This wide review carefully evaluated the studies conducted, both in terms of quality of design and execution (called “internal validity”) and how appropriate each was for the way that homeopathy is commonly practiced (called “external validity”). The subject of external validity is of special importance because some scientists and physicians conduct research on homeopathy with little or no understanding of this type of medicine (some studies tested a homeopathic medicine that is rarely used for the condition tested, while others utilized medicines not commonly indicated for specific patients). When such studies inevitably showed that the homeopathic medicine did not “work,” the real and accurate assessment must be that the studies were set up to disprove homeopathy… or simply, the study was an exploratory trial that sought to evaluate the results of a new treatment (exploratory trials of this nature are not meant to prove or disprove the system of homeopathy but only to evaluate that specific treatment for a person with a specific condition).

After assessing pre-clinical basic research and the high quality clinical studies, the Swiss report affirmed that homeopathic high-potencies seem to induce regulatory effects (e.g., balancing or normalizing effects) and specific changes in cells or living organisms. The report also reported that 20 of the 22 systematic reviews of clinical research testing homeopathic medicines detected at least a trend in favor of homeopathy.* (Bornhöft, Wolf, von Ammon, et al, 2006)

The Swiss report found a particularly strong body of evidence to support the homeopathic treatment of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and Respiratory Allergies. The report cited 29 studies in “Upper Respiratory Tract Infections/AllergicReactions,” of which 24 studies found a positive result in favor of homeopathy. Further, six out of seven controlled studies that compared homeopathic treatment with conventional medical treatment showed that homeopathy to be more effective than conventional medical interventions (the one other trial found homeopathic treatment to be equivalent to conventional medical treatment). All of these results from homeopathic treatment came without the side effects common to conventional drug treatment. In evaluating only the randomized placebo controlled trials, 12 out of 16 studies showed a positive result in favor of homeopathy.

The authors of the Swiss government’s report acknowledge that a part of the overall review of research included one negative review of clinical research in homeopathy (Shang, et al, 2005). However, the authors noted that this review of research has been widely and harshly criticized by both advocates and non-advocates of homeopathy. The Swiss report noted that the Shang team did not even adhere to the QUORUM guidelines which are widely recognized standards for scientific reporting (Linde, Jonas, 2005). The Shang team initially evaluated 110 homeopathic clinical trials and then sought to compare them with a matching 110 conventional medical trials. Shang and his team determined that there were 22 “high quality” homeopathic studies but only nine “high quality” conventional medical studies. Rather than compare these high quality trials (which would have shown a positive result for homeopathy), the Shang team created criteria to ignore a majority of high quality homeopathic studies, thereby trumping up support for their original hypothesis and bias that homeopathic medicines may not be effective (Lüdtke, Rutten, 2008).

The Swiss report also notes that David Sackett, M.D., the Canadian physician who is widely considered to be one of the leading pioneers in “evidence based medicine,” has expressed serious concern about those researchers and physicians who consider randomized and double-blind trials as the only means to determine whether a treatment is effective or not. To make this assertion, one would have to acknowledge that virtually all surgical procedures were “unscientific” or “unproven” because so few have undergone randomized double-blind trials.

In my view, for a treatment to be determined to be “effective” or “scientifically proven,” a much more comprehensive assessment of what works and doesn’t is required. Ultimately, the Swiss government’s report on homeopathy represents an evaluation of homeopathy that included an assessment of randomized double blind trials as well as other bodies of evidence, all of which together lead the report to determine that homeopathic medicines are indeed effective.

The next article will discuss further evidence provided in this report from the Swiss government on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of homeopathic care.


Statement of correction (9/18/2013): The report on homeopathy (2012) that was described above has now been verified to be a second edition of a report that was initially commissioned by the government of Switzerland, but it was not a report that was issued by the Swiss government nor endorsed by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. Therefore, it is my intention here to state clearly that the first publication listed in the “References” section was not commissioned by the Swiss government, but the second reference that was written by most of the same authors as the first reference was commissioned by Swiss government. The conclusions of this publication (2006) are the same as those asserted in more detailed in both book forms, 2005 (ref. Bornhöft G, Matthiessen PM (Eds.). Homöopathie in der Krankenversorgung – Wirksamkeit, Nutzen, Sicherheit und Wirtschaftlichkeit. Frankfurt/M. 2006 VAS Verlag für Akademische Schriften.) and 2012. The conclusions of the commissioned report and the more detailed books are basically the same in the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of homeopathic medicine.


Bornhoft, Gudrun, and Matthiessen, Peter F. Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs. Goslar, Germany: Springer, 2011. http://rd.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-642-20638-2/page/1 (This book is presently available from the German office of the publisher, and it will become available via the American office as well as select booksellers in mid- to late-February, 2012.)(NOTE: When specific facts in the above article are provided but not referenced, this means that these facts were derived from this book.)

Bornhöft G, Wolf U, von Ammon K, Righetti M, Maxion-Bergemann S, Baumgartner S, Thurneysen AE, Matthiessen PF. Effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in general practice – summarized health technology assessment. Forschende Komplementärmedizin (2006);13 Suppl 2:19-29. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16883077

Dacey, Jessica. Therapy supporters roll up sleeves after vote. SwissInfo.ch, May 19, 2009. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/Therapy_supporters_roll_up_sleeves_after_vote.html?cid=670064

Linde K, Jonas W. Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? Lancet 36:2081-2082. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67878-6. http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140673605678786.pdf

Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analysed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015http://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(08)00190-X/abstract

Rist L, Schwabl H: Komplementärmedizin im politischen Prozess. Schweizer Bevölkerungstimmt über Verfassungsartikel «Zukunft mit Komplementärmedizin» ab. Forsch Komplementmed 2009, doi 10.1159/000203073.
(Translation: Complementary medicine in the political process: The Swiss population votes on the Constitutional Article “The future with complementary medicine”

*Although this Swiss government report was just published in book form in 2011, the report was finalized in 2006. In light of this date, the authors evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses on homeopathic research up until June 2003.

Dana Ullman, MPH, is America’s leading spokesperson for homeopathy and is the founder of www.homeopathic.com . He is the author of 10 books, including his bestseller, Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. His most recent book is, The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy (the Foreword to this book was written by Dr. Peter Fisher, the Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). Dana lives, practices, and writes from Berkeley, California.


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Queen Elizabeth’s Long Life Attributed to Homeopathy

On her 90th birthday, the London Weekly News reports that in spite of criticism the Queen has used homeopathy all her life and has remarkable good health. In fact, many generations of the Royal family have used homeopathy.

For as The Queen marks her 90th birthday on April 21, that she has reached such an excellent age is largely due to her lifelong trust in homeopathy. Everywhere that Her Majesty goes she is accompanied by a small case of special cures and tinctures and, although doctors no not care to admit it, it is because of her herbal little helpers that she rarely gets a cold or any other sort of complaint.

Empiricists would argue that as both The Queen and the late Queen Mother have been avid fans of homeopathy and as The Queen Mum died at the age of 101, the glaring probability that it works seems to be rather evident.

Queen Elizabeth’s Long Life Attributed to Homeopathy

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Sprinter Usain Bolt Bounces Back from Injury With The Aid Of Homeopathy to Win Gold

At the beginning of July 2016, Usain Bolt withdrew from Olympic trials with a grade 1 tear in his hamstring. He immediately went to Germany for homeopathic medical treatment. Then he improved so quickly by getting this amazing homeopathic treatment that he completed just a month later in the Rio 2016 Olympics and won gold three times!

The Olympic sprinter and famed winner of numerous gold medals have been using homeopathy since the age of 16. He is a patient of German sports doctor Hans-Wilheim Muller-Wohlfahrt who uses homeopathy at his Munich clinic. “I’ve been coming here since I was 16,” the world record holder said at a press conference in Munich. “It’s been a long relationship. Every time I have a problem, he always gives good advice and treatments. He’s the best at what he does. We are very close,”

Bolt was born with scoliosis, a curvature of the lower spine, which makes him more susceptible to back pain and injuries.

There are thousands of trained homeopathic physicians in Germany and Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt is a world leader in the treatment of sports injuries. “He is well-known for his holistic approach. Though conventionally trained in medicine and orthopedics, his treatment includes manual diagnostics, as well as herbal and homeopathic remedies and acupuncture. Other famous patients include Paula Radcliffe, Kelly Holmes, Tyson Gay, Ronaldo, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and Boris Becker. He is also the team doctor for German national football team and FC Bayern München.”

Sprinter Usain Bolt Bounces Back from Injury With The Aid Of Homeopathy to Win Gold

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New Study at Dutch University: Homeopathy Works for E-Coli Diarrhoea

A research study at the Wageningen University in Holland suggests that homeopathy may be an alternative to antibiotics in neonatal diarrhea of piglets. This is a randomized, observer blind and placebo-controlled trial done on piglets, not prone to the placebo effect. It is another remarkable example of a study showing that homeopathy works and that there is scientific verification for it. You can find the results in pubmed.

The Biological Farming Systems Group at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands recently conducted a research study to investigate if homeopathy might be an alternative to antibiotics in one of the most common illnesses in swine which is neonatal diarrhea of piglets. This disease leads to weight loss and increased piglet mortality, which has substantial economic consequences. Conventional treatments of Escherichia coli (E. coli) diarrhea is the administration of antibiotics to affected piglets or preventive vaccination of the cows.

To investigate if E. coli diarrhea in neonatal piglets could be prevented by homeopathy, the researchers set up a randomized, observer blind and placebo-controlled trial. On a commercial pig farm 52 sows of different parties, in their last month of gestation, were treated twice a week with either the homeopathic agent Coli 30K or placebo. The 525 piglets born from these sows were scored for occurrence and duration of diarrhea.

Piglets of the homeopathically treated group had significantly less E. coli diarrhea than piglets in the placebo group (P < .0001). Especially piglets from first parity sows gave a good response to treatment with Coli 30K. Diarrhea seemed to be less severe in the homeopathically treated litters, there were less transmission and duration appeared shorter.

Advantages at farm level are the application of the treatment by the farmer and cost reduction. These advantages and the positive results from this study make the homeopathic agent Coli 30K an attractive potential alternative in the prevention of E. coli diarrhea. This study also suggests that homeopathic treatment in livestock may help the European citizen be protected from pharmacological residues in animal products and thus reduce the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Camerlink I, Ellinger L, Bakker EJ, Lantinga EA (2010). Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case of Escherichia coli diarrhea in neonatal piglets. Homeopathy, 99; 57–62.

New Study at Dutch University: Homeopathy Works for E-Coli Diarrhoea

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Research Experiment: Homeopathic Remedies Prevent Dye-induced Liver Cancer in Mice

An older study using two homeopathic remedies to determine if they could stop or prevent the growth of cancerous tumors previously induced in mice showed a very positive result for the homeopathic remedies versus placebo.
 Here are the details of the study:
Cytogenetics and Molecular Biology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Kalyani, Kalyani 741 235, India.

Indian journal of biochemistry & biophysics (Impact Factor: 0.87).08/2009; 46(4):307-18. Source: PubMed


The study was undertaken to examine whether Carcinosin-200 (Car-200- [a homeopathic remedy]) could provide additional ameliorative effect, if used intermittently with Natrum sulphuricum-30 (Nat Sulph-30- [a homeopathic remedy]) against hepatocarcinogenesis induced by chronic feeding of p-dimethylaminoazobenzene (p-DAB) and phenobarbital (PB) in mice (Mus musculus). Mice were randomly divided into seven sub-groups: (i) normal untreated; (ii) normal + succussed alcohol; (iii) p-DAB (0.06%) + PB (0.05%); (iv) p-DAB + PB + succussed alcohol, (v) p-DAB + PB + Nat Sulph-30, (vi) p-DAB + PB + Car-200, and (vii) p-DAB + PB + Nat Sulph-30 + Car-200. They were sacrificed at 30, 60, 90 and 120 days for assessment of genotoxicity through cytogenetical end-points like chromosome aberrations, micronuclei, mitotic index and sperm head anomaly and cytotoxicity through assay of widely accepted biomarkers and pathophysiological parameters. Additionally, electron microscopic studies and gelatin zymography for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) were conducted in the liver at 90 and 120 days. Results showed that administration of Nat Sulph-30 alone and in combination with Car-200 reduced the liver tumors with positive ultrastructural changes and in MMPs expression, genotoxic parameters, lipid peroxidation, gamma-glutamyl transferase, lactate dehydrogenase, blood glucose, bilirubin, creatinine, urea and increased GSH, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione reductase activities and hemoglobin, cholesterol, and albumin levels. Thus, intermittent use of Car-200 along with Nat Sulph-30 yielded additional benefit against genotoxicity, cytotoxicity, hepatotoxicity and oxidative stress induced by the carcinogens during hepatocarcinogenesis.

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New Scientific Study Shows Homeopathic Remedy Has Significant Effect

A new study has been performed at the Cytogenetics and Molecular Biology Laboratory Department of Zoology, India with amazing results. The study can be seen here in the JCIM Journal.

“The Objective: Whether ultra-highly diluted homeopathic remedies can affect living systems is questionable. Therefore, this study sees value in the analysis of whether homeopathically diluted glucose 30C has any effect on Escherichia coli exposed to arsenite stress.”

The astounding results were:

” In arsenite-exposed E. coli, the glucose uptake increased along with decreases in the specific activities of hexokinase and glucokinase, intracellular ATP and membrane potential and an increase in the gene expression level of glucose permease. Glucose uptake increased further by the addition of 1%, 3% or ultra-highly diluted glucose in the medium, but not by the placebo.”

Heidi Stevenson writes more about it in Gaia Health:

New Scientific Study Shows Homeopathic Remedy Has Significant Effect

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homeopathy really does work

I was a dedicated scientist about to begin a PhD in neuroscience when, out of the blue, homeopathy bit me on the proverbial bottom.

Science had been my passion since I began studying biology with Mr Hopkinson at the age of 11, and by the age of 21, when I attended the dinner party that altered the course of my life, I had still barely heard of it. The idea that I would one day become a homeopath would have seemed ludicrous.

That turning point is etched in my mind. A woman I’d known my entire life told me that a homeopath had successfully treated her when many months of conventional treatment had failed. As a sceptic, I scoffed, but was nonetheless a little intrigued.

She confessed that despite thinking homeopathy was a load of rubbish, she’d finally agreed to an appointment, to stop her daughter nagging. But she was genuinely shocked to find that, after one little pill, within days she felt significantly better. A second tablet, she said, “saw it off completely”.

I admit I ruined that dinner party. I interrogated her about every detail of her diagnosis, previous treatment, time scales, the lot. I thought it through logically – she was intelligent, she wasn’t lying, she had no previous inclination towards alternative medicine, and her reluctance would have diminished any placebo effect.

Scientists are supposed to make unprejudiced observations, then draw conclusions. As I thought about this, I was left with the highly uncomfortable conclusion that homeopathy appeared to have worked. I had to find out more.

So, I started reading about homeopathy, and what I discovered shifted my world for ever. I became convinced enough to hand my coveted PhD studentship over to my best friend and sign on for a three-year, full-time homeopathy training course.

Now, as an experienced homeopath, it is “science” that is biting me on the bottom. I know homeopathy works, not only because I’ve seen it with my own eyes countless times, but because scientific research confirms it. And yet I keep reading reports in the mediasaying that homeopathy doesn’t work and that this scientific evidence doesn’t exist.

The facts, it seems, are being ignored. By the end of 2009, 142 randomised control trials (the gold standard in medical research) comparing homeopathy with placebo or conventional treatment had been published in peer-reviewed journals – 74 were able to draw firm conclusions: 63 were positive for homeopathy and 11 were negative. Five major systematic reviews have also been carried out to analyse the balance of evidence from RCTs of homeopathy – four were positive (Kleijnen, J, et alLinde, K, et alLinde, K, et alCucherat, M, et al) and one was negative (Shang, A et al). It’s usual to get mixed results when you look at a wide range of research results on one subject, and if these results were from trials measuring the efficacy of “normal” conventional drugs, ratios of 63:11 and 4:1 in favour of a treatment working would be considered pretty persuasive.

Of course, the question of how homeopathy works is another matter. And that is where homeopathy courts controversy. It is indeed puzzling that ultra-high dilutions of substances, with few or no measurable molecules of the original substance left in them, should exert biological effects, but exert biological effects they do.

There are experiments showing that homeopathic thyroxine can alter the rate of metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs, that homeopathic histamine can alter the activity of white blood cells, and that under the right conditions, homeopathic sodium chloride can be made to release light in the same way as normal sodium chloride. The idea that such highly-diluted preparations are not only still active, but retain characteristics of the original substances, may seem impossible, but these kinds of results show it’s a demonstrable fact.

Surely science should come into its own here – solving the riddles of the world around us, pushing the frontiers of knowledge. At least, that is the science I fell in love with. More of a puzzle to me now is the blinkered approach of those who continue, despite increasing evidence, to deny what is in front of them.

In the last few years, there has been much propaganda and misinformation circulated, much of it heralding the death of homeopathy, yet the evidence shows that interest in complementary and alternative medicine is growing.

In February, the “sceptics” campaign had a breakthrough – a report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recommended no further NHS funding for homeopathy, despite a deeply flawed hearing.

The Society of Homeopaths – the largest body representing professional homeopaths – was refused permission to give oral evidence. Also notable by their absence from the panel were primary care trusts who currently commission homeopathy and representatives of patients who use homeopathy. Yet oral evidence was heard from a journalist previously investigated by the Press Complaints Commission for unsubstantiated criticism of homeopaths, and a spokesperson for a charity that has long publicly opposed homeopathy. It is significant that one of the four MPs asked to vote on the report abstained due to concerns about the lack of balance in the evidence heard.

Homeopathy is well-established in the UK, having been available through the NHS since its inception in 1948. More than 400 GPs use homeopathy in their everyday practice and the Society of Homeopaths has 1,500 registered members, from a variety of previous professions including pharmacists, journalists, solicitors and nurses.

And yet the portrayal of homeopathy as charlatanism and witchcraft continues. There is growing evidence that homeopathy works, that it is cost-effective and that patients want it. As drugs bills spiral, and evidence emerges that certain drugs routinely prescribed on the NHS are no better than placebos, maybe it’s time for “sceptics” to stop the witch hunt and look at putting their own house in order.

It’s all a far cry from the schoolgirl biologist who envisioned spending her life in a laboratory playing with bacteria.


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