A group of junior doctors of British Medical
Association have recently passed a resolution denouncing the
practice of Homeopathy. They have gone to the extent of equating
Homeopathy with witchcraft and urged for stopping state funding
to the homoeopathic hospitals. Such types of heinous attacks
are not new to Homoeopathy. The Lancet journal in August 2005,
declared ‘Homoeopathy as placebo’ . However,
the conclusion drawn in this paper on Homoeopathy being a mere
placebo was questioned by a group that re-analyzed the data
in the study and found that Homeopathy had a significant effect
beyond placebo . Prof. Gustav Born, Emeritus Professor of
Pharmacology at King’s College, Prof. Michael Baum, and
Emeritus Professor of Surgery, University College, London and
eminent physicians / scientists of UK launched a campaign against
funding of National Health Service (NHS) for promotion of Homoeopathy
in UK. A widely publicized debate was made in University of
Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, USA on 25
October 2007, “Is Homoeopathy Pure Quackery or Perhaps
the Future of Medicine?” Participating in the debate,
3 scientists spoke in favour, one against Homoeopathy and two
argued for further evaluation of Homoeopathy .
On 20 Aug. 2009, BBC telecast news item ‘Homeopathy not
a cure, says WHO’. Some of the medics from the UK and
Africa, under the banner of ‘Voice of Young Science Network’
which is a part of charity “Sense about Science”
approached WHO to issue instruction for not promoting Homoeopathy
for treating TB, infant diarrhoea, influenza, malaria and HIV.
Another campaign named as ‘1023 homeopathy there is nothing
in it’, wherein a group of protesters from the Merseyside
Skeptics Society of UK, the so called non-profit organization
for the promotion of scientific skepticism, swallowed the contents
of entire bottles of homoeopathic pills (Arsenic alb.) on 31.01.2010
at 10.23 am to illustrate their claims that such remedies are
nothing but sugar pills .
Most recently the Science and Technology Committee of UK, House
of Commons, constituting MPs reported that the National Health
Service (NHS) should cease funding Homoeopathy as they found
a mismatch between the government policies and there is no evidence
that Homoeopathy works beyond placebo effect. Just 4 out of
the 14 members of the Science and Technology Committee voted
on this report: one for, three against Homoeopathy . But,
on 23.02.2010, 70 members of British Parliament, have moved
through Early Day Motion, denouncing the report of the Committee
and have pleaded in support of Homoeopathy .
Many such attempts to prove Homoeopathy as unscientific have
been made in the past and many more could be in the pipeline,
for we have no dearth of skeptics of Homoeopathy.
Evidence base of Homoeopathy
An argument put forth by the critics of Homoeopathy that, as
no medicinal molecule is present in higher dilutions of homoeopathic
medicines, so they are placebos. Several systematic reviews
have been made regarding the effect of homoeopathic potencies
in in-vitro model. It was concluded that homoeopathic potencies
have certain biological effect when tested in in-vitro model
[8, 9, and 10]. Claudia Witt et al evaluated the quality and
results of in-vitro biological experiments with ultra-molecular
stepwise agitated dilutions. 75 publications were found of which
33% were replications; 73% showed an effect with ultra-molecular
dilutions including 68% of high quality experiments. 73% of
replication experiments were also positive .
Four out of five comprehensive systematic reviews of RCTs in
Homeopathy have drawn the conclusion that Homeopathy effects
are beyond placebo [11, 12, 13, and 14]. The fifth systematic
review concluded that “finding is compatible with the
notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo
effects”, but the methodology of that review and its
conclusions have been challenged .
About 142 RCTs have been conducted in Homoeopathy in different
clinical conditions out of which 120 RCTs (85%) were placebo
controlled. The other 22 RCTs (15%) were controlled by other
than placebo. Of the 142 trials, the finding was positive in
44%, (n=63), negative in 8% (n=11), and statistically non-conclusive
in 48% (n=68) of cases .
A 6-year long study conducted in the Bristol Homoeopathic Hospital
showed overall relief in 70% of the patients as an outcome of
homoeopathic treatment .
In recent years, it is established that homoeopathic potencies
have properties other than alcohol, which is used for their
preparation. Similarly, biological plausibility of homoeopathic
medicines is also established. Rao et al studied the structure
of two medicine used in homoeopathy viz. Nat. mur. and Nux vom.
in three different potencies (6C, 12C, 30C) with the help of
UV-VIS spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. They observed that
there are differences in spectra of the two medicines (Nat.
mur. and Nux vom.). Similarly difference in the spectra was
observed between the various potencies of the same medicine.
The authors concluded that an ultradilute sol (potencies) is
indeed structurally different from the pure liquid solvent phase.
The data on the ultradilute sols prepared with succussion, show
clear differences between the differently treated samples (different
Contribution of CCRH
Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) under the
Dept. of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt.
of India is working towards understanding the scientific basis
of homeopathic medicines. The Council conducted a randomized
double blind, placebo-controlled trial on Chikungunya during
its outbreak in 2007 in Kerala. The preventive trial done on
38, 499 healthy volunteers revealed that the homoeopathic medicine
Bryonia alba had a significant protective effect in comparison
to placebo . A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of
homoeopathic medicines in HIV/AIDS conducted by the Council
confirmed a positive role of homoeopathic medicines in improving
immune status (CD4+ count) of HIV/AIDS patients, as compared
to placebo . The Council also collaborates with various
Institutes of Excellence to perform advanced researches. In
a study conducted in collaboration with the School of Tropical
Medicine, Kolkata (WB), it was found that the homoeopathic medicine
Belladonna diminished the infection of Japanese Encephalitis
virus on chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) of chick embryo. In
another ongoing in-vivo study on chicken at High Security Animal
Diseases Laboratory, Bhopal to evaluate the effects of homoeopathic
medicines against Avian Influenza virus (H5N1), it has been
found that mean death time in the medicine group is significantly
less than the placebo group. At Central Institute of Medicinal
and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow, the scientists working on plant
model have found that the homoeopathic medicine Zincum sulph.,
in various potencies, has different effects, as compared to
An exploratory scientific trial on homoeopathic medicines was
conducted by CCRH at Regional Research Institute for Homoeopathy,
Mumbai using Medical Analyzer developed by Bhabha Atomic Research
Centre, Trombay, on 77 healthy volunteers. The variability spectra
of heart rate (HRV) and peripheral blood flow (BFV) were recorded
after the administration of Aconitum napellus (6C, 30C, 200C,
1M, 10M), Sulphur (200C, 1M), Gelsemium sempervirens (200C,
1M), Pulsatilla nigricans (200C), Arsenic album (200C, 1M) and
Phosphorus (200C, 1M) with a placebo control. Specific changes
on the heart rate variability (HRV) and blood flow variability
(BFV) were observed following homoeopathic medication .
Associating Homoeopathy with witchcraft or placebo is quite
unbecoming on the part of the critics. It also amounts to insulting
the choice of the countless people, who opt for homoeopathic
treatment. Let the people have freedom of choosing their therapeutic
intervention, not the critics and skeptics.
1. Aijing Shang, Karin Huwiler-Müntener, Linda Nartey,
Peter Jüni, Stephan Dörig, et al. Are the clinical
effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of
placebo-controlled trials of homeopathy and allopathy. The Lancet.
2005; 366 (9487) 726-732.
2. R. Lüdtke, A.L.B. Rutten. The conclusions on the effectiveness
of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analyzed trials. Journal
of Clinical Epidemiology. 2008; 61(12) 1197-1204.
3. Peter W. Gold, S. Novella, R. Roy, D. Marcus, I. Bell, N.
Davidovitch, A. Saine. Homeopathy—quackery or a key to
the future of medicine? Homeopathy. 2008; 97(1)28-33.
4. BBC News. Homeopathy not a cure, says WHO. Accessed on 9.3.2010
5. Homeopathy: There’s nothing in it. Accessed on 9.3.2010
6. Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy - Science and Technology Committee.
Accessed on 9.3.2010. url:http://www.publications. parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/45/4502.htm
7. UK Parliament - Early Day Motions-23.02.2010. Accessed on
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9. Leoni Villano Bonamin, Peter Christian Endler. Animal models
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obtained in a cellular model system. Homeopathy; 2010; 99 (1):3-14.
11. Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G. Clinical trials of
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12. Boissel JP, Cucherat M, Haugh M, Gauthier E (1996). Critical
literature review on the e effectiveness of homoeopathy: overview
of data from homoeopathic medicine trials. In: Homoeopathic
Medicine Research Group, Report of the Commission of the European
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14. Linde K, Clausius N, Ramirez G, et al (1997). Are the clinical
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17. Nair J, Gopinadhan S, Kurup t, Kumar BSJ, Aggarwal A, Roja
v, Nayak D et al. Homoeopathic genus epidemicus ‘Bryonia
alba’ as a prophylactic during an outbreak of Viral Fever
/ Chikungunya in India - A cluster andomized double blind placebo
controlled trial. (submitted for Publication)
18. Rastogi DP, Singh VP, Singh V, Dey SK, Rao K. Homeopathy
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H, Nayak C. BARC’s Medical Analyzer System for Fundamental
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