The Research Evidence Base for Homeopathy
Systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of homeopathy
• Four of five major comprehensive reviews of RCTs in homeopathy have reached broadly
positive conclusions. 1,2,3,4 Based on a smaller selection of trials, a fifth review came to a
negative conclusion about homeopathy. 5
• Positive conclusions have been reported in 9 of 23 reviews of RCTs in specific categories of
medical condition (the other 14 are largely inconclusive):
•allergies and upper respiratory tract infections 6
•childhood diarrhoea 7
•influenza treatment 8
•post-operative ileus 9
•rheumatic diseases 10
•seasonal allergic rhinitis 11,12,13
RCTs of homeopathy – the original peer-reviewed research literature
• Up to the end of 2009, 142 RCTs had been published: 63 positive; 11 negative; 68 not
statistically conclusive. In addition to the above seven conditions, there is positive evidence
from two or more RCTs in each of the following three areas:
There is evidence from single RCTs (not refuted elsewhere) in favour of homeopathy for a
number of other conditions, including: acute otitis media, 22 ankle sprain, 23 bronchitis,24 chronic fatigue,25 premenstrual syndrome. 26
Cost effectiveness of homeopathy
Integration of homeopathy with conventional treatment is associated with better clinical
outcomes for similar or lower costs. 27,28,29
Clinical observational studies
70.7% of 6,544 follow-up patients, treated at Bristol Homeopathic Hospital for a wide range of
chronic medical complaints, reported positive health changes. 30
Many patients attending the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital were able to reduce or stop
conventional medication following homeopathic treatment.
Laboratory research has obtained evidence that water may retain information about homeopathically-prepared solutes. 32,33,34
1.Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G. Clinical trials of homeopathy.20. Friese K-H, Zabalotnyi DI. Homeopathy in acute rhinosinusitis.
Br Med J 1991; 302: 316–23.A double-blind, placebo controlled study shows the effectiveness
and tolerability of a homeopathic combination remedy.
2.Linde K, Clausius N, Ramirez G, et al. Are the clinical effects
HNO 2007; 55: 271–7.
of homoeopathy placebo effects? A meta-analysis of
placebo-controlled trials. Lancet 1997; 350: 834–43.21. Zabolotnyi DI, Kneis KC, Richardson A, et al. Efficacy of a
complex homeopathic medication (Sinfrontal) in patients with
3.Linde K, Scholz M, Ramirez G, et al. Impact of study quality
acute maxillary sinusitis: a prospective, randomized, double-
on outcome in placebo controlled trials of homeopathy.
blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial. Explore (NY)
J Clin Epidemiol 1999; 52: 631–6.
2007; 3: 98–109.
4.Cucherat M, Haugh MC, Gooch M, Boissel JP. Evidence of
22. Jacobs J, Springer DA, Crothers D. Homeopathic treatment
clinical efficacy of homeopathy – A meta-analysis of clinical trials.
of acute otitis media in children: a preliminary randomized
Eur J Clin Pharmacol 2000; 56: 27–33.
placebo-controlled trial. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2001; 20:
5.Shang A, Huwiler-Muntener K, Nartey L, et al. Are the clinical177–83.
effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of
23. Zell J, Connert WD, Mau J, Feuerstake G. Treatment of acute
placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy.
sprains of the ankle. Controlled double-blind trial to test the
Lancet 2005; 366: 726–32.
effectiveness of a homeopathic ointment. Fortschr Med 1988;
6.Bornhöft G, Wolf U, Ammon K, et al. Effectiveness, safety 106: 96–100.
and cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in general practice –
24. Diefenbach M, Schilken J, Steiner G, Becker HJ. Homeopathic
summarized health technology assessment. Forsch
therapy in respiratory tract diseases. Evaluation of a clinical
Komplementärmed 2006; 13 Suppl 2: 19–29.
study in 258 patients. Z Allgemeinmed 1997; 73: 308–14.
7.Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D.
Homeopathy for childhood diarrhea: combined results and25. Weatherley-Jones E, Nicholl JP, Thomas KJ, et al. A randomized,
controlled, triple-blind trial of the efficacy of homeopathic
metaanalysis from three randomized, controlled clinical trials.
Pediatr Infect Dis J 2003; 22: 229–34.treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. J Psychosom Res 2004;
8.Vickers A, Smith C. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for
preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes 26. Yakir M, Kreitler S, Brzezinski A, et al. Effects of homeopathic
(Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library. Chichester, UK:treatment in women with premenstrual syndrome: a pilot study.
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 2006; CD001957. Br Homeopath J 2001; 90: 148–53.
9.Barnes J, Resch K-L, Ernst E. Homeopathy for postoperative27. Witt C, Keil T, Selim D, et al. Outcome and costs of homeopathic
ileus? A meta-analysis. J Clin Gastroenterol 1997; 25: 628–33.and conventional treatment strategies: a comparative cohort
study in patients with chronic disorders. Complement Ther
10. Jonas WB, Linde K, Ramirez G. Homeopathy and rheumatic
Med 2005; 13: 79–86.
disease – Complementary and alternative therapies for rheumatic
diseases II. Rheum Dis Clin North Am 2000; 26: 117–23.28. Witt CM, Lüdtke R, Baur R, Willich SN. Homeopathic medical
practice: long-term results of a cohort study with 3,981 patients.
11. Wiesenauer M, Lüdtke R. A meta-analysis of the homeopathic
BMC Public Health 2005; 5: 115.
treatment of pollinosis with Galphimia glauca. Forsch
Komplementärmed Klass Naturheilkd 1996; 3: 230–6.
29. Trichard M, Chaufferin G Nicoloyannis N. Pharmacoeconomic
comparison between homeopathic and antibiotic treatment
12. Taylor MA, Reilly D, Llewellyn-Jones RH, et al. Randomised
strategies in recurrent acute rhinopharyngitis in children.
controlled trials of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial
Homeopathy 2005; 94: 3–9.
allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series.
Br Med J 2000; 321: 471–6.
30. Spence D, Thompson E, Barron S. Homeopathic treatment
for chronic disease: a 6-year university hospital based
13. Bellavite P, Ortolani R, Pontarollo F, et al. Immunology and
outpatient observational study. J Altern Complement Med 2005;
homeopathy. 4. Clinical studies – Part 2. eCAM 2006;
31. Sharples F, van Haselen R, Fisher P. NHS patients’ perspective
14. Schneider B, Klein P, Weiser M. Treatment of vertigo with a
on complementary medicine. Complement Ther Med 2003;
homeopathic complex remedy compared with usual treatments:
a meta-analysis of clinical trials. Arzneimittelforschung 2005;
32. Rey L. Thermoluminescence of ultra-high dilutions of lithium
15. Fisher P. An experimental double-blind clinical trial method inchloride and sodium chloride, Physica (A) 2003; 323: 67–74.
homoeopathy. Use of a limited range of remedies to treat
33. Bell IR, Lewis DA, Brooks AJ, et al. Gas discharge visualisation
fibrositis. BrHomeopath J 1986; 75: 142–7.
evaluation of ultramolecular doses of homeopathic medicines
16. Bell I, Lewis D, Brooks A, et al. Improved clinical status inunder blinded, controlled conditions. J Altern Complement Med
fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic2003; 9: 25–38.
remedies versus placebo. Rheumatology 2004; 43: 577–82.
34. Elia V, Niccoli M. Thermodynamics of extremely diluted aqueous
17. Relton C, Smith C, Raw J, et al. Healthcare provided by asolutions. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1999; 879: 241–8.
homeopath as an adjunct to usual care for fibromyalgia (FMS):
35. Linde K, Jonas WB, Melchart D, et al. Critical review and
results of a pilot randomised controlled trial. Homeopathy 2009;
meta-analysis of serial agitated dilutions in experimental
toxicology. Hum Exp Toxicol 1994; 13: 481–92.
18. Shealy CN, Thomlinson RP, Cox RH, Borgmeyer RN.
Osteoarthritic pain: a comparison of homeopathy and36. Belon P, Cumps J, Ennis M, et al. Histamine dilutions modulate
A gentle miracle post by David.