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.
Did you know that:
Celebrities such as Paul McCartney, David Beckham, Twiggy, Caprice, Susan Hampshire, Tina Turner, Louise Jameson, Gaby Roslin, Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Nadia Sawalha, Jennifer Aniston, Jade Jagger, Roger Daltry, Annabel Croft and Meera Syal, as well as The Queen and Prince Charles, are all users of homeopathy.
An estimated 5.75million people a year in the UK go to see a complementary practitioner for treatment and it has been estimated that one in four members of the public would like to access complementary medicine on the National Health Service.(1)
In a survey conducted by One Poll, 78 per cent said they would like to access both conventional and complementary treatment on the NHS. (2)
In April 2007, Mintel published research on complementary medicines which showed that public interest in the UK was growing. Over-the-counter homeopathic treatments, such as arnica cream, had seen a 24 per cent growth over a five year period from 2002-2007.(3)
Homeopathy is the most frequently used CAM therapy in five out of 16 surveyed countries in Europe and among the three most frequently used in 11 out of 16 surveyed countries.(4)
In India, alternative treatments, including homeopathy, are well established and integrated into the healthcare system, with 94 per cent of people saying that they have faith in alternative remedies, and 62 per cent trusting homeopathy.(5)
In 2000, a House of Lords Select Committee report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine listed homeopathy as a “group one” therapy, along with osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture and herbal medicine. Group one therapies are recognised as having their own diagnostic approach and treatment methods. (6)
People with long-term chronic illness are most likely to use CAM,(7) most commonly seeking treatment for musculoskeletal problems, stress relief, anxiety and depression.(8,9)
Up to date research evidence shows that of the 134 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of homeopathy published in peer-reviewed journals, 59 are positive (that is, demonstrating that homeopathy has an effect beyond placebo), eight trials are negative, and the remaining 67 are inconclusive.(10) This is despite the fact that researchers in the field suggest RCTs are not the best research tool to test homeopathy or any other individualised treatment.(11) New research models are being developed to better reflect homeopathic clinical practice.
In 2005, the largest service evaluation of homeopathic treatment reported that 70 per cent of 6,500 follow-up patients experienced improvement in their health. Eczema, asthma, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, depression and chronic fatigue improved.(12)
A study over one month in 2007, looking at a total of 1,602 patients seen at follow-up appointments in all five UK NHS homeopathic hospitals, found that eczema was currently the most common referral to homeopathy by NHS doctors.Other commonly treated complaints were chronic fatigue, menopausal disorder and osteoarthritis.(13)
Dr David Reilly and his team at Glasgow University have conducted four double blind placebo controlled trials, carried out over a period of 18 years, specifically designed to examine the evidence for the hypothesis that any benefits of homeopathy are due to the placebo effect. All four trials involving a total of 252 patients have produced similar, positive results demonstrating that homeopathy has an effect greater than placebo and that these results are reproducible.(14)
The Society of Homeopaths membership is growing year on year, with 1,400 members currently registered. The most frequent source of new patients is via “word of mouth” (Membership survey 2006).
Homeopaths come from all walks of life and in the main have re-trained after learning about the benefits of homeopathy following an illness suffered by themselves or close family members.
The Society of Homeopaths register includes members who were previously accountants, lawyers, journalists, teachers, pharmacists, nurses, bankers and chemists.
65 per cent are aged between 35 and 54, and 81 per cent are women. 69 per cent practice part-time, 43 per cent have an additional paid occupation, and 56 per cent saw patients from a home clinic.(15)
Homeopathy on the NHS:
Homeopathy has been available on the NHS since 1948.
There are 4 NHS funded homeopathic hospitals in the UK. The largest, the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital treats around 2,000 patients per week.
In 2005, a report commissioned by Prince Charles and carried out by economist Christopher Smallwood found that following a pilot study where patients were treated with complementary and alternative medicines there was a 30 per cent drop in the number of consultations with GPs and a saving in prescription drugs bills of 50 per cent.(16)
Many MPs support homeopathy. In 2007, 206 MPs signed an Early Day Motion welcoming the contribution of homeopathy to NHS healthcare.
Registered members of The Society of Homeopaths have been integrating homeopathy with conventional healthcare in clinic projects nationwide, and some are working in specialised services in the NHS.
A gentle miracle post by David.
Homeopathy as Green Medicine
What is Green Medicine?
What exactly is Green Medicine? Green or Sustainable Medicine recognizes the link between the environment, medicine and human health and seeks to provide better health care while protecting our limited environmental and medical resources.
It stimulates the body’s own resources and extraordinary abilities to repair and rebuild itself, and help reverse even serious illness, using natural medicines and not usually drugs, to move our bodies in a healing direction (personal green). It means living a clean life at home, avoiding exposures, as much as possible, to toxic synthetic chemicals (local green). It also means working to keep the larger world around us cleaner, greener, as it was originally meant to be (global green). There are numerous reasons to pursue sustainability within health care, including; responsibility toward the environment for both nature and ourselves, ethical duty for the welfare of future generations, just and equitable allocation of resources, financial benefits of avoiding increasing costs, improved public health and health care delivery, and a spiritual call to stewardship.
Homeopathic medicine is one of the safest forms of medicine on the planet. It provides a more gentle, less toxic form of medicine. It can be effectively used in pregnant women and newborns. It minimizes the amount of chemical waste and leaves virtually no chemical waste footprint on the environment. The Hippocratic Principle of Do No Harm requires that we develop sustainable practices and prevent harm to humans, our community, and the natural world.
Homeopathy uses natural medicines that come from mineral, plant and animal worlds. Minute amounts of the substances are used so that plants and animals do not need to be destroyed to prepare these medicines.
Homeopathic medicines and homeopathic treatment is relatively inexpensive. A recent national research study indicated that homeopathic medicines average 1/5 the cost of conventional medicines and homeopathic treatment. This relative inexpensiveness reduces the financial imprint of homeopathic medicine and is why homeopathy is often referred to as the People’s Medicine.
One of the keys to Green Medicine is the concept of Individualization. Homeopathic medicines are individualized to uniquely match the right medicine to the right patient. This reduces waste and reduces side effects in treatment.
Homeopathic medicine is holistic. It treats patients on all levels of their being including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. In doing so, it reduces stress in the process of healthcare. The long length of visits and supportive care helps patients feel listened to and heard. Homeopathic medicine is also useful for all types of diseases including human disease, animal disease and plant disease.
Homeopathy is highly sustainable medicine ecologically, financially, and socially. Medicines cost just pennies to dispense, and create no drain on natural resources, and no pollution. It is practiced all over the world, often in the poorest regions where pharmaceutical companies have no interest. Mothers and fathers use it safely at home to treat stings, bruises, fevers and more; at the same time that homeopathic practitioners use it to treat serious illness such as malaria in India and AIDS in Africa. Recently completed studies have linked global warming, climate change and greenhouse gases to a wide range of health problems, including lowered immunity, heart disease, asthma, allergies, cancer, and diabetes. These are all conditions treatable using homeopathic medicine. Homeopathic medicine has also shown considerable efficacy in the treatment of epidemic disease.
Homeopathic medicine supports the bodies own natural defenses making it less susceptible to disease. Homeopathic medicines have been used successfully to prevent contracting disease during epidemic outbreaks.
8. Greening the Local Environment
Removing obstacles to cure (local green) in homeopathic treatment requires patients to lead a cleaner, more healthy green lifestyle. This may include eating organic foods, drinking clean water.
9. Preserving the Global Environment
Homeopathic research is continually investigating new and natural substances from around the world. Homeopathic practice generates minimal waste. Currently hospitals create two million tons of waste each year. Homeopathic practice reduces carbon footprints. This reduces our contribution to increasing concentrations in nature of substances extracted from the earth’s crust, reduces our contribution to increasing concentrations in nature of substances produced by society and reduces our contribution to increasing degradation of nature by physical means.
10. Homeopathic Education in Green Medicine
Homeopathic education is also designed to be green. It focuses on a holistically based training that is individualized and sustainable. The American Medical College of Homeopathy in Phoenix, Arizona offers an online course in affiliation in partnership with Teleosis Institute, called the Green Health Care Online program. This is an 8-week online course offered four times per year. Participants collaborate online to exchange strategies and pioneer ideas for affecting change within their communities and medical practices. The goals include:
Current research and theory supporting Sustainable Medicine
Best Practices for introducing affordable and renewable green health care into your consultations
Strategies for affecting positive change for the environment and medical practices
Connect with other forward-thinking healthcare professionals
The purpose of the course is to prepare health professionals to become leaders in the emerging discipline of Sustainable Medicine. The Green Health Care Online course reviews up-to-date theory and research behind Sustainable Medicine and introduces participants to the best practices for initiating green health care from greening their offices, to offering affordable and renewable medical treatments, and promoting community and environmental health
A gentle miracle post by David.
This article was released on Twitter this morning.
A gentle miracle post by David.
Perhaps the greatest want of our age, is a correct knowlege of the physiology of our being and the laws that govern life, health and disease.
A gentle miracle post by David.
The medicine man
With his bag in hand
Giving the pills
As taught in the land
Of prescribing the poisons
The symptoms it treats
The person’s receiving
vital force depletes
When will they learn
Suppression is wrong
Vital force needs to cure
with its resonance song
The dis-ease needs treating
With a similar tune
An holistic vibration
The body makes room
for cure to be gentle
rapid and true
To the body’s own rhythm
Permanent and you
can heal as your body
is meant to get well
with a gentle miracle
instead of chemical hell!
Hahnemann gave us
A gift to be shared
Suppression is spared
Sceptics all hate us
Our hearts will hold true
To the soft gentle miracles
Homeopathy can do
A gentle miracle post by David.
Arsenicum The Warldorf
I hope you are well, as was worried about your health before I left, as you couldn’t shift that cold, but hopefully you have got rid of it now and are ok.
As you can see we have checked into the Warldorf in London for a long weekend and what a beautiful place this is. We haven’t gone away for a longer period this time as I am worrying about work and Pete’s job so I thought it best we stay on home shores and nearer home just in case.
Well, we booked into a mini suite which I have to say is a little slice of heaven. The furnishings are so beautifully done and matching with the heavy lined curtains that frame the most amazingly clean windows!
The art work is somewhat mixed and the guilt frames all match and are hung in the room with an eye for detail. Haven’t had to straighten one of them, yet!
The bathroom is like a palace, the marble floor is heated, mirrors shining without a finger mark on them and the gold taps are perfectly polished.
I love the little toiletries that the chambermaid puts in the bathroom every morning when she cleans the room. Natural floral products all in the sweetest bottles that she lines up in size order, the shampoo, the shower gel then the moisturiser all on a gleaming silver tray on the shelf. They’re so lovely, I don’t like to use them as then it messes up the display. Pete told me a little trick so if I do take one and only use half, we place the half empty bottle in my suitcase and then the display is replaced with another full one! Well, you can’t have a half empty bottle in a bathroom like this can you?
The dresses I packed were ideal and have worn everything but one so far which I am saving for our last dinner. When we arrived the porter took our bags upstairs to the suite and we were offered champagne in the lounge. When we eventually got to the room, I was somewhat shocked to find everything unpacked! I wasn’t expecting that, and Pete said I was a bit paranoid when I went through everything to make sure nothing had been stolen or missing. Also I was very relieved to know that everything matched, especially the underwear as he had even unpacked them and put them in a drawer! Phew! Well, you can’t have people thinking that I wear non matching undies can you!
Dinner is exquisite and the service cannot be faulted, we even had a water waiter!!! The table setting was divine and all laid out and probably measured! That’s an idea for my next dinner party.
Am worrying about the children not being with us but they are at the grandparents so should be ok. I’ve called twice just to make sure as I think Billy was coming down with the same thing that you have had recently. Pete keeps telling me not to worry but easy for him to say!
So worries aside, the trip is lovely and we are off to the west end tonight to see a show that Pete has booked and won’t tell me what we are seeing, I hate not knowing as it means he has the control! Right you take care and keep well and will catch up soon.
A gentle miracle post by David.
The Retreat Centre
Well after much deliberation, research, pros and cons of the trip and what I am going to get out of it, you can see by the address I am on retreat in France, so I can just get away and be me and what’s more its silent for the most of the day so I don’t have to talk to anyone about why I’m here, what I’m about or worse how I am feeling!
Saying that I am currently very up and down, one minute crying (on my own of course) the next minute happy and the bubbly cheerful me. Mostly I’m happy when we are all eating together, which isn’t silent, well, I don’t want people to think I’m a crackpot do I? And I definitely don’t want anyone asking me if I am alright!
Best thing about this place is the peace, no sudden noises, the only sounds are the gentle bells that call us to silence then call us to have the option of coming out of silence in the evening.
The meditation sessions are great, but I have to compose myself as don’t want to crack in front of people. That exercise you suggested of writing down anything that comes to mind in a notebook was great, thanks for that, and I am writing, but I probably won’t read it over as I’ll probably get angry about it all. I went to a couple of meditation sessions, but I think I may have over thought the process so ended up confused and frustrated on not being able to blank my mind off and be in the moment or get it right and perfect like the teachers. No surprise there then!
There was an option to book a bed in a dorm and shared bathroom, but I chose to the private and ensuite one! Well I don’t want to have to be forced to use a urinal or shared washing facilities! Please no! Thing is cant lock the room door so am a bit worried about coming back from my day and finding I’ve been robbed or someone is hiding in my room so I carry out my usual sweep of the place before retiring for the night.
Food is good, lots of vegetarian options and vegan dishes, no fat or rich foods and luckily no slimy stuff either. Only criticism is that they don’t use salt in their cooking so should have packed a little salt packet to add sometimes. I could kill for a warm pasty though with all that pastry…… yum.
There are plenty of short walks in the hills nearby and the grounds are beautiful so I get up have my breakfast then take myself off once the bell has sounded away from anyone. They have some options of set timetables but I want to keep control of my itinerary on this trip as I need to just retreat from it all really.
The journey here was good, the ferry crossing was excellent, especially as I booked a cabin to myself, and the car did the journey a treat, it took eleven hours and I stopped a few times for a break. But was dying for a wee when I arrived as I couldn’t go for one in the French loos, no privacy! The weather isn’t too hot and there is lots of shade with the plum trees in the grounds so plenty of shade available, besides that why I have chosen spring to come and not the peak of the summer season.
Right better go, as the bell has just rung for silence to end so must have shower to look bright and breezy for the communal dining!
A gentle miracle post by David.