Facts about homoeopathy & homoeopathy research

Homoeopathy is used by hundreds of millions of patients in primary healthcare settings internationally, prescribed by an estimated 500,000 medically trained health practitioners.

Homoeopathy is integrated into the healthcare systems of many countries, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognising it as the most used form of traditional medicine in developed countries and the second most used in developing countries [1]

In the European Union, homoeopathic medicines are pharmacy-only products used by 29% of the population in daily healthcare [2]. In France it is used by around 50% of the population.

The EU Commission acknowledges the strong public demand for homoeopathic products, emphasising that it “is not for the Commission to take sides for or against a particular style of medical practice”, instead focussing on its statutory role of harmonising quality standards to ensure public access to safe and high quality medicines, and supporting user choice [3]. In Australia homoeopathic products are recognised and regulated as therapeutic goods.

Homoeopathy research:

By the end of 2014, 189 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of homeopathy on 100 different medical conditions had been published in peer-reviewed journals. Of these, 104 papers were placebo-controlled: 41% found that homoeopathy was effective, 54% were inconclusive and only 5% were negative [4] – strikingly similar to the findings of RCTs of conventional medicine (44%, 49% and 7%, respectively [5]).

Close to 75% of laboratory and in vitro experiments on ultra-high dilute homoeopathic medicines show the substance having a biological effect and to date nearly 75% of replications have been positive [6]. Reproducibility of these results is increasing as scientists are better understanding factors influencing the results [7].

Evidence from observational studies examining the effectiveness of homoeopathy in real-world clinical settings consistently show that patients improve clinically following homoeopathic treatment, often from chronic, difficult to treat conditions [8]. Some of these studies also highlight areas of potential economic benefit in terms of reduced prescribing of conventional drugs.

A comprehensive 2012 Swiss Health technology Assessment of homoeopathic research concluded that evidence from laboratory studies and clinical research shows that homoeopathy is clinically effective, cost effective and safe [9]. Switzerland officially integrated homoeopathy into its healthcare system in 2017 through popular demand.

Some examples of recent high quality research into homoeopathy include:

  • A recent high quality meta-analysis found that homoeopathic medicines, when prescribed during individualised treatment, are 1.5- to 2.0-times more likely to have a beneficial effect than placebo [10]. This finding passed stringent sensitivity analysis, meaning its finding are robust.
  • A 2015 placebo-controlled RCT assessed the efficacy of individualised homoeopathic treatment and of Fluoxetine (a.k.a Prozac), for moderate to severe depression in menopausal women [11]. Both treatments were found to be safe and to have an effect significantly different from placebo. Homoeopathy caused greater clinical improvement in symptoms of depression than fluoxetine and also improved the patients’ menopausal symptoms, whereas fluoxetine did not.
  • In a triple-blinded RCT involving 52 pregnant sows treated with either Coli 30K (a homoeopathic medicine made from E. coli bacteria) or placebo, the sows gave birth to 525 piglets and those in the group treated with Coli 30K had 6 times less diarrhoea than the piglets in the placebo group. This result was highly statistically significant (p < 0.0001)[12]. E. coli infection is major problem in agriculture.
  • A large study at Bristol Homeopathic Hospital followed over 6,500 consecutive patients with over 23,000 attendances over a six-year period. 70% of follow-up patients reported improved health, while 50% reported major improvement [13]. In France, a major study following 8,559 patients attending GP practices assessed the effectiveness of homoeopathic treatment, demonstrating positive outcomes in common conditions, including upper respiratory tract infections and musculoskeletal disorders [14].
Homeopathy research database – CORE-Hom:

A wealth of clinical and basic research into homoeopathy has been conducted and published in peer reviewed journals. The Clinical Outcome Research in Homeopathy database (15) comprises over 1200 clinical studies on homeopathy (from RCTs to observational studies) and is the most comprehensive and academically rigorous database of its kind in the world. The Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) (16), an innovative international charity created to address the need for high quality scientific research in homoeopathy, is an excellent resource.

      1. WHO Global Atlas of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Map Volume, 2005, page 63, http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/43108/1/9241562862_map.pdf?ua=1
      2. Homeopathic medicinal products. Commission report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of Directives 92/73 and 92/74
      3. EU Commission, COM(90) 72 final of 22.03.1990, Explanatory Memorandum and Report to the Council.
      4. http://www.facultyofhomeopathy.org/research/
      5. El Dib RP, Atallah AN, Andriolo RB. Mapping the Cochrane evidence for decision making in health care. J Eval Clin Pract., 2007;13(4):689-92 | PubMed
      6. Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, Weisshuhn TE, Baumgartner S, Willich SN. The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies–a systematic review of the literature. Complement Ther Med., 2007;15(2):128-38 | PubMed
      7. Endler P, Thieves K, Reich C, Matthiessen P, Bonamin L, Scherr C, Baumgartner S. Repetitions of fundamental research models for homeopathically prepared dilutions beyond 10(-23): a bibliometric study. Homeopathy, 2010; 99(1):25-36
      8. Oberservational Studies on Homeopathy. https://www.hri-research.org/resources/essentialevidence/observational-studies/
      9. Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs by Gudrun Bornhöft and Peter F. Matthiessen (Editors). 2011. ISBN 978-3-642-20637-5.
      10. Mathie, R. T. et al. (2014) Randomised placebo-controlled trials of individualised homeopathic treatment: systematic review and meta-analysis, Syst Rev, 3:142
      11. Macías-Cortés ED et al. Individualized homeopathic 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, 2015 ;10(3):e0118440 | Full text
      12. Camerlink I, Ellinger L, Bakker EJ, Lantinga EA. Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case of Escherichia coli diarrhoea in neonatal piglets. Homeopathy, 2010; 99: 57–62 | PubMed
      13. Spence D, Thompson E A, Barron S J. Homeopathic treatment for chronic disease: a 6-year university-hospital outpatient observational study. J Altern Complement Med, 2005; 5: 793-798
      14. Grimaldi-Bensouda, L. et al. Benchmarking the burden of 100 diseases: results of a nationwide representative survey within general practices. BMJ Open 1, e000215 (2011)
      15. CORE-Hom research database: https://www.hri-research.org/resources/research-databases/core-hom/
      16. Homeopathy Research Institute. https://www.hri-research.org/

Further Resources:

Your Health Your Choice – https://www.yourhealthyourchoice.com.au

Release the First Report – https://releasethefirstreport.com/

Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) – https://www.hri-research.org/

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