By Nicole Duelli, Certified Classical Homeopath, Hp CCH RSHom(NA)
Most people in my experience–including many journalists, medical doctors, natural health practitioners and even patients–are entirely unaware that there are hundreds of scientific studies on homeopathy that show positive results, and that this research includes double blind placebo controlled studies, the gold standard as far as research standards go. Compiled below is a sample of research that I have discovered in my own search for resources, for both my classes and workshops, as well as my articles and blogs. While it is just a sample of research, my hope is that the references may be valuable as they link directly to other web pages to offer some solidity–or credibility–to the vast amounts of information on the web that is not necessarily based on fact.
As these studies are really just bits and pieces, I invite everyone to refer to the Homeopathic Research Institute for a thorough examination and analysis of the research. In particular, they have an excellent FAQ section, which answers many of the questions most people new to homeopathy have about homeopathy research. As a working homeopath practitioner who sees the results of homeopathic remedies every day, I know beyond all doubt that homeopathic remedies work beyond the placebo effect (or the idea that you have to believe in it for it to work). On the other hand, I understand skeptics who do not have this experience and want to see the evidence before arriving at a conclusion.
You will notice that I have only included positive studies. This is because in my experience–as a homeopath–many of the studies with negative outcomes have been done incorrectly, since they have not followed the principles of homeopathy, in particular the principle that the remedy must match the symptoms a person experiences rather than the disease diagnosis. This principle is very different from conventional medicine and yet it is crucial for the homeopathic medicine to be effective. Furthermore, homeopathy is criticized for not having enough research, but in actual fact because it is exceptionally safe (due to its unique preparation), homeopathy does not need the vast amounts of research to prove its safety, but rather just needs a sprinkling of evidence to prove that the remedies are not merely placebo effects.
Finally, I would like to add that most of the research tends to focus on disease, which is the opposite of the classical homeopathy approach which works with the whole person to tap into the body’s self healing potential. In fact some of the studies below are on cells, or on animals, or using complex homeopathy (a mixture of homeopathic remedies), and I have included these not because I support that sort of research, but because these studies do provide additional evidence that homeopathy works beyond placebo. By focussing on disease, the research does not even begin to show the long term benefits of homeopathy treatment for a person’s well being, not only through lessening of symptoms and relief of suffering, but by an overall improvement in an individual’s level of health, quality of life and resilience to stress and illness. In my view, this is where the real benefit of homeopathy lies.
Independent thorough analysis of the research on homeopathy:
In 2011, the Swiss Government commissioned a Health Report that reviewed hundreds of research studies on homeopathy and other types of alternative medicine, with the conclusion: “There is sufficient evidence for the preclinical effectiveness and the clinical efficacy of homeopathy for its safety and economy.” Bornhöft, G. Matthiessen, P. Homeopathy in Health care: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs: An HTA Report on the Homeopathy as Part of the Swiss Complementary Medicine Evaluation Programme, Homeopathy is covered under the National Health Care system in Switzerland.
Research on chronic disease as a whole:
An observational study of over 6000 patients over a 6 year period concluded that homeopathy offers “positive health changes to a substantial proportion of a large cohort of patients with a wide range of chronic diseases.” Spence, D S, et al. “Homeopathic Treatment for Chronic Disease: a 6-Year, University-Hospital Outpatient Observational Study.” J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Oct;11(5):793-8.
“Marked and sustained improvements” were found following homeopathic treatment among long-term care of adult and child patients with chronic diseases, including “disease severity and quality of life.” Witt, C M, et al. “Homeopathic Medical Practice: Long-Term Results of a Cohort Study with 3981 Patients.” BMC Public Health. 2005 Nov 3;5:115.
On mental health:
“Patients with Anxiety Depression Disorder, who chose to consult GPs prescribing homeopathy reported less use of psychotropic drugs, and were marginally more likely to experience clinical improvement, than patients managed with conventional care.” Grimaldi-Bensouda L et al. Homeopathic medical practice for anxiety and depression in primary care: the EPI3 cohort study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 May 4;16:125. doi: 10.1186/s12906-016-1104-2.
“Homeopathy and fluoxetine are effective and safe antidepressants for climacteric women. Homeopathy and fluoxetine were significantly different from placebo in response definition only. Homeopathy, but not fluoxetine, improves menopausal symptoms scored by Greene Climacteric Scale” Macías-Cortés, C, 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, 13 Mar. 2015.
Adler, U. C., et al. “Homeopathic Individualized Q-Potencies versus Fluoxetine for Moderate to Severe Depression: Double-Blind, Randomized Non-Inferiority Trial.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011: 520182. Published online 2011 Jun 8
On ADHD, anxiety:
“63% had a statistically significant improvement in the primary outcome.” “No serious adverse events related to the therapy were reported.” Brulé D1, Sule L, Landau-Halpern B, Nastase V, Jain U, Vohra S, Boon H. An open-label pilot study of homeopathic treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and youth. Forschende Komplementarmedizin. 2014;21(5):302-9.
Frei H1, Everts R, von Ammon K, Kaufmann F, Walther D, Hsu-Schmitz SF, Collenberg M, Fuhrer K, Hassink R, Steinlin M, Thurneysen A. Homeopathic treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial. European Journal of Pediatrics, 2005 Dec;164(12):758-67. Epub 2005 Jul 27.
“Despite the use of modern analgesic methods and an improved use of narcotics, the combination pain-agitation sometimes persists in the recovery-room. Aconit proved to be effective for children’s postoperative agitation with 95% good results. It is usually stated in such studies that the placebo effect is high and may reach rates higher than 30%. Aconit is an amazing cure when well prescribed, as much for the speediness of its action as for its efficiency. This remedy has a place in the recovery-room and should be in every physician’s emergency case. ” Alibeu JP1, Jobert J. Aconite in homeopathic relief of post-operative pain and agitation in children [Article in French] Pediatrie. 1990;45(7-8):465-6.
For young children:
Acute diarrhea is the leading cause of illness and death in children worldwide. The study presented below was performed to determine whether homeopathy is useful in the treatment of acute childhood diarrhea with clear beneficial results. Jennifer Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H. Homeopathic Treatment of Acute Childhood Diarrhea: Results from a Clinical Trial in Nepal, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 6, Number 2, 2000, pp. 131-139
These results are consistent with the finding from the previous study that individualized homeopathic treatment decreases the duration of diarrhea and number of stools in children with acute childhood diarrhea. There is also a video of the researcher discussing her homeopathy research. Jacobs, J, et al. “Treatment of Acute Childhood Diarrhea with Homeopathic Medicine: a Randomized Clinical Trial in Nicaragua.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 1994
“A study of 445 children ages 1-5 years old showed that statistically significant positive results for the complex homeopathy compared to placebo in the Brazilian Public Health System in Petrópolis” Siqueira CM, Homsani F, da Veiga VF, Lyrio C, Mattos H, Passos SR, Couceiro JN, Quaresma CH. Homeopathic medicines for prevention of influenza and acute respiratory tract infections in children: blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Homeopathy. 2016 Feb;105(1):71-7.
Ear infections: 230 children were give an individually selected homeopathic remedy, which was changed to a new prescription if there was no improvement after 6 hours, and then further treated with antibiotics if there was no improvement after 12 hours. 72% of the children did not need antibiotics, and earaches resolved 2.4 times faster than placebo. There were no complications and the approach was 14% less expensive. H Frei, A Thurneysen. Homeopathy in acute otitis media in children: treatment effect or spontaneous resolution? British Homoeopathic Journal, Volume 90, Issue 4, October 2001, pp. 180-182
In this study on menopause, “Patients reported significant benefit from the service. The greatest response was seen in those reporting headaches, vasomotor symptoms, emotional/psychological symptoms and tiredness/fatigue as their primary symptoms.” Relton, C. Weatherly-Jones, E. “Homeopathy service in a National Health Service community menopause clinic: audit of clinical outcomes.” J Br Menopause Soc. 2005 Jun;11(2):72-3.
Of 438 women, “Ninety percent of the women reported disappearance or lessening of their symptoms, these changes mostly taking place within 15 days of starting homeopathic treatment.” Bordet MF1, Colas A, Marijnen P, Masson J, Trichard M. Treating hot flushes in menopausal women with homeopathic treatment–results of an observational study. Homeopathy. 2008 Jan;97(1):10-5. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2007.11.005.
A further study at the Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital showed that for symptoms associated with menopause, homeopathic treatment offered improvement. Clover A, Ratsey D. Homeopathic treatment of hot flushes: a pilot study. Homeopathy. 2002 Apr;91(2):75-9.
For additional case studies on homeopathy for menopause, go to the British Homeopathic Association website.
Musculoskeletal symptoms and healing of injuries:
Fibromyalgia: “Participants on active treatment showed significantly greater improvements in tender point count and tender point pain, quality of life, global health and a trend toward less depression compared with those on placebo.” Bell IR, Lewis DA 2nd, Brooks AJ, Schwartz GE, Lewis SE, Walsh BT, Baldwin CM. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2004 May;43(5):577-82. Epub 2004 Jan 20. This study showed that classical homeopathy treatment was effective for fibromyalgia symptoms.
“The results of the studies as well as the case reports define a sufficient basis for discussing the possible benefits of homeopathy for patients suffering from fibromyalgia syndrome” Boehm K, Raak C, Cramer H, Lauche R, Ostermann T Homeopathy in the treatment of fibromyalgia–a comprehensive literature-review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med. 2014 Aug;22(4):731-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2014.06.005. Epub 2014 Jun 28.
“The improvement experienced by our patients while receiving active treatment was at least as great as that reported for any other treatment that has been assessed double blind.” P. Fisher, A. Greenwood, E. C. Huskisson, P. Turner, and P. Belon. Effect of Homeopathic treatment on fibrositis (primary fibromyalgia). BMJ 1989 Aug 5; 299(6695): 365–366.
Arthritis: “There was a significant improvement in subjective pain, articular index, stiffness and grip strength in those patients receiving homoeopathic remedies whereas there was no significant change in the patients who received placebo.” Gibson RG, Gibson SL, MacNeill AD, Buchanan “Homeopathic therapy in rheumatoid arthritis: evaluation by double-blind clinical therapeutic trial.” Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1980 May;9(5):453-9.WW.
“Overall results of our review show that homoeopathic complexes have a clear advantage in the treatment of osteoarthritis, however more studies are needed.” Koley M, Saha S, Medhurst R. Clinical trials of homoeopathy in osteoarthritis: A systematic review. OA Alternative Medicine 2013 Nov 20;1(3):24. M Koley1*, S Saha1, R Medhurst2
“These pooled results suggest that Arnica D30 has a positive effect on muscle soreness after marathon running, but not on cell damage measured by enzymes.” Tveiten D1, Bruset S Effect of Arnica D30 in marathon runners. Pooled results from two double-blind placebo controlled studies.Homeopathy. 2003 Oct;92(4):187-9.
“Cumulative evidence suggests that both Arnica in gel formulation and in homeopathic dilutions are more effective than placebo in treating several inflammatory conditions, in pain management and postoperative settings.” Effectiveness and Safety of Arnica montana in Post-Surgical Setting, Pain and Inflammation Tommaso Iannitti, PhD,1 * Julio Cesar Morales-Medina, PhD,2 Paolo Bellavite, MD,3 Valentina Rottigni, MSC,4 and Beniamino Palmieri, MD, PhD American Journal of Therapeutics (2014)
Concussion: “These results indicate a significant improvement from the homeopathic treatment versus the control and translate into clinically significant outcomes.” Chapman EH1, Weintraub RJ, Milburn MA, Pirozzi TO, Woo E. Homeopathic treatment of mild traumatic brain injury: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 1999 Dec;14(6):521-42.
Fractures: “Faster healing was reported in the homeopathy group by week 9 following injury, including significant improvement in fracture line … callous formation and fracture union in comparison to placebo. There was also lower use of analgesics and less self-reported pain in the homeopathy group.” S Sharma, N Sharma, and R Sharma Accelerating the healing of bone fracture using homeopathy: a prospective, randomized double-blind controlled study BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012; June 12
Four cases with bone fractures treated at the Agrinion General Hospital, with homeopathic Symphytum officinale are presented with excellent results. Tsintzas,D. Vithoulkas, G. Fracture treatment with the aid of the homeopathic remedy Symphytum officinale. A report of four cases Homeopathy. 2010 Oct;99(4):249-54.
This study focussed on the effect of Symphytum 6cH on the healing around titanium implants with the conclusion that ” S. officinale 6cH enhances, principally at the early stages of osseointegration, bone formation around titanium implants in rats’ tibiae, based on radiographic and mechanical analysis.” Spin-Neto R1, Belluci MM, Sakakura CE, Scaf G, Pepato MT, Marcantonio E Jr. Homeopathic Symphytum officinale increases removal torque and radiographic bone density around titanium implants in rats. Homeopathy. 2010 Oct;99(4):249-54.
Healing after surgery: Patients taking Arnica montana experienced less bruising after facial surgery. Seeley BM1, Denton AB, Ahn MS, Maas CS. Effect of homeopathic Arnica montana on bruising in face-lifts: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2006 Jan-Feb;8(1):54-9.
“Cumulative evidence suggests that Arnica montana may represent a valid alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, at least when treating some specific conditions.” Iannitti T1, Morales-Medina JC, Bellavite P, Rottigni V, Palmieri B. Effectiveness and Safety of Arnica montana in Post-Surgical Setting, Pain and Inflammation.Am J Ther. 2016 Jan-Feb;23(1):e184-97.
For allergies, coughs and sinusitis: Several studies show that homeopathy is effective in treating allergies, coughs and sinus infections even though these studies (for research purposes) did not typically use the classical homeopathy approach using one remedy prescribed according to the symptoms a person experiences. While these studies do show that homeopathy is effective, my own experience as a classical homeopath is that the results would have been even better had they been individually selected remedies that suited the person.
Improved quality of life and reduction of conventional drugs in allergic patients treated with homeopathy. Ferreri R, Bernardini S, Pulcri R, Cracolici F, Rinaldi M, Porciani C. HRI Research in Focus, Issue 31 Summer 2016
Homeopathic medicine for acute cough in upper respiratory tract infections and acute bronchitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial: Zanasi A1, Mazzolini M2, Tursi F3, Morselli-Labate AM4, Paccapelo A5, Lecchi M6. Journal of Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2014 Feb;27(1):102-8
“The symptoms of patients undergoing homeopathic treatment were shown to improve substantially and conventional medication dosage could be substantially reduced.” Gründling, C. Schimetta, W. Frass, M Real-life effect of classical homeopathy in the treatment of allergies: A multicenter prospective observational study. Klinische Wochenschrift January 2012, Volume 124, Issue 1–2, pp 11–17|
Efficacy of a complex homeopathic medication (Sinfrontal) in patients with acute maxillary sinusitis: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial. Zabolotnyi DI1,Kneis KC, Richardson A, Rettenberger R, Heger M, Kaszkin-Bettag M, Heger PW. Explore (NY).2007 Mar-Apr;3(2):98-109.
Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series. Morag A Taylor, et. al. British Medical Journal, 2000 Aug 19; 321(7259): 471–476.
Is homoeopathy a placebo response? Controlled trial of homoeopathic potency, with pollen in hayfever as model. Reilly DT et al. Lancet.1986 Oct 18;2(8512):881-6.
Pregnancy and beyond:
Drugs to manage breast pain and stop lactation in mothers often have too serious side effects, so this study was conducted to see if the homeopathic remedies Apis and Bryonia would help manage pain. Berrebi A1, Parant O, Ferval F, Thene M, Ayoubi JM, Connan L, Belon P. Treatment of pain due to unwanted lactation with a homeopathic preparation given in the immediate post-partum period. J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 2001 Jun;30(4):353-7.[Article in French]
“Treatment with homeopathic Arnica montana and Bellis perennis may reduce postpartum blood loss, as compared with placebo.” Oberbaum M1, Galoyan N, Lerner-Geva L, Singer SR, Grisaru S, Shashar D, Samueloff A. The effect of the homeopathic remedies Arnica montana and Bellis perennis on mild postpartum bleeding–a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study–preliminary results. Complement Ther Med. 2005 Jun;13(2):87-90.
“The homeopathic simillimum treatment of primary insomnia was effective, compared to placebo. Homeopathy is a viable treatment modality for this condition and further research is justified.” Naudé DF, Stephanie Couchman IM, Maharaj A. Chronic primary insomnia: efficacy of homeopathic simillimum. Homeopathy. 2010 Jan;99(1):63-8.
On cells and animals:
“The importance of laboratory studies lies in the fact that they have made it possible to obtain some preliminary evidence of the effects of high dilutions/dynamisations under conditions that exclude any possible effect of suggestion.”
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 Mar; 3(1): 13–24. Immunology and Homeopathy. 2. Cells of the Immune System and Inflammation. Paolo Bellavite,1 Anita Conforti,2 Francesco Pontarollo,1 and Riccardo Ortolani3
“Homeopathic doses of G. sempervirens influence the emotional responses of mice to novel environments, suggesting an improvement in exploratory behavior and a diminution of thigmotaxis or neophobia.”
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:362517. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep139. Epub 2011 Feb 15. Homeopathic Doses of Gelsemium sempervirens Improve the Behavior of Mice in Response to Novel Environments.. Bellavite P1, Magnani P, Zanolin E, Conforti A.
In France 94.5% of pharmacists recommend homeopathy to pregnant women because of its exceptional safety record: Damase-Michel C, Vié C, Lacroix I, Lapeyre-Mestre M, Montastruc JL. Drug counselling in pregnancy: an opinion survey of French community pharmacists. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2004 Oct;13(10):711-5.
Additional sources of studies on homeopathy on the world wide web:
Research in Homeopathy: an extensive 70 page paper on homeopathic research published online, organized by the headings Human studies, Animals studies, Plant studies and In-vitro studies. It was put together by Robert Medhurst, a naturopath specialising in homeopathy and the author of The Concordant Clinical Homeopathic Repertory.
Evidence for Homeopathy: a similar 26 page paper of more recent research on homeopathy, published online, organized by condition as well. There are additional links at the bottom of the paper.