Nosodes in Homeopathy:
Significance and Viral Safety

In Europe, homeopathy looks back on a tradition of more than 200 years. During this time, manufacturing methods and therapeutic principles evolved differently in each European country. These differences are expressed in national homeopathic Pharmacopoeias that differ in part from each other with regard to manufacturing methods. These differences apply to nosodes as well as to other homeopathic medicinal products.

Nosodes are homeopathic preparations made from disease products of human or animal origin, from pathogens or from products derived from the decomposition of animal organs, cultured micro-organisms or body fluids containing pathogens or pathological products.

1. Significance of Nosodes in Homeopathy

In homeopathy, the application of nosodes has a tradition that has been handed down from the times of Hahnemann. It resulted from the idea of the infectious nature of certain diseases, long before this was proved scientifically. Julian writes in the Materia Medica of Nosodes that they were originally used as etiological medications, e.g. a diphtheria nosode for the treatment of diphtheria [6]. Soon, they were recognised as medications of the terrain, meaning medications for patients with constitutional diseases. Nosodes are applied according to homeopathic and isopathic principles, most commonly for the treatment of chronic diseases [4].

For licensed health care providers using homeopathic medicinal products, nosodes are an indispensable part of homeopathy. Restriction of their availability would be an unacceptable curtailment of homeopathy (Jacques Imberechts, President of the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica lnternationalis. LMHI). Ton Nicolai, Homeopathic Medical Doctor and President of the European Committee for Homeopathy (ECH), fears that around 10,000 homeopathic medical doctors in Europe will be severely handicapped in their every-day practice if nosodes are not available. For the European Council of Doctors for Plurality (ECPM) it is of major importance that medical therapies are not limited. The European Council for Classical Homeopathy (ECCH) representing professional homeopaths in Europe states: “It is essential that the availability of nosodes will be maintained for the benefit of the European citizens. Results from clinical trials, post-marketing surveillance studies, and data collection in homeopathic practice demonstrate that nosodes are of no risk for patients whatsoever. All national and European authorities should, therefore, ensure that the existing legislation does not impose any restrictions on the use of these homeopathic medicinal products.”

Maria Jesús Balbás Císneros, Homeopathic Medical Doctor, Professor at the University of the Basque region, and Coordinator for Homeopathic Education in Spain (Asociacion Vasco-Navarra Homeopatica), stresses the need to preserve the nosodes used in every-day practice. In addition, clinical research on new nosodes should be conducted in order to enrich the homeopathic Materia Medica. In Spain, nosodes represent an essential part of the curriculum for the Master of Homeopathy to be acquired by medical doctors, pharmacists, and veterinarians. The statements of the health care providers are supported by patients’ organisations. Sieglinde Schultz, Homeopathic Medical Doctor and Chief Consultant of the German Organisation Patients for Homeopathy (BPH), firmly requests politicians to ensure that nosodes will be available for the benefit of the patients without any restrictions.

Even in veterinary medicine, nosodes have been demonstrated to be effective. Christopher Day, Veterinarian and Chairman of the International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy (IAVH) has gained extensive experience with the use of nosodes in large herds of farm animals [2, 3]. According to him, nosodes are successful in the treatment of severe and economically relevant health problems in these animals. Christopher Day: “Nosodes are an essential component of natural products for farm livestock. The European consumer is right in demanding an ever-decreasing reliance on conventional drug intake for food animals. Natural products represent the only way forward to satisfy this demand in order to maintain or enhance the health of the animals. According to my experience, infectious diseases such as mastitis in many herds can only be treated using nosodes. The loss of nosodes for the homeopathic treatment approach would be a serious animal welfare issue.”

George Vithoulkas, Professor of Homeopathy from Greece, who was honoured by receiving the Alternative Nobel Prize, writes: “A predisposition for chronic diseases can be influenced favourably by prescribing the indicated nosode. As an example, a patient with bronchial asthma was treated with Bryonia, Gelsemium, Eupatorium, and Kalium carbonicum. Every time, the asthma attacks passed quickly, but after several years it became clear that the disposition was still present. We studied the patient’s symptoms again and recognised some symptoms pointing on Tuberculinum. Moreover, it turned out that his mother had suffered from tuberculosis. Knowing this relevant aspect of the family history, and since the patient’s symptoms matched the remedy picture of Tuberculinum, we prescribed Tuberculinum. As a result, the severity of asthma attacks decreased rapidly and finally disappeared completely [9]”.

According to the understanding of the holistic treatment approach, chronic diseases are based on a predisposition blocking the healing process. Jonathan Shore, Homeopathic Medical Doctor at the Hahnemann Medical Clinic in Berkeley, USA, writes that, in cases where no progress in healing occurs, the blockade can be overcome by prescribing a nosode. By promoting the jump into the health state and avoiding further relapse into the disease state, the treatment goal can be reached. Anton Rohrer, Homeopathic Medical Doctor and Chairman of the Austrian Society for Homeopathic Medicine (OGHM), confirms these observations: “The fact that well-chosen homeopathic medicinal products are not effective in a patient might be a symptom pointing to the need of a nosode. As a specific stimulus, nosodes can activate the healing power of the organism. Therefore, nosodes are also applied as reaction-inducing medications [8]. However, in most cases nosodes are used according to the Law of Similars with regard to their symptom picture. The case of a 5-year-old girl suffering from allergy and recurrent sinusitis maxillaris might serve as an example. Based on the individual symptoms according to the symptom picture, I prescribed Medorrhinum. After two days suffering from severe rhinitis, free breathing through the nose was possible. Over a period of 8 years no relapse of sinusitis maxillaris occurred and the allergy has not caused any problems at all since that time.”

According to the experiences of David S. Riley, Homeopathic Medical Doctor, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico Medical School, and Medical Research Director of the Integrative Medicine Institute in Santa Fe, USA, nosodes are well established in every-day practice. In the future, it might be necessary to develop new nosodes especially for emerging chronic diseases. Karl-Heinz Gebhardt, Homeopathic Medical Doctor and Honorary President of the German Association of Homeopathic Medical Doctors (DZVhA) adds: “Nosodes produced according to the homeopathic manufacturing methods are clinically proven and represent an essential part of the treasure of homeopathic medicinal products. In most cases, the application of a nosode induces an immediate positive switch of the disease state.”

2. Viral Safety of Nosodes

Since the source material of nosodes is potentially infectious (as in blood and plasma products or organ preparations), in theory, a risk of infection is associated with their use. However, by applying the homeopathic potentisation procedures alone, the number of infectious particles decreases, e.g. to zero in all potencies above 24X or 12C.

The European Directive on Homeopathy [1] stipulates that homeopathic medicinal products have to be prepared according to an official homeopathic pharmacopoeia, i.e. German [5] or French Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia [7]. In the following, the methods applied in France and Germany to warrant the microbiological safety of nosodes as requested by the European Pharmacopoeia are described.

2.1 Situation in France

The French Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia (PPH) does not contain a specification regulating the manufacture of nosodes. The French authorities suspended the distribution of five nosodes of human origin (Luesinum, Medorrhinum, Morbillinum, Pertussinum, Psorinum) produced in France for a period of 12 months in October 1998. The manufacturers were requested to develop a validated manufacturing method for these nosodes with regard to the viral and microbiologic safety within 12 months. Boiron and Dolisos charged the Institute Pasteur, Paris, with conducting a validation study for the homeopathic manufacturing methods applied in the two companies. The manufacturing methods do not include the sterilisation of the source material. Therefore, infectious source material might be spread to subsequent homeopathic dilutions and so the origin of the source material has to be strictly controlled. Similar to the processing for blood and plasma products, a verification of the absence of infection with HIV 1 and 2, cytomegalo, HTLV 1 and 2, and hepatitis Band C viruses in the donors of human nosodes is required. The results of the validation study of the Institute Pasteur demonstrated that for nosodes manufactured by Boiron and Dolisos, the inactivation and/or removal of viruses and genomes tested is guaranteed at C4 or 7K dilutions, in accordance with the European Directive. On October 21st, 1999, both companies received a new authorisation for the five nosodes.

2.2 Situation in Germany

In Germany, all nosodes have to be manufactured in accordance with a uniform and validated procedure pursuant to the German Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia (HAB) [5]. Prior to its further processing, the starting material for nosodes must be sterilised to meet the requirements of the “Verification of Sterility” of the official German Pharmacopoeia (DAB). For this purpose, an autoclaving step has to take place, during the course of which a temperature of 133° C in the interior of the material must be reached and maintained for at least 20 minutes. This ensures that microbial or viral germs which may be present in the source material will be definitely inactivated. A spiking experiment conducted about 9 years ago with nosodes manufactured according to the HAB, demonstrated that this manufacturing method provides a final product free from any viruses. After the autoclaving process, the substance is extracted with sterile 30% glycerol by weight in the proportion of 1 to 10 for a period of 5 days; subsequently, the filtered preparation (= D1) is mixed with 30% ethanol by weight and potentised to achieve a D2 dilution. The subsequent higher dilutions are manufactured with 43% ethanol by weight. Since 85% glycerol as well as 30% or 43% ethanol, respectively, have antiviral and antimicrobial properties, the maceration in glycerol and subsequent potentisation in ethanol inhibits the growth of bacteria and viruses resulting in their inactivation. This process guarantees the microbiological safety of the subsequent homeopathic dilutions. Based on the current state of scientific knowledge for nosodes manufactured according to HAB specifications 43 and 44, the viral and antimicrobial safety is guaranteed in all potencies with regard to the European Directive.

3. Conclusion

In France, the viral safety must be proved for each nosode. A validation of the manufacturing procedure must be carried out to demonstrate the non-infectiousness of the nosode donor. A serological examination of the donor similar to the processing of plasma and blood products is required. The validation study conducted by the Institute Pasteur is applicable only to the manufacturing methods applied by Boiron and Dolisos.

In Germany, the viral safety of nosodes is warranted by autoclaving the source material in accordance with the German Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia. Using this method, the validation of the manufacturing method and proof of non-infectiousness of the nosode donor is not necessary.

According to the European Directive on homeopathy, the request for the viral safety of nosodes is fulfilled using the manufacturing methods specified in the German Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia or applied by Boiron and Dolisos. The Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) considers both manufacturing methods as valid to guarantee the viral safety of nosodes and their safety for public health.

In conclusion, nosodes are an indispensable part of homeopathy. The manufacturing methods applied guarantee the viral and microbiological safety of nosodes. In addition, results from clinical trials, post-marketing surveillance studies, and data collection in homeopathic practice have demonstrated that nosodes are of no risk for patients. Therefore, patients, health care providers and professional organisations are insisting on the preservation of nosodes for homeopathic treatment.

The following organisations are supporting this position paper:

  • Asociacion Vasco-Navarra Homeopatica
    Valleneros, 1 1er. piso – 20800 Zarauz -Guipuzcoa – Spain
  • Bundesverband Patienten für Homöopathie (BPH)
    Lange Strasse 47 – 37181 Hardegsen – Germany
  • Deutscher Zentralverein homöopathischer Ärzte (DZVhÄ) Geschäftsstelle
    Gymnasiumstrasse 2 – 72213 Altensteig – Germany
  • European Committee for Homeopathy (ECH)
    Chaussée de Bruxelles 132, Box 1 – 1190 Brussels – Belgium
  • European Council for Classical Homeopathy (ECCH),
    International Council for Classical Homeopathy (ICCH)
    School House, Market Place
    Kenninghall – Norfolk NR16 2AH – United Kingdom
  • European Council of Doctors for Plurality (ECPM)
    Ortenaustrasse 10 – 76199 Karlsruhe – Germany
  • Hahnemann Medical Clinic
    828 San Pablo Ave – Albany, CA 94706 – USA
  • Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States (HPCUS)
    4974 Quebec Street NW – Washington, DC 20016 – USA
  • Integrative Medicine Institute
    539 Harkle Road – Santa Fe, NM 87505 – USA
  • International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy (IAVH)
    Sonnhaldenstrasse 4 – 8370 Sirnach – Switzerland
  • Internationale Medizinische Gesellschaft für Elektroakupunktur nach Voll e. V. Stuttgart (EAV), Sekretariat
    Am Promenadenplatz 1 – 72250 Freudenstadt – Germany
  • Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis
    Office of the Prime Vice President
    Dr. Jacques Imberechts
    134 Boulevard Leopold II – 1080 Brussels – Belgium
  • Österreichische Gesellschaft für Homöopathische Medizin (ÖGHM)
    Mariahilfstrasse 110 – 1070 Wien – Austria
  • Zentralverband der Ärzte für Naturheilverfahren e. V. (ZÄN)
    Am Promenadenp1atz 1 – 72250 Freudenstadt – Germany

This position paper was promulgated by ECHAMP

The European Coalition on Homeopathic and Anthroposophic Medicinal Products
Avenue Livingstone 33 – B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 235 09 81 – Fax: +32 2 235 09 82
E-mail: [email protected]

An exclusive translated article for Affiliates
From THE BRIDGE Newsletter of OIRF
Published February 27, 2003

Translated by Dr. Walter D. Sturm, OIRF

© Copyright 2003, Occidental Institute Research Foundation


  1. Council Directive (EEC) 92/73 on homeopathic medicinal products. Official Journal No. L 297
  2. Day, C. Clinical trials in bovine mastitis, the use of nosodes for prevention. British Homeopathic Journal 75: 11-14 (1985)
  3. Day, C. Control of stillbirth in pigs using homeopathy. Veterinary Records 114: 216 (1984)
  4. Hahnemann, S. Die chronischen Krankheiten: Ihre eigenthümliche Natur und homöopathische Heilung. 2. Auflage. Haug, UIm (1956)
  5. Homöopathisches Arzneibuch. (Current official edition)
  6. Julian, O. A. Materia Medica der Nosoden. 9. Auflage. Haug, Heidelberg (1999)
  7. Pharmacopee Homeopathique Francaise. (Current official edition)
  8. Rohrer, A. Carcinosinum – Ein Mittel unserer Zeit. Documenta Homeopathica. Band II. Maudrich, Wien (1991)
  9. Vithoulkas, G. Die wissenschaftliche Homöopathie. Burgdorf, Göttingen (1986)

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