Research into Homeopathy –
Its Special Problems, and Its Successes
First European Symposium:
Natural Medicine in the United Europe – quo vadis?
The following is a textual summary of one of the many presentations on this topic made at this unique Symposium held in Frankfurt, Germany, November 2004.
In the last 20 years the trend in homeopathic therapy, besides the traditionally applied method of the remedy-picture provings, has increasingly adopted the test models from the area of orthodox medicine. These especially are the methods of the double-blind study, but also cohort studies as well as the so-called application observations. Examples of such studies with homeopathic remedies were increasingly published in the international literature in the last 20 years. Never the less it turned out that also in Homeopathy, which actually has an individual therapy approach, the double-blind study can be used to prove the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies against a placebo.
The double-blind model was introduced approximately 10 years ago in a modernized form of the remedy provings by the American homeopathic doctor,
Dr. David Riley from Santa Fe. Dr. Riley also brought this test methodology into the existing official homeopathic remedy book of the United States (HPUS), and thus delivered a modern standard for the determination of symptoms after the administration of homeopathic remedies to a healthy volunteer. Besides the examination of the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies, more and more examinations were also carried out that belong in the basic research area as, for example, the measurability of potencies with the help of physical-chemical and bio-chemical methods. The proof by means of physical methods was carried out over the last 3 years by the study group of Prof. Süß at the University of Leipzig with a newly developed measurement instrument. Unfortunately to this point in time, this has not yet led to a final breakthrough.
During the 1990’s, the research team of Prof. Harisch at the MHH in Hanover (Medizinische Hochschule Hannover) investigated the proof of potentized homeopathic remedies with biochemical experiments, for example on enzymes or cell substrates, and thus can demonstrate the differences between potentized and non-potentized substances.
Currently, a study group under the direction of Dr. Baumgartner, Chair of Complementary Medicine Issues at the University of Bern, Switzerland, is working on the question that homeopathic potencies can be measurable. Thus different aspects were processed by physical methods through to biological methods, or rather are presently still being processed in different research circles.
All these efforts show that homeopathic remedies are still not fully recognized by the so called evidence-based-medicine group as “scientifically equivalent drugs”. Meanwhile, although many patients and likewise many registered doctors in private practice are convinced of the effectiveness of homeopathic therapies, representatives of orthodox medicine try again and again to deny these successes by criticizing each published study with great eagerness, and thereby to as much as possible prevent the acceptance of homeopathy on a scientific level. Incidentally, this is not only a national problem in Germany, but this trend can be recognized internationally.
This trend will surely last for a long time until Homeopathy, through the help of patients, the national and international patient organizations and the politicians, is finally conceded an adequate recognition as a subdivision of medicine.
This report was prepared by Dr. rer. nat. Wilfried Stock, a Member of ECHAMP, and formerly an executive with Staufen Phama, GmbH, Germany.