Homeopathy Experiments

Both physico-chemical studies and clinical trials have so far failed to demonstrate any significant and consistent effects attributable to homeopathic potencies. In the section on research I have argued that the protocols used for the clinical testing of homeopathic medicines are flawed since they are based on the assumption that such medicines treat illnesses directly and therefore matching the symptoms of a disease with a medicine known to produce similar symptoms should – if there is any validity in homeopathy- lead to a statistically significant amelioration of the condition in question.

However, it seems more than likely that homeopathy treats the experiential state that accompanies an illness rather than the illness directly (see research). I have postulated it is experiential modulation which leads to observable improvements in illness. In other words, for clinical trials to show any significant and consistent effects of homeopathic medicines the experiential state of each individual patient must be matched to the composite experiential state induced by a particular homeopathic medicine as derived from provings (human pathogenetic trials). In contrast, matching disease symptoms with proving symptoms will inevitably produce highly inconsistent and dissappointing results.

Physico-chemical studies have also been flawed for a number of reasons I shall outline below. I shall propose alternative experiments which I believe should offer greater opportunities for observing consistent differences between succussed and unsuccussed ultra-dilute solutions and which I hope may also begin to characterise the nature of those differences.

At the present time we are in the dark as to what the homeopathic principle or agent may be and any physico-chemical effects that it produces appear to be unclear and elusive at this stage ( e.g. [1] and references therein). It therefore seems prudent to proceed on the basis that the homeopathic principle is a weak force physico-chemically and its effects may be easily swamped by small variations in experimental conditions (background noise). In addition the homeopathic principle may be sensitive to variables that have as yet to be identified. Any experimental system designed to detect and study homeopathic potencies should therefore be as simple as possible and involve the minimum number of operational steps in order to reduce both background noise and the number of potential variables involved.

For this reason I have chosen to avoid biological systems ( e.g. [2] ) on the basis of their inherent complexity. Chemical systems are in general considerably simpler and can be more strictly controlled than biological systems. They involve far fewer components and hence fewer potential interferents.

A second consideration is that of the method of observation of postulated differences between succussed and unsuccussed solutions. At present there is no way of knowing whether methods used so far e.g. NMR [3] and UV spectroscopy [4], X-ray irradiation induced thermoluminescence [5] and high voltage gas discharge visualisation [6] ) to investigate those differences are not in fact destroying the very signal they are trying to detect. Several reports suggest homeopathic potencies may be adversely affected by sunlight, X-rays, heat and magnetic fields [6]. Methods of indirect observation avoiding the above potentially negating energy sources are therefore likely to minimise this particular problem.

In addition at least two other considerations need to be addressed. One involves the degree of succussion employed and whether succussion is coupled to, or decoupled from, dilution. The other involves the degree of congruency between the species of homeopathic potency employed and the chemical species within an experimental system upon which the potency is assumed to act.

Finally, an experimental system should be sought which has the capabilities not only to detect differences between succussed and unsuccussed solutions but can also begin to characterise the nature, magnitude and stability of those differences.

With all these considerations in mind, the experiments I propose are of two separate categories.

  1. Indirectly observing putative physico-chemical differences between succussed and unsuccussed water using a specific class of chromophoric probe.
  2. Monitoring how homeopathic potencies modulate reaction rates for small molecule catalysed reactions in which congruency between potency species and chemical species is high.

I am willing to discuss these experiments in more detail with anyone who is genuinely interested in pursuing answers to the challenge presented by homeopathy and is in a position to collaborate. All enquiries please address to info@oxford-homeopathy.org.uk.

  1. Elia, V., Marchese, M., Montanino, M., Napoli, E., Niccoli, M., Nonatelli, L. and Ramaglia, A. Hydrohysteretic Phenomena of “Extremely Diluted Solutions” Induced by Mechanical Treatments: A Calorimetric and Conductometric Study at 25° C. Journal of Solution Chemistry (2005) 34 (8) 947- 960.
  2. Belon, P., Cumps, J., Ennis, M., Mannaioni, P.F., Roberfroid, M., Ste-Laudy, J.,and Wiegant, F.A.C. Histamine dilutions modulate basophil activity. Inflammation Research (2004) 53 181- 188.
  3. Aabel, S., Fossheim, S. and Rise, F. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies of homeopathic solutions. British Homeopathic Journal (2001) 90 14-20.
  4. Sukul, N.C., De, A., Dutta, R., Sukul, A., and Sinhababu, S.P. Nux vomica 30 prepared with and without succussion shows antialcoholic effect on toads and distinctive molecular association. British Homeopathic Journal (2001) 90 79-85.
  5. Rey, L. Thermoluminescence of ultra-high dilutions of lithium chloride and sodium chloride. Physica A (2003) 323 67-74.
  6. Bell, I.R., Lewis, B.S., Brooks, A.J., Lewis, S.E., and Schwartz, G.E. Gas Discharge Visualization Evaluation of Ultramolecular Doses of Homeopathic Medicines Under Blinded, Controlled Conditions. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2003) 9 (1) 25-38.



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