Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 1995 Dec; 1(6): 168-74.
The development of research methodology in homoeopathy.
Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital NHS Trust.
Homoeopathy is a form of complementary medicine based on treating 'like with like'. Its popularity with the public, and credibility with health professionals, has increased rapidly as a result of recent clinical trials demonstrating its efficacy. The results of a systematic review of clinical trials of homoeopathy are summarized. The main scientific obstacle to the acceptance of homoeopathy is its use of very high 'ultramolecular' dilutions. The action of these dilutions cannot be explained in terms of existing pharmacological concepts. This has lead to the 'information medicine' hypothesis, which postulates the storage of information in water and its transmission to sensitized biosystems. This hypothesis is starting to be supported by physics. 'Proving' drugs in order to determine their effects on healthy volunteers is a form of research practised by homoeopaths for 200 years, the methodology is continuing to evolve. Clinical trials in homoeopathy are complicated by the fact that treatment is highly individualised. Various approaches to the problem of individualization in controlled trials, including 'homoeopathy as indicated', 'single homoeopathic medicine' and 'individualized isopathy' are discussed. To improve homoeopathic practice its results should be critically audited, a method for doing this is described.