The first double-blind crossover study ever performed was conducted by homeopaths in 1906. This study was run concurrently in eleven different cities on fifteen subjects. The documentation of this experiment consisted of 665 pages, published as Research Provings of Belladonna. Also at the turn of the nineteenth century, a book on homeopathic research was published called The Logic of Figures or Comparative Results of Homeopathic and Other Treatments. This book provided dozens of charts comparing disease and death rates in homeopathic and allopathic (mainstream) hospitals. This research also investigated statistics on the epidemic diseases of scarlet fever, yellow fever, and typhoid. The research showed that homeopathic hospitals had an average of 50 to 80 percent fewer deaths per 100 people, depending on the disease compared.
During World War II, an early double-blind study of homeopathy was sponsored by the British government. The experiment demonstrated that those given homeopathic remedies experienced a significant improvement in burns from mustard gas compared to those given placebo.
Many modern clinical trials are currently underway, looking for evidence of the efficacy of homeopathy from controlled trials in human subjects. More than 100 clinical trials have been conducted, some published in highly prestigious journals such as Lancet and JAMA. In 1997, K. Linde and W. Jonas, directors of the Alternative Medicine Evaluation Department of the National Institute of Health, co-signed a meta-analysis which evaluated 186 clinical trials on homeopathic therapies. Among the 105 trials whose results could be interpreted, 81 presented positive results, while homeopathy did not have a positive effect in 24 others. The authors concluded that, “the results of this meta-analysis are incompatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are due exclusively to a placebo effect.”
Proliferation of interest in the area of clinical research abounds. In April 2003, a two-day conference was held in London on the topic of clinical research. Dick Koster reports: “Those who are opposed to homeopathy…base their conclusion on the last negative study…. Followers of homeopathy herald all positive news and complain about serious design flaws in negative studies…. Both sides claim their successes and failures as definitive while in reality, new research…would only add or subtract a small effect to or from the already existing evidence…of homeopathy being true.” This being said, Koster goes on to say that “homeopaths look at their patient results and believe that no amount of negative research could topple their belief in homeopathy.”
A recent double-blind study has shown the antiviral effect of homeopathic remedies. Eight of the ten remedies tested inhibited viruses in chicken embryos from 50 to 100 percent depending on the potencies used. German scientists at a Veterinary College showed use of the homeopathic remedy Chelidonium lowered serum cholesterol when given twice a day to rabbits on a cholesterol rich diet.
The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a double-blind experiment on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Of those given a homeopathic medicine, 82 percent experienced some relief of symptoms, while only 21 percent of those given a placebo experienced any similar degree of improvement.
Research has also been conducted in the use of homeopathy in cancer. In 77 mice that received a transplant in fibrosarcoma, 52 percent survived more than a year when treated with homeopathic remedies. The 77 untreated mice died within 10-15 days.
Many critics of homeopathic research site flaws in the designs of the studies, weakness in reporting and measuring techniques, small numbers of study participants, and the difficulties in replicating results. Homeopathy works and the proof is in the pudding. Because the science is based on one remedy for one person, it is difficult to construct studies and judge the results. Clinical results have noted homeopathic cures taking place around the globe for over 100 years. The miniscule doses are still immeasurable by today’s science, but in the future, equipment will be designed that can adequately measure the healing effects of homeopathy.