This paper of our interest has been published in the journal International Scholarly Research Network (ISRN) Toxicology recently. It reviews the publications of laboratory experiments using pairs of enantiomers (either one of a pair of compounds (crystals or molecules) that are mirror images on each other but are not identical) in homoeopathy. Many molecules in nature have geometrical shape which enables them to exist as nonsuperimposable mirror images or enantiomers. Modulation of toxicity of such molecules provides possibility for therapeutics, since they target multiple points in biochemical pathways. It was hypothesized that toxicity of a chemical agent could be counteracted by a homoeopathic preparation of the enantiomer of the chemical agent (patents applied for: PCT/AU2003/000219-PCT/AU2008/001611). A diverse body of data, including controlled laboratory studies, supports the conclusion that toxicity of optical isomers may be inhibited by homoeopathic enantiomer preparations. These data were obtained with minimal or no pretesting to determine optimal test solutions. Inhibition of the excitotoxic neurotransmitter L-glutamic acid with homoeopathic preparations of D-glutamic acid indicates the latter may be of use for amelioration of symptoms of disturbances of mood. Similarly, homoeopathic preparation of (+)-nicotine may be of use for inhibition of effects of nicotine in tobacco. (Our comment: it is a subject matter of research).
This trial was conducted in Italy on thirty buffalo cows subdivided in three groups. In the immediate pre-calving, 2.5 ml of Echinacea purpurea (mother tincture) was orally administered to the first group (A) and, after calving, Nux vomica (30CH), Chelidonium (30CH) and Lycopodium (potency not declared) were administered at 7 days intervals. The second group (B) was only subjected to the post-calving treatment, while the third group (C) represented the control group. Immediately after calving two groups of calves were formed. The first group received 5 granules of Pyrogenium in the first days of life and then for 10 days the 0.5 ml of E. purpurea. The second group did not receive any remedy. Before the calving, in conventional farm twenty buffalo cows (D group) were vaccinated. Remedies administration did not affect milk protein content, milk lipid con- tents and the achievement of the lactation peak. Blood samples showed that total protein, albumin and globulin levels were lower in group A, compared to groups B and C. Cholesterol and urea were lower in the treated groups than in the control. The authors therefore concluded that the use of homoeopathic remedies is a chance to improve animal welfare and their productive characteristics.
Identifying the ‘right’ questions for clinical research in homoeopathy requires optimally defined objective. According to the author of this paper, in the current scenario, the main focus homoeopathic clinical research must be on randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Because, despite reservations about their application to homoeopathy research in the past, they are the only available way to prove cause and effect of an intervention. Many commentators, however, have failed to distinguish between the findings of placebo and other-than-placebo (OTP) controlled trials, while the individualised style of the normal homoeopathic intervention and the main effects anticipated from that intervention have not always been properly reflected. Thus, the interpretation of findings in terms of ‘efficacy’ or ‘effectiveness’ of the intervention is often unclear. Our method of ‘vote counting’ the results of RCTs in homoeopathy has enabled a clear categorisation of the research evidence, together with an opportunity to reflect condition-specific findings. That approach is not without flaws, however, and a more appropriate and sophisticated systematic review (SR) of the RCT evidence would be additionally helpful. Previous SRs of RCTs in homoeopathy have typically failed to provide clear conclusions about the effectiveness of homoeopathy as a system of medicine or about the efficacy of particular medicines. This is largely the result of a failure to distinguish: individualised from non-individualised homoeopathy; treatment from prophylaxis; and internal validity (risk of bias) from model validity (‘state of the art’ practice and relevant outcome measures). And SRs have paid little attention to the potency of the homoeopathic medicines used, to reviewing OTP-controlled RCTs, or to distinguishing between research published in the peer-reviewed and the non-peer-reviewed literature. A clearer and more complete awareness of the current RCT evidence will emerge from the above SR programme, which is now in progress. Importantly, the attributes of homoeopathy and study design that it addresses can be fully reflected in answering the key questions that are then applied to new RCTs in homoeopathy.
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