ICH is the international professional platform representing the interests of 32 national associations of professional homeopathy practitioners in 30 Countries
Anti-microbial resistance, bacterial and viral infections and homeopathy’s potential to help address a growing crisis.
The world is facing a major crisis due to anti-microbial resistance. At the 66th World Health Assembly of the WHO in Geneva in May 2013 Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the WHO in her opening address stated ‘The spread of antimicrobial resistance is rendering more and more first-line treatments useless. .. With few replacements in the pipeline, medicine is moving towards a post-antibiotic era in which many common infections will once again kill’ .. We must recognise, and respond to, the very serious threat of antimicrobial resistance.”
At a side event of the 66th WHA entitled ‘Antibiotic Resistance – a threat to Global HealthSecurity and a Case for Action’ 12 countries outlined their strategies to address the problem, strategies that essentially involve: severely reducing antibiotic use in humans and animals, preventing drug-resistant microbial infections and researching new pharmaceutical products.
Despite the fact that there is serious doubt about the capacity of the pharmaceutical industry to develop new antimicrobial products (the last new antibiotic class was developed in 1987) not one country showed any lateral thinking and proposed exploring the use of alternative systems of prevention and treatment of infectious illness such as homeopathy or herbal medicine. This in our view, is a serious oversight, particularly from those countries such as India and China, both of which have a strong history of use of such systems.
In the face of the global crisis of antimicrobial resistance, far more attention now needs to be paid to how medicinal systems such as homeopathy and herbal medicine can play a significant contributing role in combating the crisis and protecting the power of antibiotics for when then are truly needed.
As far as homeopathy is concerned existing evidence from RCTs and observational studies shows it can potentially have a frontline role to play in preventing and treating infectious illness.* (see appendix)
More centrally funded research is now needed to show how homeopathy can effectively play a role in the future prevention and treatment of infectious illness thereby helping prevent antimicrobial resistance and preserving antibiotic effectiveness.
Stephen Gordon,General Secretary, International Council for Homeopathy, 23 May 2013
* Appendix: Existing research for homeopathy in infectious illness
A) There is clearly positive RCT research evidence for homeopathy in:
Influenza (where antibiotics may be called for in secondary bacterial infectious complications)
- Brydak LB, Denys A (1999). The evaluation of humoral response and the clinical evaluation of a risk-group patients’state of health after administration of the homeopathic preparation Gripp-Heel during the influenza epidemic season1993/94. International Review of Allergology and Clinical Immunology; 5:223–227.
- Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D’Adhemar D, Balducci F (1989). A controlled evaluation of a homoeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza like syndromes. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology; 27:329–335.
- Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, Burkard G, Bengel J, Lehrl S, Belon P (1998). Oscillococcinum® in patients with influenza-like syndromes: a placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation. British Homoeopathic Journal; 87:69–76.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis (where antibiotics may be called for in secondary bacterial infectious complications)
- Aabel S (2001). Prophylactic and acute treatment with the homeopathic medicine Betula 30c for birch pollen allergy: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of consistency of VAS responses. British Homeopathic Journal; 90:73–78.
- Aabel S, Laerum E, Dølvik S, Djupesland P (2000). Is homeopathic ‘immunotherapy’ effective? A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with the isopathic remedy Betula 30c for patients with birch pollen allergy. British Homeopathic Journal; 89:161–168.
- Aabel S (2000). No beneficial effect of isopathic prophylactic treatment for birch pollen allergy during a low-pollen season: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of homeopathic Betula 30c. British Homeopathic Journal; 89:169–173.
- Kim LS, Riedlinger JE, Baldwin CM, Hilli L, Khalsa SV, Messer SA, Waters RF (2005). Treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis using homeopathic preparation of common allergens in the southwest region of the US: a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Annals of Pharmacotherapy; 39:617–624.
- Reilly DT, Taylor MA, McSharry C, Aitchison T (1986). Is homeopathy a placebo response? Controlled trial of homeopathic potency, with pollen in hayfever as model. Lancet; ii:881–885.
- Weiser M, Gegenheimer LH, Klein P (1999). A randomized equivalence trial comparing the efficacy and safety of Luffa comp.-Heel nasal spray with cromolyn sodium spray in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Forschende Komplementärmedizin und Klassische Naturheilkunde, 6:142–148.
- Wiesenauer M, Gaus W (1985). Double-blind trial comparing the effectiveness of the homoeopathic preparation Galphimia potentization D6, Galphimia dilution 10⁻6 and placebo on pollinosis. Arzneimittel Forschung; 35:1745–1747.
- Wiesenauer M, Gaus W, Häussler S (1990). Behandlung der Pollinoisis mit Galphimia glauca. Eine Doppelblindstudie unter Praxisbedingungen [Treatment of pollinosis with the homeopathic preparation Galphimia glauca. A double-blind trial in clinical practice]. Allergologie; 13:359–363.
- Wiesenauer M, Lüdtke R (1995). The treatment of pollinosis with Galphimia glauca D4 – a randomized placebocontrolled double-blind clinical trial. Phytomedicine; 2: 3–6.
B) There is tentatively positive evidence for homeopathy in:
- Jacobs J, Jiminez LM, Gloyds SS, Casares FE, Gaitan MP, Crothers D (1993). Homoeopathic treatment of acute childhood diarrhoea. A randomized clinical trial in Nicaragua. British Homoeopathic Journal; 82:83–86.
- Jacobs J, Jimenez LM, Gloyds SS, Gale JL, Crothers D (1994). Treatment of acute childhood diarrhea with homeopathic medicine; a randomized clinical trial in Nicaragua. Pediatrics; 93:719–725.
- Jacobs J, Guthrie BL, Montes GA, Jacobs LE, Mickey-Colman N, Wilson AR, DiGiacomo R (2006). Homeopathic combination remedy in the treatment of acute childhood diarrhea in Honduras. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine; 12:723–732.
- Jacobs J, Jimenez LM, Malthouse S, Chapman E, Crothers D, Masuk M, Jonas WB (2000). Homeopathic treatment of acute childhood diarrhoea: results from a clinical trial in Nepal. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine; 6:131–139.
- Gassinger CA, Wünstel G, Netter P (1981). Klinische Prüfung zum Nachweis der therapeutischen Wirksamkeit des homöopathischen Arzneimittels Eupatorium perfoliatum D2 (Wasserhanf composite) bei der Diagnose “Grippaler Infekt”. [A controlled clinical trial for testing the efficacy of the homeopathic drug Eupatorium perfoliatum D2 in the treatment of common cold]. Arzneimittel Forschung; 31:732–736.
- Maiwald VL, Weinfurtner T, Mau J, Connert WD (1988). Therapie des grippalen Infekts mit einem homöopathischen Kombinationspräparat im Vergleich zu Acetylsalycilsäure. Kontrollierte, randomisierte Einfachblindstudie [Treatment of common cold with a combination homeopathic preparation compared with acetylsalicylic acid. A controlled, randomized single-blind study]. Arzneimittel Forschung; 38:578–582.
Otitis media (acute)
- Jacobs J, Springer DA, Crothers D (2001). Homeopathic treatment of acute otitis media in children: a preliminary randomized placebo-controlled trial. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal; 20:177–183.
- Taylor JA, Jacobs J (2011). Homeopathic ear drops as an adjunct to standard therapy in children with acute otitis media. Homeopathy; 100: 109–115.
- Friese K-H, Zabalotnyi DI (2007). Homöopathie bei akuter Rhinosinusitis. Eine doppelblinde, placebokontrollierte Studie belegt die Wirksamkeit und Verträglichkeit eines homöopathischen Kombinations-arzneimittels [Homeopathy in acute rhinosinusitis. A double-blind, placebo controlled study shows the efficiency and tolerability of a homeopathic combination remedy]. HNO; 55:271–277.
- Weiser M, Clasen B (1994). Randomisierte plazebokontrolierte Doppelblindstudie zur Untersuchung der klinische Wirksamkeit der homöopathischen Euphorbium compositum-Nasentropfen S bei chronischer Sinusitis [Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of the clinical efficacy of the homeopathic Euphorbium compositum-S nasal spray in cases of chronic sinusitis]. Forschende Komplementärmedizin; 1:251–259. (2 sets of comparisons: one positive; one non-conclusive)
- Wiesenauer M, Gaus W, Bohnacker U, Häussler S (1989). Wirksamkeitsprüfung von homöopathische Kombinationspräparaten bei Sinusitis. Ergebnisse einer randomisierten Doppelblindstudie unter Praxisbedingungen [Efficiency of homeopathic preparation combinations in sinusitis. Results of a randomized double blind study with general practitioners]. Arzneimittel Forschung; 39:620–625. (3 sets of comparisons: all non-conclusive)
- Zabolotnyi DI, Kneis KC, Richardson A, Rettenberger R, Heger M, Kaszkin-Bettag M, Heger PW (2007). Efficacy of a complex homeopathic medication (Sinfrontal) in patients with acute maxillary sinusitis: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial. Explore (NY); 3:98–109.
- Kneis KC, Gandjour A (2009). Economic evaluation of Sinfrontal® in the treatment of acute maxillary sinusitis in adults. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy; 7: 181–191. [Data not extractable]
Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI)
- de Lange de Klerk ESM, Blommers J, Kuik DJ, Bezemer PD, Feenstra L (1994). Effects of homoeopathic medicines on daily burden of symptoms in children with recurrent upper respiratory tract infections. British Medical Journal; 309:1329–1332.
- Jobst D, Altiner A, Wegscheider K, Abholz H-H (2005). Helfen intramusculäre Eigenblutgaben bei chronisch rezidivierenden Infekten der Atemwege? – Fußangeln auf dem Weg einer randomisierten Studie [Do autologous blood injections help against relapsing upper respiratory infections? – Traps on the way of doing a randomised trial]. Zeitschrift für Allgemeinmedizin; 81:258–263.
- Steinsbekk A, Bentzen N, Fønnebø V, Lewith G (2005). Self treatment with one of three self selected, ultramolecular homeopathic medicines for the prevention of upper respiratory tract infections in children. A double-blind randomized placebo controlled trial. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology; 59:447–455.
- Steinsbekk A, Fønnebø V, Lewith G, Bentzen N (2005). Homeopathic care for the prevention of upper respiratory tract infections in children: a pragmatic, randomized, controlled trial comparing randomized homeopathic care and waiting-list controls. Complementary Therapies in Medicine; 13:231–238.
NB The above list is not exhaustive and is made with reference to a more extended list of research provided by the Faculty of Homeopathy accessible at: http://www.facultyofhomeopathy.org/research/rcts_in_homeopathy/