I prepared my first formal program of homeopathic remedies to prevent infectious diseases in 1986. In the following 20+ years, tens of thousands of Australian children have been immunized homeopathically – a method called homeoprophylaxis (HP) – using programs from myself as well as other practitioners across the country. The method itself is over 200 years old, and has considerable clinical and research experience to support its claims.
In 2004, I integrated 18 years of data collection from parents of children using my program with 4 years of doctoral research at Swinburne University in Melbourne. The purpose of this article is to share with you the findings of this and other research into the effectiveness and safety of HP.
The use of HP was first described by Dr Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, in 1801. He used the remedy Belladonna 30 to successfully treat patients with the disease Scarlet Fever, but fortuitously found that the remedy also helped to prevent the disease. He then used HP to prevent such diseases as Cholera and Typhoid. In the decades following, many leading homeopaths used HP to prevent a variety of infectious diseases, mainly in acute epidemic situations.
The largest trial of the short-term use of HP was against an outbreak of Meningococcal disease in Brazil. The researchers gave 65,826 children the homeopathic remedy Meningococcinum. Another 23,539 were not protected. The effectiveness of HP after 6 months was 95%, and after a 12 months follow-up was 91%.
Whilst many homeopaths also use HP for long-term prevention (mainly in Australia and the Indian subcontinent), there had been very little formal statistical research into the long-term use of HP prior to 1985. The data I have collected since that time provides a useful guide as to the effectiveness and safety of long-term HP. It confirms that the findings regarding epidemic use also extend to long-term use, with an average effectiveness of around 90%, and a very high level of safety. These findings are presented below.
The Effectiveness of Homeoprophylaxis
As mentioned above, we have a considerable amount of clinical evidence showing that HP provides a high level of protection against targeted infectious diseases. This is supported by a small number of statistical trials which are summarized in Table 1 below. These show an average effectiveness of around 90%, which certainly is comparable to measures of vaccine effectiveness, which range from 70% to 99%, depending on the individual vaccine, and the type of trial used to measure efficacy (real-world experiences show lower rates than clinical trials).
These figures confirm that no method of disease prevention is ever 100% effective.
No statistical study is ever perfect, and of course the reliability of my data is open to question. So as part of my Swinburne research, I applied seven statistical tests to validate the long-term data I have been collecting since 1985. These are described in detail elsewhere, and they did show a high level of reliability. For example, my single figure measure of long-term HP effectiveness was 90.4%, with 95% confidence limits of 87.6% – 93.2% (i.e. it can be stated with 95% confidence that the efficacy lies between 87.6% AND 93.2%), a very strong result.
Table 1: The Effectiveness of HP – Statistical Trials in Humans
|Year||Researcher*||Numbers of Participants||Length of Survey||Effectiveness %|
|1907||Eaton||2,806||< 1 year||97.5|
|1950||Taylor-Smith||82 (12 definitely exposed)||< 1 year||100.0|
|1963||Gutman||385||< 1 year||86.0|
|1974||Castro &Nogeira||HP 18,000
Not HP 6,340
|1987||English||694||2 years||87.0 – 91.5|
|1987||Fox||61||5 years||82.0 – 95.0|
|1998||Mroninski et al||HP 65,826
Not HP 23,539
|95.0 – 91.0|
|1997||Golden||593 children1,305 questionnaires||10 years||88.8|
* References for these studies may be found in Vaccination and Homeoprophylaxis – A Review of Risks and Alternatives, 6th edition
So those in pharmaceutical medicine who state that there is no evidence supporting the effectiveness of HP are clearly wrong. It is not essential to rely only on randomized clinical trials (RCTs) to provide evidence, and in fact the findings of many RCTs are shown to be questionable over time (e.g. drugs such as Vioxx that were tested in RCTs, then later withdrawn from use because of side-effects not discovered or acknowledged during the RCTs).
Thus homeopaths can confidently say that HP provides a definite level of protection against targeted infectious diseases, which is not 100%, but which is comparable to that of vaccines.
The Safety of Homoeoprophylaxis
Homeopathic medicines are usually prepared using a series of dilutions and succussions (firm striking of the container holding the liquid remedy against a firm surface). The remedies are called “potencies” because at each stage they become energetically stronger. After the 12c potency, no molecules of the original substance remain, yet the remedy is energetically stronger. Pharmaceutical advocates cannot understand this, because their paradigm forces them to believe that as the number of molecules of a substance decreases in a medicine, the medicine becomes weaker. This is true if the kinetic energy of the succussion is not correctly applied, and a simple dilution only is prepared. But we are making much more than a simple dilution.
Doctors agree that homoeopathic potencies cannot be toxic, and so physical safety is not an issue. However, some homeopaths have expressed concerns over the years as to whether the long-term use of the remedies in my HP program is energetically safe. Many people who are not bound to the pharmaceutical paradigm understand that energy can produce real and tangible effects, and if misused can cause problems. One important part of my research at Swinburne was to check the long-term safety of HP.
This was done by examining 5 markers of overall wellbeing in children aged between 4 and 12 years of age – asthma, eczema, ear/hearing problems, allergies and behavioural problems. These were compared to a range of early childhood markers, including breastfeeding status, birthweight, APGAR scores, as well as to 4 possible immunization methods – vaccination, HP, general/constitutional prevention, and no prevention at all. That gave 20 (5 x 4) possible combinations of health conditions and immunization methods. The data was processed using Odds Ratios and Chi Squared Probability tests.
Once again, the full results are reported in detail elsewhere, but the main findings are as follows:
- In 19 of the 20 possible measures of health, vaccinated children were less healthy than other children, usually by a significant amount (the 1 measure favouring vaccination was not statistically significant). The most dramatic single finding was that vaccinated children have a 15 times greater chance of becoming asthmatic than children using HP, with P>99%, a highly statistically significant finding.
- Children using HP were generally at least as healthy (and often more healthy) as children who used constitutional/general immunization or no immunization at all. The HP group were not exclusively from people who were extremely health conscious. Regularly, parents using my HP program say that it is their first introduction to homeopathy and to natural medicine in general.
- Parental estimates of general well-being were very high in the HP group – at least as high as in other groups.
- Not all HP programs give consistent results. When comparing children using my HP program to those using other HP programs, the levels of both effectiveness and safety were lower in the group using other programs. So it is advisable to check the basis of a HP program before committing to it. Programs using daily doses of low potencies provide less effective long-term prevention than programs using infrequent doses of (appropriately selected) high potencies.
We may conclude from the parts of my data which were statistically significant (P?95%), that HP is associated with an improvement in general health, compared to other immunization methods (as well as no immunization at all), and that this figure is significantly better when compared to vaccinated children. Therefore we may conclude that the evidence suggests that the use of an appropriate long-term HP program does not lessen the health of children, and evidence suggests that it may in fact assist the maturation of the immune system by gently challenging the system in the first 5-6 years of life.
What began as a limited study 20 years ago has grown, for me, into an ongoing attempt to make parents, as well as health professionals, aware of the wonderful opportunity that homoeoprophylaxis offers to provide protection against target infectious diseases, without risking the long-term health of their children. It may be safely used by adults.
Not every infectious disease is a dire threat to a healthy infant. I personally don’t believe that immunization against every infectious disease is essential. But I do believe that the right to choose which diseases should be prevented should belong to the parents of each child. We can confidently say to parents that they can provide a high (but not complete) level of protection against targeted diseases, without risk, by using an appropriate HP program.
We can also say to those within the pharmaceutical industry who disparage HP as being untested and uncertain – take the time to study the facts available. Criticism without facts is the antithesis of the true scientific method, yet it is the response we continually get from pharmaceutical medicine when it comes to HP.
I concluded my doctoral thesis by saying that “a national immunization system, where both vaccination and HP were available to parents, would increase the national coverage against targeted infectious diseases, and reduce the incidence of some chronic health conditions, especially asthma”. The data is unambiguous, and it is time that those who run the health services of this country get serious about long-term health, and fully support the use of the best of what natural medicine in general, and homeopathic medicine in particular, has to offer.
Vaccines offer a level of protection against targeted infectious diseases, but involve a long-term risk that has never been adequately measured. Evidence shows that vaccination is a factor in the increase in asthma (and other chronic diseases) shown earlier. We can achieve a comparable level of protection, without this risk, by using an appropriate long-term HP program. It’s time that those parents who search for facts to inform themselves before vaccinating are encouraged, and not attacked by agents of the pharmaceutical industry. It’s time that parents are supported in their choice of immunization method, for the benefit of their own children and of the entire community.
For a more thorough review of the history, statistics, science and research of Homeopathic Immunizations, visit the Little Mountain Homeopathy Homeopathic Immunizations Info Page
Golden I. Homoeoprophylaxis – A Fifteen Year Clinical Study. 2004. Isaac Golden Publications. Daylesford.
Golden I. Homœoprophylaxis – A Practical and Philosophical Review. 2001. Isaac Golden Publications, Daylesford, Australia. 3rd edition.
Golden I. The Potential Value of Homœoprophylaxis in the Prevention of Infectious Diseases, and the Maintenance of General Health in Recipients. 2005. Swinburne University Press, Melbourne.
Golden I. Vaccination – A Homoeopathic Perspective. Nature & Health. Vol 7. No.3. Sept 1986, pages 67-70.
Golden I. Vaccination and Homoeoprophylaxis – A Review of Risks and Alternatives, 6th edition. 2005. Isaac Golden Publications. Daylesford.
Hahnemann S. The Cure and Prevention of Scarlet Fever. 1801. Republished in Lesser Writings. B Jain Publishers, New Delhi; pp. 369-385.
Mroninski C, Adriano E, Mattos G. Meningococcinum: Its protective effect against meningococcal disease. Homoeopathic Links Winter, 2001. Vol 14(4); pp. 230-4.
National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC). The Australian Immunisation Handbook, 8th Edition. 2003. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.
About the Author…
Dr Isaac Golden has been in homeopathic practice since 1984. He has written 8 books on homeopathic topics and currently consults in Gisborne, Victoria. Since 1990, he has been Principal of the A.C.H.H., a correspondence college teaching homeopathy and has recently been appointed as Adjunct Professor of Homeopathy at the Australian College of Natural Medicine. He is a world authority on the use of homeoprophylaxis, and has completed the world’s largest long term trial of the method. He was awarded a PhD from Swinburne University in 2004 as a result of the research on HP he has undertaken over the last 20 years. Click here for further information about Dr Golden and his publications.
It is commonly assumed that homeopathic medicines are composed of extremely small doses of medicinal substances. And yet, does anyone refer to an atomic bomb as an extremely small dose of a bomb? In actual fact, there is a power, a very real power, in having atoms smash against each other.
Homeopathic medicines are made through a specific pharmacological process of dilution and vigorous shaking. However, when skeptics say that there is nothing but water in homeopathic medicine, they are proving their ignorance, despite the incredible arrogance in which they make these assertions. Dr. Martin Chaplin, a respected British professor who is one of the world’s experts on water, has verified that “homeopathic water” and “regular water” are not the same, and his review of almost 2,000 references to the scientific literature on water (!) confirm this fact (Chaplin, 2009).
It should be noted that a large number of homeopathic medicines sold in health food stores and pharmacies are made in doses with known physiological doses. In fact, there are several thousand (!) studies in conventional scientific journals showing a wide variety of biological effects from extremely small doses of various substances on specific systems.
Homeopathic medicines can and should be considered to be a type of “nanopharmacology” (Ullman, 2006). Although the word “nano” also means one-billionth of a size, that is not its only definition. In fact, “nano” derives from the word “dwarf,” and “nano” is the only word in the English language that is used on common parlance as denoting extremely small AND yet extremely powerful. Homeopathic medicines are both extremely small in dose and yet extremely powerful in their therapeutic effect.
For 200 years now, millions of physicians and hundreds of millions of homeopathic patients have observed and experienced the power and effectiveness of homeopathic medicines
The Power of Nano-doses
Precisely how homeopathic medicines work remains a mystery, and yet, nature is replete with mysteries and with numerous striking examples of the power of extremely small doses.
For instance, it is commonly known that a certain species of moth can smell pheromones of its own species up to two miles away. It is no simple coincidence that species only sense pheromones from those in the same species who emit them (akin to the homeopathic principle of similars), as though they have developed exquisite and specific receptor sites for what they need to propagate their species. Likewise, sharks are known to sense blood in the water at distances, and when one considers the volume of water in the ocean, it becomes obvious that sharks, like all living creatures, develop extreme hypersensitivity for whatever will help ensure their survival.
That living organisms have some truly remarkable sensitivities is no controversy. The challenging question that remains is: How does the medicine become imprinted into the water and how does the homeopathic process of dilution with succussion increase the medicine’s power? Although we do not know precisely the answer to this question, some new research may help point the way.
The newest and most intriguing way to explain how homeopathic medicines may work derives from some sophisticated modern technology. Scientists at several universities and hospitals in France and Belgium have discovered that the vigorous shaking of the water in glass bottles causes extremely small amounts of silica fragments or chips to fall into the water (Demangeat, et al., 2004). Perhaps these silica chips may help to store the information in the water, with each medicine that is initially placed in the water creating its own pharmacological effect. In any case, each medicinal substance will interact with the silica fragments in its own idiosyncratic way, thereby changing the nature and structure of water accordingly.
Further, the micro-bubbles and the nano-bubbles that are caused by the shaking may burst and thereby produce microenvironments of higher temperature and pressure. Several studies by chemists and physicists have revealed increased release of heat from water in which homeopathic medicines are prepared, even when the repeated process of dilutions should suggest that there are no molecules remaining of the original medicinal substance (Elia and Niccoli, 1999; Elia, et al., 2004; Rey, 2003).
Also, a group of highly respected scientists have confirmed that the vigorous shaking involved with making homeopathic medicines changes the pressure in the water, akin to water being at 10,000 feet in altitude (Roy, et al., 2005). These scientists have shown how the homeopathic process of using double-distilled water and then diluting and shaking the medicine in a sequential fashion changes the structure of water.
One metaphor that may help us understand how and why extremely small doses of medicinal agents may work derives from present knowledge of modern submarine radio communications. Normal radio waves simply do not penetrate water, so submarines must use an extremely low-frequency radio wave. The radio waves used by submarines to penetrate water are so low that a single wavelength is typically several miles long!
If one considers that the human body is 70-80 percent water, perhaps the best way to provide pharmacological information to the body and into intercellular fluids is with nanodoses. Like the extremely low-frequency radio waves, it may be necessary to use extremely low (and activated) doses for a person to receive the medicinal effect.
It is important to understand that nanopharmacological doses will not have any effect unless the person is hypersensitive to the specific medicinal substance. Hypersensitivity is created when there is some type of resonance between the medicine and the person. Because the system of homeopathy bases its selection of the medicine on its ability to cause in overdose the similar symptoms that the sick person is experiencing, homeopathy’s principle of similars is simply a practical method of finding the substance to which a person is hypersensitive.
The homeopathic principle of similars makes further sense when one considers that modern physiologists and pathologists recognize that disease is not simply the result of breakdown or surrender of the body but that symptoms are instead representative of the body’s efforts to fight infection or adapt to stress.
Using a nanodose that is able to penetrate deeply into the body and that is specifically chosen for its ability to mimic the symptoms helps to initiate a profound healing process. It is also important to highlight the fact that a homeopathic medicine is not simply chosen for its ability to cause a similar disease but for its ability to cause a similar syndrome of symptoms of disease, of which the specific localized disease is a part. By understanding that the human body is a complex organism that creates a wide variety of physical and psychological symptoms, homeopaths acknowledge biological complexity and have a system of treatment to address it effectively.
Although no one knows precisely how homeopathic medicines initiate the healing process, we have more than 200 years of evidence from hundreds of thousands of clinicians and tens of millions of patients that these medicines have powerful effects. One cannot help but anticipate the veritable treasure trove of knowledge that further research in homeopathy and nanopharmacology will bring.
Nobel Prize-winning Scientist on Homeopathy…
Brian Josephson, Ph.D., (1940-) is a British physicist who won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973 for work he completed when he was only 22 years old. He is currently a professor at the University of Cambridge where he is the head of the mind-matter unification project in the Theory of Condensed Matter research group.
Responding to an article in the New Scientist (October 18, 1997) that expressed skepticism about homeopathy, Josephson wrote:
Regarding your comments on claims made for homeopathy: criticisms centered around the vanishingly small number of solute molecules present in a solution after it has been repeatedly diluted are beside the point, since advocates of homeopathic remedies attribute their effects not to molecules present in the water, but to modifications of the water’s structure. Simple-minded analysis may suggest that water, being a fluid, cannot have a structure of the kind that such a picture would demand. But cases such as that of liquid crystals, which while flowing like an ordinary fluid can maintain an ordered structure over macroscopic distances, show the limitations of such ways of thinking. There have not, to the best of my knowledge, been any refutations of homeopathy that remain valid after this particular point is taken into account.
A related topic is the phenomenon, claimed by Jacques Benveniste’s colleague Yolène Thomas and by others to be well established experimentally, known as “memory of water”. If valid, this would be of greater significance than homeopathy itself, and it attests to the limited vision of the modern scientific community that, far from hastening to test such claims, the only response has been to dismiss them out of hand. (Josephson, 1997)
Later, when Josephson was interviewed by the New Scientist (December 9, 2006), he chose to emphasize that many scientists today suffer from “pathological disbelief”; that is, they maintain an unscientific attitude that is embodied by the statement “even if it were true I wouldn’t believe it.” Sadly, such scientists are simply showing evidence of an unscientific attitude.
Quantum physics does not disprove Newtonian physics; quantum physics simply extends our understanding of extremely small and extremely large systems. Likewise, homeopathy does not disprove conventional pharmacology; instead, it extends our understanding of extremely small doses of medicinal agents. It is time that physicians and scientists began incorporating both Newtonian and quantum physics into a better understanding of what healing is and how to best augment it.
The founder of homeopathic medicine, Samuel Hahnemann, MD, rewrote and updated his seminal work on the subject five times in his lifetime, each time refining his observations. Homeopaths continue to refine this system of nanopharmacology. While there is not always agreement on the best ways to select the correct remedy or the best nanopharmacological dose to use, the system of homeopathic medicine provides a solid foundation from which clinicians and researchers exploring nanopharmacologies can and should explore.
Dana Ullman, MPH, is America’s leading spokesperson for homeopathy and is the founder of www.homeopathic.com. He is the author of 10 books, including his bestseller, Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. His most recent book is, The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy. Dana lives, practices, and writes from Berkeley, California.
Chaplin, Martin. 2009 (updated regularly) http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/index2.html
Demangeat, J.-L., Gries, P., Poitevin, B., Droesbeke J.-J., Zahaf, T., Maton, F., Pierart, C., and Muller, R. N. Low-Field NMR Water Proton Longitudinal Relaxation in Ultrahighly Diluted Aqueous Solutions of Silica-Lactose Prepared in Glass Material for Pharmaceutical Use, Applied Magnetic Resonance, 2004, 26:465-481.
Elia, V. and Niccoli, M. Thermodynamics of Extremely Diluted Aqueous Solutions, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1999, 879:241-248.
Elia, V., Baiano, S., Duro, I., Napoli, E., Niccoli, M., and Nonatelli, L. Permanent Physio-chemical Properties of Extremely Diluted Aqueous Solutions of Homeopathic Medicines, Homeopathy, 2004, 93:144-150.
Josephson, B. D., Letter, New Scientist, November 1, 1997.
Rey, L. Thermoluminescence of Ultra-High Dilutions of Lithium Chloride and Sodium Chloride. Physica A, 2003, 323:67-74.
Roy, R., Tiller, W. A., Bell, I., and Hoover, M. R. The Structure of Liquid Water: Novel Insights from Materials Research; Potential Relevance to Homeopathy, Materials Research Innovations, December 2005, 9(4):577-608..
Ullman, Dana. “Let’s have a serious discussion of nanopharmacology and homeopathy”. FASEB. 2006;20:2661.