Scientific evidence for homeopathy part 1

Christer Sundqvist

Cancer patients have reported that they gain help from homeopathy in their disease. We decided to find out the benefits of homeopathy and in particular we are looking for scientific evidence on how homeopathy works.

The well-known and respected Finnish homeopath Jouni Jämsä ( ) helps us with this investigation. We talked to him about homeopathy in general and he offered his knowledge to our readers in a step-by-step information package on homeopathy. In the first part, we will be involved in a general discussion on modern homeopathy, the scientific research in homeopathy will be presented and in the future we will receive more scientific evidence.

Homeopathy is traditional medical treatment

“Jouni, how nice that you joined a discussion about homeopathy. What is Homeopathy? ”

Homeopathy is the second most widely used treatment in the world. In Central Europe, homeopathy is even part of the training for physicians and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that it should be given more visibility in its member countries. It is quite common in Central Europe that physicians also use homeopathy in their work.

Homeopathy is a traditional treatment just like acupuncture and is based on a long experience in practice. Homeopathic treatments have often been unnecessarily compared or equated with drug treatments or research of patent medicine in school medicine. Homeopathic treatments do not cure in the same way as regular medicine but activate the body to heal itself.

Homeopathic treatments do not intend to be an alternative to Western medicine, but they are suitable for treating all diseases. An open discussion about the benefits of various homeopathic treatments is currently being prevented in Finland.

“How does homeopathy work?”

Homeopathy does not actually cure directly, but rather activates our bodies to defend themselves against the disease. Homeopathy is believed to have been founded by a physician, chemist Samuel Hahnemann, who discovered more than 200 years ago that gradually diluting substances after shaking can cure diseases. Similia similibus/The same cures the same, ie a diluted pathogen cures the disease.

Proper shaking of a substance/parent substance results in a drug that is protected in the EU by a directive [8]. Each plant, mineral or even mold, receives a different type of medical frequency when diluted vigorously in the correct proportion with water, ie they are enhanced.

With long experience and good documentation it has been found that this results in homeopathic preparations that cure diseases. The mechanism of action is partly unclear. It is probably a higher sort of science.

“Doesn’t this resemble vaccination?”

You are absolutely right, especially nosodi-homeopathy (homeopathic medicine produced by the disease maker, the pathogen) is a form of vaccination where the pathogen is given to the patient as very diluted and it elicits a defense mechanism in the patient. A disease state is always a cellular event, and a homeopathic remedy is in such a form that the patient’s body is activated to build up a defense against the disease or it attempts to normalize the situation.

Homeopathy cannot be compared in its effect with conventional drug treatments or even studied in the same way. This causes those who criticize homeopathy a headache and it probably also becomes a good reason to rate homeopathy as a humbug. One can compare the difference between homeopathy and other drugs with examination of music. No music can be found on the CD with a microscope. Music should be examined with the right tools.

Review of heavily diluted homeopathic preparations

“Can we take a look at these homeopathic remedies. I have understood that some homeopathic preparations are very heavily diluted. How is it possible that they work? ”

I now present to you studies that have shown with different types of technology that a heavily diluted homeopathic preparation contains a “substance”. Thus, a homeopathic remedy does not merely consist of emptiness or is just pure water.

Homeopathy can be divided in many ways, for example as individual preparations, combinations, and they can have low or high potency (potentiation). A single preparation is a homeopathic drug which, when potentiated (shaken in dilute form), contains only one active substance. As the name suggests, combination products contain several substances.

Low strengths refer to products below or above C12, according to Avogadro’s standard value. According to Avogadro’s standard, the active substance is no longer active when diluted over a certain amount (C12 strength).

Many critics of homeopathy see this as strong evidence that homeopathy cannot work because it “contains nothing”.

According to the results of the researchers at Szeged University, the following can be stated about low-strength preparations: Possibly the same amount of active plant substance in comparison with the preparation itself from the plant, but with a smaller amount of the actual plant. The purpose of their study was to compare a homeopathic preparation with a so-called allopathic (used in conventional medicine) herbal preparation.

The homeopathic substance (combination product) they studied contained a small amount of the stock solution, as well as potentiated substances, and the herbal preparation was used as a control only. The average daily dose of agnucastone from the Agnucaston product (herbal products) and Mastodynon (the same product in homeopathic form) was 100.82 µg for Agnucastone and 25.19 µg for the homeopathic product. When investigated by HPLC-DAD (high performance liquid chromatography), both preparations still gave very similar chromatographic fingerprints.

As also stated in a study, homeopathic medicines cannot be considered as a single group, because when studying homeopathic medicines it is good to understand that a homeopathic drug can be very variable depending on the manufacturer and the purpose of the drug. Drawing boundaries between a herbal preparation and a homeopathic medicine can be difficult for low-strength preparations. In homeopathy, the method of use of the preparation plays a significant role in deciding whether it should contain a stock solution, whether it should be of low potency or is it a powerful solution [13, 16, 9, 6, 19, 20, 24, 2] .

For low effects, the DEM method has been used as a test method, ie. droplet evaporation, HPLC-DAD [13], dielectric dispersion [24], thermoluminescence [2], proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy [1, 21, 25] and ultraviolet light spectroscopy [9, 6, 20].

High potencies arouse the passion of those who oppose homeopathy. The biggest dispute has been whether there is an active substance or not? If only chemical measurement is used as a test method, there is only one answer: no there is not. But if we move on to more sensitive methods, activity in homeopathic remedies with high potency (large dilution) has also been detected.

Listed by measurement method:

Ultraviolet light spectroscopy (UV) [4.6, 7, 20, 9, 21]

Thermal luminescence [2,3]

Delayed luminescence [22]

Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy NMR [1, 21, 15]

Transfer Electrode Microscopy (TEM) [5]

Atomic emission spectroscopy of plasma (ICP-AES) [5].

DEM evaporation method DEM [11, 12]

When using a solvochromatic dye [14, 17]

Infrared Spectroscopy [18, 21]

The end results can be interpreted in the same way in experiments with different research methods: high-potency homeopathic preparations thus contain an active substance.

Jean-Louis Demangeat (former head of nuclear medicine at Haguenau Central Hospital and former lecturer in biophysics at the Faculty of Medicine in Strasbourg) has said that the criticism of homeopathy is based on the theoretical absence of starting materials at ultramolecular dilutions above the 12 CH (Avogadro limit). Several studies show that surprisingly, materials can be measured at high dilutions and even are stable in its original form in dilutions above 12 CH. [10]

The opposite way of looking at the matter also produced results. Six initially unidentified homeopathic drugs with delayed luminescence technology were analyzed. The purpose was to find out the quality of homeopathic preparations. The analysis found Argentum nitricum in the preparation, from which the factory had sent various strengths (low to high) for analysis. The pharmaceutical company confirmed the results of the study [22]. It is also possible through research to check if the products contain a homeopathic substance, whether they are the same or if they are different.

“Pretty exciting! Is it now known how a homeopathic product works?”

The best way to measure the content of homeopathic medicines is still an open question, as is how a homeopathic product works. But researchers at the University of Bern and Florida state that placebo can be excluded from studies, as well as contaminations of silica.

The UV transmission values between the homeopathic preparations had a significantly greater variation compared to the controls. Therefore, the experimental evidence summarizes that a highly diluted homeopathic preparation diluted across the Avogadro border retains its own specific physical and chemical properties, which differ from the merely shaken solvent without the preparation. The exact nature of these properties is not yet known; our current working hypothesis is an increase in solvent molecular dynamics for homeopathic preparations, say the researchers [20].

In connection with research on certain homeopathic medicines, suspicion has been expressed about contamination of the research sample, e.g. from particles that are released from the bottles. In recent studies, this has been excluded as a factor. This is supported by several studies in the References section [4, 9, 15, 20]. That is, neither placebo nor contamination interferes with the studies.

The Joint European Research Group concludes: There is clear evidence that homeopathic preparations should not be considered as pure water solutions, as is generally assumed. Rather, it appears that all dilutions provide a specific material configuration determined by the potential substance [15].

Institute of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay claims: Homeopathy is controversial because high-potency homeopathic drugs such as 30c and 200c show huge dilution factors many times greater than Avogadro’s numbers. Theoretically, there should be no measurable residue of the starting material. With the help of modern technology (TEM, SAED and ICP-AES) we have shown the presence of the starting material in the form of nanoparticles and their aggregates even at very high dilutions. The confirmed presence of nanoparticles challenges the notion of the dilution’s role in homeopathic medicines. Using metal-based drugs from reliable manufacturers, we have shown for the first time the presence of physical material through induction coupled atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) through transfer electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction and chemical analysis. The accumulation of elemental metallic nanoparticles is visible at these extreme dilutions [5].

Spectroscopy with ultraviolet light examined homeopathic beads that were either of high or ultra high strength, ie highly diluted. The purpose of this study was to determine if the homeopathic remedy made of beads is proportional to previous research results obtained from liquid preparations. The beads used in the study were soaked and the resulting solution was compared with a control solution.

Researchers at the Institute of Complementary Medicine, University of Bern, report that in addition to the differences between the control product produced at defined dilution levels and homeopathic beads, significant differences in 30c, 200c and 200CF have been observed in strengths even at these high dilutions. This is consistent with Rey’s study, which was able to separate lithium chloride 15c and sodium chloride 15c by the thermoluminescence method. Acon. a solution of napellus, sulfur and Apis mellifica prepared from highly diluted beads had a significantly different UV absorbance than that produced from control beads. This study has supplemented the results of high liquid dilutions of beads and suggests that the properties of high liquid dilutions can be preserved and detected in dissolved beads [4].

According to the researchers, this supports previous studies where a homeopathic substance has been found in highly potent preparations, and in addition, this study was able to detect differences between different homeopathic preparations, as well as between their different degrees of dilution. All preparations were diluted against the so-called Avogadro’s number, ie according to current knowledge, they should no longer contain any active substance.

Researchers at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Arizona say that an important obstacle to serious acceptance of homeopathy is the assumed “unbelievability” of the biological activity of homeopathic drugs when the starting material is diluted over the number of Avogadro molecules. Such an argument is largely based on the assumptions of elementary chemistry (and biochemistry) where the material composition of the solution (dilution factors and ligand-receptor interactions) is essential.

Preliminary data obtained using Raman and ultraviolet-visible (UV-VIS) spectroscopy describe the ability to differentiate between two different homeopathic drugs (Nux vomica and Natrum muriaticum) and they distinguish strengths 6c, 12c and 30c within a given drug. Material science concepts and experimental tools provide a new method for modern science with the intention of providing significant advances in basic research in homeopathic medicine [7].

Not only were there very diluted ingredients in homeopathic preparations, but they could also be separated from each other, as well as their different degrees of dilution.

“It was a surprise to me that homeopathic preparations are tested so closely. Tell me more!”

The University of Bern, Hiscia Institute Switzerland has studied this further. Homeopathic preparations are used in complementary medicine worldwide, but homeopathy has been and continues to be the subject of intense debate based on previous beliefs about the presence of the active substance. Although there seems to be good preclinical and clinical evidence for the effects of homeopathic preparations, the underlying method is still unclear. The purpose of the research is to elucidate the physical properties of homeopathic preparations, which can potentially increase the scientific conviction of the preparations.

Previous studies have provided extensive preparatory measurements for the reproducibility of the effect of instrument parameters, such as lamp change wavelength from visible (VIS) to ultraviolet lamp and scan speed, instrument control, warm-up time, number of repetitions and cleaning time. Prior to the measurements, the baseline calibration was completed with a cuvette filled with 18 MΩ of water. Light transmission was measured between 190 and 1100 nm. Each measurement was repeated four times with the first test containing five 18 M water samples before the actual samples. The unit was started 10 hours before the actual measurements to achieve efficient heating. Room temperature and humidity were kept constant.

Previous publications from other research groups suggested the presence of contaminants during the potentiation process. Previous studies have shown that a homeopathic preparation can be produced with minimal inorganic contamination, and that the differences between the homeopathic preparation and control are not due to contamination.

Taken together, homeopathic preparations and controls showed comparable differences in the three studies, which is an indication of the specific characteristics of homeopathic preparations. Differences can be detected when examined under UV light, between homeopathic preparations and a control preparation, and the physical properties of homeopathic preparations could be better understood [9].

DiagnOx Laboratory, Cherwell Innovation Center, Upper Heyford, Oxon, UK has written that a systematic strategy for designing a simple chemical system to study the quality of homeopathic drugs has led to the development of an experimental protocol using solvochromatic dyes as a molecular indicator for serially diluted and shaken solutions. Electron spectroscopy has been used to monitor changes in the absorbance of this class of dyes in the visible spectrum in the presence of homeopathic strengths.

The proof is shown with six different solvochromatic dyes in three different solvent systems. In both cases, homeopathic strengths produced permanent and repetitive changes in the color spectrum [14].

“We thank Jouni for explaining the concept of homeopathy and for the fascinating dive into scientific research with dilute homeopathic preparations. The series on homeopathy continues in the next article. “


1 Nanosized solvent superstructures in ultramolecular aqueous dilutions: twenty years’ research using water proton NMR relaxation. Homeopathy 102 (2): 87-105, 2013

2 Thermoluminescence in ultra-high dilution research. J Altern Complement Med. 12(5):437-443, 2006

3 Thermoluminescence of ultra-high dilutions of lithium chloride and sodium chloride. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications 323: 67-74, 2003

4 Comparison of homeopathic globules prepared from high and ultra-high dilutions of various starting materials by ultraviolet light spectroscopy. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 24: 111-117, 2016

5 Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective. Homeopathy 99(4):231-242, 2010

6 Absorption Spectra of Electronic-Homoeopathic Copies of Homoeopathic Nosodes and Placebo Have Essential Differences. Forsch Komplementärmed 13:294-297, 2006

7 The defining role of structure (including epitaxy) in the plausibility of homeopathy. Homeopathy

96 (3): 175-182, 2007

8 Homeopaattiset ja antroposofiset valmisteet. Fimea, 2001

9 Differences in Median Ultraviolet Light Transmissions of Serial Homeopathic Dilutions of Copper Sulfate, Hypericum perforatum, and Sulfur. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2013, Article ID 370609, 11 pages

10 Les hautes dilutions homéopathiques vues par la physique : arguments en faveur d’une nanomédecine. La Revue d’Homéopathie 11 (1): 2-12, 2020

11 Impact of succussion on pharmaceutical preparations analyzed by means of patterns from evaporated droplets. Nature Scientific Reports 10:570, 2020

12 Polycrystalline structures formed in evaporating droplets as a parameter to test the action of Zincum metallicum 30c in a wheat seed model. Homeopathy 105 (2): 173-179, 2016

13 Low Potency Homeopathic Remedies and Allopathic Herbal Medicines: Is There an Overlap? PLoS One. 8(9): e74181, 2013

14 Solvatochromic dyes detect the presence of homeopathic potencies. Homeopathy 105 (1): 55-65, 2016

15 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance characterization of traditional homeopathically manufactured copper (Cuprum metallicum) and plant (Gelsemium sempervirens) medicines and controls. Homeopathy 106(04): 223-239, 2017

16 A review of the use and role of low potencies in homeopathy. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 13 (4): 291-296, 2005

17 Interaction of homeopathic potencies with the water soluble solvatochromic dye bis-dimethylaminofuchsone. Part 1: pH studies. Homeopathy 106(1):37-46, 2017

18 Variation in Fourier transform infrared spectra of some homeopathic potencies and their diluent media. J Altern Complement Med 11(5):807-812, 2005

19 Effects of Exposure to Physical Factors on Homeopathic Preparations as Determined by Ultraviolet Light Spectroscopy. ScientificWorldJournal 10: 49–61, 2010

20 Homeopathic Preparations of Quartz, Sulfur and Copper Sulfate Assessed by UV-Spectroscopy. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2011: 692798, 2011

21 Investigation of therapeutically active constituents of homeopathy medicine from Justicia adhatoda L. and its clinical verification. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 8(3): 3790-3796, 2019

22 Identification of Unknown Homeopathic Remedies by Delayed Luminescence. Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics 68: 321–334, 2014

24 Dielectric dispersion studies of some potentised homeopathic medicines reveal structured vehicle. Homeopathy 102(4):262-267, 2013

25 A nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy comparison of 3C trituration derived and 4C trituration derived remedies. Homeopathy 97(04): 196-201, 2008

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