MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a common disorder. This trial tested the efficacy of individualized homeopathy (IH) in comparison with placebo in patients with CRS.

This double-blind, randomized (1:1), placebo-controlled, preliminary trial (n = 62) was conducted at the National Institute of Homoeopathy, West Bengal, India. Primary outcome measure was the sino-nasal outcome test-20 (SNOT-20) questionnaire; secondary outcomes were the EQ-5D-5L questionnaire and EQ-5D-5L visual analogue scale scores, and five numeric rating scales (0-10) assessing intensity of sneezing, rhinorrhoea, post-nasal drip, facial pain/pressure, and disturbance in sense of smell, all measured at baseline and after the 2nd and 4th months of intervention. Group differences and effect sizes (Cohen’s d) were calculated on the intention-to-treat sample.

The two groups were comparable at baseline. Attrition rate was 6.5% (IH: 1, Placebo: 3). Although improvements in both primary and secondary outcome measures were higher in the IH group than placebo, with small to medium effect sizes, the group differences were statistically non-significant (all p > 0.05, unpaired t-tests). Calcarea carbonicaLycopodium clavatumSulphurNatrum muriaticum and Pulsatilla nigricans were the most frequently prescribed medicines. No harmful or unintended effects, homeopathic aggravations or any serious adverse events were reported from either group.

The authors who are affiliated with the following institutions:

  • Department of Materia Medica, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
  • Department of ENT, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
  • Department of Paediatrics, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
  • Department of Organon of Medicine and Homoeopathic Philosophy, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
  • Department of Repertory, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
  • Mahesh Bhattacharyya Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Govt. of West Bengal, Howrah, West Bengal, India.

concluded that there was a small but non-significant direction of effect favoring homeopathy, which ultimately renders the trial as inconclusive. Rigorous trials and independent replications are recommended to arrive at a confirmatory conclusion.

Sorry, but this is the wrong conclusion. In the name of honesty and research integrity, it should read something like this:

Our study failed to show that IH has a significant effect on CRS.

But of course, this is no surprise. Why should IH work for CRS? The only remotely interesting finding here, in my view, is the fact that the authors noted not a single homeopathic aggravation (i. e. the occurrence of the ‘drug picture’ in a patient and thus a kind of homeopathic ‘proving’). Using IH, homeopaths would expect aggravations with some regularity. Could it be that homeopathic aggravations (and ‘provings’) are, like all effects of homeopathy, the result of misinterpretation, fantasy and wishful thinking? Investigating the issue systematically, we found already 17 years ago that this systematic review does not provide clear evidence that the phenomenon of homeopathic aggravations exists.

48 Responses to A new RCT of homeopathy yields a negative result but arrives at a positive conclusion (… and provides more evidence that homeopathic ‘aggravations’ and ‘provings’ are pure fantasy)

  • Dear Edzard,

    From what I understand, provings only work if they are taken by a homeopath.

    This makes sense as, bearing in mind the constant contaminations and buffetings that water is subjected to in real life, the nature of any homeopathic medicine can only depend on the intent of the person making it.

    I once asked a Jewish friend of mine what was different about Kosher wine. He explained that it was the devoutness of the winemaker.

  • When will Dr. Hümmer and Dana Ullmann show up and protest vigorously against the critics’ erroneous conclusions?

    Three, two, one…

  • Ernie…you KNOW better than this, though you seemingly pretend to not know it: homeopathic provings are conducted on HEALTHY people, not sick people, so that homeopaths can learn what a substance CAUSES in overdoses. If provings used sick people, the experimenter would not know if the symptoms the person experienced were the symptoms of their sick-state or the result of the overdose of the medicinal agent.

    BUT you know this…OR maybe you didn’t. This extremely basic fact about “homeopathic drug provings” is known by EVERY student of homeopathy.

    What you have just proven is that you literally know NOTHING about homeopathy, even information that is so basic to the first year student of homeopathy. You obviously were not trained in homeopathy (or you sat in classes and didn’t listen or learn).

    Thank you for this admission of ignorance. Finally, you’ve proven something very important.

    • Dullman … where did I claim that provings are NOT done on healthy people?
      what I did say is that they are based on the same assumed phenomenon [according to your guru SH]; and by stating that “If provings used sick people, the experimenter would not know if the symptoms the person experienced were the symptoms of their sick-state or the result of the overdose of the medicinal agent”, you acknowledged this fact.

    • @Ernst

      I agree with Dana.

    • @Dana Ullman

      homeopathic provings are conducted on HEALTHY people, not sick people

      And that is EXACTLY why homeopaths are fools. Because you never check if your ‘remedies’ actually benefit sick people, nosiree … You take a mere handful of healthy people to carry out a silly ritual that only produces ‘results’ if the participants in the ritual know what it is they’re supposed to experience(*) – and then you blindly ASSUME that it somehow does something for sick people who happen to experience similar things. Because you BELIEVE that homeopathy works this way, even though this has never been consistently proven in a scientifically valid, repeatable manner – quite the contrary, actually.

      Oh yes, I know what comes next:
      “But most people that we treat get better! …”

      … as do most people you DON’T treat. In other words: you are simply fooling yourself and your hapless customers.

      And as I said before: any pharmaceutical company ‘testing’ real medicines in this way would face immediate shutdown and criminal prosecution for multiple offences.

      I really hope that one day soon, homeopathy loses its weird privileges, starting with the privilege that they’re allowed to sell completely untested products as ‘medicine’.

      *: To my knowledge, virtually all double-blind randomized provings carried out by actual scientists have failed miserably. And this most certainly does not mean that those scientists are somehow all incompetent, and that only homeopaths know how to do it right.

      • If the information from provings is meaningless, then, why does modern toxicological information confirm what homeopaths have shown for the past 200 years. Perhaps modern medicine will one day catch up with homeopathy.

        Just review the evidence that homeopaths have uncovered in MUCH greater detail than modern toxicology on substances such as mercury, aluminum, or arsenic.

        Sorry to burst your arrogant bubble…but speaking from ignorance will not take you far.

        • Dana,

          If the information from provings is meaningless, then, why does modern toxicological information confirm what homeopaths have shown for the past 200 years.

          I don’t understand what you mean by this. I’m not aware of any connection at all between homeopathic provings and modern toxicology. Could you explain?

          Just review the evidence that homeopaths have uncovered in MUCH greater detail than modern toxicology on substances such as mercury, aluminum, or arsenic

          It is all very well asking us to do that, but I don’t know what this evidence is, or where to find it, if it even exists. Modern toxicology includes the pharmacological mechanisms of the action of poison, pharmacokinetics, dose-response, lethal doses, levels of exposure required to have specific effects on particular proportions of a population…

        • why does modern toxicological information confirm what homeopaths have shown for the past 200 years

          You are one seriously deluded person. Modern toxicology most definitely contradicts homeopathy: less active molecules present = less effect, and no active molecules present = no effect whatsoever. This is the outcome of EVERY SINGLE REPEATABLE EXPERIMENT(*) and also the very basis of modern-day chemistry and pharmacology – both fields being extremely successful for over a century now.

          *: Barring rare incidental statistical aberrations – you know, the very aberrations that homeopaths collect and present as proof of their belief system. However, there is not a single experiment that can consistently and in a repeatable manner reproduce any effects homeopaths claim to observe all the time.

          Just review the evidence that homeopaths have uncovered in MUCH greater detail than modern toxicology …

          So what you say is that all those modern toxicological and pharmaceutical labs each outfitted with millions worth of exceedingly expensive equipment and highly trained personnel are hopelessly obsolete in comparison to just a couple of uneducated buffoons shaking bottles of plain water?

          Talk about arrogance and ignorance …

          Sorry old chap, but you are a Believer with a capital B, a zealot, but fully incompetent in the field of actual medicine – as you are blinded by your belief. Incidentally, you are also an excellent example of infection by Morton’s demon. Any information contradicting your firmly held beliefs is either discarded right away or emphatically countered with claims that you never appear to be able to prove …

        • Evidence, Dana?

          Let’s have some links, please. I fancy a laugh.

          • Ok…Lenny, here’s a reference to slightly less the 3,000 references, or more precisely, 2,932:

            https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340506206_Homoeopathic_drug_proving_researches_1996-2018_A_scoping_review

            AND…despite using doses that are beyond Avogadro’s number, these doses have the capacity to cause symptoms in HEALTHY people, not sick people, when given in continual doses. But this assertion is just “Homeopathy 101.” Certainly, you all knew this…or maybe the entire lot of you here are uninformed about homeopathy afterall…or should I say are “misinformed.”

          • Dana,

            here’s a reference to slightly less the 3,000 references, or more precisely, 2,932

            I think you must have supplied the wrong link. This one brings up what the authors call a scoping review, which I think they use to mean an limited and incomplete review as a prelude to a full one. They identify 147 records to examine, not 2,932, which they feel would be suitable for meta-analysis.

            This is the full conclusion of the paper:
            This scoping review helped in the identification of the HPTs/HDPs conducted between 1996 and 2018 and organised illustration of the trials in terms of study design, interventions, volunteers and overall results. Despite a clear trend of gradually improving quality in terms of adopted study designs, much heterogeneity still existed in study planning, execution and reporting. The 147 accepted records are the first for data recovery and assessing and analysing the possibility of conducting a systematic review and meta‑analysis, which may include the HPTs published in other languages and is aimed at evaluating methodological qualities of the HPTs using valid criteria and statistical pooling of the trial results if the data permit.

            Note that their stated aim is to evaluate the suitability of the studies for further analysis and says nothing about their results.

            Are you proposing that we should examine these 147 studies ourselves and perform our own meta-analysis in order to satisfy ourselves that your claims are true? Have you, indeed, done this yourself? Or are you, in fact, not basing your conclusions on evidence at all?

            AND…despite using doses that are beyond Avogadro’s number, these doses have the capacity to cause symptoms in HEALTHY people, not sick people, when given in continual doses.

            So you say. But these ideas are rather far-fetched, and so far you haven’t produced any justification for them.

            maybe the entire lot of you here are uninformed about homeopathy afterall…or should I say are “misinformed.”

            A judge once said to the barrister F. E. Smith (later Lord Birkenhead and Lord Chancellor) “I have read your pleadings and I confess I am none the wiser”, to which he replied “Possibly not, my lord, but far better informed”.

            I can’t really say that I am better informed by your post.

          • Dana

            Do you actually look at the garbage you post? Of the 147 papers NONE have an n of over 100 and most are below 50. No indicatin is given of the nature of the blinding and the numbers in the placebo arms reporting symptoms aren’t given in huge numbers of the provings. When the incidence is recorded, the numbers are low.

            The only evidence this provides is of your own one-eyed foolishness, Dana. Again.

    • “Thank you for this admission of ignorance. Finally, you’ve proven something very important”:
      Namely that Dullman is too dull to understand simple texts, starts jumping up and down like a toddler, makes false accusations, and falls silent when found out.

    • Dana,

      If provings used sick people, the experimenter would not know if the symptoms the person experienced were the symptoms of their sick-state or the result of the overdose of the medicinal agent.

      Given that the provings take place using the ultra-diluted remedy (don’t they?) what do you mean by an overdose in this context?

  • @Ernst

    You need a vacation.

  • Instead of claiming provings with extremely dilute “homeopathic” remedies are a fantasy based on second or third hand knowledge, why dont you experience it first hand? Easy to do. What are you afraid of?

    • Nothing grates the soul more than a record being stuck in the same groove, repeating the same snippet over and over again, ad infinitum …

    • Instead of claiming provings with extremely dilute “homeopathic” remedies are a fantasy based on second or third hand knowledge, why dont you experience it first hand?

      Because https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1884394/

    • Instead of claiming provings with extremely dilute “homeopathic” remedies are a fantasy based on second or third hand knowledge, why dont you experience it firsthand? Easy to do. What are you afraid of?

      I’m not sure if I’m surprised at the idea that you think we’ve not tried it or total unsurprised at your dishonesty because you know most of us have tried it, found it doesn’t work, and refuse to accept that our conclusions match those of the high quality research on the topic.

      I’m tending towards the latter.

  • Ernst and company say that homeopathy is a pseudoscience because its advocates never publish negative results and never correct. However, in the Note Ernst warns of an apparent negative trial published by proponents of homeopathy. Any honest person should conclude that homeopathy far from being a dogma and has changed. Instead, Ernst and Company behave like rabid, blinded and irrational subjects.

    • gald to see that you have understood NOTHING!

      • I’m afraid to contradict you Ernst, your comments consistently lead you to believe that if clinical trial is positive it should not be justified becaus is “implausible” and have been published by homeopaths, but when an essay is published by homeopaths and it is negative you reinforce your belief that “it should not be further investigated.” The bad news for you of course, is that in both India, Germany, Russia, Cuba and other countries fundamental, theoretical and applied research is applied and will continue to be applied for more campaigns you make or ridiculous comments you make.

        • i am afraid i do not understand your term ‘essay’ in this context. i criticise studies and evidence and do not care a hoot normally about essays other than when they quote evidence.

          • I’m not surprised you’re not aware of meaning “essay” I use as a synonym for clinical trial. Ullman has already shown that you do not understand the meaning of homeopathic aggravation, because you assume that this should be present in a trial evaluating its effectiveness.

            *I will not answer Alan Henness or Lenny, since the former has severe conflicts of interest with Monsanto and Sense About Science, and the latter is only engaged in insulting and never provides arguments or evidence.

          • in this case, Lollypop is a synonym for fruitcake.

          • I will not answer Alan Henness or Lenny, since the former has severe conflicts of interest with Monsanto and Sense About Science, and the latter is only engaged in insulting and never provides arguments or evidence.

            Ah, that old unevidenced chestnut.

            In post after post I provided link after link and somehow in the deluded mind of Popie I produce “no evidence” yet Lollykins never seems to have anything to back up his or her assertions, only the usual flimflam and handwaving. A common finding amongst the AltMed loons is that “truth”=”I said it” and here we have another prime example. A Google search of Alan and Monsanto shows no links that I can find, and Pops provides no evidence to support their assertion.

            Why not answer Alan’s question, Lols? Or would it be that by doing so you know that your position will be fatally undermined so you decide to deflect and splutter with feigned indignation? I think it might be.

            Like Dana, all you do is repeatedly demonstrate your own foolishness and, in turn, the foolishness of the nonsense that is homeopathy and all who believe in it.

          • Lollypop,

            I will not answer Alan Henness or Lenny, since the former has severe conflicts of interest with Monsanto and Sense About Science

            Sense About Science is an independent charity whose stated aim is “championing the public interest in sound science and ensuring that evidence is recognised in public life and policy making”. You seem to be suggesting that this is not a desirable thing. And I don’t see how Monsanto is relevant to this discussion at all.

          • Lollypop said:

            I will not answer Alan Henness or Lenny, since the former has severe conflicts of interest with Monsanto and Sense About Science

            LOL!

            But if you want to present your evidence for your defamatory accusations, please feel free.

            If you won’t or don’t have any that will stand up to scrutiny, please also feel free to apologise.

          • [Lollypop] I’m not surprised you’re not aware of meaning “essay” I use as a synonym for clinical trial.

            Good grief!

            essay [noun]: a short piece of writing on a particular subject.

            “An assay is an investigative (analytic) procedure in laboratory medicine, pharmacology, environmental biology and molecular biology for qualitatively assessing or quantitatively measuring the presence, amount, or functional activity of a target entity (the analyte).”
            — Wikipedia

          • good grief indeed!

          • “Sense About Science is an independent charity whose stated aim is “championing the public interest in sound science and ensuring that evidence is recognised in public life and policy making”. You seem to be suggesting that this is not a desirable thing. And I don’t see how Monsanto is relevant to this discussion at all.”

            Julian, You make me laugh!
            https://usrtk.org/tag/sense-about-science/

          • “in this case, Lollypop is a synonym for fruitcake.”

            An acid fruitcake, Ernst!

          • Need a bit more time to gather your evidence, Lollypop?

        • Reading that post I think Popsie might have spent the afternoon drinking the diluents.

        • Hi again, Lollypop!

          Any chance of your considered response to this?

    • Ernst and company say that homeopathy is a pseudoscience because its advocates never publish negative results and never correct.

      From this, I can only conclude that you neither read this article or the study it is talking about. If you had you would realise just how asinine your comment was.

      Try reading it again.

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