Ovariohysterectomy (OH) is one of the most frequent elective surgical procedures in routine veterinary practice. The aim of this study was to evaluate analgesia with Arnica montana 30cH during the postoperative period after elective OH.
Thirty healthy female dogs, aged 1 to 3 years, weighing 7 to 14 kg, were selected at the Veterinary Hospital in Campo Mourão, Paraná, Brazil. The dogs underwent the surgical procedure with an anaesthetic protocol and analgesia that had the aim of maintaining the patient’s wellbeing. After the procedure, they were randomly divided into three groups of 10. One group received Arnica montana 30cH; another received 5% hydroalcoholic solution; and the third group, 0.9% NaCl saline solution. All animals received four drops of the respective solution sublingually and under blinded conditions, every 10 minutes for 1 hour, after the inhalational anaesthetic had been withdrawn. The Glasgow Composite Measure Pain Scale was used to analyse the effect of therapy. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by the Tukey test was used to evaluate the test data. Statistical differences were deemed significant when p ≤0.05.
The results show that the Arnica montana 30cH group maintained analgesia on average for 17.8 ± 3.6 hours, whilst the hydroalcoholic solution group did so for 5.1 ± 1.2 hours and the saline solution group for 4.1 ± 0.9 hours (p ≤0.05).
The authors concluded that these data demonstrate that Arnica montana 30cH presented a more significant analgesic effect than the control groups, thus indicating its potential for postoperative analgesia in dogs undergoing OH.
I do not have access to the full article (I was fired by the late Peter Fisher from the editorial board of the journal ‘HOMEOPATHY’) which puts me in a somewhat difficult position:
- not reporting this study could be construed as an anti-homeopathy bias,
- and reporting it handicaps me as I cannot assess essential details.
So, if anyone has access, please send the full paper to me and I will then study it and revise this post accordingly.
Judging from the abstract, I have to say that the results seem far too good to be true. I doubt that any oral remedy can have the effect that is being described here – let alone one that has been diluted (sorry, potentised) at a rate of 1: 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000. That fact alone reduces the plausibility of the finding to zero.
At this stage, I do wonder who peer-reviewed the study and ask myself whether the rough data have been checked for reliability.
The critics focusses again and again on the result and the idea of Hahnemann when he invented homeopathy. I don’t know if there is any scientific description of the process for the preparation ode homeopathic remedies. Everybody relies on a technique that was invented something around 1800.
I have doubts that the procedure describes a process of dillution. I think of a process of extraction, fractioning and cleansing of a certain fraction. The dillutions are made always in exactly the same way and within the column of alcoholic dillutions always the fraction that ramains top after the time till next dillution step starts, will be transferred. This way the fraction with very lightweight material that does not sink fast in the alcoholic fluid will be transfered again and again. This way it is not further dilluted by each step but more and more cleansed.
“Homeopathy does not work as it’s mode of action can’t be explained” is a type of critics that is not much better than using homeopathy without thinking twice. Both actions rely on a base of knowledge from something around 1800 that should be acutalized as soon as possible to give either homepathy a scientific foundation or to give critics about homeopathy a scientific foundation.
why should this be relevant, if any molecule of the starting material has long vanished in the process?
Do you have any publication to verify this theory?
I am not an expert on the production process of homeopathic remedies. However I have seen videos like this one:
In this video they prepare an allium cepa remedy.
The onions are cut into little pieces and left in alcoholic solution for 10 days. This is the solution they start with. What do I expect from this first step? It is a step of extraction as well as of conservation of natural material as encymatic processess will be sloved down at a high grade.
We can expect any kind of aromatic substances (just think of maceration as part of a process to make liqueur) and all kind of substances we find inside the cells. DNA and RNA will have settled in alcohol.
We will have a lot of molecules and aggregations of molecules with different size and maybe different electric charge.
Now 10 drops of the first solution is transferred to a bottle with 90 (D) drops of alcohol or 990 (C) drops of alcohol.
The process of shaking – look at the video – is this “shaking”? What process can we expec t from this mode of action where there are flight forces downwards which are stopped not by a harsh but by a moderately muted stop to change direction and add some upwards directed flight forces to the solution.
I have not studies which describe this process – however, what is your expectation regarding the molecules of different size inside the alcoholic liquid column? I would expect that they are seperated by means of thes process as well as sorted in some way having the lightweight moecules at the top and the heavy ones towards the ground.
After 10 replications the bottle is set aside for a short moment of time where processes of sinking will happen inside the alcoholic liquid column with the molecules inside. The bottle is taken, gently turned on its side and 10 drops of the solution is given to the next bottle.
My expectation would be that there are molecules of a certain fraction which are transferred – and as the process is always the same, I would expect that the same type of molecules are kept inside the system and are purified and singularized this way.
As this is not a true process of solving but (as I see it) of cleansing of certain molecules, the number of molecules will degrade very slowly from step to step. I would expect some molecules to stay inside the system and these molecules are on the globuli after they were impregnated with the last solution of the process.
I have no proof for my ideas and I have no options to check it. However, I would not expect that the process of making homeopathic remedies has much to do with dillution. And this way, there are options that single molecules trigger some kind of processes inside the body.
I recently read some paper about the effect RNA has on epigenetic processes. E.g. RNA which was produced while male mice were kept under cold conditions. They transefered some RNA while they transferred their sperma to the femal mice – and the offspring was more fat the usuals – the baby mice were prepared for cold conditions. By adding the the RNA seperately to normal mice sperma, a similar process of generationg fat mice babies could be induced. Just have a look ath google scholar and search for mouse fat RNA and you will find numerous paper.
The reason I give this hint on RNA is to give an idea that small external molecules can induce a process inside the body of an organism.
From this background I could imagine that there is a scientific foundation for homepathic treatments. And if so, the knowledge on the true mode of action of this kind of remedies could lead to improved processes and make a technology that remained on the technical state when it was founded could be improved and developed towards a medicine that adds another approach to our set of therapies.
But even if it is nothing than a placebo (the acutal study gives a different idea of it), it would be worthy to me – just to give my body a little kick to start fighting against a problem I discovered before I took the globuli. This way there would be no substance involved to start a process of healing but simply my very own health system which was made or developed in evolution to solve problems like that.
You make a huge leap from mouse RNA to external molecules influencing human epigenetics. As per your theory, external particles are inducing processes inside an organism. However, there are literally zero external particles other than water present in a homeopathic medication, if it prepared as per specifications, theoretically speaking. Are you saying that the water is starting those processes? If so how does the organism distinguish between homeopathic water vs water it drinks vs water it is made up of? Care to hypothesize on that?
Keep up the good work, you are Nobel Prize material, the Ig kind.
Actually, no. The Ig Nobels are, according to their own web page, for research that:
IMO, there’s little about homeopathy or its adherents that should make anyone do anything more than laugh, or be angry.
Not gonna lie, Holger’s comment did actually make me laugh as they were describing the standard process of making homeopathy remedies and going, Look it’s still there!
The core of the problem is that we think of preparation of homeopathic remedies as aprocess of dillution steps. The reason seems to be that the the founder of this discipline talked about something like that. However, that was 200 years ago.
Believers of homeopathy as well as critics are argue on the same foundation: a descrpition that is about 200 years old and was never proven and never disproven. It’s nothing but a dogma on both sides. This way it is not an aceptable scientific agrument.
Nowadays, we have a technological standard in chemistry that they are able tof find almost single molecules. If there should be any residues of singe fractons of residues in globuli, it should be possible to find them.
The reason I doubt about the dillution hypothesis of the process of preparation of homeopathic remedies is the way it is done. To me it looks like a maceration/extraction followed by a series of fractioning and cleansing of a single fraction which is always the same in each “dillution” as the process of preparation is always the same. And the amount from of material which is transferred into the next step and taken out of the system for it is always the same, too.
If I would have the intention to prepare a dillution I would shake the it with maximum intensity – we have vortex machines or ultrasonic bathes for it in modern labs. However the way they do it is giving alternating flight forces on the molecules inside the “dillution” where the force is always given just in one single dimension and with a very damped stop of the movement at the turning point of movement. The effect I would expect from that way of treatment is more some kind of “sorting” of molecules due to its weight and effects from electric loads inside the alcoholic solutions. Nowadays, you would take a centrifuge for it. However, a centrifuge would be too strong for the process they need for the preparation of remedies.
This is what I would expect from the result of the process – as a hypothesis and nothing more. The reason is not to prepare a new dogma but to trigger people, who would have the options to do some testing on it, to do so.
@talker: the lg Nobel Price is nothing to be not respectful about. It’s well made science – but it is science that is due to its content often from a not expected direction or due to its results without any clear usablitiy from the first sight. If somebody should find my hypothesis proven, it would be like opening a door to a new type of scientifically supported type of medicine. It would not simply lift homeopathy into the order traditional medicin but it would found a new medical discipline which may use knowledge from homeopathy as starting points for scientific reseach and new optimized medicine with an improvend mode of action compared to traditional homeopathy.
There is nothing wrong with hypothesizing, but if I were to postulate that a dog could be turned into a golden goose via some mechanism, no one in their right mind would think that my hypothesis would hold water.
In 200+ years of homeopathy’s existence that would have happened by now if homeopathy were based on sound scientific principles. Forget about using homeopathy as a starting point for more quackery with improved mode of action, can you scientifically explain and provide evidence for mode of action for traditional homeopathy? No, I am not asking you for your hypotheses, I am asking for solid scientific evidence i.e., links to several dozen publications in reputable peer-reviewed journals that confirm and validate the mode of action by which homeopathy works. Given 200+ years of homeopathy’s history it wouldn’t be hard to compile such a list.
Oh well…I stand corrected regarding Ig Nobel Prize (thanks prl), but I will certainly nominate you Holder for Golden Duck Awards.
Maybe not a good paper – however interesting references within.
I beg to differ. The single biggest point of criticism is that even after 227 years, homeopaths have not succeeded in coming up with even ONE ‘remedy’ that has shown significant and repeatable efficacy for any condition. NOT ONE.
Nope, it’s dogma and smoke & mirrors on the side of homeopaths, claiming that they “see homeopathy work every day”, yet being utterly incapable of demonstrating this in an even remotely scientific manner, coming up with all sorts of excuses why scientifically proper trials always fail, or at best come up with a marginally positive result (which are most likely due to statistical noise).
Critics simply say, “OK, show us that it works – and until such time, we assume that it doesn’t”.
I think that this question only becomes relevant AFTER homeopathy has been shown to work in the first place (see above). IMO, asking for mechanisms and modes of action only serves to muddy the (shaken) water, as homeopaths can (and do) dream up countless possible modes of action to lend legitimacy to their beliefs, meanwhile obfuscating the elephant in the room, i.e. the problem that there is no good evidence that it works at all, period.
That’s exactly why I said that homeopathy was not a subject that an Ig Nobel would, or should, would be given for. The Ig Nobel is for research that makes you laugh, then think. Homeopathy generally only provokes laughter, or, perhaps, anger, when it’s applied to subjects who have no choice, as in the paper being discussed.
How many molecules from the Arcica plants that contributed to the mother solution would you expect to find in one globule of a 30C homeopathic Arnica preparation?
Do you know how large 10^60 is compared to the Avogadro constant, or even why that’s a relevant question?
you wrote: “Do you know how large 10^60 is compared to the Avogadro constant, or even why that’s a relevant question?”
As I don’t think that the procedure of making homeopathic remedies is a process of dillution but of fractioning and cleansing of the fraction which is the same trasferred from on “dillution” to the next, Avogadro constant is not relevant here. Number of molecules remains approximatelly the same through the entire process.
The quesiton is for which contents we have to look at. It has to be molecules that do not sink fast in alcoholic fluid. Maybe it is RNA – but that’s just a guess I make as RNA was found to have effect on epigenetic processes even if coming from outside the body (more RNA in sperm fluid due to cold stress in male mice results in more fat mouse babies).
You need to provide scientific evidence of this claim.
As I have mentioned earlier, your guess is as good as guessing that there exists a mechanism that allows one to turn their pet dog into a golden goose, because there exists no demonstrable scientific evidence that homeopathy remedies work. Before you go on and on postulating about possible mechanisms of action you need to show evidence that homeopathy works.
Like so many homeopaths and their fan club members, the “Holger” seems to be able to read and write helpfully but is totally illiterate when it comes to other important elementary school subjects? How does individual education fail so selectively? Or is this an acquired deficiency later in life?
@talker and @Björn Geir.
The hypothesis I give her has just one intention: it may open minds and set them free from the idea of dillution as part of making of homeopathic remedies.
It’s a hypothesis and nothing more. I would like to test it, to work on it – hwoever, I actually work on entirely different content. I’m biologist and as being biologist I am also natural scientist.
If I look at processes being described and I can’t agree with the description, it is my job to talk about it – especially if big ideas are build on it – and a scientific founded refusal is build on this theory, too.
What, if me miss chances as we see things the wrong way?
All I can deliver at the moment is my missbelieve in the way the processes of making homeopathic remedies is described and scientifically explained or rated.
I also can deliver expamples where tiny amounts of molecules trigger major processes in organisms.
That’s it. It’s not a different way to have a look at homeopathy – at least not now. However, it could be a start of rethinking and a start of a series of studies that give this hypothesis a test. And if my approach has just the potential of breaking classic views to get new views on the matter in completely differnt way, it would be fine, too.
please read up what a hypothesis is – yours is fantasy, not a hypothesis!
No hypothesis? What is a hypothesis. Have a look at Wikipedia:
Look at my ideas and than answer the questions:
1) A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. – I tried to do so.
2) For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. – Other than at the time of Hahnemann, now we can test it. LOQs are very small with modern chemical analytical equipment.
3) Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories. – I see a different mode of action from looking at the procedure of preparing homeopathic remedies than actual theory would suggest. The acutal theory faces urgent problems as it can hardly explain the way a homeopathic treatment works – and if I am right you are here with me. There is a need for a different expaination.
4) Even though the words “hypothesis” and “theory” are often used synonymously, a scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory. A working hypothesis is a provisionally accepted hypothesis proposed for further research, in a process beginning with an educated guess or thought.
That is where I am. At the moment it is nothing than an idea based on evidence that comes from watching the process of proparing a homeopathich remedy. More is not necessary for a hypothesis – it is an idea ment to be a starting point for scientific investigations with the aim to test the idea if it can be rejected or not.
Later on at Wikipedia we find a list of demands for scientific hypothesis:
– Testability (compare falsifiability as discussed above) – we can search for traces that come from the macerated solution – maybe just DNA or RNA fragments.
– Parsimony (as in the application of “Occam’s razor”, discouraging the postulation of excessive numbers of entities)
As there is no scientific theory which would explain the situation, there is no alternative hypothesis which would be more simple.
– Scope – the apparent application of the hypothesis to multiple cases of phenomena
The scope is an enitre medical approach which could be brought to a scientific and acceptable level.
– Fruitfulness – the prospect that a hypothesis may explain further phenomena in the future
Don’t like this approach as in science the gaining of information should be fruit enough and you never know if quesitons being completly out of actual interest may become very important in the future. In a situation like that any science has to be regarded as being “fruitful”. However, bringing homeopathy towards a scientific level (which would not just mean acceptance of approach but also options to improve it), would be very fruitful.
– Conservatism – the degree of “fit” with existing recognized knowledge-systems.
The intention of my hypothesis is to reach exactly this level, as it seems to me the strongest propblem of homeopthy, today.
A hypothesis is always a way of trying to bring things ahead. Something that is blocked maybe starts working, if it is observed from a different point of view. This is how progress is made in science in general.
Ok, I will play along.
Let us look at the Testability of your hypothesis.
My understating of your hypothesis is: homeopathic remedies may have RNA mediated epigenetic effect on the organism and mother tincture being the source of that RNA.
Since you are a biologist, I don’t need remind you of a well-established scientific fact that RNA is notoriously unstable. Since I am using a well-established scientific fact, it relieves me of the burden of providing experimental evidence.
Moving along, any RNA that may be present in the original substance (that is of course your substance is from a biological source) will have long degraded by the time you are done with preparing (i.e., application of force at room temperature) your final homeopathic remedy. Even if some of that RNA survives and makes it into the final pill or solution ingested by patient, it would be broken down and degraded by acids in the digestive tract and as mentioned my Niall Taylor below, that would make it impossible for the patient’s body to assimilate the RNA molecule not to mention other hurdles your remedy faces afterwards.
Now do you see how your hypothesis is dead in homeopathic waters, defeated by basic scientific facts!!
I hope the full paper comes your way ASAP. Watch with bated breath……
The title of the post has an error – it’s analgesia the vet homs claim is extended, not anaesthesia.
Honestly, it is time that homeopathic experimentation on animals should be banned. So many vet bodies internationally have found against homeopathy, such trials are nothing but crimes against animal welfare. Homeopathy doesn’t work, animals can’t give informed consent ergo animal trials should be discontinued.
And, Holger, when did you get to determine how homeopathic dilutions are done? There are almost as many theories about how homeopathy ‘works’ as there are homeopaths. The more theories there are about something the less likely any are to be correct.
thanks – error corrected
You’re welcome! And can I recommend the splendid book ‘No Way To Treat A Friend’ by Niall Taylor (me!) and Alex Gough for anyone who wants to know more about veterinary homeopathy and other animal-based pseudo-medical nonsenses! The section on the care-giver placebo effect is particularly pertinent to this discussion.
I was unaware of this book. On my way to Amazon to buy it now. As a veterinary surgeon I am under pressure to sell nutraceuticals to clients all the time- it seems a long way from EBM pushing Cystophan/cystease or glucosamine + chondroitin or “milk protein” calming pills because it’s good for the practice bottom line. Hope this book gives me more ammo to resist these pressures. The veterinary profession seems to place a lot of faith in these type of products and other pseudoscience procedures (laser therapy springs to mind). Glad I’m not alone in my scepticism
ashvetenry and Björn – thanks, I hope you enjoy the book! There are a few of us vet sceptics out there but the vet homs can be downright vitriolic when they feel they’re under threat. Also there is a combination of apathy and a misguided fairmindedness in the profession which gives them far more credence than they deserve. Google ‘rationalvetmed’ if you want to have a look at my somewhat neglected website!
Thank you Niall
Went straight to Amazon and bought the Kindle version to add to my growing collection. Looks good at first overview so I already recommended it to a veterinary friend, even if I know she does not needs convincing.
I sure am glad the study was blinded so the dogs could not skew results.
Is it a possible explanation that the alcohol and saline solutions actually interfered with the analgesia while the Arnica concoction did nothing? Perhaps a fourth and fifth group would have been useful in this so-called study, one administering pure distilled water, and one administering no substance at all.
My suspicion is that results will reflect the “researchers” biases in favor af Arnica.
your explanation seems unlikely to me.
I understand that pain assessment in human patients who can fully express themselves is already quite difficult. This already makes pain assessment in animals a priori a royal pain in the (excusez le mot) dog butt.
Yes, they have come up with the Glasgow Composite Measure Pain Scale, but this appears to have some serious limitations and caveats: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8515184/
So with merely N=10 in each group, I am Not Impressed At All, and using a p value of ≤0.05 seems ludicrous with these sample sizes. Then again, statistics is not my forte, so corrections are welcome.
“Arnica montana is a well-known medicine in phytotherapy, with proven analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, healing, antioxidant and immunomodulatory activity.”
Really? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnica_montana#Toxicity :
“The US Food and Drug Administration has classified Arnica montana as an unsafe herb because of its toxicity.”
Nope, still Not Impressed At All.
If the 30C preparation of the homeopathic Arnica was prepared correctly, then any potential toxicity of the Arnica is moot.
Also, since one of Hahnemann’s precepts was “like cures like”, shouldn’t the homeopathic Arnica, which they say is “analgesic”, be working against any conventional analgesia?
Using/promoting/validating ineffectual treatments for pain relief, especially their use in the voiceless patient (animals, children) should be a violation of medical ethics as it promotes continued suffering for the ailing.
Holger said “It’s a hypothesis and nothing more.”
You are putting the cart before the horse. Every quality study on the subjects finds that homeopathy works no better than placebo. This is the hurdle homeopathy is faced with, not abstruse ideas about manufacturing methods.
But, for sake of argument, let’s say your (or anyone else’s) hypothesis is correct and homeopathic remedies do contain traces of the mother tincture. Next you have to explain how an onion can cure colds, how a crushed bee can reduce itching and the Berlin Wall can help mental health problems. Then you have to explain how the essence of the base ingredient gets into the patient’s body from the gut (for example it’s not possible to assimilate RNA by the oral route). And then you have to explain the mechanism whereby whatever is in the homeopathic remedy (undetectible by any physical-chemical means) diffuses through the body of the patient and influences that body in such a way as to address the symptoms of the condition under treatment.
The idea that objections to homeopathy begin and end with the issue of extreme dilutions is a fallacy.
and that is just one reason why his ‘hypothesis’ is nothing of the sort. it’s like a ‘hypothesis’ about the anti-cancer activity of cigarette smoking.
Oh, but that is absolutely true! Tobacco smoke no doubt damages and kills lung cancer cells! (Well, some of them, certainly …)
My answer is not a scientific one but a little story from my family:
I had a grandant who became 103 years old. And she had an old lady as doctor who formerly was here student in school. And her doctor gave her advice to smoke every day a cigarette to desinfect the lung and a half Aspirin to keep the blood in a more fluid state. This lady was fit in her brain until the last day of her life. She always smeked very ong ladies cigarettes (Eve) and stopped smoking when she came close to the writing on it. This way she prefected to get the worst load of toxic substances into her body.
She had a much younger woman who helped her in her houshold and these two ladies smoke the cigarette together. The problem with the second lady was that she smoked an entire box a day and she died young form cancer.
There is something like the Arndt-Schulz law, which says that many toxic impacts have a favourable effect at low doses. Paracelus says that the toxic effect has to do with the dose.
For this reason: You are free to start a study if very small amounts of cigaretts a day are helpful to stay healthy. However, this is not my intended study 🙂
It is clear to me that the important thing is the intent of the homeopath. If he intends the treatment to have a particular effect then that is the only effect that matters, and if the patient gets better then his treatment is the reason. More generally this principle applies to all alternative medicine.
When it comes to preparing the various dilutions I am reminded of a conversation I once had with a Jewish colleague in which I asked him what it was about Kosher wine that made it Kosher. He explained that it was the state of mind (specifically the degree of piety) of the winemaker.
The RNA example schould just show that it is possible that small amounts of chemicals given almost externally have the power to induce enormous epigenetic effects.
Regarding RNA as part or as substance responsible for the mode of action you may be right. There are other substances which will play much more likely a role. However, at the actual state I would like to exclude nothing. The aclohol will block enzymes that would caus desturction in other cases, the RNA may be bounded to other substances and stabilized in aggregates and regarding the quick destruction of RNA I don’t know if it is jus a functional one or if it is also regading its structure completely destroyed.
You are very skillful at dreaming up
fantasieshypotheses. You should put your skills to use, writing science fiction.
@Thank you, Talker. Never thought about writing science fiction. However, scheince fiction was always an important promoter of science and it would be an important job to get forward with it. On the other hand I think that every scientist should keep his mind open for visions and rethinking things where it looks like the actual explaination is not perfect. To me this belongs to the job of scientists and it is missing too much in these days.
I look forward to seeing your groundbreaking publication in Nature describing exactly how the effects of dilution+succussion differ from mere dilution. Perhaps you’d even get that much-envied trip to see the King of Sweden.
Holger – you are presumably sincere in your beliefs. What a pity you are more concerned with irrelevant minutiae rather that the problem that homeopathy is consistently found to be no more effective than a sugar tablet in every good quality trial conducted on the subject.