The authors of this article searched 37 online sources, as well as print libraries, for homeopathy (HOM) and related terms in eight languages (1980 to March 2021). They included studies that compared a homeopathic medicine or intervention with a control regarding the therapeutic or preventive outcome of a disease (classified according to International Classification of Diseases-10). Subsequently, the data were extracted independently by two reviewers and analyzed descriptively.

A total of 636 investigations met the inclusion criteria, of which 541 had a therapeutic and 95 a preventive purpose. Seventy-three percent were randomized controlled trials (n = 463), whereas the rest were non-randomized studies (n = 173). The most frequently employed comparator was placebo (n = 400).

The type of homeopathic intervention was classified as:

  • multi-constituent or complex (n = 272),
  • classical or individualized (n = 176),
  • routine or clinical (n = 161),
  • isopathic (n = 19),
  • various (n = 8).

The potencies ranged from 1X (dilution of -10,000) to 10 M (10010.000). The included studies explored the effect of HOM in 223 different medical indications. The authors also present the evidence in an online database.

The authors concluded that this bibliography maps the status quo of clinical research in HOM. The data will serve for future targeted reviews, which may focus on the most studied conditions and/or homeopathic medicines, clinical impact, and the risk of bias of the included studies.

There are still skeptics who claim that no evidence exists for homeopathy. This paper proves them wrong. The number of studies may seem sizable to homeopaths, but compared to most other so-called alternative medicines (SCAMs), it is low. And compared to any conventional field of healthcare, it is truly tiny.

There are also those who claim that no rigorous trials of homeopathy with a positive results have ever emerged. This assumption is also erroneous. There are several such studies, but this paper was not aimed at identifying them. Obviously, the more important question is this: what does the totality of the methodologically sound evidence show? It fails to convincingly demonstrate that homeopathy has effects beyond placebo.

The present review was unquestionably a lot of tedious work, but it does not address these latter questions. It was published by known believers in homeopathy and sponsored by the Tiedemann Foundation for Classical Homeopathy, the Homeopathy Foundation of the Association of Homeopathic Doctors (DZVhÄ), both in Germany, and the Foundation of Homeopathy Pierre Schmidt and the Förderverein komplementärmedizinische Forschung, both in Switzerland.

The dataset established by this article will now almost certainly be used for numerous further analyses. I hope that this work will not be left to enthusiasts of homeopathy who have often demonstrated to be blinded by their own biases and are thus no longer taken seriously outside the realm of homeopathy. It would be much more productive, I feel, if independent scientists could tackle this task.

21 Responses to Trials of homeopathy: a new database

  • Seems to me that the authors did not do their job very thoroughly. The CORE-Hom database of the Carstens-Stiftung lists 1099 clinical trials for homeopathy after 1980.

  • 1X (dilution of -10,000)

    Shouldn’t that be “dilution of 1/10,000”?

  • Oh yes, homeopathic doses MUST be placebo!? If they were, they ALL people at this site would be dead. The human body RUNS on nanodoses:

    Biological Activity of Low Concentrations:
    Interleukin-1 for T-cell clone proliferation: 2.5 x 10-18 (18X)
    Platelet-activing factor for decrease of luteinizing hormone somatostatin: 10-17 (17X)
    β-endorphin to modulate natural killer cell activity: 10-18 (18X
    Tumor necrosis factor for synergistic action with various drugs: 10-14 (14X)
    Leukotrienes for release of luteinizing hormone: 10-20 (20X)

    Eskinazi, D. Homeopathy Re-revisited. Archives in Internal Medicine, 159: Sept 27, 1999:1981-1987.

    • Hi Dana,
      did you not want to apologize for falsely claiming I was lying the other day?

      • In due respect, whenever anyone says or suggests that homeopathic nanodoses are “implausible,” they are either uninformed of recent compelling theories based on accepted science OR they are lying. As it turns out, you made reference to my two recently published studies and didn’t provide any substantative critique of them (nor did any of your cult).

        Exploring Possible Mechanisms of Hormesis and Homeopathy in the Light of Nanopharmacology and Ultra-High Dilutions

        An Analysis of Four Government-Funded Reviews of Research on Homeopathic Medicine

        Because you seem to pride yourself on knowing about homeopathic research, you KNOW about this body of work. You have to provide other critique of homeopathy other than “implausibility” if your rationale of criticism will have any degree of plausibility.

        • And I thought homeopathy works via quantum mechanics!

          Really Dana, you produce so much humor in one comment – have you thought of changing profession?
          Not such easy money as in homeopathy, I guess?

        • Dana

          Before we ask “How does it work?” we must first ask “Does it work?”

          And homeopathy has no effect beyond placebo. It does not work. So your ill-informed and laughable pieces of bumwash need no critique because they are fundamentally wrong.

          Why not submit the first piece to the journal ‘Nanomedicine’, Dana?

          If homeopathy is nanomedicine, as you claim, surely they will be delighted to publish your work.

          If, though, your witless meanderings are recognised as the garbage that they are, don’t be too surprised. The world of science has paid you no heed, Dana, pays you no heed and will continue to pay you no heed in the future because you are an irrelevant, petulant, yammering fool. And with every post, you only demonstrate this further.

        • @Dana Ullman
          So homeopaths who work with 12C+ dilutions are fools? Because ‘nanodoses’ mean that there are at least some molecules of the original substance present. This means that your homeopathic nanodose dilutions are something between, say, 4C and 10C. Which in turn means that the overwhelming majority of currently peddled homeopathic products cannot possibly work, as they contain zero doses, not ‘nanodoses’. Because e.g. a 30C dilution is by definition a zero dose, that cannot possibly contain even one particle of the original substance any more (unless of course homeopaths are so sloppy that they can’t even dilute liquids properly).

          Anyway, you have really no idea what you are talking about. The real nanodoses you refer to (hormones and peptides and the likes) only work because we have very specific receptors in our body for those compounds. There are no such receptors for ‘nanodoses’ of the huge list of substances that homeopaths come up with – which is a Good Thing, because otherwise, we would constantly respond to the myriad of nanodoses that are virtually always present in our food and water and even air.

          So there already goes your ‘nanodose’ theory right out the window – and there are many other problems with it.
          I’m sorry to say that you have wasted almost your entire life so far chasing a mirage. Then again, there are lots of alchemists in history who dedicated all of their life to similarly hopeless endeavours, so you are in good company.

          • Can I just clarify something – you say that a 30c dilution cannot possibly contain any of the supposed active ingredient. Is that correct?

            Isn’t it the case that if the original contains n molecules of the ingredient however much you dilute it the possibility remains that some, though not all, of the resulting dilutions will contain one or more molecules of it? I say possibility rather than certainty because as I understand it many of the dilutions are thrown away to avoid ending up with an ocean of ‘highly potent remedy’. Which to say nothing else would knock the bottom out of the market.

            Come to think of it doesn’t that mean that if the thrown away stuff ends up back in our water supply what comes from our taps is the ultimate panacea?

            I’m confused. Is there a homeopathic remedy for that?

          • “I’m confused. Is there a homeopathic remedy for that?”
            Try DUllman C200

          • @Socrates

            Can I just clarify something – you say that a 30c dilution cannot possibly contain any of the supposed active ingredient. Is that correct?

            Strictly speaking no: there is just an extremely small chance of a 30C dilution still containing one or more particles of the original ingredient – typically 1/10^18.
            Or to put it in other words: if you have 10^18 vials of such a ‘remedy’ (i.e. as many as there are grains of sand on the entire earth), then you have a fair chance that one of those vials contains at least one molecule of the original substance.

            Come to think of it doesn’t that mean that if the thrown away stuff ends up back in our water supply what comes from our taps is the ultimate panacea?

            Yup, you got it. But rest assured, homeopathic dilutions only have an effect when homeopaths say that they have. In all other cases (e.g. when homeopathic dilutions are discarded, or when non-homeopaths get involved), any and all effects completely vanish.

            Homeopaths have not succeeded in coming up with even one preparation 12C+ that clearly shows consistent, repeatable effects under proper scientific scrutiny.

          • I should be able to treat flu symptoms for free using water from a lake where ducks often hang out. I am sure some of those ducks died in that lake at some point and voilà I have a lake full of Oscillococcinum, because nanodoses duh!

            I have been such an idiot, giving Boiron my hard-earned money all along. Thanks for your insight, Dana.

        • Technobabble describes arguments that use the language (jargon) of science without actually being in any way scientific (sciencey, not scientific).

          For example, homeopathy advocates use terms like “nano-particles” and “quantum” as special pleading to talk around the obvious problem that typical homeopathy dilutions exceed the Avogadro limit, by which point effectively none of the original material will remain. These are sciencey-sounding arguments but they have no actual scientific basis.

        • I thought homeopathy works via water memory?

          You do not always look for those mechanisms that are currently in vogue within the pseudomedical scene and promise the greatest success with gullible people? Or do you, Dana? 😉

          • Dana’s not managed to explain to us how a nanodose of Light Of Venus or Whalesong works, either. Almost as if he’s spouting a load of specious fabulistic nonsense.


    • … and this explains why table salt, that is non existent in Natrium muriaticum C30, but of which the human body contains about 150 to 300 g and needs up to 3 g per day to maintain this level, is an effective remedy against thousands of symptoms?

    • Homeopathy does not work at at a nano level, Dana. We’ve been here before you foolish little man. It does not work at all.

      Find us the articles about homeopathy in the nanomedicine journal Future Medicine, Dana. Maybe submit a piece. See how loudly you get laughed at.

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