Where on earth do I start to summarise a weekend with the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) conference in London?
The breadth and calibre of speakers was exceptional. There were over eighty speakers, all scientists with sound academic credentials, showcasing the high calibre cutting-edge research taking place globally. As Prof Vladimir Voeikov (Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University) said “Homeopathy does not contradict modern physics or chemistry … it has a very solid, scientific foundation.” I so wished that the President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) had been able to find the time to be there.
Presentations ran from 9am to 7pm either formally via 15 minute presentations or casually where we could speak to scientists, vets and doctors running specific research programmes advertised on their own poster stand. These poster talks were perhaps the best for me, since I could speak to the presenter about their trials and how this may be relevant to our CAM4animals followers. We hope to have some blogs on this research in the next few months as studies are published.
Veterinary homeopathy research around the world is getting exciting. Take the Instituto Argonauta in Brazil who find that they can control liver enzymes (which increase as a result of anti-fungal medication used to solve fungal problems typical of the region) in Magellanic penguins through the use of ultra-diluted medicine. The veterinary surgeon at the Instituto’s aquatic centre used standard liver enzyme tests and showed clear and beneficial liver enzyme changes following treatment with Carduus marianus 6c. The conclusion was that the response to homeopathic treatment was similar to the allopathic treatment BUT without any of the unpleasant adverse effects. Homeopathy was easy to administer and cheaper.
There was a talk from Dr Oskan Tasinov, a microbiologist from the Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria. He showed that Ferrum phos tissue salts affects cell proliferation and gene expression. This reminded me not to underestimate these little gems. Tissue Salts were originally devised by Wilhelm Henrich Schussler in the late 1800s as a nutritional therapy. Rather than treating “like with like” (as is the case with orthodox homeopathic medicine) Schuessler Tissue Remedies treat ailments by correcting imbalances or deficiencies in the body’s cell nutrition. Tissue Salts still maintain
physical quantities of the original substances, although in minute form (6x).
Professor Leoni Bonamin, who works at the Graduation Program in Environmental and Experimental Pathology – Universidade Paulista (UNIP), spoke about her research in homeopathy and high dilutions. She uses in vitro and physicochemical methods and her main project is the "Study of the biological effects of homeopathic remedies in vitro and correlation with their physicochemical properties. Leoni showed how homeopathy can have a beneficial effect on resolving environmental pollution. Her research found that by using Glyphosate in 6c potency, there was a positive effect upon a Glyphosate damaged microcrustacean called Artemia salina. These brine shrimps are hugely important in economic and ecological terms. Not only does this demonstrate the efficacy of homeopathy, but has astounding potential for redressing the effects of environmental damage and furthering conservation objectives. In another field trial treating monkeys during a Yellow Fever outbreak, Prof Bonamin was able to show that Phosphorus 30c added to a natural water source can still be measured 72 hours later indicating that the remedy is still evident. She did this by using a process where Phosphorus 30c and water samples were filtered twice, diluted 1:100, succussed and added to methylene violet for spectrophotometry.
There was a strong Brazilian contingent who showed the effectiveness of homeopathy in cattle. In large extensive breeding programmes, they used various remedies in mineral salts and in the water. Talita Nader and her team used a combination of Staphysagria, Cina, Sulphur and Tick in isotherapeutic form in order to treat ticks in Brazilian cattle achieving an 80% reduction in tick infestation as a result. Other research showed lower somatic cell counts in the milk of antibiotic resistant dairy cattle in Spain when treated with remedies, indicating the potential of homeopathy to help in the fight against AMR, anti-microbial resistance.
There is no doubt that homeopathy continues to show great promise around the world. Whilst the lab-based trials were interesting, it was exciting to see actual case studies of both animals and humans. Dr Ana Valle reported on the successful use of Viscum album in the treatment of a melanoma in a dog and Dr Cideli Coelho reported on the benefits of Arnica montana and Papaver somniferum to assist in anaesthesia recovery, and as an analgesia for dogs that underwent an ovariohysterectomy. It’s this kind of information that is useful for us pet owners to know. CAM4animals will share links to the research highlighted once it is published.
Suffice to say, there were scores of impeccable research studies in both Randomised Controlled Trials and in vitro studies delivered by the elite of scientific research and homeopathy. The energy ran high with people meeting face to face after years of on-line friendships, new collaborations built and new ideas for studies. Best of all for me is the sense of utter hilarity I now experience when I see our detractors demand we show them the evidence. What a shame a representative from the RCVS couldn’t make it.