The Evidence for the Efficacy of Nosodes
There are no published double-blind, placebo-controlled trials examining the effectiveness for infectious disease prophylaxis of any homeopathic nosodes approved by Health Canada. Using PubMed, the journal repository of the National Institutes of Health in the United States, we produced a list of studies that are related to the nosodes approved by Health Canada. None of the studies, save one, are randomised controlled trials (RCT) and many were published prior to 1980, with a very heavy reliance on anecdotes. Most are only tangentially related to the use of nosodes for homeoprophylaxis.
Isaac Golden, a homeopath and researcher from Australia, offers data that he produced for his Ph.D. thesis on homeoprophylaxis1. This data was never published in a peer-reviewed journal, has poor statistical analysis of qualitative research, and was collected retrospectively by Golden from his own patient records. In our opinion, it can be read as no better than an elaborate anecdote that only confirms Golden’s pre-conceived notion that his own vaccine replacement program works2. It is very poor evidence indeed, and hardly scientific.
Often, irrelevant studies for non-nosodes or for nosodes that are not approved for use in Canada are cited by homeopaths like Kate Birch, in her book The Solution: HP: The Vaccine Alternative3, as evidence of efficacy for the entire class of preparations4,5,6. This makes little sense; we do not accept one positive study of ASA as evidence of efficacy and safety of all NSAID pain relievers.
While there are no systematic reviews available to summarize the current consensus on nosodes, Linde et al7, and Shang et al8 summed up homeopathy in general by concluding that there is little evidence to support the idea that homeopathy is better than placebo. Therefore, given the lack of good scientific evidence, Canadian practitioners who recommend the use of nosodes for the prevention of infectious disease and Canadian consumers who choose nosodes for this purpose, do so in the absence of a strong evidence base.
The following list of studies is the result of a search of PubMed regarding the nosodes registered by the NHPD. If you are aware of any other studies that concern currently approved nosodes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Chalmers, I., and Toth, B. (2009). Nineteenth-century controlled trials to test whether belladonna prevents scarlet fever. J R Soc Med 102, 549–550.
- Chand, S.K., Manchanda, R.K., Batra, S., and Mittal, R. (2011). Homeopathy in the treatment of tubercular lymphadenitis (TBLN)–an Indian experience. Homeopathy 100, 157–167.
- Chatterjee, A., and Biswas, J. (2012). A homeopathic approach to treat patients with advanced gallbladder, periampullary, and liver carcinomas: a report of 3 cases. J Altern Complement Med 18, 180–186.
- Chatterjee, A., Biswas, J., Chatterjee, A., Bhattacharya, S., Mukhopadhyay, B., and Mandal, S. (2011). Psorinum therapy in treating stomach, gall bladder, pancreatic, and liver cancers: a prospective clinical study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2011, 724743.
- Eisfelder, H.W. (1961). Poliomyelitis immunization: a final report. J Am Inst Homeopath 54, 166–167
- Everitt, D.W. (1964). Fatal poliomyelitis after homeopathic vaccine. Br Med J 2, 125.
- Friese, K.H., Feuchter, U., and Moeller, H. (1997). Homeopathic treatment of adenoid vegetations. Results of a prospective, randomized double-blind study. HNO 45, 618–624.
- Jenaer, M., Henry, M.F., Garcia, A., and Marichal, B. (2000). Evaluation of 2LHERP in preventing recurrences of genital herpes. Institut International 3IDI. Br Homeopath J 89, 174–177.
- Kerr, J.F. (1964). Quadruple nosode. Br Homeopath J 53, 170–173.
- Liao, H.-F., Lu, M.-C., Chang, H.-C., Wei, C.-C., Kao, C.-H., Chen, Z.-H., Huang, C.-C., and Li, C. (2010). Effects of herbal medicinal formulas on suppressing viral replication and modulating immune responses. Am. J. Chin. Med. 38, 173–190.
- Mercaldo, M. (1999). How to prescribe Medorrhinum: the frequency of symptoms and signs in homeopathic patients. Br Homeopath J 88, 69–77.
- Midulla, M., and Marzetti, G. (1964). Fatal case of poliomyelitis in a child vaccinated 2 years previously with homeopathic anti-polio vaccine. Minerva Pediatr. 16, 396–399.
- Picollo, A.R. (1964). Clinical cases-homeopathic treatment. Hahnemannian 99, 6–7.
- Taylor-Smith, A.. (1950). Poliomyelitis and prophylaxis. Br Homeopath J 40, 65–77.
- Taylor-Smith, A. (1951). Post poliomyelitis case notes. Br Homeopath J 41, 101–102.
- Wiesenauer, M. (2001). Complication rate not higher than conventional treatment. “Treating scarlet fever purely with homeopathy”. MMW Fortschr Med 143, 56.
- Xue, S.A., De Schepper, L., and Hao, G.J. (2009). Treatment of spasmodic dysphonia with homeopathic medicine: a clinical case report. Homeopathy 98, 56–59.
- (2001). Treatment of scarlet fever with homeopathy? MMW readers remember the pre-penicillin era. MMW Fortschr Med 143, 12.
- Golden, I. 2004.The potential value of homoeoprophylaxis in the long-term prevention of infectious diseases, and the maintenance of general health in recipients . http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/3762360. Accessed Feb 15 2013. ↩
- Golden, I. The Complete Practitioners Manual of Homeoprophylaxis. Gisborne, Victoria, Australia. Isaac Golden Publications. 2012. ↩
- Birch, K, Whatcott, C. The Solution: HP: The Vaccine Alternative. Narayana Publishers. 2012. ↩
- Bandyopadhyay (2010). Decreased Intensity of Japanese Encephalitis Virus Infection in Chick Chorioallantoic Membrane Under Influence of Ultradiluted Belladonna Extract. Am. J. Infect. Dis., 6, 24–28 ↩
- Bracho, G., Varela, E., Fernández, R., Ordaz, B., Marzoa, N., Menéndez, J., García, L., Gilling, E., Leyva, R., Rufín, R., et al. (2010). Large-scale application of highly-diluted bacteria for Leptospirosis epidemic control. Homeopathy 99, 156–166. ↩
- De Souza Nunes, L., and Nunes, L.A. de S. (2008). Contribution of homeopathy to the control of an outbreak of dengue in Macae, Rio de Janeiro. Int J High Dilution Res 7, 186–192. ↩
- Linde, K., Scholz, M., Ramirez, G., Clausius, N., Melchart, D., and Jonas, W.B. (1999). Impact of study quality on outcome in placebo-controlled trials of homeopathy. J Clin Epidemiol 52, 631–636. ↩
- Shang, A., Huwiler-Müntener, K., Nartey, L., Jüni, P., Dörig, S., Sterne, J.A.C., Pewsner, D., and Egger, M. (2005). Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy. Lancet 366, 726–732. ↩