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The Evidence: Scientific Studies on Homeopathic Cancer Treatment

Mr. Mueller published this article in The American Homeopath, Vol 13, 2007


Homeopaths have described observations that tumors recede from the use of homeopathic treatment and have, from time to time, documented long-term recoveries from cancer in response to homeopathic treatment.1-23 Some practitioners have reported observations like this in as many as several hundred patients.24 Unfortunately, until about two decades ago, there were very few sound scientific studies corroborating these clinical observations. Citing this paucity of high-quality scientific evidence, regulatory agencies have been reluctant to endorse homeopathic treatment as an alternative or an adjunct treatment in cancer. However, the situation may be changing. Homeopathic treatment of cancer is now supported by state-of-the-art laboratory studies.”

Arsenic and Cancer

One of the new developments in homeopathic cancer research comes from an unlikely place. Prof. Anisur Rahman Khuda- Bukhsh, a researcher in the cytogenetics laboratory of the Department of Zoology at the University of Kalyani, in Kalyani, West Bengal, India and his team have conducted  several studies in the laboratory  that, according  to a recent Indian news reports, deserve our attention.25

West Bengal has a widespread problem of arsenic poisoning that can lead to cancer.26 According to Khuda-Bukhsh, “conventional  medicine  does  not  have  an  effective  evidence-based  treatment  for  arsenic-induced  toxicity,  although  some chelators, like DMSA and DTPA, have been tried without success.”27 Chronic arsenic toxicity sets the stage for multi-system diseases due to hematological complications or hepatotoxicity. This may lead to malfunctioning or failure of organs, such as the lungs or the liver. Many of these cases will develop cancer of various organs.28, 29

In a series of experiments,30-38  the West Bengal researchers found that Arsenicum album 30C can help remove arsenic from the body. “The drug reduced arsenic levels in blood and urine of arsenic victims from Ghetugachhi  village in Nadia district,” according to Khuda-Bukhsh. “The blood levels of the toxicity-denoting liver enzymes (like aspartate aminotransferase) returned to almost normal levels after three months,” he adds.

The scientists found that the arsenic level in urine fell dramatically and levels in blood became normal by the 60th day. The researchers also observed an increase in the level of glutathione  —  a compound made up of amino acids, which demonstrates recovery of normal liver function.

In one of the studies,31  published in the March 2006 issue of Evidence-based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, the researchers  treated arsenic victims from another village in the Nadia district. They showed that two centesimal potencies (30 and 200) of the aforementioned  medicine  brought  the high levels of anti-nuclear  antibodies  (a type of antibody  that works against the body tissues) to normal levels. “We have already shown efficiency of homoeopathic drugs in protecting or repairing arsenic-induced DNA damage in mice.” Then Khuda-Bukhsh concludes, “The homoeopathic drug may trigger a cascade action of relevant genes back to their normal functioning, turning on the body’s recovery.”

A more recent study,30  published in Science of the Total Environment,  and conducted in collaboration  with researchers of the  Boiron   Laboratory,   Sainte-Foy-Lès-Lyon   in  France,   once  again  confirmed   biological   action  from  treatment   with homeopathic  potencies.  The  researchers  administered  Arsenicum  album  30C,  succussed  alcohol  and  placebo  to  groups  of randomly selected arsenic-contaminated  volunteers in a village in Padumbasan, India.

The treatment apparently caused positive changes in elevated blood levels of ESR, creatinine and eosinophils. In the treated group, Arsenicum album 30C increased the activities of various toxicity biomarkers indicating hepatotoxicity, the prime feature associated  with  arsenic  poisoning,  notably  AST,  ALT,  LPO  and  GGT.  This  therapy  produced  an  increase  in  levels  of hemoglobin,  PCV, neutrophil percentages,  GSH content, and lowered G-6-PD activity. Most of the subjects reported a better appetite  and improvement  in general health. It is interesting  that the 14 volunteers  who dropped  out during this study were mostly from the placebo group. The authors concluded that Arsenicum album 30C could possibly provide interim health support to a large population at risk.

The results of these studies could lead to certain conclusions on the role homeopathy can play in mitigating the effects of a substance  that,  according  to  California’s  Proposition-65,   is  considered  a  potent  carcinogen.  If  treatment  with  the  drug Arsenicum album produces protective effects against arsenic trioxide or against arsenic in the groundwater that are measurable on multiple levels and even in DNA, it may also be effective in preventing or reversing cancers induced by the poison. A review of the homeopathic  clinical literature shows that Arsenicum album has been shown to counteract, and even reliably reverse, a broad spectrum of cancers.1-23

It  is  noteworthy   that  conventional   medicine  also  uses  arsenic  trioxide  for  cancer  and  leukemia  treatment,  but  in unpotentized form. Dr. Soignet of the Leukemia Service of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering  Cancer Center states that “low doses of arsenic trioxide” are “standard treatment for acute promyelocytic  leukemia (APL) in the relapsed disease,” which induces differentiation and apoptosis of APL cells. The role of arsenic trioxide of newly developed APL is under investigation.39, 40

More than one hundred years ago, Dr. J. Compton Burnett explored the difficulty of finding new cancer remedies with the standard proving method on healthy volunteers, because producing cancerous pathology during a proving was not feasible. He proposed  searching  for new cancer drugs by examining  the toxicological  and iatrogenic  records  for drugs that have caused cancer. He cited in an article published by the British Medical Journal that reported on data collected by Jonathan Hutchinson demonstrating  that treatment with arsenic in crude form, under the allopathic model, had caused epithelial and other cancers. The article quoted Sir Paget as saying: “it cannot be doubted that arsenic had power, in persons predisposed to it, to determine the development of cancer.”41

Tautopathy and Cancer

Tautopathy  is treatment  of a drug-induced  condition  with  a homeopathic  potency  made  from  the  drug  that  caused  it. Hahnemann,  in  his  comment  on  the  effect  of  potentized  isopathics  in  Chronic  Diseases,  said,  “For  between  idem  and simillimum there is no intermediate for anyone that can think; or in other words between idem and simile only simillimum can be intermediate. Isopathic and aequale are equivocal expressions, which if they should signify anything reliable can only signify simillimum, because they are not idem (ôáõôïí).”42

Therefore, according to Hahnemann, the simillimum is the idem (Lat., “the same”), and thus the tauton (ôáõôïí; Gr., “the same”),  meaning  the  curative  and  “most  similar”  drug  is  always  the  substance  that  caused  the  disorder,  provided  it  is administered in potentized form. In the English language we make a distinction between tautopathy and isopathy, reserving the name  “tautopathy”  to  mean  “suffering  caused  by  the  same  thing  that  was  habitually  used  previously;”43   thus,  tautopathic treatment  is that which is carried out with a potentized drug made from a substance that caused the respective disorder. I have used the terms “pharmacode”  for such a remedy (as the word farmakon; Gr., “pharmakon” means both poison and drug), and “isopathy” for the treatment with an infectious product of a disorder or disease, such as a discharge or tissue; a nosode.44  There has been confusion in the use of these terms, and the word isopathy is often used for what properly should be called tautopathy.

The use of carcinogens as cancer medicines in both conventional and homeopathic practice seems to corroborate the truth of the homeopathic hypothesis, especially following Hahnemann’s view that isopathy (as well as tautopathy) is, essentially, homeopathy:  “Some wish to create a third method of applying medicines to a disease, called isopathy. This is the cure of an existing disease with the same infectious material. However, assuming it could do so, it would still effect the cure through a Simillimum juxtaposed the Simillimo, because it administers the infectious material only in a highly potentized and thus in an altered form.”45

In the Organon, Hahnemann also stated that in addition to natural (miasmatic) chronic diseases, there also exist iatrogenic ones, which he deemed the most difficult of all to cure. (§74) We should add to these the chronic, toxic environmental diseases. Tautopathy  has  been  a  widely  used  tool  of  the  classical  homeopath  for  over  a  century.  Homeopaths  reported  using  the tautopathic  method  in  complicated  cases  where  iatrogenic  or  environmental  factors  appeared  to  cause  the  current  chronic disorder, or where exposure to these drugs or toxins was found in the anamnesis, and suspected to have triggered the disease.46, 47

This is especially true in cancer. Because of the sparcity of symptoms encountered in many cancer cases, some homeopaths have  resorted  to etiological  prescribing,  using  tautopathic  strategies.  The tautopathic  method  has been  used  in cancer  with apparent  success.  Its systematic  use has led to the introduction  of new cancer remedies  made from carcinogens  by Burnett, Cooper, Jr., Clarke, Grimmer and others, using remedies such as Cobaltum, Methlyene Blue, Congo Red, and Benzoquinone. Many  studies  confirm  the tautopathic  hypothesis.  According  to Hahnemann’s  reasoning,  tautopathy  is simply  homeopathy, however, strictly speaking, this is so only provided the drug is used on the basis of the symptoms. If given based on knowledge of the causative substance, using the etiological methodology, it is properly called tautopathy.

Much  of  “homeopathic”   laboratory  research  is  conducted  using  the  tautopathic   method.  This  is  because  the  true homeopathic method would require case-taking and individualization  of symptoms, which is nearly impossible with laboratory animals. The West Bengal arsenic studies that employed the use of Arsenicum album (which is made from arsenic trioxide), are tautopathic studies.

The most recent study by the West Bengal team in collaboration  with researchers from Boiron Labs was published in the Journal  of  Veterinary  Medicine.48    The  team  injected  arsenic  trioxide  into  mice,  and  then  treated  one  group  with  the homeopathic remedy Arsenicum album ( a drug prepared from arsenic trioxide, by progressive succussion and dilution), another group  with  potentized  alcohol,  and  a  third  group  remained  untreated.  This  trial  used  a  double-blinded  procedure.  Oral administration  appeared to show protective potential against arsenic trioxide induced chronic poisoning in mice. Researchers noted  a  marked  reduction  of  various  chromosomal,  nuclear,  and  sperm  head  abnormalities,  which  would  signify  an  anti- genotoxic effect from the homeopathic remedy.

The West Bengal  group had previously  examined  the effect of homeopathic  treatment  on cellular  damage  produced  by another group of carcinogens. They tested whether two potencies of the homeopathic drug Cadmium sulphuricum could reduce the  genotoxic  effects  of cadmium  chloride  (CdCl2)  in  mice.49   Genotoxic  effects  constitute  damage  to  the  DNA  of a cell, including mutation and possibly neoplasms. The researchers also tried to determine the relative efficacy of three administrative modes, i.e. pre-feeding, post-feeding and combined pre- and post-feeding of the medicines.

The authors concluded that both Cadmium sulphuricum 30C and 200C were able to counteract cadmium-induced  genotoxic effects in mice. They found that the combined pre- and post-feeding mode of administration was most effective in reducing the genotoxic effect of CdCl2. These results are evidence that homeopathic treatment may be effective for prophylaxis and for the recovery from serious environmental and occupational disorders.

Another study by this group tested the drug Mercurius solubilis in the 30C and 200C potencies fed in three administrative modes to mice who had been poisoned  with mercuric  chloride.50  The treatment  caused amelioration  of genotoxic  effects, as measured by conventional endpoints, i.e. chromosome aberrations, micronuclei, mitotic index, and sperm head anomalies. The amelioration by Mercurius 200C seemed to be slightly more pronounced than with the 30C potency. The researchers concluded that potentized  drugs  can  serve  as possible  anti-genotoxic  agents  against  specific  environmental  mutagens,  including  toxic heavy metals.

One researcher examined the efficacy of the common drug aspirin against cancer. Morgan reviewed the scientific evidence for a possible link between regular ingestion of aspirin and a reduced risk of both colorectal and esophageal cancers.51  He then proposed  that a homeopathic  mechanism  was responsible  for the correlation.  Since homeopathy  employs  small doses of the mother  compound,  perhaps  potencies  of aspirin  could be used to reduce  the risk of cancer  in the general  population,  or in patients with precancerous colorectal and/or esophageal lesions. This approach would help to minimize the risk of adverse side- effects of larger doses of aspirin on the digestive system. This study lends additional support to the notion that the use of low- dose X-ray radiation and low doses of toxic or carcinogenic  elements in cancer therapy, such as arsenic, cobalt, radium, etc., may  actually  constitute  an  unconscious,  quasi-homeopathic   effect — although   their  effect,  as  well  as  the  safety  of  these treatments,  could  presumably  be increased  by applying  the homeopathic  methodology  of individualization  of the medicine according to symptoms, and individualization of the dose according to the patient’s sensitivity.

A  trial  supporting  the  use  of  tautopathy  in  cancer  is  found  in  an  article  from  the  April  2000  issue  of  the  British Homeopathic   Journal.52    Its  author,  Dr.  Montfort  of  the  Instituto  Superior  de  Medicina  Homeopatica   de  Ensenanza  e Investigacion, Monterrey, Mexico, claims that homeopathy does not have highly effective remedies for cancer in its literature, and has been limited to palliating the adverse effects of chemo/radiotherapy.  As homeopaths, we could not disagree more with this assertion.  He is apparently  unfamiliar  with the work of Kent, Burnett,  Clarke,  the Coopers,  Grimmer,  Nebel,  Stauffer, Schlegel, Eizayaga, Patel, Ramakrishnan,  and many others who collectively  report positive effects from more than a hundred drugs that are widely used in classical homeopathy.

Monfort  studied  a  tautopathic  treatment  using  environmental   carcinogens  in  humans.  He  reports  on  results  of  his experiments  using  ultra-diluted  10C  and  12C  potencies  of chemical  carcinogens  used  for  3-24  months  in cancer  patients, usually in conjunction with conventional treatment. With this procedure, complete remission or life extension was achieved for some cancer cases. Three clinical cases are presented: a man with undifferentiated lung cancer; a child with an astrocytoma and a woman with leiomyosarcoma. These results deserve to be studied further. Potentized carcinogens have proven a useful source for new cancer drugs — a source which remains largely untapped.

A study published in 1983 by Roberfroid in Aspects of Research in Homeopathy, titled “Action of Hahnemannian Potencies upon  Artificially   Produced   Cancer  in  Animals,”   confirmed   the  tautopathic   strategy   by  testing  the  homeopathic   drug Phenobarbital  9C on Phenobarbital-induced  liver tumors in rats, yielding positive results.53  Interestingly, most of our classical homeopathic  cancer drugs are, in fact, derived from known carcinogens,  such as Arsenicum, Cadmium, Aluminum, Aluminum silicate, etc.

Other researchers tested the use of homeopathic/tautopathic  treatment for the adverse effects of radiotherapy. Balzarini, et al.,  assessed  the  effects  of  Belladonna  7C  and  X-ray  15C  in  the  treatment  of  acute  dermatitis  associated  with  radiation treatment.54  A randomized, double-blinded,  placebo-controlled  clinical trial was conducted involving 66 patients who had been operated on for breast cancer and were undergoing radiotherapy.  The researchers found a statistically significant benefit from the active treatment compared to placebo. The homeopathic medicines appeared to have particular effectiveness in relieving the heat of the skin. Chemotherapy and hormonotherapy did not seem to interfere with the results.

There is a similarity between tautopathy and “hormesis,” which is the toxicological observation that small doses of a toxic substance can induce protective effects specifically against harmful doses from that same toxin. One researcher who collected data confirming the hormesis effect found hundreds of studies that appeared to show a hormetic effect.55  Several studies have also confirmed this phenomenon for radiation exposure.56  This evidence, combined with the already cited studies, lends further support to the use of potentized Radium bromatum, X-ray, etc., in treatment of radiation-induced injuries and in the treatment of radiation-induced cancers.

Effective Cancer Treatment without Side Effects?

Although  in  conventional  medicine  chemotherapies  are  used  to  treat  patients  with  malignancies,  adverse  effects  are common, and damage to normal cells is a widespread problem. Chemotherapy agents can do serious damage to the cells of the bone marrow that play an important role in blood formation. In their search for potential alternative agents that can kill cancer cells without adverse effects on normal cells, scientists with the Departments of Cancer Biology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Texas, Department of Molecular Genetics, at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, have turned to evaluating homeopathic  drugs. These researchers  believe they may have found just such an agent in a common homeopathic remedy, Ruta graveolens.57

They tried the drug Ruta graveolens 6C along with Ca3(PO4)2  (calcium phosphate) in the 3X potency in vitro and in vivo. Of  15  patients,  6  of  7  glioma  patients  showed  complete  regression  of  tumors.  The  results  of  both  in  vivo  and  in  vitro experiments showed drug-induced “survival-signaling  pathways in normal lymphocytes and death-signaling  pathways in brain cancer cells,” and that “telomere erosion initiated cancer cell death and mitotic catastrophic events completed the process.” The authors proposed that Ruta graveolens in combination with calcium phosphate could be used as an effective treatment for brain cancers, particularly gliomas.

Conventional  cancer  treatment  can  harm  the  DNA  and  has  the  potential  to  cause  mutations,  tumors  and  neoplasms. Homeopathic  cancer  drugs,  in  the  customary  doses,  appear  not  to  have  these  harmful  effects.  A  study  conducted  at  the Laboratorio  de Citogenetica  Humana,  Centro  de Ciencias  Biologicas,  Universidade  Federal  do Para,  Belem,  PA, in Brazil, evaluated the genotoxic effects of a homeopathic combination treatment, labeling it the Canova Method (CM).58 CM is a homeopathic medicine developed for the treatment of patients with cancer and for pathologies that involve a depressed immune system, such as AIDS. This product is composed of homeopathic  dilutions of Aconitum napellus, Arsenicum  album, Bryonia alba, Lachesis mutus and Thuja occidentalis. According to the author of the study, this method stimulates the immune system by activating and accelerating the activity of macrophages and lymphocytes. Activated macrophages stimulate lymphocytes to increase their cytotoxic action in response to tumoral growth or infection.

The study evaluated the genotoxic effects induced in human lymphocytes treated with this homeopathic medication in vitro. The team  scored  structural  and numerical  chromosomal  aberrations  for the assessment  of induced  genotoxic  effects,  while evaluating possible variations in the mitotic index as a monitor for induced cellular toxicity. Treatments with CM did not affect mitotic  indexes,  nor  did  they  provoke  chromosomal  aberrations  when  compared  with  untreated  controls.  There  was  no cytotoxicity or genotoxicity at the chromosomal level.

In evaluating cancer treatments, ethical considerations prevent using an allegedly “unproven” method, such as homeopathy, on humans.  For this reason,  most studies are conducted  in animals.  In those studies,  researchers  often resort to methods  of inducing  cancers  with  toxic  substances.  Several  studies  have  found  that homeopathic  treatment  with  classical  homeopathic drugs may be effective in protecting against, and even reversing, induced cancerous tumors. While more evidence is needed, studies such as these may be able to confirm homeopathic treatment as a viable method to reverse certain cancerous tumors.

The West Bengal group published a study in the July 2004 issue of the Indian Journal of Experimental  Biology.59  They used several cytogenetical  and enzymatic protocols to test whether Chelidonium  30C and Chelidonium  200C show anti-tumor activity, and if the homeopathic  drugs had any action on genotoxic damage produced by an -azo dye. Both potencies showed anti-tumor  activity  and  also  modulated  favorably  some  toxicity  marker  enzymes  in liver,  kidney  and  spleen  tissues  of the carcinogen-fed mice. The researchers concluded that the microdoses of Chelidonium, having no visible ill effects of their own, may be strong candidates for use in delaying development of, or protecting against, liver cancer.

It is, of course, impractical  to determine  in these laboratory  experiments  whether the choice of Chelidonium  was in line with homeopathic methodology — that is, whether it was the simillimum of these afflicted mice. However, one may possibly conclude that if a generic treatment such as this proves effective because it uses drugs capable of producing a grossly similar disorder, it would be reasonable to conclude that a medicine chosen on the basis of similarity to the totality of symptoms for a single organism would be even more effective.

Biswas, et al., of the West Bengal group, conducted a study published in the Journal of Alternative  and Complementary Medicine  to examine  whether  the homeopathic  drug  Carcinosinum  200C,  fed alone  and  in combination  with  Chelidonium 200C,  had  any  differential  protective  effects  against  the  development  of liver  cancer  in mice  induced  by  p- dimethylaminoazobenzene  (p-DAB),  a carcinogenic  aniline dye still widely used in the textile industry  in many countries.60

Both Carcinosinum  200C and Chelidonium  200C when administered  alone showed considerable  ameliorative  effect, but the conjoint feeding in alternation of these two drugs appeared to have had a slightly greater protective effect.

The  researchers  concluded  that  considering  the  toxic  side  effects  of  conventional  chemo-preventive  drugs,  alternative agents with minimal side effects, such as homeopathic treatment, should be considered, especially for palliative measures. As in the previous study, these remedies were chosen as generic treatment for liver cancer and no individualization  was used. This study  also  appears  to  support  the  clinical  strategy  of  alternating  a  “specific”  drug  homeopathic  to  the  “disease”  with  a “constitutional” drug homeopathic to the “patient,” as advocated by some homeopathic authorities, notably Eizayaga.61

Pathak S., et al. once again collaborated with the West Bengal group to conduct a trial published in the April 2006 issue of Molecular  Cell Biochemistry  using the potentized  homeopathic  drug Lycopodium  30C to analyze the protective  potentials  in mice  by using  cytogenetic  endpoints.  The animals  were  also chronically  fed p-DAB  to initiate,  and Phenobarbital  (PB)  to promote hepatic cancer.

The effects of chronic treatment of the carcinogens were assessed at different intervals of fixation and compared with that of mice fed conjointly with the carcinogens and the homeopathic drug. Both the assay systems indicated considerable protective potentials of the homeopathic remedy against p-DAB-induced hepatocarcinogenesis  in mice.

Lycopodium is commonly recommended by homeopaths for chronic liver conditions and has been widely used as a “constitutional”  cancer  remedy  to slow  the  evolution  towards  cancer  or to prevent  it in the  precancerous  stage.  However, Fernior-Bernoville  cautioned of its efficacy once cancer had already developed. “In confirmed cancer it barely has any value since it has no power over the tumoral element as have in Thuja, Iodium, and Silicea…The Lycopodium subject who becomes cancerous will localize his tumor preferentially  on the liver, stomach or intestine.”63  The results of this study seem to indicate that the effects of Lycopodium on cancer pathology may have been underestimated.

Drug and Dose Specificity of Homeopathic Cancer Treatment

Evaluating whether a treatment has an effect on tumors requires the most sensitive of tests. Ionic homeostasis is considered such a highly sensitive test for the evaluation of the functional state of a cell. The relative functional state of a cell is evaluated according  to the criterion of sodium, potassium  and calcium ion transfer across the cell membrane.  The agents that promote elevation of ionic homeostasis, as well as those which suppress it, are well known.

The Russian scientist Nadareishvili conducted a series of studies on the effect of homeopathy on the ionic homeostasis of cells in normal and tumor cells.64  The goal of one study was tracing the possibilities for altering ionic homeostasis into one or another  direction.  This  was  done  testing  the  combined  influence  of various  factors:  ionizing  radiation,  an electromagnetic frequency,  and  a  homeopathic  remedy.  The  homeopathic  preparation  Phosphoricum  acidum  14C  appeared  to  produce  an increased effect over the combined effect of its constituents. Phosphoricum acidum 200C stopped a decrease in the action of its combined constituents under the same conditions. The researcher concluded that there exists a dose-response relationship.

In another study, he assessed the action of homeopathic remedies on ionic homeostasis in the cells of Ehrlich carcinoma.65

He used a method of continuous recording of sodium, potassium and calcium ions with selective electrodes in a Ringer solution. He also monitored the activity of the enzymes that control the transport of ions through the cell membrane.

The homeopathic preparation — “stimulated phosphoric acid, at ‘dilutions’ of 14C and 42C” — promotes ionic transport and Na, K-ATPase in Ehrlich carcinoma cells. “Non-stimulated phosphoric acid in potencies of 200C and 400C,” on the other hand, hampered  these indices,  thus corroborating  an effect of homeopathic  potencies  on Ehrlich  carcinoma  cells. The author also increases with an increased number of dilutions and, respectively, the “concentration of informational field” increases as well.

Walchli C., et al. studied pre-treatment of human leukemia cell lines compared to healthy cells with low concentrations and high potencies  of Cadmium  followed  by intoxication  with crude cadmium.66  The study found pre-treatment  with low doses increased  cell viability considerably  in both cancerous  and healthy cells, while high potencies  only had significant  effect on healthy  cells. This finding  may have important  implications  for selection  of potency  and dose in homeopathic  treatment  of leukemia and other cancers.

Several researchers have focused on the question of whether homeopathic drugs used in classical homeopathy are specific for certain types of cancer. Jonas WB, of the Samueli Institute in Alexandria, VA, and his team, conducted a series of laboratory studies evaluating the effects of commonly used homeopathic remedies in cell and animal models of prostate cancer.

MacLaughlin,  et al., of the Department  of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown  University Medical Center, studied the effects of homeopathic preparations on human prostate cancer growth in cellular and animal models.67 They assessed if homeopathic potencies of Sabal serrulata, Thuja occidentalis, and Conium maculatum had anti-proliferative  effects on cancer cells. They conducted  tests in vivo on mouse xenografts,  and in vitro on human prostate cancer, as well as on human breast cancer cell lines. In the homeopathic  literature, Sabal is a remedy that is used specifically for prostate cancer, whereas Thuja and Conium have sometimes been used successfully in treatment of certain types of breast cancer, where the symptoms fit.

Treatment with Sabal serrulata in vitro resulted in a 23 percent and 33 percent decrease of cell proliferation at 24 and 72 hours respectively, and a 23 percent reduction of DU-145 cell proliferation at 24 hours. The difference in reduction is likely due to  the  specific  doubling  time  of  each  cell  line.  No  effect  was  observed  on  human  breast  cancer  cells  with  Sabal.  Thuja occidentalis and Conium maculatum did not have any effect on human prostate cancer cell proliferation. In vivo, prostate tumor xenograft size was significantly reduced in Sabal serrulata-treated mice compared to untreated controls. No effect was observed on breast tumor growth from the other remedies.

The authors concluded that their study clearly demonstrates a biologic response to homeopathic treatment as manifested by cell proliferation  and tumor growth. This biologic effect was (a) significantly  stronger to Sabal serrulata than to controls and (b) specific to human prostate cancer. Sabal serrulata should thus be further investigated as a specific homeopathic remedy for prostate pathology, according to the authors.

Thangapazham  RL,  et al., with  the  Department  of Pathology,  Uniformed  Services,  University  of the  Health  Sciences, Bethesda,  Maryland,  investigated  the  effect  of  Conium  maculatum,  Sabal  serrulata,  Thuja  occidentalis,  Asterias  rubens, Phytolacca  decantra,  and  Carcinosinum  on  prostate  and  breast  cancer  cell  growth,  and  on  gene  expression  that  regulates apoptosis, or cell death.68

Apoptosis  is programmed  cell death  triggered  by a variety  of factors  and signals,  and is one of the ways  tumors  may disappear, either naturally or as a result of treatment. According to the scientists, none of the “homeopathic” remedies tested in different potencies produced significant inhibitory or growth-promoting  activity in either prostate or breast cancer cells. Also, gene expression studies by ribonuclease protection assay produced no significant changes after treatment with the homeopathic medicines. According to the author’s abstract, “The results demonstrate that the highly diluted homeopathic remedies used by homeopathic  practitioners  for cancer show no measurable  effects on cell growth or gene expression  in vitro using currently available methodologies.” The use of the term “highly diluted” is noteworthy for reasons illustrated below.

Another trial by Thangapazham RL, et al., examined the effects of Sabal, Conium and Thuja, and a specially prepared Carcinosinum  nosode  on the  expression  of cytokines  and  genes  that  regulate  apoptosis.69   The  researchers  assessed  this  in prostate cancer tissues extracted from animals responsive  to these drugs. The researchers  noted no significant  changes in the apoptotic  genes  or  the  cytokines,  tumor  necrosis  factor,  or  interferon-gamma  in  prostate  tumor  and  lung  metastasis  after treatment with homeopathic medicines.

According to the authors, “this study indicates that treatment with the highly diluted homeopathic remedies does not alter the gene expression in primary prostate tumors or in lung metastasis. The therapeutic effect of homeopathic treatments observed in the  in vivo  experiments  cannot  be explained  by mechanisms  based  on distinct  alterations  in gene  expression  related  to apoptosis  or cytokines.  Future  research  should  explore  subtle  modulations  in the expression  of multiple  genes  in different biological pathways.” Note again the emphasis on “highly diluted.”

In another one of these studies, one hundred male Copenhagen rats were randomly assigned to either treatment or control groups after inoculation with prostate tumor cells.70  Prostate tumor cells were exposed to five homeopathic  remedies. In vitro outcomes  included  tumor cell viability  and apoptosis  gene expression.  In vivo outcomes  included  tumor incidence,  volume, weight, total mortality, proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression, apoptotic cell death, and gene expression.

The researchers found no effects on cell viability or gene expression in three prostate cell lines with any of the drugs at any exposure  time. However,  there was a 23 percent reduction  in tumor incidence,  and for animals  with tumors there was a 38 percent reduction in tumor volume in homeopathy-treated  animals versus controls. Experimental animals with tumors had a 13 percent lower average tumor weight. Tumors in these treated animals showed a 19 percent increase in apoptotic cell death and reduced PCNA-positive cells.

The findings indicate that selected homeopathic  remedies for the present study have no direct cellular anti-cancer  effects but  appear  to  significantly  slow  the  progression  of cancer  and  reduce  cancer  incidence  and  mortality  in  Copenhagen  rats injected with prostate cancer cells — presumably by some other mechanism.

Conceptual Confusion in Homeopathic Cancer Research?

Several of the cited studies appear to show signs of confusion with regard to key homeopathic terms and concepts.67-70  One of  these  concepts  is  the  Law  of  Similars.  Applying  this  law  means  treatment  with  a  medicine  that  was  proven  to  cause symptoms similar to those being treated — for only such a use of a drug deserves to be called “homeopathic.” Frequently, terms like  “homeopathically   prepared”  appear  in  lieu  of  the  proper  term,  “potentized.”  This  indicates  a  possible  confusion  of definition,  thus implying  that these  studies  examine  the efficacy  of “homeopathic  treatment.”  Actually,  they  only  examine whether or not “potentized drugs” are effective.

Accordingly, in his paper on conceptual errors found repeatedly in peer-reviewed studies which examine a central tenet of homeopathy,  the “proving hypothesis,” this author explained in greater detail the common confusion between research testing the efficacy of “ultramolecular”  drugs with research testing the “homeopathic” hypothesis.71  He showed that arguments against “high dilutions” cannot disprove the homeopathic effect, as it is also observed in low potencies and even in undiluted drugs.

It  is  clear  that  the  studies  cited  here  do  not  examine  the  efficacy  of  “homeopathic”  treatment,  as  they  claim,  but  of “potentized”  drugs given  on the basis of indications  that are other than homeopathic  (allopathic).  Granted,  it is difficult  to examine the clinical efficacy of the homeopathic treatment method in laboratory studies with animals, as individual case-taking of rodents would be impractical, if not impossible. There is also no evidence that homeopathic principles can be applied to the treatment  of  mere  cell  lines,  as  in  studies  that  purport  to  examine  the  action  of  “homeopathic”  drugs  utilizing  in  vitro experiments.  Given  the  significant  deviation  of these  studies  from  standard  homeopathic  practice,  it is surprising  that  the authors failed to mention this fact, especially in the context of their comment on negative results.

Furthermore, the authors of several of the cited studies referred to potentized drugs as “high dilutions” without explaining the importance  of the process of succussion.67-70  The term “high dilutions”  is generally  reserved  for drugs in potency levels beyond Avogadro’s number, i.e. above the 12C potency. The use of high dilutions is by no means a requirement of homeopathic treatment, and many practitioners  never use them. In scientific studies, the notion that these “high dilutions” have biological action is often referred to as the “ultramolecular  hypothesis.” When such a reference to “high dilutions” is made in the context of negative results, as if to imply that the negative results are likely due to the “lack of substance” of these preparations, this is worthy of our attention.

This  is  especially  true  in  those  studies  cited  here  where  other  factors  that  could  explain  the  negative  results  are  not mentioned. For example, in the MacLaughlin,  et al. study, the authors failed to draw the most probable conclusion, that Thuja and Conium may not have had sufficient symptom affinity to the particular breast cancer cell lines tested to warrant any positive results.67  The implication  that the negative results would somehow be relevant to the “high dilutions” used, as implied in the above highly-publicized  abstracts,  is troubling.  This is especially  so because  the same studies appeared  to show efficacy  of biological action from these potencies.

The premise  for most efforts  to examine  homeopathic  treatment  or homeopathic  concepts  in controlled  trials is to find evidence  for or against  claims  that the homeopathic  method  is effective.  However,  it is important  for these  researchers  to remember  that  homeopathic  practitioners  do  not  claim  efficacy  from  “highly  diluted  drugs.”  They  claim  efficacy  from potentized drugs. This should be understood and acknowledged. The erroneous use of the term “high dilution” ignores the well- documented clinical observation that the higher the potency, the stronger the effect of the homeopathic drug. Early homeopaths believed that the “potency” or “power” of the medicine lay in the dynamic “field-like” effect produced during mechanical agitation — that  is,  during  trituration  or  attenuation  of  the  drug.  Thus,  the  term  “dilution”  for  a  potentized  drug,  without reference to succussion or trituration, ignores the real nature of the potentized drug. If it is the object of a study to examine homeopathic treatment, it should be clear what the researchers are actually examining.

‘dilutions,’ even though they are in fact the opposite. They constitute the actual disintegration  of the source materials and the emergence  and expression  of specific medicinal forces buried in their innermost core, effected through rubbing and shaking, while the non-medicinal medium for dilution enters merely as an auxiliary condition.” §26972 Elsewhere in the same paragraph, he compares the production and propagation of a medicinal force within a non-medicinal medium, by shaking it between each step, to the production and propagation of a magnetic force field. Here, rubbing an iron or steel rod develops a latent potential, magnetizing  the rod, and conveys — even  at a distance — the  magnetic  force that attracts iron shavings  or causes a compass needle to attract towards the South Pole and repel against the North Pole.

Some scientists have proposed that the explanation for the effect encountered in highly potentized drugs must be sought in the  restructuring  of the  solution  with  each  repeated  step  of potentization,  as a result  of adding  mechanical  energy  during succussion.73  Modern scientific studies have shed new light on the phenomenon  of propagating  information  in solutions, and several  working  hypotheses  have  been  proposed  to  explain  the  effect.74   In  one  of  the  above-cited  studies,  Nadareishvili observed that the “concentration  of the informational field” increases with increased dilution. It is this increased concentration of information,  or structuring  of the preparation,  that accounts  for the observed  “increased”  effect of the higher potencies.64

Prof. Khuda-Bukhsh summarizes the evidence with the words, “The question of transfer and retention of medicinal properties in the  highly  diluted  homeopathic  medicines  has  largely  been  satisfactorily  explained  within  the  confines  of  the  physical sciences.”75

It is unlikely that the scientists who use the misleading terminology are confused about the real nature of potentized drugs. What other possible reason might these researchers have to nevertheless  keep promoting the false notion of “high dilutions”? The insistence on this terminology has all the characteristics of editorial control — a consistent, carefully orchestrated, semantic ploy directed at homeopathy itself! Certainly, the recent widespread debunking campaign about homeopathy in the mainstream media would support such an interpretation.  Do the interests that control editorial boards wish to steer researchers away from conducting research on the real nature of potencies, on the basis that it is “implausible” and no longer worth looking into?

The 2006 abstract of one of the Samueli Institute studies claims that “despite extensive use of homeopathy for cancer and other serious conditions with reported success, clinical and laboratory research has been equivocal and no rigorous research has been done on cancer.”70  The term equivocal means “ambiguous; doubtful; of uncertain significance.” The article ignored most of the studies cited here, presumably because they were not “rigorous” enough. A more credible approach would have been to cite the studies and then show their shortcomings. One wonders why they failed to cite dozens of high-quality laboratory studies published in peer-reviewed journals, yet cite a controversial, two-decade-old editorial by Maddox, et al., entitled “High dilution experiments a delusion.”76  A co-author of this editorial is James Randi, a magician who, along with Maddox and NIH scientist Walter Stewart,  accused  Jaques Benveniste  of scientific  fraud under highly unusual circumstances.  Are we being set up for another “implausibility because of high dilutions” hoax?

A published  analysis  of clinical  studies  on homeopathic  cancer treatment  appears  to be laboring  under similar  editorial influence. According to Milazzo S, et al., at the Department of Complementary  Medicine, University of Exeter and Plymouth, Exeter, UK, many cancer patients use homeopathic  approaches “to increase their body’s ability to fight cancer, improve their physical  and emotional  well-being,  and alleviate  their pain resulting  from the disease or from conventional  treatments.”77   It strikes one as curious that the authors could not find patients who sought to use homeopathic  treatment in hopes of actually curing the disease!

The  authors’  stated  aim  in  conducting  a systematic  review  was  to  “summarize  and  critically  evaluate  the  efficacy  of homeopathic remedies used as a sole or additional therapy in cancer care.” They searched the literature using medical databases. They included randomized  and non-randomized  controlled clinical trials, including patients with cancer or past experience of cancer who received single or combined homeopathic interventions. The methodological  quality of the trials was assessed. Six studies  met  their  inclusion  criteria  (five  were  randomized  clinical  trials  and  one  was  a  non-randomized  study);  but  the methodological quality was variable, including some of the “high standard” studies. Their analysis of published literature on homeopathy found “insufficient evidence to support clinical efficacy of homeopathic therapy in cancer care.”

The authors claim that homeopathy is “highly controversial” because there is no “plausible mode of action for these “highly diluted remedies.” As in other studies, the authors appear to confuse, perhaps as a means to an end, the relative dilution of a drug with its increased level of organization.  This, in turn, ignores the action of “information”  propagated and transferred by repeated agitation in the solvent which then acts as a signal in biological systems, perceived by cell receptors and rapidly communicated throughout the organism via known pathways.


The hard evidence from most studies cited here corroborates what two hundred years of documented clinical observations have claimed: that homeopathy has efficacy in treating cancer. However, regulatory agencies are not likely to recommend homeopathic treatment any time soon because the clinical evidence is still insufficient.

Many more clinical studies are needed to convince the skeptics that homeopathy is a viable cancer treatment. Some states still have laws that provide for penalties for the unauthorized  use of “unproven  cancer therapies.”79,80  Fortunately,  Courts in other  states  have  ruled  that the law “does  not prohibit  the terminally  ill from  receiving  unorthodox  treatment.”81   Even  the

American Medical Association takes a more lenient stand towards alternative treatment — even in the hands of unlicensed practitioners — as  compared to the past. Their Code of Ethics now states that while “treatment which has no scientific basis” is condemned (Opinion 3.01), under Opinion 3.04 physicians are free to refer a patient “for therapeutic or diagnostic services to another physician, limited practitioner or any other provider of health care services permitted by law to furnish such services, whenever he or she believes that this may benefit the patient.”

But is homeopathic treatment of cancer unproven? One analysis of clinical studies showed insufficient evidence. However, insufficient  clinical evidence  does not mean proof of “lack of efficacy,”  nor lack of a scientific  basis for the treatment.  The scientific evidence presented here is clear for all to see: homeopathic drugs have proven biological action in cancer; in vitro and in vivo; in animals and humans; in the lower, as well as in the higher potencies. Cancer patients are faced with a life-and-death decision when choosing their treatment. Since most conventional treatments continue to be associated with severe adverse and sometimes fatal effects, while homeopathy has been found to be free from such effects, it would seem plausible and worthwhile, even urgent, to step up the research on, and even the provision of, homeopathic treatment of cancer and other diseases.


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Manfred Mueller, MA, RSHom (NA), CCH, is a homeopathic consultant in private practice since 1986. Since 1995, he has conducted integrative medicine consults at the UNC Memorial Hospital and has been on the Consultant Teaching Faculty of the Program on Integrative Medicine. His practice has been an official clinical rotation site for medical students from across the United States. Mr. Mueller been president of the North American Society of Homeopaths since 2005. He may be reached at

Reprinted with permission from The American Homeopath, vol 13, 2007

Manfred Mueller

Mr. Mueller is the Founder and Principal instructor for The Homeopathic College. The College was founded in 1989. He opened a full-time homeopathic practice in 1986 and began his homeopathic studies in 1979. Manfred was President of The North American Society of Homeopaths (NASH) from 2005-2014. You can read Manfred's scholarly articles here: Visit his practice website at


Sanjib Chattopadhyay

Dear Dr. Mueller,
I am highly impressed to see your article “The Evidence: Scientific Studies on Homeopathic Cancer Treatment”. Please visit my webpage, which is regularly updated with recent publications and make your valuable comment on it.
With Regards
Yours truly
Dr Sanjib Chattopadhyay,
Associate Professor,
Dept of Zoology,
BKC College,
Kolkata 700108,

Manfred Mueller

Thank you Dr. Chattopadhyay. I will check visit your website soon.

Yu Li Yeung

A big thank you for posting this article. Awesome….

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