Homeopathic Cancer Treatment: Research Published from 2013 to 2017
Introduction to Homeopathic Cancer Treatment
Dr. Moshe Frenkel, founder and director of the Integrative Medicine Clinic at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, recently observed 1 that patients with cancer commonly use complementary and integrative medicine including homeopathy. According to Dr Frenkel, homeopathy has grown in popularity with the public but is still viewed with skepticism by medical academia and is still excluded from conventionally prescribed treatments. In recent years, homeopathy cancer treatment has been widely used in Europe and many other countries worldwide. The global increased use of homeopathy in cancer care raises the question if there are any measurable benefits for cancer patients. In a 2015 commentary entitled “Is There a Role for Homeopathy in Cancer Care“, Dr Frenkel explored the evidence related to the benefit of homeopathic cancer treatment.
Frenkel pointed out that limited research suggested that homeopathic drugs appear to cause cellular changes in some cancer cells. In animal models, several homeopathic medicines showed an inhibitory effect on certain tumor development. Some clinical studies of homeopathic remedies combined with conventional care have shown that homeopathic remedies improve quality of life, reduce symptom burden, and possibly improve survival in patients with cancer. The findings from several lab and clinical studies suggest that homeopathy might have some beneficial effect in cancer care. Dr. Frenkel concluded that further large, comprehensive clinical studies are needed to determine these beneficial effects. Although additional studies are needed to confirm these findings, given the low cost, minimal risks, and the potential magnitude of homeopathy’s effects, this use might be considered in certain situations as an additional tool to integrate into cancer care.
In two previous reviews in 2007 2 and 2012 3 published in The American Homeopath, we had called for making homeopathic cancer treatment more available, for very similar reasons. It has been five years since our last review was published. In the present review we summarize the most recent studies on homeopathic cancer treatment published, beginning in 2013. As in the previous reviews, the evidence shows that patients, not physicians, are the primary impetus for the increasing call for homeopathic cancer treatment worldwide. In the countries where homeopathic cancer treatment is available, treatment is often provided in the absence of good professional references on homeopathic cancer drugs. To remedy this situation, in our recent book 4 Homeopathic Cancer Drugs, we compiled data from more than 200 books covering over 2 centuries of homeopathic cancer therapies, making for the first time a comprehensive clinical reference work available to practitioners working in our field.
For the present review we selected recent research studies conducted in institutions across the world that investigated the efficacy of homeopathic drugs for the treatment of multiple cancers, their safety, their ability to counter side effects from conventional cancer therapies, or their capacity to improve the quality of life in cancer patients. We noticed that many more studies of this kind have been conducted on homeopathic cancer treatment than in any previous five-year period. While we welcome this in light of our past calls for increasing research, it has substantially increased the scope of the current paper. In our present random walk through research published in global peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals over the last five years, we let the evidence speak for itself.
Prevalence of Homeopathy in Cancer Care
Homeopathic cancer treatment has become almost commonplace in Europe. According to the public record, patients in Tuscany, Italy, routinely demand homeopathic and other therapies complementary to conventional cancer treatments. A 2017 study 5 found that homeopathic treatment can reduce side effects and cancer-related symptoms, including hot flashes from surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. Researchers concluded that integration of evidence-based complementary treatments such as homeopathy allows for an effective response to the demand coming from cancer patients and combines safety and equity of access in public health care systems.
The Region of Tuscany Health Department was included as an associated member in WP7 “Healthcare” of the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer (EPAAC), initiated by the EU Commission in 2009. The principal aim was to map centers across Europe prioritizing those that provide public health services and operating within the national health system in integrative oncology (IO).
Researchers used 6 a cross-sectional descriptive survey design with a questionnaire regarding integrative oncology therapies to be administered to all the national health system oncology centers or hospitals in each European country. They identified these institutes by convenience sampling, searching on oncology websites and forums and be analyzing the official websites of these structures to obtain information about their activities and contacts.
Information was received from 123 (52.1 %) out of the 236 centers contacted until 31 December 2013. Forty-seven out of 99 responding centers meeting inclusion criteria (47.5 %) provided integrative oncology treatments, 24 from Italy and 23 from other European countries. The number of patients seen per year was on average 301.2 ± 337. Among the centers providing these kinds of therapies, 33 (70.2 %) use fixed protocols and 35 (74.5 %) use systems for the evaluation of results. Thirty-two centers (68.1 %) had research in progress or carried out until the deadline of the survey. The complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) more frequently provided to cancer patients were acupuncture 26 (55.3 %), homeopathy 19 (40.4 %), herbal medicine 18 (38.3 %) and traditional Chinese medicine 17 (36.2 %); anthroposophic medicine 10 (21.3 %); homotoxicology 6 (12.8 %); and other therapies 30 (63.8 %). Treatments are mainly directed to reduce adverse reactions to chemo-radiotherapy (23.9 %), in particular nausea and vomiting (13.4 %) and leucopenia (5 %). The CAMs were also used to reduce pain and fatigue (10.9 %), to reduce side effects of iatrogenic menopause (8.8 %) and to improve anxiety and depression (5.9 %), gastrointestinal disorders (5 %), sleep disturbances and neuropathy (3.8 %). 6
Reducing the Use of Cancer-Causing Hormone Drugs
Negative publicity in the UK about menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) (or hormone replacement therapy; HRT; in the United States), has led to increased use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), including homeopathy, and other non-pharmacological interventions (NPI) for menopausal symptom relief among UK postmenopausal women. The negative publicity was due to reports that they can induce cancer and heart disease. In a recent study 7 one in four postmenopausal women reported using CAM therapies/NPI for menopausal symptom relief, with lower use reported by older women. Higher levels of education and previous MHT use were positive predictors of CAM/NPI use.
Significant Use of Homeopathic Cancer Treatment in a UK Hospital
The UK is one of a few countries that actually have homeopathic hospitals. A new survey 8 conducted to improve quality and outcomes of their hospital used Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP2) as a tool to assist clinicians in setting the treatment goals across a wide range of diagnoses and other complaints in routine clinical practice at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital. A total of 198 patients with a wide range of complaints attended one to five consultations with 20 homeopathic doctors. Diagnostic categories were most commonly neoplasms (16.7%), psychological (13.9%) and genitourinary complaints (12.3%), with 66.7% suffering from these problems for at least one year. The three symptoms that bothered patients the most were pain, mental symptoms and tiredness/fatigue.
Homeopathy Most Use CAM in Cancer Patients in France
The overall clinical significance of improvements found in the survey was at least moderate. A repeated measures ANOVA test also showed statistically significant improvements (p<0.001). According to the researchers the study demonstrates that when patients with long-term conditions come under homeopathic care their presenting symptoms and wellbeing often improve. Offering a low cost high impact intervention to extend the range of choice to patients and to support self-care could be an important part of the National Health Service.
The first study 9 in France on non-conventional medicine (NCM) use in patients two years after cancer diagnosis was based on data obtained in a 2012 survey of a representative sample of 4349 patients. Non-conventional treatments used were homeopathy (64.0%), acupuncture (22.1%), osteopathy (15.1%), herbal medicine (8.1%), diets (7.3%) and energy therapies (5.8%). In nearly half of the NCM users, cancer diagnosis was one of the main factors which incited patients to use unorthodox therapies. Apart from the NCM users’ socioeconomic profile, the results showed that impaired health was a decisive factor. The researchers concluded that opting for unconventional approaches was therefore a pragmatic response to needs which conventional medicine fails to meet during the course of the disease. they concluded further, that better information of patients and caregivers is needed to allow access to these therapies to a larger population of survivors.
Positive Effects – Homeopathy/CAM Used on Children/Adolescents with Cancer
Children and adolescents with cancer in Switzerland frequently use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Swiss researchers recently investigated how and why. 10 Childhood cancer patients treated at the University Children’s Hospital Bern, Switzerland, between 2002-2011 were retrospectively surveyed about their use of CAM. Out of 133 patients (response rate: 52%) 53% had used CAM (mostly classical homeopathy) and 25% of patients received information about CAM from medical staff. Those diagnosed more recently were more likely to be informed about CAM options. The most frequent reason for choosing CAM was that parents thought it would improve the patient’s general condition. The most frequent reason for not using CAM was lack of information. Of those who used CAM, 87% perceived positive effects. The researchers recommended that since many pediatric oncology patients use CAM, patients’ needs should be addressed by open communication between families, treating oncologists and CAM therapists, which will allow parents to make informed and safe choices about using CAM.
Another French study 11 used a parent questionnaire to collect information about the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) on 50 children treated for malignant diseases. Most of parents (48%) used one or more CAM for their child in the context of cancer. The most used type of CAM was homeopathy, dietary supplements and aromatherapy. The most frequent goal for CAM use was to limit the side effects of conventional treatment (75% of parents). For 87.5% of users, the CAM was effective. Physicians were not aware of this use for 33.3% of users, in spite of the fact that the family physician was the main source of information for this use. Most of parents (48%) needed more information about the CAM and they bought their medicines in a pharmacy. The use of oral CAM in this survey was common. For most parents, this use was effective and appreciated because they generated fewer side effects than conventional treatments. However, doctors were not systematically informed of this use. This is problematic because some CAM such as herbal supplements could potentially cause interactions with cancer treatments. More information about CAM is necessary in pediatric oncohematology.
Reducing Chemo Side Effects with Homeopathy & CAM
About 50% of cancer patients in Germany use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Women with breast cancer use CAM more frequently than others. A recent study 12 linked a questionnaire to the largest internet portal for cancer patients in Germany. The questionnaire addressed attitudes towards CAM, disclosure to the oncologist, sources of information, and objectives for the use of CAM. 80 patients with breast cancer took part in the study, 61 currently using CAM. Most frequently used CAM methods were selenium supplements, relaxation techniques, prayer, vitamin C supplements, and meditation. Satisfaction was highest with relaxation techniques, vitamin C, homeopathy, yoga and Chinese herbs, lowest with mistletoe and acupuncture. 70% of participants did not think their oncologist took time to discuss CAM. Only 16% believed that their oncologist was well informed about CAM. 46% relied on naturopaths and non-medical practitioners concerning CAM. Objectives for the use of CAM were to reduce side effects of conventional therapies, to boost the immune system, and to become more active.
Researchers assessed the prevalence of use of CAM in European patients with early-stage breast cancer, and the motivations and predictive factors for its use, as well as patients’ information needs over a three months period. 69 out of 184 responders (37.5%) reported using at least one CAM. CAM use was associated with younger age (p = 0.03) and higher education level (p < 0.001). Pharmacological substances (e.g., homeopathy, phytotherapy) were the most commonly used (79.7%) before physical means (42%) and dietary methods (31.9%). A total of 65.8% of users felt that these treatments have demonstrated evidence of efficacy and 74.8% that they were not associated with side effects. The main goal for use was improvement of treatment-related symptoms (28.3%); secondary goal was increasing the general health status (20.5%). Patients reported high needs for information on CAMs. CAM use was associated with mild differences in secondary adverse events reported by patients. The authors of the study concluded that since breast cancer patients are common users of CAM concomitantly to their conventional cancer treatments they should be investigated regarding their current consumption of CAM. Furthermore, they need advice evidence-based data on these treatments and potential interactions with on-going treatments.
Homeopathy and CAM Used in Pediatric Cancer Patients
Although complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used in Dutch pediatric population, research on the use of these therapies in the pediatric oncology population is of mixed quality. In a multi-center survey, 13 scientists investigated the prevalence of CAM use, possible determinants of use, and parental attitude towards communication and research on CAM therapies. The prevalence of CAM use in the past 12 months was assessed by using a questionnaire based on the European guidelines on CAM research, filled out by parents of children visiting pediatric oncology outpatient clinics of six academic hospitals in the Netherlands. The questionnaire consisted of 26 questions on the child’s clinical status, CAM use, and attitude towards communication and research on CAM therapies. One hundred and twenty-two of 288 respondents (42.4 %) reported CAM use. The most frequently used categories were homeopathy (18.8 %) and dietary supplements (11.5 %). Female gender and parental CAM use were significant predictors for the use of CAM (p < 0.001). Only one third of the parents had discussed CAM use with their pediatric oncologist. More than 80 % of the respondents identified a need for information about CAM from their pediatrician and 85.7 % was positive towards research on CAM. Half of the parents were interested in participating in future CAM trials.
The researchers concluded that with more than 40 % of parents of Dutch pediatric oncology patients providing complementary and alternative medicine to their child and with lacking evidence on efficacy and safety of most CAM modalities, there is a clear need for high-quality research in this field. This study shows that most Dutch parents have an open attitude towards CAM research and that almost half of the parents would consider participating in future CAM trials, paving the way for research on CAM and aiming for its evidence-based use in pediatric oncology.
The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) in patients with cancer is now well recognized. However still very little is known about the use of CAM in children patients with advanced cancer during the end-of-life period. Australian researchers interviewed 14 96 parents of children who had died of cancer in Melbourne, Australia between 1996 and 2004 to establish the prevalence of CAM use during the end-of-life period. They explored factors affecting the use of CAM and determined the perceived efficacy of CAM use and its effect on the overall experience of end-of-life care.
Thirty percent of parents caring for a child with cancer reported using some form of CAM during the end-of-life period, with 44% of these families using more than one type. The most common therapies used were organic foods, faith healing, and homeopathy. There was a strong correlation between open discussion about treatment alternatives with the treating physician and parental use of CAM. The majority (78%) of respondents felt CAM use had benefited their child significantly and most felt it had not caused additional suffering.
In Australian cancer centers, a significant number of children with cancer are administered CAM during the end-of-life period and most families in this study had found it beneficial. Researchers concluded that the main focus should continue to be on open and honest communication between caregivers and families in order to provide the best possible holistic care.
Homeopathy Improves Quality of Life in Cancer Patients
A group of German scientists 15 studied systematically whether homeopathic care is of benefit to cancer patients. They conducted a prospective observational study with cancer patients in two differently treated cohorts: one cohort with patients under complementary homeopathic treatment (HG; n = 259), and one cohort with conventionally treated cancer patients (CG; n = 380). For a direct comparison, they formed matched pairs with patients of the same tumor entity and comparable prognosis. Main outcome parameter were change of quality of life (FACT-G, FACIT-Sp) after 3 months. Secondary outcome parameters were change of quality of life (FACT-G, FACIT-Sp) after a year, as well as impairment by fatigue (MFI) and by anxiety and depression (HADS).
The researchers found a significant improvement in quality of life as well as a tendency of fatigue symptoms to decrease in cancer patients under complementary homeopathic treatment. They concluded it would take considerably larger samples to find matched pairs suitable for comparison in order to establish a definite causal relation between these effects and homeopathic treatment.
Patient Satisfaction High with Homeopathy in Cancer Patients
Homeopathy is a frequently used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment in Germany. Another group of German researchers investigated results 16 comparing responses of homeopathy users and users of other forms of CAM, or non-homeopathy-users (NHU) in pediatric oncology (PO) in Germany. They examined the differences between these two groups (usage, associated demographic characteristics, previous experience with CAM). 186 (45.2%) of the 367 CAM users were exposed to homeopathy. The treatment duration amounted to a median of 601 days for homeopathy users and 282 days for NHUs. Parents with p (127; 76.5%) also used homeopathy for their child’s cancer. Nonmedical practitioners played a considerably greater role as source of information than did treating physicians. The majority of homeopathy users received their prescriptions from nonmedical practitioners (56%; 29.4% of NHUs). Homeopathy users communicate more frequently with their physicians about the CAM-use (77.7% versus 65.2%) and recommend CAM more often than non-homeopathy-users (94% versus 85.6%). Homeopathy is the most frequently used CAM treatment in PO in Germany. Homeopathy users sustain treatment and therapies considerably longer than NHUs. Most families who had used homeopathy before their child was diagnosed with cancer also used homeopathy for the treatment of their child’s cancer. Compared to other CAM treatments, patient satisfaction with homeopathy appears to be very high.
Homeopathy Counters the Adverse Effects of Conventional Cancer Treatments
A recent study 17 on 53 women aimed to evaluate the benefits of Arnica montana on post-operative blood loss and seroma production in women undergoing unilateral total mastectomy by administering Arnica Montana 1000 Korsakovian dilution (1000 K). The researchers found that A. montana 1000 K could reduce post-operative blood and seroma collection in women undergoing unilateral total mastectomy. The concluded that larger studies are needed with different dilutions of A. montana to further validate these data.
Scientists 18 tried to determine the possible effect of two common homeopathic medicines, Ruta graveolens 5CH and Rhus toxicodendron 9CH, in the prevention of aromatase inhibitor (AI) associated joint pain and/or stiffness in women with early, hormone-receptor positive, breast cancer. According to the scientists, “these preliminary results suggest that treatment with Ruta graveolens 5CH and Rhus toxicodendron 9CH may decrease joint pain/stiffness in breast cancer patients treated with AIs. A larger-scale randomized study is required to confirm these results.”
Improving Survival Rates
In a 2016 study 19 researchers conducted an analysis of patient data in comparison to control patient data from the same Outpatient´s Unit “Homeopathy in malignant diseases” of the Medical University of Vienna. In this analysis they took account of a probable immortal time bias. For patients suffering from advanced stages of cancer and surviving the first 6 or 12 months after diagnosis, respectively, the results show that utilizing homeopathy gives a “statistically significant (p<0.001) advantage over control patients regarding survival time.” Researchers concluded 20 that, “bearing in mind all limitations, the results of this retrospective study suggest that patients with advanced stages of cancer might benefit from additional homeopathic treatment until a survival time of up to 12 months after diagnosis.”
The Mueller Method™
Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and new targeted therapies for cancer lead to adverse effects which are often difficult to relieve using classical homeopathy. Besides diminishing the quality of life of the patient, they can force the oncologist to reduce or even to cease treatment prematurely, which represents a loss of opportunity for the patient. The use of tautopathy to counter the effects of multiple drugs has been clinically and scientifically tested, as we have described in previous publications. 21 For example The Mueller Method™ has been used successfully to counter many of the unwanted effects during chemotherapy in hundreds of cases. In a recent paper published in the American Homeopath the author has collected dozens of studies showing the efficacy of this method. 22
Hetero-Isotherapy (Tautopathy or Tautotherapy)
Recently a group of clinicians examined 23 the effects of a similar method they called hetero-isotherapy, to see if they are a suitable response for improving the tolerance of and the adherence to cancer treatment. They observed a significant decrease in side effects, allergic reactions and late sequels in the more than 6000 hetero-isotherapic treatments given to some 4000 patients beginning in 1998 by giving potentized homeopathic chemotherapeutics in 5 to 15 c potency the day after each injection. They found that better tolerance to chemotherapy and the improvement in quality of life led to an increase in treatment compliance. No interference with chemotherapy was observed. When it was necessary to prescribe another homeopathic medicine, in combination with hetero-isotherapy, it generally improved its effectiveness. The researchers concluded that “in a large population, followed for over 15 years, hetero-isotherapics, well tolerated and easy to use, reduced the side effects of chemotherapy, targeted therapy or hormone therapy, and so improve the quality of life of patients.”
Global Health Status and Subjective Well-being
A study 24 conducted at the Medical University Vienna, Austria, Department of Medicine I, Clinical Division of Oncology, evaluated whether homeopathy influenced global health status and subjective wellbeing when used as an adjunct to conventional cancer therapy. Results from 373 patients yielding at least one of three measurements suggest that the global health status and subjective well-being of cancer patients improve significantly when adjunct classical homeopathic treatment is administered in addition to conventional therapy.
Recovery from Chemotherapy & Cancer Treatment
A UK study 25 examined whether a three-month course of individualized homeopathic therapy benefited cancer survivors in their recovery, assessing fifteen patients in a walk-in clinic who had conventional treatment within the last three years, using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy for Cancer (FACIT-G) before and after receiving four IH sessions. The study found that eleven of the fifteen women had statistically positive results for emotional, physical and total wellbeing based on FACIT-G scores, supporting previous findings, suggesting individualized homeopathic treatment could be beneficial for survivors of cancer.
Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting
Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) remains a major problem that seriously impairs the quality of life (QoL) in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy regimens. In Europe, many patients with cancer use complementary medicines, especially homeopathy, usually alongside with conventional treatment. A randomized, placebo-controlled Phase III study 26 was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of a complex homeopathic medicine, Cocculine, in the control of CINV in non-metastatic breast cancer patients treated by standard chemotherapy regimens. Cocculine is officially registered in France for treatment of nausea and travel sickness. Its active ingredients are Cocculus indicus, Nux vomica, Tabacum, and Petroleum, all in 4c potencies.
First-time chemotherapy patients with non-metastatic breast cancer scheduled to receive 6 cycles of chemotherapy including at least three initial cycles of FAC 50, FEC 100 or TAC were randomized to receive standard anti-emetic treatment plus either the complex homeopathic remedy Cocculine, or the matching placebo (NCT00409071 clinicaltrials.gov). The primary endpoint was nausea score measured after the 1st chemotherapy course using the FLIE questionnaire (Functional Living Index for Emesis) with 5-day recall. Secondary endpoints were: vomiting measured by the FLIE score, nausea and vomiting measured by patient self-evaluation (EVA) and investigator recording (NCI-CTC AE V3.0) and treatment compliance.
From September 2005 to January 2008, 431 patients were randomized: 214 to Cocculine (C) and 217 to placebo (P). Patient characteristics were well balanced between the 2 arms. Overall, compliance to study treatments was excellent and similar between the 2 arms. A total of 205 patients (50.9%; 103 patients in the placebo and 102 in the homeopathy arms) had nausea FLIE scores > 6 indicative of no impact of nausea on quality of life during the 1st chemotherapy course. There was no difference between the 2 arms when primary endpoint analysis was performed by chemotherapy stratum; or in the subgroup of patients with susceptibility to nausea and vomiting before inclusion. In addition, nausea, vomiting and global emesis FLIE scores were not statistically different at any time between the two study arms. The frequencies of severe (Grade ≥ 2) nausea and vomiting were low in our study (nausea: P: 17.6% vs C: 15.7%, p=0.62; vomiting: P: 10.8% vs C: 12.0%, p=0.72 during the first course). This double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized Phase III study showed that when the complex homeopathic medicine cocculine is was added to standard anti-emetic prophylaxis it did not improve the control of chemotherapy-induce nausea and vomiting in early breast cancer patients.
Anticancer Effects From Homeopathic Drugs
Cytotoxicity – Propolis
In one recent study 27 researchers evaluated the chemical composition, anti-proliferative and proapoptotic activity, and the effect of various fractions of Lebanese propolis, a homeopathic common cancer drug, on the cell cycle distribution on Jurkat leukemic T-cells, glioblastoma U251 cells, and breast adenocarcinoma MDA-MB-231 cells using cytotoxic assays, flow cytometry as well as western blot analysis. This research confirmed, that Propolis exhibited significant cytotoxicity and anti-proliferative activity promising enough that warrant further investigations on the molecular targets and mechanisms of action of Propolis.
Gene Modulation – Resveratrol
Another homeopathic cancer drug, Resveratrol, was studied 28 and found to modulate genes using a genome-wide analysis of gene expression in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Transcriptional profiling indicated that 375 genes were modulated at 24 h after Resveratrol intervention, whereas 579 genes were regulated at 48 h. Resveratrol downregulated AURKA and PLK1 kinases at 24 h. In addition it upregulated the BRCA1 gene, an AURKA/PLK1 inhibitor, at 24 h of treatment. Two well-known resveratrol effectors, cyclin D1 (CCND1) and cyclin B1 (CCNB1), were repressed at both times. “Congruently, we found that Resveratrol impaired G1/S phase transition in both MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells. By western blot assays, we confirmed that Resveratrol suppressed AURKA, CCND1 and CCNB1 at 24 and 48 h. In summary, we showed for the first time that Resveratrol regulates cell cycle progression by targeting AURKA and PLK1. Our findings highlight the potential use of Resveratrol as an adjuvant therapy for breast cancer.”
Thuja for Glioblastoma
The most aggressive type of brain tumor is glioblastoma multiforme, which to date remains incurable. One of several homeopathic medicines that showed some promising clinical effects on this cancer type is Thuja occidentalis, another drug used in homeopathy for the treatment of cancer, however, its mechanism of action remains unknown. To better understand its action, researchers 29 set out to study the effects of thujone fractions of Thuja on glioblastoma cells using in vitro and in vivo models. They found that the α/ β-thujone fraction decreases the cell viability and exhibits potent anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic and anti-angiogenic effects in vitro. In vivo assays showed that α/β-thujone promotes the regression of neoplasia and inhibits the angiogenic markers VEGF, Ang-4 and CD31 into the tumor.
Cytotoxicity – Condurango
Homeopaths often used Condurango or Cundurango (Gonolobus cundurango Trian.) extract for the treatment of cancer. Cundurango bark extract is known to reduce tumor volume, but the underlying molecular mechanisms still remain unclear. Indian researchers, using a cervical cancer cell line (HeLa) as their model, investigated 30 the molecular events behind Cundurango extract’s (CE’s) anticancer effect using flow cytometry, immunoblotting and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Others included prostate cancer cells (PC3), transformed liver cells (WRL-68), and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
The scientists found Cundurango extract (CE) to be cytotoxic against target cells, and this effect was significantly deactivated in the presence of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS), suggesting that its action could be mediated through ROS generation. CE caused an increase in the HeLa cell population containing deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage at the G zero/Growth 1 (G0/G1) stage. Further, CE increased the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and the fas receptor (FasR) levels both at the ribonucleic acid (RNA) and the protein levels, indicating that CE might have a cytotoxic mechanism of action. CE also triggered a sharp decrease in the expression of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB ) both at the RNA and the protein levels, a possible route to attenuation of B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2), and caused an opening of the mitochondrial membrane’s permeability transition (MPT) pores, thus enhancing caspase activities. The results suggest possible pathways for Cundurango extract mediated cytotoxicity in model cancer cells, according to the researchers.
Tea for Lung Cancer
Tea or Camellia sinensis is a popular beverage and has been widely praised for its anticancer effects. This is because researchers have isolated (-)-epigallocatechins-3-gallate (EGCG), the main constituent in green tea leaves, and have demonstrated antitumor effects; although the exact mechanism by which this occurs remained unknown. Not surprisingly, tea has also been used by some as a cancer drug in homeopathy, under the name Thea chinensis. In a recent study, researchers found 31 that tea may be effective in the treatment of lung cancer by a threefold mechanism. Hepatoma-derived growth factor (HDGF) expression was suppressed by EGCG treatment in three different ways: (1) downregulation of HDGF by EGCG was confirmed using anti-HDGF antibodies in three lung cancer cell lines. EGCG treatment and HDGF abrogation by RNA interference resulted in a decreased migration of A549 cells. (2) EGCG induced a marked synergistic effect with cisplatin in cell death. (3) Enhanced cytotoxicity in HDGF-silenced cells was found. Cell death was associated to increased apoptosis, disruption of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and activation of caspase-3 and caspase-9. The researchers concluded that abrogation of HDGF by EGCG enhances cisplatin-induced apoptosis and sensitize A549 cells to chemotherapy. They proposed that decreasing the HDGF levels by using EGCG from Thea chinensis may represent a novel strategy in lung cancer therapy.
Apoptosis – Sulphur
Scientists investigated 32 the well-known homeopathic constitutional cancer drug Sulphur for its anticancer effects, in order to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying sulphur-induced apoptosis in non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cells. Sulphur treatment inhibited otherwise upregulated survival signaling in NSCLC cells by perturbing the nuclear translocation of p65NFκB, its association with p300 histone acetylase, and subsequent transcription of Bcl-2. Under such anti-survival conditions, induction of p53-p300 cross-talk enhanced the transcriptional activity of p53 and intrinsic mitochondrial death cascade. The findings of this preclinical study clearly delineated the molecular mechanism underlying the apoptogenic effect of the non-toxic homeopathic remedy, Sulphur, in NSCLC cells.
Cytotoxicity – Conium
An in vitro study 33 for the first time investigated the anticancer potential of the common homeopathic cancer drug Conium maculatum against cervical cancer, by examining whether and ethanolic extract of Conium is capable of inducing cytotoxicity in different normal and cancer cell lines including an elaborate study in HeLa cells. Conium’s effects on cell cycle, reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and apoptosis, if any, were analyzed through flow cytometry. Whether Conium could damage DNA and induce morphological changes were also determined microscopically. Expression of different proteins related to cell death and survival was critically studied by western blotting and ELISA methods. If Conium could interact directly with DNA was also determined by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy.
Conium treatment reduced cell viability and colony formation at 48 h and inhibited cell proliferation, arresting cell cycle at sub-G stage. Conium treatment leads to increased generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at 24 h, increase in MMP depolarization, morphological changes and DNA damage in HeLa cells along with externalization of phosphatidyl serine at 48 hours. While cytochrome c release and caspase-3 activation led HeLa cells toward apoptosis, down-regulation of Akt and NFkB inhibited cellular proliferation, indicating the signaling pathway to be mediated via the mitochondria-mediated caspase-3-dependent pathway. CD-spectroscopy revealed that Conium interacted with DNA molecule. The result of the study confirmed the homeopathic use of the drug in cancer therapy.
Apotosis – Thuja
The adverse side-effects associated with chemotherapy during cancer treatment have shifted considerable focus towards therapies that are targeted but devoid of toxic side-effects such as homeopathic drugs. In a new study 34 researchers evaluated the antitumorigenic activity of the homeopathic cancer drug Thuja occidentalis, the bioactive derivative of the medicinal plant Thuja occidentalis, in order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying Thuja-induced apoptosis of functional p53-expressing mammary epithelial carcinoma cells.
Their results showed that Thuja successfully induced apoptosis in functional p53-expressing mammary epithelial carcinoma cells. Abrogation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), prevention of p53-activation, knockdown of p53 or inhibition of its functional activity significantly abridged ROS generation. Notably, under these conditions, Thuja-induced breast cancer cell apoptosis was reduced, thereby validating the existence of an ROS-p53 feedback loop. Elucidating this feedback loop revealed bi-phasic ROS generation as a key mediator of Thuja-induced apoptosis. The first phase of ROS was instrumental in ensuring activation of p53 via p38MAPK and its nuclear translocation for transactivation of Bax, which induced a second phase of mitochondrial ROS to construct the ROS-p53 feedback loop. Such molecular crosstalk induced mitochondrial changes i) to maintain and amplify the Thuja signal in a positive self-regulatory feedback manner; and ii) to promote the mitochondrial death cascade through cytochrome c release and caspase-driven apoptosis. These results confirm its use in homeopathic breast cancer treatment was appropriate, since Thuja occidentalis modulated the redox status of functional p53-expressing mammary epithelial carcinoma cells.
Anticancer – Gymnemma sylvestris
The West Bengal group mentioned above, recently investigated 35 an ethanolic extract of the homeopathic cancer drug Gymnema sylvestre (GS). The leaves of the plant have been used as a potent antidiabetic drug in various systems of alternative medicine, including homeopathy. The present study was aimed at examining if GS also had anticancer potentials, and if it had, to elucidate its possible mechanism of action.
They first tested possible anticancer potential of GS on A375 cells (human skin melanoma) through MTT assay and determined cytotoxicity levels in A375 and normal liver cells. They then thoroughly studied its apoptotic effects on A375 cells through protocols such as Hoechst 33258, H2DCFDA, and rhodamine 123 staining and conducted ELISA for cytochrome c, caspase 3, and PARP activity levels. They determined the mRNA level expression of cytochrome c, caspase 3, Bcl2, Bax, PARP, ICAD, and EGFR signaling genes through semiquantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and conducted Western blot analysis of caspase 3 and PARP. They also analyzed cell cycle events, determined reactive oxygen species accumulation, measured annexin V-FITC/PI and rhodamine 123 intensity by flow cytometry.
They found that compared with both normal liver cells and drug-untreated A375, the mortality of GS-treated A375 cells increased in a dose-dependent manner. Additionally, GS induced nuclear DNA fragmentation and showed an increased level of mRNA expression of apoptotic signal related genes cytochrome c, caspase 3, PARP, Bax, and reduced expression level of ICAD, EGFR, and the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl2. According to the researchers, these results indicate that Gymnemma sylvestris has significant anticancer effect on A375 cells apart from its reported antidiabetic effect, indicating the possibility of its palliative use in patients with symptoms of both diseases.
Skin Melanoma – Phytolacca
Preventive measures against skin melanoma like chemotherapy are useful but suffer from chronic side effects and drug resistance. The same group tested36 an ethanolic extract of Phytolacca decandra (PD), used in homeopathy for the treatment of cancer and various ailments like chronic rheumatism, regular conjunctivitis, psoriasis, and in some skin diseases, for its possible anticancer effects.
They tested for cytotoxicity of the drug by conducting 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay on both normal (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) and A375 cells. They conducted fluorescence microscopic study of 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride-stained cells for DNA fragmentation assay, and also recorded changes in cellular morphology, if any. They tested actate dehydrogenase activity assay to evaluate the percentages of apoptosis and necrosis. They evaluated reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, if any, studied expression of apoptotic genes to pin-point the actual events of apoptosis.
Their results showed that administration of Phytolacca decandra caused a remarkable reduction in proliferation of A375 cells, without showing much cytotoxicity on peripheral blood mononuclear cells. They found generation of ROS and DNA damage, which made the cancer cells prone to apoptosis, to be enhanced in PD-treated cells. These results were duly supported by the analytical data on expression of different cellular and nuclear proteins, as for example, by down-regulation of Akt and Bcl-2, up-regulation of p53, Bax and caspase 3, and an increase in number of cell deaths by apoptosis in A375 cells. The researchers concluded that their results demonstrate anticancer potentials of PD on A375 cells through activation of caspase-mediated signaling and ROS generation.
Inhibited DNA Synthesis of Hepatoma HepG2 Cells
The medicinal plants Aristolochia clematitis L. and Asarum europaeum L., both representatives of the plant family Aristolochiaceae, listed in the German and the U.S. Homeopathic Pharmacopeia, contain aristolochic acid. A group of researchers found37 that the mother tinctures of A. clematitis and A. europaeum inhibited DNA synthesis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner. One of the components of the plant extract, aristolochic acid I (AAI), is linked to the development of nephropathy and urothelial cancer in humans. Therefore, the researchers also evaluated the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of AAI in HepG2 cells.
The results showed that cell proliferation was inhibited concentration-dependently by AAI using BrdU-ELISA and colony forming assay. AAI formed DNA adducts (measured by (32)P-postlabeling), induced chromosomal aberrations (micronuclei) and DNA strand breaks. DNA damage induced by AAI led to an arrest of cells in the S-phase which was associated with the increased expression of p53 and p21 proteins, confirming the potential use of A. clematis and A. europaeum in kidney cancer.
Phytolacca decandra Precipitated Silver Nanoparticles
Researchers examined38 whether the homeopathic mother tincture and proven cancer drug Phytolacca decandra is capable of precipitating silver nanoparticles from silver nitrate (AgNO(3)) and to characterize the biosynthesized nanoparticles for evaluating their biological activities.
They added total of 100 mg of AgNO(3) to 20mL of Milli-Q water and stirred vigorously. Then they added 5mL of the homeopathic mother tincture of Phytolacca decandra (ethanolic root extract of Phytolacca decandra) and stirred continuously. Reduction took place rapidly at 300K and completed in 10 min as shown by stable light greenish-yellow color of the solution which gave colloid of silver nanoparticles. They then centrifuged the colloid solution at 5000×g to separate the nanoparticles for further use. They characterized the nanoparticles by spectroscopic analysis, particle size analysis and zeta potential measurements, and analyzed morphology by atomic force microscopy. They determined drug-DNA interaction by circular dichroism spectrophotometry and melting temperature profiles by using calf thymus DNA as the target. They determined biological activities using a cancer cell line A549 in vitro and using bacteria Escherichia coli and fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae as test models.
Phytolacca decandra precipitated silver nanoparticles in ambient conditions. The nanoparticles had 91 nm particle size, with polydispersity index of 0.119 and zeta potential of -15.6 mV. The silver nanoparticles showed anticancer and antibacterial properties, but no clear antifungal properties. The researchers concluded that the results could be a novel environment-friendly method to biosynthesize silver nanoparticles using a cost-effective, nontoxic manner, and that the homeopathic mother tincture may utilize this property of nano-precipitation in curing diseases or disease symptoms.
Marine Animals Used for Cancer Treatment
Marine animals have long been used in homeopathy, including for treating cancer. For example, Asterias rubens (common sea star) is a well-known homeopathic drug for the treatment of breast cancer. Murex purpurea (Sea snail) is used for treatment of cancer of the uterus and breasts. Sepia (ink of the common cuttlefish) is a widely used constitutional drug that covers many cancerous conditions. Calcarea carbonica (oyster shell), another homeopathic cancer drug, can treat a wide variety of cancers.
Reduced Cancer Cell Viability
Researchers tested39 the anticancer properties of tyrindoleninone and 6-bromoisatin from Dicathais orbita, (white rock shell), found around the coast of Australia and New Zealand, against physiologically normal primary human granulosa cells (HGC) and reproductive cancer cell lines. Tyrindoleninone reduced cancer cell viability with IC₅₀ values of 39 µM (KGN; a tumor-derived granulosa cell line), 39 μM (JAr), and 156 μM (OVCAR-3), compared to 3516 μM in HGC. Apoptosis in HGC’s occurred after 4 h at 391 µM tyrindoleninone compared to 20 µM in KGN cells. Differences in apoptosis between HGC and KGN cells were confirmed by TUNEL, with 66 and 31% apoptotic nuclei at 4 h in KGN and HGC, respectively. These marine compounds therefore have potential for development as treatments for female reproductive cancers. Homeopathic pathogenetic trials ought to be conducted to determine the homeopathic indications for treatment.
Ultrahigh-dilution Drugs Found Effective
Homeopathic theory and practice includes the drug preparation method of “potentization” — in which drugs are prepared via serial dilution and succussion – a mechanical agitation between each step of consecutive dilution. We have commented on this method in several previous publications.
Systematic dilutions are a necessary part of homeopathic drug preparation because the dose required to achieve effects in homeopathy is much smaller than in conventional medicine. This is because homeopathy uses drugs to stimulate rather than to inhibit vital processes. High dilutions allow for the safe use of potent toxins in the treatment of disease, and eliminate their potential adverse effects. According to studies, the sequential dilution with intermittent succussion method (potentization) imparts an nuclear-magnetic “imprint” to the diluent in order to maintain the medicinal (stimulatory) effects even in highly diluted drugs. This is because nuclear magnetic resonance proton relaxation is sensitive to the dynamic of the water molecule, through the interaction of the spin of the proton with external magnetic and electromagnetic fields.
Dilutions Beyond Avogadro’s Number are NOT Pure Water
In the past, Raman-laser spectrometer investigations had confirmed specific patterns for various homeopathic preparations. A recent Dutch study 40 examined the nuclear magnetic signature of two homeopathic drugs, various potencies of Cuprum metallicum and Gelsemium sempervirens against potentized lactose controls, and found clear evidence that the homeopathic high potencies, even though diluted beyond Avogadro’s number, cannot be considered pure water, as commonly assumed by high-potency skeptics. The authors of the study concluded that “the sensitivity of the homeopathic medicines to electromagnetic fields may be amplified by the highly non-linear processing routinely applied in the preparation of homeopathic medicines. Future work is needed in such directions.”
Hahnemann’s Observations Proven True
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), the founder of homeopathy 41 had pointed out that the process of dilution was merely an auxiliary part, but necessary to activate the medicinal effect of a diluted drug via mechanical energy input. He reported on observations that the greater the number of succussion strokes during the preparation of the drugs, the more intense the effect of the medicine (Organon of Medicine; 6th edition). He even came to the conclusion that one should limit the number of succussions because these very “high potencies” could be harmful to some patients. To prevent harm he developed a safer method of prepared the potencies, the so-called Q-potencies (often erroneously called LM potencies), which he called his “perfect” medicines. In the preparations of these new potencies, much higher dilutions were employed in conjunction with fewer succussion strokes.
The increased medicinal effects of high centesimal potencies were further confirmed in more than two hundred years of clinical observations in homeopathic medicine. In recent years there has been much ado by skeptics and debunkers of homeopathy because of its use of ultra-high dilutions, even to the point of accusation of fraud, implying that such drugs could not possibly have any biological effects. This was done despite the fact that multiple studies had found biological action from these very high potencies against placebo in dilutions beyond Avogadro’s number, where the probability that molecules of the drug remain in the mixture approaches zero. These effects have recently been attributed to “memory of water”. 42 Other recent research suggests that nanoparticles remain in the solutions (see below) and account for the observed biological effects of the dilutions.43
Effects of Higher Potencies More Intense Than Lower Potencies
A recent study 44 set out to investigate if succussions in high potencies have a measurable effect, by studying the effectiveness of ultra-high-diluted Arsenicum album on in vitro wheat germination and polycrystalline structures obtained by droplet evaporation method, using two different experimental designs. The droplet evaporation method (DEM) had previously been determined 45 as a “useful tool in basic research in homeopathy” when studying the effect of the homeopathic drug Zincum metallicum in a 30c potency on a wheat seed model versus lactose 30c and water. In the Arsenicum study researchers found that both experimental approaches showed increased effectiveness for treatments prepared with a higher number of succussion strokes, confirming Hahnemann’s observations that the effects of higher potencies were more intense than those of lower potencies.
In the following section, we are presenting recent studies that examined the biological effects of the ultra-high dilutions or homeopathic potencies sometimes used in homeopathic cancer treatment.
Effects of Ultrahigh Dilutions (Potencies) of Homeopathic Cancer Drugs
Breast Cancer, Terminalia chebula and Nanoparticles
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among women and is the second leading cause of cancer death. Homeopathic medicines are part of many alternative medicines that are given as a supportive therapy in breast cancer. The objective of a new study 46 was to investigate the anticancer activity of commercially available homeopathic preparations of Terminalia chebula (TC) and to evaluate their nanoparticulate nature. This was done by testing the Mother tincture (MT) and other homeopathic preparations (3X, 6C and 30C) of TC were for their effect on the viability of breast cancer (MDAMB231 and MCF7) and non-cancerous (HEK 293) cell lines by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Cell growth assay was performed to analyze the effect of the different potencies on the growth kinetics of breast cancer cells. MT and 6C were evaluated for the presence of nanoparticles by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
The researchers found that the MT decreased the viability of breast cancer (MDAMB231 and MCF7) and non-cancerous (HEK 293) cells. However, the other potencies (3X, 6C and 30C) decreased the viability of only breast cancer cells without affecting the viability of the non-cancerous cells. All the potencies, MT, 3X, 6C and 30C, reduced growth kinetics of breast cancer cells, more specifically at 1:10 dilution at 24, 48 and 72 h. Under SEM, the MT appeared as a mesh-like structure whereas under TEM, it showed presence of nanoclusters. On the other hand, 6C potency contained 20 nm sized nanoparticles. This would confirm previous research on the nanoparticulate nature of potentized substances. The researchers concluded that their study demonstrated the anticancer activity of homeopathic preparations of TC against breast cancer and reveals their nanoparticulate nature, and that these preliminary results warrant further mechanistic studies at both in vitro and in vivo levels to evaluate the potential of TC as nanomedicine in breast cancer.
Anticancer Effects – Psorinum
Effects of homeopathic Psorinum 6× on cell viability were examined in a controlled study. Researchers 47 initially determined effects in several cancer cell lines, including A549, HepG2 and MCF-7, using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, and an ethanol 6× control. Using the cell line that exhibited highest inhibition they administered Psorinum 6× to study its effect on cell cycle arrest, cell death (apoptosis), generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and change in mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) using flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy, respectively.
They found that in A549 cells Psorinum treatment inhibited cell proliferation at 24 h after treatment, and arrested cell cycle at sub-G1 stage. It also induced ROS generation, MMP depolarization, morphological changes and DNA damage, as well as externalization of phosphatidyl serine. Further, increases in p53 expression, Bax expression, cytochrome c release, along with reduction of Bcl-2 level and caspase-3 activation were observed after Psorinum 6× treatment, which eventually drove A549 cells towards the mitochondria-mediated caspase-3-dependent pathway. CD spectroscopy revealed direct interaction of Psorinum with DNA, using calf thymus-DNA as target. In conclusion, Psorinum 6× has proven effect in cancer therapy, by triggering apoptosis in A549 cells via both up- and down-regulations of relevant signal proteins, including p53, caspase-3, Bax and Bcl-2.
Anti-tumor Activity of M1
Metastatic melanoma is a skin-originated form of cancer without a single therapy able to produce high rate and satisfactory or sustained responses, which attracts the use of complementary therapies such as M1. M1 is a homeopathic medicine with immunostimulatory properties used mainly by cancer patients to complement concurrent conventional therapies. In a recent study, 48 mice treated with M1 had significantly lower tumor burden in the lungs and subcutaneous tissue than control mice. Furthermore, tumors were impaired in proliferation and tumor related angiogenesis by the inhibition of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) positive for angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R). These data suggest M1 is an efficient candidate for melanoma therapy to be considered for future clinic studies as this study is the first showing that melanoma patients may benefit with the treatment. Researchers pointed out that treatment with homeopathic M1 provides advantages over conventional treatments, in light of its safety, low cost and low toxicity.
In a previous study, 49 high potencies of homeopathic preparations of Thuja occidentalis, Ruta graveolens and Carcinosinum in 30c, 200c and 1 M potencies had been shown to exhibit anticancer properties. One possible mechanism of action by which these drugs could achieve these effects is by immune modulation. Now, researchers investigated this hypothesis by oral feeding of mice with these medicines and by testing a number of immune parameters.
They found significant enhancement of hematological parameters including total WBC count, hematopoietic parameters such as bone marrow cellularity and the number of α-esterase positive cells, other parameters of immune response such as circulating antibody titer and the number of plaque forming cells (PFC), particularly with higher dilutions of Thuja and Ruta. Enhanced proliferation of B and T lymphoid cells was also observed. No toxic effects were observed with any of the treatment. The results confirmed that the antineoplastic effects from homeopathic preparations in high potency were likely achieved via immunomodulatory activity. Once again this study confirmed increased effect from the higher potencies/dilution.
In the past the homeopathic drug, Cundurango has been used to treat patients with a wide variety of cancer including esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In a recent in vitro study 50 research investigated whether the drug when administered in 6c or 30 c potency — one below and one above the Avogadro limit — had any effect on lung cancer cells. The researchers used 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenylte-trazolium bromide (MTT) assays on H460-non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells and a succussed ethyl alcohol vehicle (placebo) as a control.
Greater Apoptosis Above Avogadro’s Number
They conducted studies on cellular morphology, cell cycle regulation, generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), changes in mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and DNA-damage, and expressions of related signaling markers. All observations were done in a “blinded” manner. Both Cundurango 6C and 30C induced apoptosis in H460 cells via cell cycle arrest at subG0/G1 and altered expressions of certain apoptotic markers. The drugs induced oxidative stress through ROS elevation and MMP depolarization at 18-24 hours. These events presumably activated a caspase-3-mediated signaling cascade, as evidenced by reverse transcriptase- polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), western blot and immunofluorescence studies at a late phase (48 hours) in which cells were pushed towards apoptosis. The study also showed that Cundurango 30C had greater apoptotic effect than Cundurango 6C conforming clinical observations in homeopathic practice.
Carcinoma of the Colon – Ruta Graveolens
Scientists 51 investigated the anti-cancer effect of various potencies of the homeopathic cancer drug Ruta graveolens (Ruta) on colon cancer COLO-205 cell line. They examined cytotoxicity, migration, clonogenecity, morphological and biochemical changes and modification in the levels of genes associated with apoptosis and cell cycle. On treatment of COLO-205 cells the researchers saw maximal effects with both the mother tincture (MT) and 30C potencies, and noted a decrease in cell viability along with reduced clonogenecity and migration capabilities.
In addition the researchers observed morphological and biochemical alterations such as nuclear changes (fragmented nuclei with condensed chromatin) and DNA ladder-like pattern (increased amount of fragmented DNA) in COLO-205 cells indicating apoptotic related cell death. The expression of apoptosis and cell-cycle related regulatory genes assessed by reverse transcriptase-PCR revealed an up-regulation of caspase 9, caspase-3, Bax, p21 and p27 expression and down-regulation of Bcl-2 expression in treated cells. The mode of cell death was suggestive of intrinsic apoptotic pathway along with cell cycle arrest at the G2/M of the cell cycle. The researchers findings confirm clinical observations that Ruta graveolens is effective in the homeopathic treatment of colon carcinoma.
Advanced Metastasis, Improved Outcomes – Ruta
Patients with advanced metastatic disease are often treated aggressively with multiple lines of chemotherapy, even in the last month of life. The benefit of such an approach remains uncertain. A recent study 52 examined whether Ruta graveolens 9c can improve the quality of life (QoL) and tumor progression in patients with advanced cancer. This was a single-centre, open-label, uncontrolled, pilot study. Patients (>18-years, life-expectancy ≥3 months, performance status ≤2) with locally-advanced solid tumors or metastases, previously treated with all available standard anti-cancer treatments were recruited. Oral treatment consisted of two 1-mL ampoules of Ruta graveolens (9c dilution) given daily for a minimum of 8 weeks, or until tumor and/or clinical progression. Primary outcome was QoL measured using the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire. Secondary outcome measures were anxiety/depression measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), WHO performance status (PS), tumor progression assessed using RECIST criteria and tumor markers, survival and tolerance.
Thirty-one patients were included (mean age: 64.3 years). Mean duration of treatment was 3.3 months (median: 2.1). QoL global health status improved significantly between baseline and week 8 (P < 0.001) and week 16 (P = 0.035), but was at the limit of significance (P = 0.057) at the end of the study. There was no significant change in anxiety/depression or PS during treatment. In this study, Ruta graveolens 9c had no obvious effect on tumor progression. Median survival was 6.7 months [95%CI: 4.8-14.9]. Ruta graveolens 9c was well-tolerated. The authors concluded that effectiveness of this treatment remains should be confirmed in further studies.
It is perhaps important to point out that no attempt in the study was made at individualize the “homeopathic” treatment, as stipulated in homeopathic treatment guidelines, in favor of the above “one size fits all” method. The negative results would confirm expectations. In order to achieve positive results in future studies, a non-randomized treatment methodology should be employed, respecting the individual differences of symptomatology and constitutional characteristics of the cancer patients.
Reversing DNA Damage – Thuja
Another group of Indian researchers 53 examined whether the ultra-highly diluted homeopathic remedy Thuja 30C can ameliorate benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)-induced DNA damage, stress and viability of perfused lung cells of Swiss albino mice in vitro. They cultured perfused normal lung cells from mice in 5% Roswell Park Memorial Institute medium and exposed them to BaP, a potent carcinogen, at the half maximal inhibitory concentration dose (2.2 μmol/L) for 24 h. Thereafter, they either treated intoxicated cells with Thuja 30C (used against tumor or cancer) or its vehicle media, succussed alcohol 30C. They measured relevant parameters of study involving reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, total glutathione (GSH) content, and generations of heat shock protein (hsp)-90; they measured the cell viability and other test parameters after treatment with either Thuja 30C or its vehicle media. They performed circular dichroism spectroscopy to examine if Thuja 30C directly interacted with calf thymus DNA as target. For ascertaining if DNA damaged by BaP could be partially repaired and restituted by the remedy, they performed 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining.
Thuja 30C increased cell viability of BaP-intoxicated cells significantly, as compared to drug-untreated or drug-vehicle control. A minimal dose of Thuja 30C significantly inhibited BaP-induced stress level, by down-regulating ROS and hsp-90, and increasing GSH content. Thuja 30C itself had no DNA-damaging effect, and no direct drug-DNA interaction. However, it showed quite striking ability to repair DNA damage caused by BaP. The researchers concluded that Thuja 30C ameliorates BaP-induced toxicity, stress and DNA damage in perfused lung cells of mice and it apparently has no effect on normal lung cells.
Gene Expression – Cundurango
The same group of researchers investigated 54 whether the ultra-highly-diluted remedies used in homeopathy can effectively bring about modulations of gene expressions through acetylation/deacetylation of histones, a subject that had never been explored. They investigated if the homeopathically-diluted anti-cancer remedy Cundurango 30C , prepared from an ethanolic extract of Gonolobus cundurango Trian., by 10(-60) times) dilution was capable of arresting the cell cycles in cervical cancer cells HeLa by triggering an epigenetic modification through modulation of the activity of the key enzyme histone deacetylase 2 vis-a-vis the succussed alcohol (placebo) control.
The researchers checked the activity of different signal proteins (like p21(WAF), p53, Akt, STAT3) related to deacetylation, cell growth and differentiation by western blotting and analyzed cell-cycle arrest, if any, by fluorescence activated cell sorting. After viability assays had been performed with Cundurango 30C and with a placebo, the activities of histone de-acetylase (HDAC) enzymes 1 and 2 were measured colorimetrically. While Cundurango 30C induced cytotoxicity in HeLa cells in vitro and reduced HDAC2 activity quite strikingly, it apparently did not alter the HDAC1 enzyme; the placebo had no or negligible cytotoxicity against HeLa cells and could not alter either the HDAC 1 or 2 activity. Data on p21(WAF), p53, Akt, and STAT3 activities and a cell-cycle analysis revealed a reduction in DNA synthesis and G1-phase cell-cycle arrest when Cundurango 30C was used at a 2% dose. According the researchers, Cundurango 30C appeared to trigger key epigenetic events of gene modulation in effectively combating cancer cells, which the placebo was unable to do; these result confirm their hypothesis that homeopathic potencies when used in vitro act by this mechanism.
Immunotherapeutic Strategies – Calcarea Carbonica
The molecular mechanisms explaining the anti-cancer effects of potentized homeopathic drugs are still under investigation. Researchers 55 evaluated the efficacy of Calcarea carbonica in a 1c, 6c, 12c 30c and 200c potency, as an anti-cancer agent in order to delineate the detail molecular mechanism(s) underlying Calcerea carbonica-induced tumor regression in mice. To this end they employed blue dye-exclusion test, flow cytometric, Western blot and reverse transcriptase-PCR techniques. Further more they used siRNA transfections and inhibitor studies to validate the involvement of p53 pathway in Calcarea carbonica-induced apoptosis in cancer cells.
Interestingly, although Calcarea carbonica administration to Ehrlich’s ascites carcinoma (EAC)- and Sarcoma-180 (S-180)-bearing Swiss albino mice resulted in 30-35% tumor cell apoptosis, it failed to induce any significant cell death in ex vivo conditions. These results prompted the researchers to examine whether Calcarea carbonica employs the immuno-modulatory circuit in asserting its anti-tumor effects. Calcarea carbonica prevented tumor-induced loss of effector T cell repertoire, reversed type-2 cytokine bias and attenuated tumor-induced inhibition of T cell proliferation in tumor-bearing host. To confirm the role of the immune system in Calcarea carbonica-induced cancer cell death, the researchers co-cultured a battery of cancer cells with Calcarea carbonica-primed T cells. Their results indicated a “two-step” mechanism of the induction of apoptosis in tumor cells by the homeopathic drugs Calcarea carbonica i.e., (1) activation of the immune system of the host; and (2) induction of cancer cell apoptosis via immuno-modulatory circuit in p53-dependent manner by down-regulating Bcl-2:Bax ratio. Bax up-regulation resulted in mitochondrial transmembrane potential loss and cytochrome c release followed by activation of caspase cascade. Knocking out of p53 by RNA-interference inhibited Calcarea carbonica-induced apoptosis thereby confirming the contribution of p53. These observations delineate the significance of immuno-modulatory circuit during Calcarea carbonica-mediated tumor apoptosis. The molecular mechanism identified by the researchers may serve as a platform for involving Calcarea carbonica into immunotherapeutic strategies for effective tumor regression in humans.
Mother Tinctures vs. Ultramolecular Dilutions
Another group of researchers 56 investigated the cytotoxic activity of selected homeopathic cancer drugs, in the mother tincture (MT), and in ultramolecular dilution (30C, 200C, 1M and 10M) against cell lines deriving from tumors of particular organs, Sarsaparilla (Sars) on ACHN cells (human renal adenocarcinoma), Ruta graveolens (Ruta) on COLO-205 (human colorectal carcinoma), and Phytolacca decandra (Phyto) on MCF-7 (human breast carcinoma). Sars was also tested against Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells (a non-malignant cell line). They measured cytotoxicity using the 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazolyl-2)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) method, anti-proliferative activity by trypan blue exclusion assay, apoptosis determined by dual staining the cells with ethidium bromide (EB) and acridine orange (AO) dyes.
Both, the MTs and ultra-diluted preparations of the three homeopathic medicines had highly significant effects in the respective cancer cell lines, producing cytotoxicity and a decrease in cell proliferation. The effects were greatest with the MTs, but in all cases and persisted, although to a lesser degree in the ultra-diluted molecular preparations. Sars showed no effect on normal canine kidney MDCK cells. In the cultures treated with the homeopathic drugs, hallmarks of apoptosis were evident including, cell shrinkage, chromatin condensation and DNA fragmentation.
Down-regulation of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor – Cundurango
The West Bengal group cited above conducted an investigation 57 aimed at examining if post-cancer treatment with a potentized homeopathic drug, Cundurango 30C, which is sometimes used to treat esophageal cancer, could also show an ameliorating effect through apoptosis induction on lung cancer induced by benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) in white rats (Rattus norvegicus). Lung cancer was induced after four months by chronic feeding of BaP to rats through gavage at a dose of 50mg/kg body weight for one month. After four months, the lung-cancer-bearing rats were treated with Cundurango 30C for the next one (5(th)), two (5(th)-6(th)) and three (5(th)-7(th)) months, respectively, and were sacrificed at the corresponding time- points. The ameliorating effect, if any, after Cundurango 30C treatment for the various periods was evaluated by using protocols such as histology, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), annexinV-FITC/PI assay, flow cytometry of the apoptosis marker, DNA fragmentation, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), immunohistochemistry, and western blot analyses of lung tissue samples.
Striking recovery of lung tissue to a near normal status was noticed after post-cancerous drug treatment, as evidenced by SEM and histology, especially after one and two months of drug treatment. Data from the annexinV-FITC/PI and DNA fragmentation assays revealed that Cundurango 30C could induce apoptosis in cancer cells after post-cancer treatment. A critical analysis of signaling cascade, evidenced through a RT-PCR study, demonstrated up-regulation and down-regulation of different pro- and anti-apoptotic genes, respectively, related to a caspase-3-mediated apoptotic pathway, which was especially discernible after one-month and two- month drug treatments. Correspondingly, Western blot and immunohistochemistry studies confirmed the ameliorative potential of Cundurango 30C by its ability to down-regulate the elevated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression, a hallmark of lung cancer. According to the researchers, these result validated a positive effect of Cundurango 30C in ameliorating lung cancer through caspase-3-mediated apoptosis induction and EGFR down-regulation.
Apoptosis – Lycopodium
The same research group evaluated 58 whether homeopathically-potentized ultra-high dilutions of Lycopodium clavatum given in the 5c and 15 c potencies (LC-5C and LC-15C, respectively) have anti-cancer effects on HeLa cells. The cells were exposed to either LC-5C (diluted below Avogadro’s limit, i.e., 10(-10)) or LC-15C (diluted beyond Avogadro’s limit, i.e., 10(-30)) (drug-treated) or to 30% succussed ethanol (“vehicle” of the drug). The drug-induced modulation in the percent cell viability, the onset of apoptosis, and changes in the expressions of Bax, Bcl2, caspase 3, and Apaf proteins in inter-nucleosomal DNA, in mitochondrial membrane potentials and in the release of cytochrome-c were analyzed by utilizing different experimental protocols.
The results revealed that administration of LC-5C and LC-15C had little or no cytotoxic effect in normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells, but caused considerable cell death through apoptosis in cancer (HeLa) cells, which was evident from the induction of DNA fragmentation, the increases in the expressions of protein and mRNA of caspase 3 and Bax, and the decreases in the expressions of Bcl2 and Apaf and in the release of cytochrome-c. Thus, the highly-diluted (potentized) homeopathic remedies Lycopodium when given in the 5c and 15c potencies had the capability to induce apoptosis in cancer cells, signifying their possible use as supportive medicines in cancer therapy.
Anti-proliferative Effect on Breast Cancer Cells – Klimaktoplan®
We mentioned above that because of health concerns of menopausal hormone replacement therapy, alternatives have been sought by physicans and patients alike. Studies had shown increased risks of breast and lung cancers in women treated with combined estrogen-progesterone protocols. Klimaktoplan® is a German homeopathic formula consisting of four main homeopathic components in the lower decimal potencies and has been used as an alternative for relief of menopausal symptoms for a long time. It contains Cimicifuga racemosa 2x, Sepia officinalis 2x, Ignatia amara 3x, and Sanguinaria canadensis 6x, all well known homeopathic drugs that, with the exception of Ignatia, have been used in homeopathic clinical practice to treat various kinds of cancer. Cimicifuga, Sepia, and Sanguinaria are listed in the Oncology Materia Medica and have been used in classical homeopathic practice for the treatment of breast cancer.
A 2013 study 59 investigated the safety of Klimaktoplan® through its effect on the proliferation of breast cancer (MCF-7) and non-malignant mammary epithelial cells (MCF-10A). MCF-7 and MCF-10A cells were cultured in 312.5, 625, and 1,250 μg/ml Klimaktoplan®. 17-Beta estradiol (E2) and medroxyprogesterone 17-acetate (MPA) were used for comparison with Klimaktoplan®. E2 only (0.001, 0.01, and 0.1 μM), and the combination of E2 (0.001, 0.01, and 0.1 μM) and MPA (0.01, 0.1, and 1 μM) were tested. Control cells for Klimaktoplan® and E2 groups were treated with dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), and DMSO + ethanol was used for the combination group. Cellular proliferation was evaluated by the formation of insoluble formazan after incubation of 4 days.
Klimaktoplan® was found to have a concentration-dependent anti-proliferative effect on breast cancer cells at 625 and 1,250 μg/ml, while not affecting proliferation of non-malignant mammary cells at any tested concentration. The effect of lactose was evaluated as lactose (the adjuvant of Klimaktoplan®) affect cell growth. E2 and lactose increased the proliferation of both malignant and non-malignant cells. The effect of E2 + MPA on the proliferation of malignant and non-malignant mammary cells was lower than estradiol only, but was higher than control. According to the authors of the study, Klimaktoplan® has an anti-proliferative effect on breast cancer cells, but not for non-malignant mammary epithelial cells, unlike E2 and E2 + P. They also concluded that with further research, KP would be a good alternative or additive in women with menopausal symptoms who wish to avoid conventional E or E + P hormone therapy.
Adjuvant Immunotherapy in Advanced Cancer – Homeopathic Complexes
A study 60 evaluated the effects of five commercially sold homoeopathic complex preparations on functional activity natural killer cells (NKCs) in advanced cancer patients. The scientists examined the effects of Coenzyme Compositum®, Ubichinon Compositum®, Glyoxal Compositum®, Katalysatoren® and Traumeel® on the functional activity of NKCs. Experimental procedures included in vitro and in vivo trials. The in vitro trials were performed in NKCs isolated from 12 healthy volunteers (aged 44 ± 4 years) and incubated with the five homoeopathic complex preparations. The in vivo trials were performed in 15 advanced cancer patients (aged 55 ± 12 years) supplemented for 3 months with the homoeopathic preparations. All five homoeopathic preparations significantly increased the cytotoxic activity of the NKCs at the lowest NKCs/target cell ratio 12:1 (p < 0•05). The order of activity was: Ubichinon Compositum® > Glyoxal Compositum® > Katalysatoren® > Traumeel® > Coenzyme Compositum®. In the advanced cancer patients, the homoeopathic preparation significantly increased NKCs cytotoxic activity (p < 0•05). The researchers concluded that the homoeopathic complex preparations tested in this study can be used as an adjuvant immunotherapy in advanced cancer patients.
Best Case Series
As reported in our previous review of homeopathic cancer studies, The U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) Best Case Series (BCS) Program provides an independent review of medical records, imaging, and pathology of cancer patients treated with unconventional therapies. The goal of the NCI BCS Program is to identify preliminary evidence of tumor regression and assess whether there is sufficient evidence to move forward with NCI-initiated research. A study reviewed 61 case reports submitted by 4 practitioners from India who used ayurvedic and homeopathic therapies to treat cancer. A total of 68 cases were submitted to the NCI BCS Program. Fifty-one percent of the cases represented homeopathy and 49% ayurveda. Of the 68 cases, 32 (47%) of the cases were collectively designated as “persuasive” (P) or “supportive”(S), and 36 (53%) as “not evaluable.” Forty-one (60%) patients did not have any prior conventional treatment. The authors of the study believe the NCI BCS Program represents a unique avenue for the rigorous evaluation of “best cases” to identify complementary and alternative medicine modalities that are promising for prospective preclinical evaluation or prospective research.
Researchers 62 investigated the therapeutic effects of the homoeopathic cancer drug Arsenicum album in several potencies in-vitro. They used a continuous cell line (MT4), pre-intoxicated it with arsenic trioxide (As(2)O(3)), and then treated it with succussed and unsuccussed homoeopathic potencies, 6CH, 30CH and 200CH. This study aimed to verify the homoeopathic law of similars and to determine whether potencies diluted beyond Avogadro’s constant had physiological effects on cells; whether various potencies would cause different effects as suggested by the concept of hormesis; whether succussed and unsuccussed homoeopathic potencies had different effects on the cells; and to establish whether a biotechnological method could be used to evaluate the above. As(2)O(3) was used to pre-intoxicate and the MTT assay was used to measure the percentage cytotoxicity and half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) of the cells. The homoeopathic potencies of Arsenicum album (6CH, 30CH and 200CH) were prepared by either succussing or allowing to diffuse for 30 s.
Physiological Effects of Homoeopathic Potencies – Arsenicum
After pre-intoxication of the MT4 cells with the IC(50) As(2)O(3) and treatment with succussed and unsuccussed Arsenicum album (6CH-200CH), the cell viability increased with increasing potency from 81% to 194% (over 72 h). The treatments and the times of exposure were found to be statistically significant determinants of cell viability, whereas succussion did not cause any significant variation in the results. The study provided evidence that a biotechnological method (namely cell viability) may be used to scientifically evaluate the physiological effects of homoeopathic potencies on human cells; it confirmed that the homoeopathic potencies did have therapeutic effects; and that succussion was not required in the potentization method in order to produce a curative remedy.
Advanced Malignancies – Psorinum
In a detailed case study, Indian authors described 63 three cases of various pathologically confirmed advanced malignancies; one gallbladder, one periampullary, and one liver. These patients underwent Psorinum therapy as their primary cancer treatment. Psorinum therapy is a homeopathic approach to treat patients with cancer. According to the American Joint Committee on Cancer cancer staging system, all three patients were diagnosed at Stage IV. Their Karnofsky performance status was between 20% and 50% and their Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score status was between 3 and 4. In these cases, conventional cancer treatments could not be initiated due to the advanced stage of their disease, poor general health performance status, and their financial constraints. Instead, Psorinum-6x was administered orally at a dose of 0.02 mL/kg body weight/day on an empty stomach for a complete course duration of 2 years, along with allopathic and homeopathic supportive treatment. According to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors criteria, complete tumor response occurred in 1 case and partial tumor response occurred in the other 2 cases. All three patients remained alive and maintained a stable quality of life for at least 2 years. The patients reported no adverse side-effects from Psorinum-6x. This report indicates the clinical efficacy of Psorinum therapy in treating those three patients with advanced cancer.
Potentized vs. Mother Tinctures
A mentioned above, homeopathy treats diseases, including cancer, sometimes using ultradiluted preparations. Earlier studies indicated that homoeopathic medicines in potency are cytotoxic to tumor cells and reduced animal tumors. However, the mechanism of action of the potentized homeopathic medicines at the cellular level is still under investigation. Researchers conducted a study 64 to find out more on these mechanisms by which potentized homeopathic drugs act on cancerous tissue. They investigated the action of the common cancer drugs Ruta graveolens 200c, Carcinosinum 200c, Hydrastis canadensis 200c, Thuja occidentalis 200c, and Thuja occidentalis 1M for their ability to induce apoptosis as seen by morphology, DNA laddering, expression of genes related to apoptosis, and TUNEL assay. Similarly, they measured effect of the homeopathic drugs on apoptosis was measured by microarray analysis. Activity of Ruta 200C was compared with that of the mother tincture.
Ruta 200C produced morphological changes in the Dalton’s lymphoma ascites tumor cells and induced DNA laddering. Carcinosinum 200C increased apoptotic gene p53 and Ruta 200C decreased antiapoptotic gene Bcl2. Administration of potentiated homeopathic drugs to tumor-bearing mice induced TUNEL-positive cells in the tumor, showing increased apoptosis of tumor cells. Microarray analysis of cells treated with homeopathic drugs indicated that homoeopathic drugs increased many enzymes related to apoptosis. The researchers concluded that apoptosis is one of the mechanisms of tumor reduction of homeopathic drugs. The comparison of potentized drugs with their mother tincture indicated that the potencies drugs have biological activity similar to that of their mother tincture in spite of ultradilution.
B-cell Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia – Amanita phalloides
Isolde Riede, PhD, an independent German researcher and alternative practitioner, whose work we already reported on in the past, conducted a study 65 on tumor therapy with the homeopathic cancer drug Amanita phalloides (death cap) and its ability to trigger stabilization of B-cell chronic lymphatic leukemia. Riede pointed out that molecular events that cause tumor formation upregulate a number of HOX genes, called switch genes, coding for RNA polymerase II transcription factors. Thus, in tumor cells, RNA polymerase II is more active than in other somatic cells. Amanita phalloides contains amanitin, inhibiting RNA polymerase II. Partial inhibition with amanitin influences tumor cell–but not normal cell–activity. To widen the treatment spectrum, Dr. Riede gave homeopathic dilutions of Amanita phalloides, containing amanitin, to a patient with leukemia. She gave different doses of amanitin while monitoring the leukemic cell count.
The former duplication time of leukemic cells was 21 months. Within a period of 21 months of Amanita therapy, the cell count was stabilized to around 10(5)/μL. No leukemia-associated symptoms, liver damage, or continuous erythrocyte deprivation occurred in the patient. Dr Riede concluded that this new principle of tumor therapy showed high potential to provide a gentle medical treatment for B-cell chronic lymphatic leukemia. In the past Dr. Riede had made similar observations regarding the action of Amanita phalloides on other cancer cell lines.
Over the past five years, the number or quality research studies on homeopathic cancer treatment has doubled, compared to the previous five years. The increased research activity also reflects the increased utilization of homeopathy in modern cancer centers around the world. As we have shown in the past, this increased prevalence of homeopathic cancer treatment occurs in many different clinical environments.
Once again the present review has confirmed that peer-review research studies show that homeopathy is effective as cancer treatment – in conjunction with conventional treatment – to remove the adverse effects of conventional cancer therapies; to improve the quality of life of terminal cancer patients; and as single and only cancer therapy. At present, hundreds of high-quality studies have corroborated the safety and efficacy of homeopathic cancer treatment in vivo and in vitro, in humans and in laboratory animals, using a wide variety of drugs and doses; in undiluted, moderately diluted, and ultra-diluted form, and in many different clinical settings around the world.
Given the popularity of homeopathy among patients, its exceptional safety and considerable efficacy as a cancer treatment, we urge governmental and private organizations to fund and implement more clinical studies and make homeopathic cancer treatment more widely available.
- Frenkel M. Is There a Role for Homeopathy in Cancer Care? Questions and Challenges. Curr Oncol Rep. 2015 Sep;17(9):43. doi: 10.1007/s11912-015-0467-8.
- Mueller M. The evidence: scientific studies on homeopathic cancer treatment. The American Homeopath 2007 vol. 13.
- Mueller M. Is homeopathy an effective cancer treatment? The American Homeopath 2012 vol. 18.
- Mueller M. Homeopathic Cancer Drugs: An Oncology Materia Medica. The Other Medicine Publications Barnardsville NC 2017.
- Rossi E Add-On Complementary Medicine in Cancer Care: Evidence in Literature and Experiences of Integration. Medicines (Basel). 2017 Jan 24;4(1). pii: E5. doi: 10.3390/medicines4010005.
- Rossi E. Complementary and alternative medicine for cancer patients: results of the EPAAC survey on integrative oncology centres in Europe. Support Care Cancer. 2015 Jun;23(6):1795-806. doi: 10.1007/s00520-014-2517-4. Epub 2014 Dec 4.
- Gentry-Maharaj Prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine/non-pharmacological interventions use for menopausal symptoms within the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening. Climacteric. 2017 Jun;20(3):240-247. doi: 10.1080/13697137.2017.1301919. Epub 2017 Mar 22.
- Thompson E. A patient reported outcome measure in homeopathic clinical practice for long-term conditions. Homeopathy. 2016 Nov;105(4):309-317. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2016.05.001. Epub 2016 Aug 27.
- Sarradon-Eck A. Use of non-conventional medicine two years after cancer diagnosis in France: evidence from the VICAN survey. J Cancer 2017 Aug;11(4):421-430. doi: 10.1007/s11764-017-0599-y. Epub 2017 Feb 1.
- Magi T. Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Children with Cancer: A Study at a Swiss University Hospital. PLoS One. 2015 Dec 22;10(12):e0145787. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145787. eCollection 2015.
- Philibert C. [A French survey on the resort of oral alternative complementary medicines used in children with cancer]. [Article in French] Bull Cancer. 2015 Oct;102(10):854-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bulcan.2015.06.008. Epub 2015 Sep 19.
- Huebner J. Online survey of patients with breast cancer on complementary and alternative medicine. Breast Care (Basel). 2014 Feb;9(1):60-3. doi: 10.1159/000360381.
- Singendonk M. High prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine use in the Dutch pediatric oncology population: a multicenter survey. Eur J Pediatr. 2013 Jan;172(1):31-7. doi: 10.1007/s00431-012-1821-6. Epub 2012 Sep 19.
- Heath JA. Complementary and alternative medicine use in children with cancer at the end of life. J Palliat Med. 2012 Nov;15(11):1218-21. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2012.0150. Epub 2012 Aug 21.
- Rostock M. Classical homeopathy in the treatment of cancer patients–a prospective observational study of two independent cohorts. BMC Cancer. 2011 Jan 17;11:19. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-11-19.
- Längler A. Use of homeopathy in pediatric oncology in Germany. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:867151. doi: 10.1155/2011/867151. Epub 2010 Sep 22.
- Sorrentino L. Is there a role for homeopathy in breast cancer surgery? A first randomized clinical trial on treatment with Arnica montana to reduce post-operative seroma and bleeding in patients undergoing total mastectomy. J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2017 Jan 3;6(1):1-8. doi: 10.5455/jice.20161229055245. eCollection 2017 Jan-Mar.
- Karp JC. Treatment with Ruta graveolens 5CH and Rhus toxicodendron 9CH may reduce joint pain and stiffness linked to aromatase inhibitors in women with early breast cancer: results of a pilot observational study. Homeopathy. 2016 Nov;105(4):299-308. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2016.05.004. Epub 2016 Aug 9.
- Gaertner K. Additive homeopathy in cancer patients: Retrospective survival data from a homeopathic outpatient unit at the Medical University of Vienna. Complement Ther Med. 2014 Apr;22(2):320-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.12.014. Epub 2014 Jan 8.
- Gleiss A. Re-analysis of survival data of cancer patients utilizing additive homeopathy. Complement Ther Med. 2016 Aug;27:65-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.06.001. Epub 2016 Jun 7.
- Mueller M. The practice of tautopathy during the classical era of homeopathy: a review of the literature. The American Homeopath 2011 vol. 17.
- Mueller M. The Evidence: Scientific Studies show Tautotherapy/Isotherapy is an Effective Treatment for Drug-Induced and Toxic Disorders. American Homeopath 2017 vol. 21:
- Bagot JL. Using hetero-isotherapics in cancer supportive care: the fruit of fifteen years of experience. Homeopathy. 2016 Feb;105(1):119-25. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2015.08.001. Epub 2015 Oct 1.
- Frass M. Influence of adjunctive classical homeopathy on global health status and subjective wellbeing in cancer patients – A pragmatic randomized controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Jun;23(3):309-17. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.03.004. Epub 2015 Mar 23.
- Poole J. Individualised homeopathy after cancer treatment. Nurs Times. 2014 Oct 8-14;110(41):17-9.
- Pérol D. Can treatment with Cocculine improve the control of chemotherapy-induced emesis in early breast cancer patients? A randomized, multi-centered, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III trial. BMC Cancer. 2012 Dec 17;12:603. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-12-603.
- Noureddine H. Chemical characterization and cytotoxic activity evaluation of Lebanese propolis. Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Nov;95:298-307. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.08.067. Epub 2017 Sep 12.
- Medina-Aguilar R. Resveratrol inhibits cell cycle progression by targeting Aurora kinase A and Polo-like kinase 1 in breast cancer cells. Oncol Rep. 2016 Jun;35(6):3696-704. doi: 10.3892/or.2016.4728. Epub 2016 Apr 4.
- Torres A. Pro-apoptotic and anti-angiogenic properties of the α /β-thujone fraction from Thuja occidentalis on glioblastoma cells. J Neurooncol. 2016 May;128(1):9-19. doi: 10.1007/s11060-016-2076-2. Epub 2016 Feb 22.
- Bishayee K1. Condurango (Gonolobus condurango) Extract Activates Fas Receptor and Depolarizes Mitochondrial Membrane Potential to Induce ROS-dependent Apoptosis in Cancer Cells in vitro: CE-treatment on HeLa: a ROS-dependent mechanism. J Pharmacopuncture. 2015 Sep;18(3):32-41. doi: 10.3831/KPI.2015.18.022.
- Flores-Pérez A. Differential proteomic analysis reveals that EGCG inhibits HDGF and activates apoptosis to increase the sensitivity of non-small cells lung cancer to chemotherapy. Proteomics Clin Appl. 2016 Feb;10(2):172-82. doi: 10.1002/prca.201500008. Epub 2015 Sep 14.
- Saha S. Sulphur alters NFκB-p300 cross-talk in favour of p53-p300 to induce apoptosis in non-small cell lung carcinoma. Int J Oncol. 2015 Aug;47(2):573-82. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2015.3061. Epub 2015 Jun 2.
- Mondal J. Anticancer potential of Conium maculatum extract against cancer cells in vitro: Drug-DNA interaction and its ability to induce apoptosis through ROS generation. Pharmacogn Mag. 2014 Aug;10(Suppl 3):S524-33. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.139792.
- Saha S. Contribution of the ROS-p53 feedback loop in thuja-induced apoptosis of mammary epithelial carcinoma cells. Oncol Rep. 2014 Apr;31(4):1589-98. doi: 10.3892/or.2014.2993. Epub 2014 Jan 24.
- Chakraborty D. Antihyperglycemic drug Gymnema sylvestre also shows anticancer potentials in human melanoma A375 cells via reactive oxygen species generation and mitochondria-dependent caspase pathway. Integr Cancer Ther. 2013 Sep;12(5):433-41. doi: 10.1177/1534735413485419. Epub 2013 Apr 24.
- Ghosh S. Homeopathic mother tincture of Phytolacca decandra induces apoptosis in skin melanoma cells by activating caspase-mediated signaling via reactive oxygen species elevation. J Integr Med. 2013 Mar;11(2):116-24. doi: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013014.
- Nitzsche D. Evaluation of the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of aristolochic acid I – a component of Aristolochiaceae plant extracts used in homeopathy. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;35(2):325-34. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Jan 18.
- Bhattacharyya SS. Rapid green synthesis of silver nanoparticles from silver nitrate by a homeopathic mother tincture Phytolacca Decandra. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2012 May;10(5):546-54.
- Edwards V. Marine compounds selectively induce apoptosis in female reproductive cancer cells but not in primary-derived human reproductive granulosa cells. Mar Drugs. 2012 Jan;10(1):64-83. doi: 10.3390/md10010064. Epub 2012 Jan 10.
- Van Wasserhoven M. Nuclear magnetic resonance characterization of traditional homeopathically manufactured copper (Cuprum metallicum) and plant (Gelsemium sempervirens) medicines and controls. Homeopathy 2017 106:223-39. doi:10.1016/j.homp.2017.08.001.
- Hahnemann CFS. Organon der Heilkunst. [Organon of Medicine]. Textcritical version of 6th edition. Edited by Joseph M. Schmidt. Haug Verlag Germany 1992.
- Water memory. 2014 Documentary about Nobel Prize Laureate Luc Montanier. Directed by C. Manil and L. Lichtenstein. Producer: D. Leconte. www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8VyUsVOic0.
- Chikramane PS. Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: a nanoparticulate perspecitive. Homeopathy 2010 99:231-42.
- Betti L. Number of succussion strokes affects effectiveness of ultra-high-diluted arsenic on in vitro wheat germination and polycrystalline structures obtained by droplet evaporation method. Homeopathy. 2017 Feb;106(1):47-54. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2016.12.001. Epub 2017 Jan 3.
- Kokornaczyk MO. Polycrystalline structures formed in evaporating droplets as a parameter to test the action of Zincum metallicum 30c in a wheat seed model. Homeopathy. 2016 May;105(2):173-9. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2015.10.002. Epub 2015 Nov 12.
- Wani K. Evaluating the anticancer activity and nanoparticulate nature of homeopathic preparations of Terminalia chebula. Homeopathy. 2016 Nov;105(4):318-326. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2016.02.004. Epub 2016 Apr 12.
- Mondal J. Psorinum 6 × triggers apoptosis signals in human lung cancer cells. J Integr Med. 2016 Mar;14(2):143-53. doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(16)60230-3.
- Ferrari de Andrade L. Inhalation therapy with M1 inhibits experimental melanoma development and metastases in mice. Homeopathy 2016 Feb;105(1):109-18. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2015.08.007. Epub 2015 Sep 26.
- Remya V. Homeopathic remedies with antineoplastic properties have immunomodulatory effects in experimental animals. Homeopathy. 2015 Jul;104(3):211-9. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2014.11.004. Epub 2015 Mar 4.
- Sikdar S. Relative Apoptosis-inducing Potential of Homeopathic Condurango 6C and 30C in H460 Lung Cancer Cells In vitro: -Apoptosis-induction by homeopathic Condurango in H460 cells. J Pharmacopuncture. 2014 Mar;17(1):59-69. doi: 10.3831/KPI.2014.17.008.
- Arora S. DNA fragmentation and cell cycle arrest: a hallmark of apoptosis induced by Ruta graveolens in human colon cancer cells. Homeopathy. 2015 Jan;104(1):36-47. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2014.10.001. Epub 2014 Nov 29.
- Freyer G. Open-label uncontrolled pilot study to evaluate complementary therapy with Ruta graveolens 9c in patients with advanced cancer. Homeopathy. 2014 Oct;103(4):232-8. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Jul 30.
- Mukherjee A. Homeopathic Thuja 30C ameliorates benzo(a)pyrene-induced DNA damage, stress and viability of perfused lung cells of mice in vitro. J Integr Med. 2013 Nov;11(6):397-404. doi: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013054.
- Bishayee K. Evidence of an Epigenetic Modification in Cell-cycle Arrest Caused by the Use of Ultra-highly-diluted Gonolobus Condurango Extract. Pharmacopuncture. 2013 Dec;16(4):7-13. doi: 10.3831/KPI.2013.16.024.
- Saha S. Calcarea carbonica induces apoptosis in cancer cells in p53-dependent manner via an immuno-modulatory circuit. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Sep 21;13:230. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-230.
- Arora S. Anti-proliferative effects of homeopathic medicines on human kidney, colon and breast cancer cells. Homeopathy. 2013 Oct;102(4):274-82. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2013.06.001.
- Sikdar S. Post-cancer Treatment with Condurango 30C Shows Amelioration of Benzo[a]pyrene-induced Lung Cancer in Rats Through the Molecular Pathway of Caspa- se-3-mediated Apoptosis Induction: -Anti-lung cancer potential of Condurango 30C in rats. J Pharmacopuncture. 2013 Sep;16(3):11-22. doi: 10.3831/KPI.2013.16.021.
- Samadder A. The potentized homeopathic drug, Lycopodium clavatum (5C and 15C) has anti-cancer effect on hela cells in vitro. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2013 Aug;6(4):180-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2013.04.004. Epub 2013 Apr 28.
- Ahn KH. Anti-proliferative effect of Klimaktoplan® on human breast cancer cells. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2013 Oct;288(4):833-8. doi: 10.1007/s00404-013-2849-1. Epub 2013 Apr 18.
- Toliopoulos IK. Stimulation of natural killer cells by homoeopathic complexes: an in vitro and in vivo pilot study in advanced cancer patients. Cell Biochem Funct. 2013 Dec;31(8):713-8. doi: 10.1002/cbf.2960. Epub 2013 Feb 13.
- Olaku O. The National Cancer Institute best case series program: a summary of cases of cancer patients treated with unconventional therapies in India. Integr Cancer Ther. 2013 Sep;12(5):385-92. doi: 10.1177/1534735412473641. Epub 2013 Jan 25.
- Ive EC. Therapeutic effect of Arsenicum album on leukocytes. Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(3):3979-87. doi: 10.3390/ijms13033979. Epub 2012 Mar 22.
- Chatterjee A. A homeopathic approach to treat patients with advanced gallbladder, periampullary, and liver carcinomas: a report of 3 cases. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Feb;18(2):180-6. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0027.
- Preethi K. Induction of apoptosis of tumor cells by some potentiated homeopathic drugs: implications on mechanism of action. Integr Cancer Ther. 2012 Jun;11(2):172-82. doi: 10.1177/1534735411400310. Epub 2011 Jul 19.
- Riede I. Tumor therapy with Amanita phalloides (death cap): stabilization of B-cell chronic lymphatic leukemia. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Oct;16(10):1129-32. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0035.
Please feel free to share and distribute this work while quoting the author: Manfred Mueller, MA, DHM, RSHom(NA), CCH