The journal Homeopathy (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/homp) has published a two part special issue focusing on biological models of homeopathy. The special issue highlights experiments on homeopathic treatments in biological models, ranging from whole animals and plants to cell cultures and enzymes, showing a remarkable range of findings.
Homeopathy is a form of complementary medicine which is controversial because of its use of extremely dilute medicines. Although there is considerable clinical research, homeopathy remains the subject of a heated debate. The special issue makes an important contribution to this debate, by reviewing laboratory experiments with high dilutions. It includes reviews and new findings in biosystems, ranging from whole animal behavioral, intoxication and inflammation models through diseased and healthy plant models, to test tube experiments using isolated cells, cell cultures or enzymes.
Featured articles include one on the basophil degranulation test, a test tube model of allergy, developed by Jean Sainte Laudy. These results have now been confirmed in multi-centre and independent experiments. Other articles include systematic reviews of healthy and diseased plant models and experimental work on the effect of homeopathic arsenic on wheat seedlings. There are reviews of mouse and rat models of homeopathic responses and a review, including original results of animal models of homeopathic treatment of anxiety-like behaviours.
Other articles focus on the basic concept of homeopathy 'like cures like': in a series of cell-culture experiments Fred Wiegant's team at the University of Utrecht demonstrated the importance of similarity. Christian Endler and his multinational team conclude that seven different biological models of high dilution response with positive results have been reproduced in multi-centre and/or independent experiments.
Editor-in-Chief Dr Peter Fisher commented: 'Throughout its 200 year history claims that homeopathy has 'real' (as opposed to placebo) effects have been hotly contested. Our special issue brings together a wide range of scientific work in biological systems, where there can be no placebo effect, showing that there are now several biological experiments which yield consistently positive results with homeopathic dilutions'.