medicine has risen to new heights of controversy in the world of medical
science. Nature, a prestigious journal in the field of Bioscience, has taken the
unprecedented step of issuing a warning to readers to suspend judgment on one of
its printed research papers. The author and principal experimenter, Professor
Jacques Benveniste of the French Medical Research Council, has been subjected to
scorn, ridicule, and critical investigation of his experimental procedures
because the results he printed supported homoeopathic medicine. Paul Callinan,
one of Australia's few homoeopathic researchers, looks at the past and present
of this contentious medicine.
The rising profile of
homoeopathy has produced something of a dilemma in the world of medicine: does
it work or doesn't it? The decision bites deep: if homoeopathic medicine is
nothing but fraud, quackery, and placebo, as many of its opponents would
maintain, then a large number of competently trained homoeopaths and doctors,
together with countless thousands of dedicated lay practitioners have been led
up the medical garden path. Their millions of patients, including many heads of
state and prominent members of several of Europe's royal families, have fallen
victim to the most successful medical hoax ever perpetrated. On the other hand,
if homoeopathic medicine is effective, then for the first time in more than a
hundred years the Western world is on the verge of developing an entirely new
system of medicine. The medicines are non-toxic and easily manufactured; they
are also very cheap.
During the 170 years of
its existence, homoeopathy has been the centre of continual and often bitter
medical controversy. It has been particularly opposed by orthodox medicine,
otherwise known as allopathy. But recently, both research and patient support
has grown at a rapid pace. Yet rather than being hailed as a possible new
medical breakthrough to give better health for all, it has been ridiculed,
ignored and systematically suppressed.
Clearly, something is
wrong. The problem is that homoeopathic medicines can be diluted to such
extremes that it can be shown physically, chemically, and mathematically that
there is nothing in the final dose but water. Obviously then, the objection
goes, any medicinal effect is nothing but placebo, and the homoeopaths are both
frauds and charlatans.
Yet the origins of
homoeopathic medicine are both honorable and orthodox. It was developed in
Germany by the research of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1834), who as well as
being an experienced orthodox physician was also a competent chemist, a good
mineralogist and botanist, and an able translator of eight different languages.
His research stemmed from dissatisfaction with the standard medical practices of
his time: routine bleedings, heroic purgings with cathartics, and administration
of large doses of crude drugs. While translating Cullen's Materia Medica into
German, he was struck by a hitherto unexplored medical observation, first
mentioned by Hippocrates. Cullen had proposed that the notable success of
cinchona (an extract of quinine bark) in the treatment of swamp fever was due to
its value as a stomach tonic. Hahnemann disagreed, and in his research on the
question decided to take a course of the cinchona extract himself. To his
surprise, he developed a set of symptoms remarkably similar to those of the
swamp fever it was used to treat. All the symptoms disappeared when he stopped
taking it. Further administration to himself and his family always produced the
same symptoms, varying only in degree.
This was a strange
phenomenon, uncited in the medical literature of the day. A remedy which was
effective in a particular disease would produce a similar set of symptoms in a
healthy person, when given in sufficient doses. In searching for precedents for
this effect, he established that the first mention made of it was in the
writings of Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.), regarded by the orthodoxy as the father
of modern medicine. Hippocrates had said that likes can be cured by likes: that
vomiting may be stopped by being made to vomit, and any illness caused by one
means can be treated successfully by a similar means.
The Law of Similars
From this Hahnemann
produced the first axiom of homoeopathy: Similia Similibus Curentur - Let Likes
be Cured by Likes, otherwise known as the Law of Similars - and so began his
life's work. By 1821 he had produced two major works: The Organon of Rational
Medicine, embodying the principles of the homoeopathic approach to medicine, and
his Materia Medica Pura, covering the effects of sixty four medicines.
This approach to
medicine represents a dramatic move away from the established method. The
allopathic approach was of establishing the existence of a particular disease,
clarifying its symptoms, and then testing the effectiveness of various medicines
on it, by the use of opposites. An illness accompanied by fever and diarrhea,
for example, would call for the combined use of medicines which would be
anti-febrile and others which would normally constipate, and so in a crude way,
a total balance would be found by using a number of appropriate medicines
together. The homoeopaths tried the opposite approach: first test a substance
for medicinal use, they said, by giving it to healthy volunteers, and carefully
noting the symptoms it produces. This is known as a proving. Once the symptom
picture has been fully developed over a number of human trials, then it can be
assessed for usefulness against diseases with a similar set of symptoms. A
substance which produces a bizarre set of symptoms such as bright red orifices
and blue-green discharges, for example, will have little use in homoeopathic
clinical practice because symptoms of this type are rarely met. However a
substance which produces a runny nose, watery red eyes and repeated sneezing
would be of great value in the treatment of hay fever. The common onion produces
just those symptoms (as countless cooks can guarantee), and by use of the above
trial system the onion has now achieved an established place in homoeopathic
therapeutics. In essence, allopathic medicine embodies the law of opposites,
homoeopathic medicine the law of similars.
At first the
homoeopathic approach to medicine seems contradictory. Surely experience would
tell us that exposing hay fever sufferers to large doses of onion would just add
insult to injury, and make them worse rather than better. The homoeopaths would
agree, but with two provisos.
First the symptoms must
match closely before onion will have a therapeutic effect; this is embodied in
their Law of the Single Remedy, which states that the most effective result will
come from the most similar remedy given in single doses. Then after the initial
aggravation of symptoms dies down, the hay fever will be noticeably better.
Second, if the initial
doses of onion are sufficiently diluted, there will be very little aggravation
at all before improvement sets in. In fact, the homoeopaths see dilution to
infinitesimal degrees as a necessary part of the preparation of their medicines.
It is embodied in the other important axiom for treatment; the Law of the
Minimum Dose. This states that the most effective dose for a disorder is the
minimum amount necessary to produce a response. Give one dose only of the
diluted substance, the homoeopaths say, and then wait for a favorable reaction.
Having produced the desired improvement, give a second dose only when
It is this dilution of
homoeopathic medicines which has been the greatest obstacle to their more
universal acceptance. The process is known as potentisation, and involves a
sequence of progressive dilution and a rhythmic shaking, termed succussion. In
the normal case, 1 part of the source substance is added to 9 parts of water and
shaken rhythmically. This is known as a 1x (decimal) dilution, or 1 part in 10.
One part of this is then taken and added to another 9 parts of water, and again
succussed, to give a 2x dilution, or 1 part in 100. Similarly, a 3x dilution is
1 part in 1000. These dilutions, also known as potencies, can be repeated an
large number of times.
Dilutions are also
made on a centesimal scale, or 1 part in 100, yielding 1c, 2c, and so
on. It needs only a little mental arithmetic to appreciate that a
dilution procedure of this type (either decimal or centesimal) rapidly
disperses the original substance. Figure 1 gives a summary of the
potencies, and their corresponding dilutions.
Summary of the homoeopathic potencies
showing concentrations of the source drug.
The Avogadro Limit
In practice, a
convenient classification of the dilutions is usually used:
Low potencies: 1x to
30x, or 1c to 15c.
Medium potencies: 30c
High potencies: Above
Hence the low potencies
have been diluted least, and may still contain significant amounts of the source
drug. But at 12c or 24x what is known as the Avogadro limit is reached, and at
this concentration it is unlikely for even a single molecule of the original
drug to be still present in one liter of the preparation. Yet the Avogadro limit
occurs in the low potency range, and the homoeopaths maintain that, contrary to
expectations, the power of the medicine increases as the potency increases. So
there is very little doubt that many patients treated with high potencies
receive nothing but water.
toxicity of such medicines is obviously very low, their efficacy has
been seriously questioned, as dilutions above 12c can be dismissed on
pharmacological grounds as completely inert. Yet potencies in the medium
to high dilution range are the normal working area of homoeopathy, and
many striking cures have been claimed. The first and obvious response is
to claim that the action in successful cases is purely placebo, and the
medicine is useful only in the suggestible and the gullible. Not so,
maintain the homoeopaths, who claim cures on infants, animals,
unconscious patients, those with infectious diseases, and those with
deep seated chronic disorders. In addition, the clinical trials are
impressive. So the medical plot thickens.
The early homoeopaths
were all trained allopaths, and once having been convinced of the effectiveness
of homoeopathic medicines, felt no need to prove anything to anybody. After all,
they had the training to use whatever medicine they considered appropriate for
their patients. It was also expedient to make as little noise as possible about
their use of a medicine which was already regarded as suspect within their own
ranks. In any case, most of their research time was spent on provings, in order
to expand the number of known and useful medicines, and very little on clinical
As a result, it took an
event of considerable magnitude to bring the medicine out into the open, and the
European cholera epidemic of 1832, two years before Hahnemann's death, was just
such an occasion. By the accounts of all observers, the homoeopaths had a far
higher recovery rate than the allopaths, and it is recounted that in Paris, the
price of the homoeopathic medicine for cholera increased 100-fold. In Russia
(where it is said the epidemic originated), the report from the Consul General
showed that of the 1,270 cases treated homeopathically, 1,162 recovered, and
only 108 died, giving a mortality rate of less than 10 percent. By contrast, the
mortality rate from allopathic treatment was 60 to 70 percent.
homoeopathic success in the epidemic, medical interest in homoeopathy increased
at a rapid rate, and by the time of the next European cholera epidemic in 1854,
the London Homoeopathic Hospital was already established. Its facilities were
turned over entirely to the treatment of cholera victims, and the results were
impressive. The homoeopathic death rate was 16.4 percent, compared to the
allopathic death rate of 51.8 percent. Similar successful figures were
reluctantly reported by a number of other countries. Detailed returns for
Britain had to be made by all hospitals and practitioners as to treatment and
results in cholera, and the totals submitted by the British Medical Council in
their Blue Book of Statistics. However, the figures from the Homoeopathic
Hospital were deliberately omitted, and were only produced after considerable
protest. The official reason for the omission was that inclusion of the
homoeopathic figures "would give an unjustifiable sanction to an empirical
practice, alike opposed to the maintenance of truth and the progress of
This prejudiced and
bigoted reaction to the success of homoeopathic medicine is typical of the
problem which has plagued the advance of science for many centuries. Orthodox
medicine, in particular, is well known for its poor track record in meeting
innovative change and research breakthroughs with the proper degree of
scientific detachment and quiet encouragement. Even within their own ranks, some
of the greatest of innovators, such as Lister, Jenner, and Harvey, suffered
ridicule and professional ostracism over discoveries which later became
mainstays of medical practice. In reaction to homoeopathic successes, the modern
orthodox call has been for more clinical trials. Give us controlled trials, many
allopaths have said, and if successful, we will accept the medicine.
Since that time, a
number of clinical trials have been run, but many of them with poor controls.
Some of the better run trials are summarized here briefly. Those looking for a
more complete list could do no better than the excellent review of Scofield.
The best controlled of
the early clinical trials was conducted jointly in London and Glasgow during the
second world war, to find a method of prevention and treatment of mustard gas
burns. Mustard gas in the 30c potency, given as a preventative, reduced the
incidence of deep and medium burns significantly. The remedies Rhus tox and Kali
bich also gave statistically significant results in treatment.
More recent trials were
conducted in 1978 at the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital, now emerging as a
stronghold of homoeopathic research. Gibson and co-workers conducted a
double-blind comparison of a range of homoeopathic remedies (matched against the
individual symptom pictures), and compared the responses to those of salicylates
and placebo in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. They showed that the
patients who received homoeopathic remedies responded statistically better than
those who received salicylates; moreover 42 percent of the homoeopathic group
were able to discontinue all other treatment during the year.
Objections to the
method of trial led to a more rigidly designed trial in 1980, where patients
were given either a homoeopathic medicine or placebo, but were allowed to
continue with their orthodox anti-inflammatory drugs. The homoeopathic group
showed significant improvement as judged by a number of tests, as compared to
the patients who received placebo. It was noted that homoeopathy was a safer and
no less effective alternative to present day second line drugs in the treatment
of rheumatoid arthritis.
Hay Fever - The Crack
One of the most recent
clinical trials, and certainly the most tightly controlled to date, was
conducted in 1986 at the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital by Dr David Taylor
Reilly, an allopath by training. The claim that homoeopathic medicines are
placebo was tested in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The
effects of a homoeopathic preparation of mixed grass pollens (30c potency, no
molecules of the original pollen remaining) was compared with those of placebo
in a total of 144 patients with active hay fever. The homeopathically treated
patients showed a statistically significant reduction in symptoms as assessed by
both patient and physician. No evidence emerged to support the idea that placebo
action explains the clinical response to homoeopathic remedies.
The publishing of this
latter paper in the Lancet, arguably the most prestigious medical journal in the
world, indicated the depth of penetration of homoeopathic medicine into the
allopathic world. The controversy it produced indicated the degree of
crystallization of the collective allopathic brain. Here at last was proof
positive in the much upheld double-blind trial, yet the collective reaction was
less than positive. Although some of the more far-sighted of the correspondents
suggested the possibility that a new chemistry and a new physics had been born,
the reliance on pharmacology in the allopathic way of thinking showed its
dominance. Reactions to drugs are caused by molecules of drug substance
interacting with various body components, the thinking goes, and if there are no
drug molecules in a medicine then there is no reaction aside from placebo
effects. The experiment was simply testing one placebo against another. The fact
that statistical significance was obtained for one of the `placebos' was
apparently deemed of no consequence, and indicates that the issue may not be a
scientific issue at all, but more an economic and emotional one.
Logically, one of the
first areas to investigate for support (or the lack of it) in homoeopathy is the
area of pharmacology, or drug action. And contrary to expectations, some
surprising support is appearing.
Ask a pharmacologist
about the biological effect of very low concentrations of common substances on
living organisms and the answer will be that there is typically very little or
zero response. Ask for some theoretical backup, and in short order you will find
yourself confronted by one of the pharmacological tools of trade, the Dose -
Response Curve. In brief, the curve illustrates one of the rules of thumb in
drug use: that an increased dose of a drug will give an increased effect, while
a lowered dose of a drug will give a reduced effect, and a very low dose will
give no effect at all.
A glance at
the curve in Figure 3 will show that the pharmacologically
recommended dose of a drug lies in the area of the ED50, the dose
which produces 50% of the total or maximal effect. The homoeopathic
area of interest, on the other hand, lies at the very start of the
curve, in the area of the so-called threshold dose.
The area of the
threshold dose is usually avoided in standard pharmacological drug testing, for
two reasons. The first is that the threshold dose lies some distance from the
area of the ED50, so investigating this area for drug reaction is basically a
waste of time. But the other reason is far more interesting. The threshold dose
is an area where paradoxical and contradictory results are obtained, not easily
explained in conventional terms. Again, the easy answer is to simply avoid it in
experimentation. But the bottom line is that for many years the pharmacologists
have known of the strange results obtained in the threshold dose area, but have
simply chosen to ignore them. In doing so, they had unwittingly withdrawn
orthodox support for an entirely different field of medicine.
is interesting that one of the very earliest laws of pharmacology, known
as the Arndt - Schulz Law, had already expressed the homoeopathic
effect. Formulated by Arndt in 1888, and restated by Hueppe a few years
later, the law set the groundwork for what should have been a
side-by-side development of allopathic and homoeopathic medicine in the
following century. It states: For every substance, small doses
stimulate, moderate doses inhibit, large doses kill.
with its emphasis on moderate drug doses, works in the inhibitory part of the
scale. The result is seen in the typically inhibitory medicines produced:
antihistamines, antibiotics, antacids, cough suppressants and so on, laying the
basis for the so-called `suppressant' effect of drugs.
on the other hand, begins at the stimulatory end of the curve, and moves to the
left, into the smaller and smaller dose range. Its emphasis is on the
stimulation of the body's natural balancing mechanisms, as seen in its
philosophy of the natural regeneration of the body through rebuilding of
vitality, a concept also in close agreement with naturopathic thought.
The pioneering work of
Boyd bound the worlds of homoeopathy and Arndt-Schulz together in the early
1940s with a series of tightly controlled experiments, and set the stage for
work much later on as to how homoeopathic medicine may work. Boyd worked with
the enzyme malt diastase, which was already known to be inhibited by crude doses
of the salt mercuric chloride, and measured its speed in the hydrolysis of
starch. He also used a number of homeopathically prepared dilutions of mercuric
chloride, including a batch at 61x, where there was no likelihood of any of the
original salt remaining - it was pure water. He also worked with distilled water
as a control. He showed that crude doses of mercuric chloride inhibited diastase
activity, as was already well known, and that distilled water had no effect. But
he also showed, with statistically significant results, that mercuric chloride
61x accelerated diastase activity.
this experiment had a number of ramifications, besides supporting the
Arndt-Schulz Law. If there was no mercuric chloride in the 61x potency, the it
should have reacted the same as distilled water. If, on the other hand, there
was a contamination of mercuric chloride somehow in the test doses, then the
activity of the enzyme should have decreased. Instead it did neither, but
increased, from the laboratory point of view, homoeopathic medicines not only
had been showed to work according to the Arndt-Schulz Law, but had been shown to
affect enzyme action.
Hormesis: The New
Look up the
Arndt-Schulz Law in a modern textbook of pharmacology, and you will be lucky if
you find it mentioned, let alone discussed. It died out of the textbooks as the
allopathic interest moved further into the inhibitory part of the Arndt-Schulz
curve, and as the pharmacological Dose - Response curve avoided the area of the
threshold dose. It appeared that, for all its promising origins, theoretical
support for homoeopathy had died a natural death.
further support for homoeopathic medicine has come from a most unlikely
direction: the field of toxicology, or the action of poisons. Beginning in 1960,
data began to accumulate that poisonous substances were having two effects on
living organisms(5). At high doses they inhibited metabolism and ultimately caused
death, as was well known. But at low doses they exerted a stimulating effect, a
response totally unexpected and not explainable by current medical science.
Recently the trickle turned to a torrent, as toxicologists turned to examine the
new phenomenon of hormesis, the name given to the stimulatory effect of low
levels of usually poisonous substances. The Arndt-Schulz Law had not died:
it had simply resurfaced with a new name.
The research results
are incomplete, but the trend is inescapable. Evidence from experiments, both
human and animal, shows hormesis as an effect occurring in all biological
domains tested, with growing research support. It demonstrates that all
substances (including pesticides and carcinogens) which show an inhibitory
effect at high concentrations, have a stimulatory effect at low concentrations.
Concentration-Response Curves Developed in Hormesis Research
The alpha curve is the
most expected pattern, and is assumed to describe the actions of drugs in humans
as the concentration moves from low concentrations to progressively more
inhibitory ones. This curve is a tentative one, and is assigned to those drugs
which have not yet been fully tested for a stimulatory response.
The beta curve was the
most frequently observed pattern, and accounted for the human reactions to the
bulk of the drugs tested. It shows a typical curve as predicted by the
Arndt-Schulz Law, but (understandably) was not tested in toxic and lethal dose
The two other curves
the gamma and delta forms, were recorded where data was available for biological
response at lower dose ranges. However data points for these ranges are
generally less available, so the validity of these curves is unknown until
further data is available.
has consistently produced results showing the basic curve structure of hormesis
and the Arndt-Schulz Law. But the research goes further: as the drug substance
is progressively diluted, the biological reaction alternates between stimulation
and inhibition, as given by the hormesis gamma and delta curves. This periodic
behavior is called rhythmicity by the homoeopaths, and represents one of the
several great unexplained phenomena in homoeopathic action. But one factor is
established: as the dilutions become extreme and the concentration of the source
drug approaches zero, the biological reaction will also fade out unless the
diluted solution is succussed in accord with traditional homoeopathic practice.
A typical rhythmicity curve of the homoeopathic
remedy Prunus Spinosa
The implications of
hormesis are enormous and deserve a story of their own, but a few points here
may give future directions.
: Pesticides which are
toxic to pests at high concentrations can cause a proliferation of their growth
at lower concentrations, such as can occur in rainwater run-off and collecting
river systems. The ecological value of their use will tumble.
: Any substance which
causes cancer will likewise be shown to be anti-cancer in its action at a lower
: The present tactic of
various health departments in this country of giving a herb in high doses to
experimental animals (and then banning it in all dose ranges when tumors form)
will become counterproductive. Any herb which causes cancer in high doses will
be shown to protective against the same cancer in low dose ranges, suitable for
How Does Homoeopathy
Central to the issue of
medical acceptance of homoeopathy is the clarification of its mechanism of
action. In particular, is there a model which adequately explains its clinical
effectiveness and the successes of the trials?
In the development of a
workable model, the research thinking has gone something like this: Given that
the medicine is effective even when it can be shown that there is no likelihood
of any molecules left in a particular dose (due to dilution), then the effect of
the dose must lie with the water molecules themselves, since that is all that is
left. Water itself can be assumed to have no effect in this case, since the dose
is small, and the effect would always be the same. The answer must lie within
the water molecules, and the only real possibility is in the type of energy that
the molecule has stored.
Energy storage within
molecules in biological systems lies within the realm of biophysics rather than
biochemistry. Biophysics is a new field, having become established only within
the last twenty years or so. It is not yet included in medical curricula in
universities to any great extent, and is only now beginning to make its mark in
the biological sciences. Small wonder, therefore, that the established medical
world knows little of its existence, or the promise it holds in explaining the
action of the medicines of energy, such as homoeopathy, acupuncture, psychic and
spirit healing, and radionics.
Molecules such as water
can store energy in four different ways - kinetic, spin, vibration and
electronic excitation. Some storage modes can store more energy than others, and
we will start at the lowest, least energetic mode, which is kinetic energy, or
energy of motion. A molecule stores kinetic energy by virtue of its speed. It is
this storage in gases and liquids which causes pressure (such as air pressure)
by the continual collision of the molecules with surfaces like our skin, and
also causes the bulk of chemical reactions to occur. At room temperature, the
energy which these molecules contain is low, compared with other states. It is
unsuited to homoeopathic medicine since the energy is constantly altered by
collision, and so any energy stored is degraded.
Spin and Microwave
Spin energy is found in
gases and liquids, but not in solids, where the stronger attractions between
molecules prevents rotation. It is also not found in water until about 420C, a
factor of considerable importance to living organisms, composed as they are of
up to 90 percent water, with humans being about 40 percent. Heating up water to
about 42 degrees causes sufficient disruption of the molecular attraction
between molecules to allow spin to occur, and that's precisely the temperature
at which humans start to die. Life processes in general seem to keep a safe
distance from the temperature band of 42 to 45 degrees.
Spin energy in
molecules corresponds to microwave radiation, which is one reason why this
radiation is lethal. It is also an indication of the potential power of energy
storage in this mode - strong enough to cook food. But it is unsuited to
homoeopathic medicine, since at room temperature, the spin storage state in
water has not become active.
At the top end of the
scale is electronic excitation, which is the stuff powering lasers, of great
strength and intensity. Excite the electrons circling the component molecules up
into higher orbits and energy is stored. Drop them down together, and a pulse of
light is given out. It may be of sufficient strength and power to burn a hole
through a razor blade, cut tissue in surgery, or stop an army tank - it depends
on what molecules are used, and how strongly the electrons are excited. It is
not suitable for homoeopathic medicine, because the excited electrons are
unstable, and will decay in a matter of fractions of a second.
Standing midway between
the cooking power of microwave and the destructive power of lasers stands
vibratory energy. Although it has an accepted place in physics as a means of
storing energy, it has had a chequered career in medical science because of its
association with trance mediums, psychic phenomena and extrasensory perception.
Vibratory energy can be found in molecules throughout all three states of matter
- solid, liquid and gas. It is responsible for phenomena such as the expansion
of metals when heated, and the transfer of heat by conduction. Vibratory motion
of a molecule increases when the molecule absorbs energy, and can re-radiate it
at a later date, usually in the infrared part of the spectrum, where heat is
It is in the storage of
vibratory energy in water molecules during the succussion process that
homoeopathic medicine places many of its hopes for a scientific explanation of
its action. It is proposed that during the collision process, vibratory energy
is exchanged between the source drug and the water, and that the water is left
with a vibratory imprint of the drug. Further succussion makes the imprint
deeper, which explains why the medicines are regarded as acting more strongly as
the dilution increases. Furthermore it is not just energy which is being stored,
it is proposed, but information, differing from one remedy to another depending
on the source substance used, with every substance leaving a different vibratory
signature in the water molecule. In this way homoeopathic medicine is seen as
carrying information into the body when it is taken in dose form, perhaps as
If water molecules were
dissociated from each other at room temperature, any vibratory energy stored
would quickly degrade. But at 250C, about 70% of water molecules are
incorporated into a stable hexagonal lattice structure, capable of storing a
considerable amount of vibratory energy before it breaks up. But storage of
vibratory energy causes structural changes, because any molecule which absorb
energy will always change its shape. So a convenient way of telling if this
particular model was correct was to examine homoeopathic water for structural
A number of workers
over the years have shown that both high and low potency homoeopathic medicines
show structural changes in the water they contain. It was additionally shown
that in order for the structural changes to occur, two things must happen.
First, there must be a source drug to begin with; that is, you can't make a
homoeopathic medicine from water alone. Secondly, you must succuss the remedy as
it is diluted stepwise, in the rhythmic shaking manner used by the homoeopaths
for many years. Only when these two processes are included will structural
Certainly one of the
most visually impressive experiments to test the possibility of structural
changes was carried out recently, involving ice crystals. Ice crystal structures
are very good mirrors of the energy status of their component water molecules.
It is why, for instance, you will never find two identical snowflake patterns,
for each is formed under slightly different conditions. In the experiment,
different potencies of the homoeopathic remedy Pulsatilla were frozen at -100C,
and photographed under polarized light to show any changes in the ice crystal
structure. The results are strikingly beautiful, and the changes in crystal size
as the potencies increase indicate increased energy storage in vibratory modes.
Ice Crystal Photos Here
Benveniste - Champion
In one of the stranger
episodes in the recorded history of scientific publishing, the prestigious
British research journal Nature recently published experimental results which
the editors say they consider utterly impossible. The typically indigestible
title of the paper is "Human Basophil Degranulation Triggered by Very Dilute
Antiserum Against IgE, and the conclusions it proposes have been similarly
indigestible to the medical community. The main players in the experiment were a
special type of white blood cell known as a basophil and an antibody, IgE. When
basophils are normally exposed to this antibody, their chemistry and internal
structure change, in a way that is easily checked by staining techniques. But
what Benveniste and his colleagues found was that the changes occurred even when
the antibody was used up to the 120x potency, a dilution at which it is
virtually impossible for even one molecule of the antibody to remain. The
results also showed the familiar rhythmic changes in basophil reactions as the
potencies increased, a factor still unexplained, even by homoeopaths. The deputy
editor of Nature remarked that two centuries of observation and rational
thinking about biology will have to be abandoned if the results stand, because
they cannot be explained by existing physical laws.
The 13 member
international research team headed by Professor Benveniste conducted their
experiments after being challenged by two eminent French homoeopaths to disprove
homoeopathy once and for all, by conducting a sensitive, tightly controlled
experiment in an accredited research centre. The centre chosen was at the
University of South Paris, where Professor Benveniste is a Research Director.
"That was how it all started", he said. "They challenged us to prove them wrong,
and we couldn't."
The furor surrounding
this experiment has produced some unique reactions within the scientific
community, and highlights an important question: how should the scientific
establishment deal with anomalous findings which challenge the very roots of
established thought? Nature journal had its own answer: it sent a fraud squad
comprising one of its editors, a professional magician, and an investigator of
scientific frauds from the USA to Benveniste's laboratories. Over a period of a
week they criticized shortcomings in experimental design, studied the laboratory
records, and interrogated the researchers. Finally, they failed to replicate the
results in a double-blind trial, and declared the experiments "a delusion."
Benveniste, not unexpectedly, considered the investigation a witch hunt and an
outrage. "I welcome any explanation for our findings" he said, "but not this
kind of crap."
The homoeopaths of the
world, together with interested onlookers, can be assured that the matter will
not rest there. Further interesting reading on the bizarre reactions to
homoeopathic experiments on the part of the scientific and medical
establishments will surface. Benveniste will undoubtedly be back, with a more
tightly controlled experiment which will probably decide, once and for all, the
future of homoeopathy.
1. Bradford's Logic of
Figures (1900): From Tyler: Homoeopathic Drug Pictures: Health Science (1978)
2. Tyler: Homoeopathic
Drug Pictures: Health Science (1978)
Homoeopathy and its Potential Role in Agriculture: A critical review. Biol Ag
Hort: 2; 1-50 (1984)
4. Reilly et al: Is
Homoeopathy a Placebo Response? Lancet: 881-886; Oct 18 (1986)
5. Townsend and Luckey:
Hormoligosis in Pharmacology. JAMA 44; May 7 (1960)
6. Stebbings: Hormesis
- The Stimulation of Growth by Low Levels of Inhibitors. Sci Tot Environ: 22:
7. Bond et al:
Microdosimetric Concepts Applied to Hormesis. Health Physics: 52 (5); 659-661
8. Furst et al:
Hormetic Effects in Pharmacology. Ibid. 527-530.
9. Sagan: What is
Hormesis and Why Haven't We Heard of It Before? Ibid. 521-525.
10. Calabrese et al:
The Occurrence of Chemically Induced Hormesis. Ibid. 531-541.
11. Brisbin et al:
Sigmoid Growth and the Assessment of Hormesis. Ibid. 553-559.
12. Boyd: The Action of Microdoses of Mercuric Chloride on Malt Diastase. Brit Hom J; 31; 1-28 (1941)
and 32; 106-111 (1942)
Homoeopathic Science and Human Medicine. North Atlantic (1980)
14. Devenas, Benveniste
et al: Human Basophil Degranulation Triggered by Very Dilute Antiserum Against
IgE. Nature 33; P816 30 June (1988)
Theory of High Dilutions
Aspects by Rolland Conte, Henri Berliocchi, Yves Lasne and Gabriel Vernot. Translated and
Co-edited By DYNSOL Ltd. Copyright Polytechnica
A Summary By Paul Callinan M.Sc. N.D. D.Hom.
The French Team
2. The Contonian Model
The Physical Model
The Remanent Wave
Potencies exhibit phase
Effects not due to
The Axioms of the
3. Impact of
Environmental Factors On The Remanent Wave
The amount of energy
introduced by the succussion process
influences such as ultrasound
4. The Nuclear
5. Mechanism of the
Effect On The Organism
6. The Future
Since its inception in
1796 by the German physician and experimental pharmacologist Samuel Hahnemann,
homoeopathy has survived but is still a medical fringe discipline.
Hahnemann published his
Organon in 1810, one year before Avogadro presented his hypothesis that there
are 6.02 x 1023 molecules of a substance in 1 gram molecular weight. The
solutions used in homoeopathy are both diluted and succussed, and in this case
means that a substance has been diluted through a serial process in such a way
that the dilution of the original drug may approach Avogadro's number and even
exceed it. Since a one molar solution stepwise diluted to the 12c potency is
unlikely to contain even one molecule of solute, and a basic tenet of
homoeopathy is that solutions which have no active drug molecules can still have
effects on the human organism, homoeopathy has met with substantial opposition
Even 200 years after
Hahnemann's discoveries, homoeopathy still lacks a theoretical foundation.
Experimental studies on the nature of homoeopathic solutions have reported many
changes: there are reported alterations in the infrared spectrum, nuclear
magnetic resonance relaxation times, surface tension, dielectric constant, and a
handful of other parameters. Biological studies have shown marked changes in
enzyme speed, cardiac rate, muscle contraction and plant growth, to name but a
few. Clinical trials are showing consistently better results as experimental
design is improved. But experiments have been plagued by lack of
reproducibility, and data could not be consistently interpreted. A number of
models had been proposed to explain homoeopathic action, the most popular being
the water memory model, but all models have been fairly speculative.
The French Team
Enter Rolland Conte and
team from the field of economics. After many years of research in economics and
macroeconomic forecasting, the French researchers Conte, Berliocchi, and Andras
introduced in their book Nouvelle Economie Theorique a new mathematical theory
known as Ether theory, and a new statistical tool known as Contonian statistics.
At the beginning of
1993 the team of Conte, Berliocchi, Lasne and Vernot applied these same
mathematical techniques to the field of homoeopathy. They formulated a
mathematical representation of high dilution effects using quantum field theory.
In their book, Theory Of High Dilutions, they provide the results of their
measurements and the rationale for its interpretation. The theory is innovative,
high-tech, and breaks much new ground. The model they present may also explain,
after so long, how homoeopathic medicine works.
Rolland Conte is a PhD
in applied physics, with extensive experience in economics and macroeconomic
forecasting, and the inspirational force behind Contonian statistics. Henri
Berliocchi is a mathematician with a brilliant history, who provided the ether
theory and the physico-mathematical model. Yves Lasne is a doctor of medicine,
doctor of science, who provided the detection technology and research
methodology, based on measurement of nuclear magnetic resonance and beta
radiation. Gabriel Vernot is an engineer and computer scientist working in
aerospace applications, and who provided the dedicated AAPDI software.
As early as 1985 Lasne
had repeated earlier work showing evidence of changes in the infrared spectrum
of homoeopathic solutions, and had demonstrated significant variation of T2
relaxation times in nuclear magnetic resonance studies over a range of
centesimal dilutions. Lasne also reported evidence of radiation coming from the
test samples. Contonian statistical analysis of NMR results and á-radiation
began on a range of raw high dilution data. The analysis is run on dedicated
Ecosem software called AAPDI, which stands for Analyse Activite Pharmacologique
Analysis of infrared
and NMR data produced a number, known as a Contonian frequency, even from data
which at first glance was not reproducible or consistent with other
experimentation. The Contonian frequency for a remedy is reproducible, given
stable external variables. Every remedy has a unique Contonian frequency,
offering a likely measuring tool by which quality control and formulation
efficiency can be evaluated. In the history of homoeopathic manufacture, we have
never had such a measuring tool; and as they say in science, if you can't
measure it, it doesn't exist.
In essence, the French
team have proposed a model for homoeopathic action based on classical quantum
theory, a new mathematical theory, and a statistical tool for linking theory and
experimental data. They have produced experimental verification of their model
based on NMR work, and on beta-radiation measurements. The use of Contonian
statistics has led to quantifiable results.
2. The Contonian Model
physical frameworks are presented which use classical quantum theory and quantum
field theory. They require a strong background in physics and higher mathematics
to appreciate their insights. The researchers report that their physico-mathematical
model proposed is in accord with experimental results, and answers questions
raised by considerations of high dilution and water memory.
framework provides a theory for interpreting high dilution phenomena using
quantum mathematics. It involves set theory and probabilistic modeling, and uses
mathematical operators such as lagrangians in a way that would make your head
swim. It involves:
. The use of real
numbers as defined within the set theory known as the Zermelo-Frenkel theory.
. In handling classical
quantum theory, another axiom, known as the choice axiom, is used in addition to
the Zermelo-Frenkel theory.
. An additional axiom,
known as Solovay's axiom, is used.
. A model of real
numbers, known as Levy's model, is used jointly with Solovay's axiom and
consideration of the Brownian motion of water molecules to establish the water
. A general mechanism
for interpreting data, known as semiotic mechanics, has been introduced. This
mechanism had been previously validated by Berliocchi, one of the authors,
within his theory of ethers.
The Physical Model
Within the physical
model, a number of events have been proposed and measured.
The disappearance of
drug molecules during dilution leads to a dislocation in the solvent known as a
singularity. This singularity has been termed a white hole. It can be thought of
a small but highly energized area of space.
The remanent wave
The appearance of a
singularity induces a wave which has been termed a remanent wave. It can be
thought of as a set of ripples in a pond when a stone is dropped in. A remanent
wave is always created when a particle disappears and leaves a white hole, and
the number of remanent waves is proportional to the number of particles lost.
When one continues the release at the same place and in a regularly spaced way,
the waves produced are in phase and the amplitude increases. When no further
stones are released, the ripples disappear within a certain time, and the wave
energy is slowly released in the water as heat. This can be measured using
standard equipment such as infrared absorption spectrophotometers.
The appearance of a
white hole and a remanent wave induces nuclear reactions in the high dilution
medium. The creation of tritium, an isotope of hydrogen in water, results in the
subsequent decay of a tritium neutron into an electron, a proton and a particle
known as an anti-graviton which has no mass and no charge. Beta radiation can be
detected. There are changes in NMR and in the infrared. Beta radiation is
associated with electrons, while infrared is commonly known as heat. The energy
of a remanent wave of a diluted-succussed solutions is around 1 KeV. For a high
dilution of HNO3, measurement of the beta energy spectrum gives a frequency of
2.4 x 1017 Hz. This is a very high frequency, the wavelength range lying in a
band from 1.25 and 10 nanometres. By comparison, the period of vibration of the
helicoil nucleic acid chain of DNA is equal to 3.4 nanometres. This means that
the DNA can act as a transmitter-receiver antenna. In essence, nuclear
transformations in the test tube at room temperature are being proposed,
although the efficiency is low. This was reported many years ago by Kerveran,
another Frenchman, who wrote on biological transmutation within living
Above the Avogadro
limit, no more white holes are produced, but there is a continued stimulation
from succussion termed hyperproton expansion. Hyperprotons are seen as the
missing link between chemistry and biochemistry. They are considered as
particles that phase in and out of space-time. This is the basis of the
relativistic and quantum theory of fields, the current theory in physics
covering matter-energy interactions. The theory of hyperprotons uses the
so-called second quantisation theory of Dirac for a free material particle in
space-time: Dirac in 1933 proposed the emergence of a real electron from a sea
of virtual electrons, sometimes called the second quantisation. Hyperproton
expansion produces irradiation effects on surrounding matter, and reorganises
the solvent structure. Such a field has been measured, and is calculated by
renormalisation through the integral of Feynman. Hydrogen and oxygen lagrangians
on data measured at 300 Mhz in NMR studies indicate a re-organization of the
water structure. This provides evidence for the existence of a new quantum
state, whose nature has not been fully elucidated.
NMR studies show that
the impregnation of lactose granules with succussed preparations produces an
effective transfer but induces a phase displacement in the primary signal, the
extent of phase displacement depending on the nature of the source drug and the
potency. The general form of the phase displacement is a sinusoid. For sulphur
dilutions around 300c, the displacement is 1800 out of phase. By contrast,
histamine shows a very small phase displacement. Solutions which exhibit a 1800
phase displacement have an opposite effect on test systems (pea root length,
frog leg metamorphosis) compared with solutions 00 out of phase. Hence
stimulation of a test system at one dilution can be altered to inhibition at
Effects not due to
approach was developed which demonstrated that the effects obtained were not due
to the presence of contaminants in the diluent. The use of the contonian
frequency indicates that the specific activity of high dilutions are
reproducible within experimental error as long as external variables are
The Axioms Of The
As a result of these
findings, two axioms have been formulated:
process induces an effect which can be directly measured by physical and
message will be produced only if at least one substance exists in the diluent at
the start of the process.
3. Impact of
Environmental Factors On The Remanent Wave
calculations indicate that the specific activity of high dilutions is
reproducible at any time provided that external variables are controlled, such
. The amount of energy
introduced by the succussion process.
. Moon phases.
. Gravitational forces.
. Other external
influences such as ultrasound.
Some of these findings
come as no surprise, as they appear to validate some issues known to the
profession by experience.
. The sensitivity of
homoeopathic medicines to light and temperature is well accepted amongst the
. More surprising is
the sensitivity to factors such as the phases of the moon and changes in
geomagnetic flux. However it has been said by many homoeopaths that some
remedies are better given at particular phases of the moon.
. It has also been
suggested that homoeopathic medicines do not travel well because it involves
moving though the magnetic field of the earth.
. It is also worth
mentioning that the sensitivity of manufacture of high dilutions to changes in
geomagnetic flux and gravitational flux was predicted in the physical model by
the appearance of an anti-graviton during beta emission.
The need for a
consistent medicine to be manufactured in a machine where the succussion speed
and stroke length are optimized and consistent has led to the patented
development of a succussion device.
4. The Nuclear
As previously proposed,
white hole creation leads to an irradiation of diluted-succussed solutions due
to a neutron type field induced by the remanent wave. This irradiation will
create, on the one hand hydrogen isotopes deuterium (1 proton and 1 neutron) and
tritium (1 proton and 2 neutrons), or on the other hand oxygen O17. The
efficiency of this nuclear reaction is known to be low. With regard to tritium,
the neutron splits and releases 1 proton and 1 á- electron and an anti-graviton.
techniques have shown á-radiation emitted from granules impregnated with a
preparation of potassium iodide, with no radiation being detected from controls.
For dilutions up to 12c, beta radiation is expected to predominate, seeing that
the level of succussion is low.
In dilutions higher
than Avogadro, no more white holes are created. Neutron disintegration releases
energy into a medium which already has a high proton content. The protons are
then transformed into hyperprotons, which are considered as virtual particles
that can phase in and out of space-time. They may also appear within the
space-time singularities as nuclear protons. These hyperprotons will stabilize
one part of the diluent structure (a local effect) that will then be able to
influence the non structured part of the diluent.
5. Mechanism of the
Effect On The Organism
A quantum model called
Theory of Universal Wave Function has been proposed, to describe the effect of
high dilutions on living organisms. They have proposed that intoxication of an
organism by a toxic solution such as CCl4 induces a deviation from a state of
health as indicated by a vector, and a phase displacement. Treatment of the
organism with a high dilution of the correctly chosen remedy with a
counteracting phase displacement restores the organism to its original vector
and a healthy state.
To illustrate this
proposal, the effect of dilutions of thyroxin upon the metamorphosis of tadpoles
of the grass frog were studied. When added to the aqueous medium, diluted and
succussed thyroxin can inhibit or accelerate larval development of the forelegs,
depending on the dilution. On the basis of phase displacements, it is suggested
that when the thyroxin preparation is in phase with the larval organism, the
thyroxin acts as a booster for the transformation from the two legged to the
four legged stage. When the thyroxin preparation is not in phase with the larval
development, it inhibits metamorphosis. It was also noted that different effects
were produced in the organism, depending on whether the solutions were succussed
The specificity of
diluted-succussed solutions is remarkable, even if an enzyme system specific of
a given diluted-succussed solution has not been found. Interaction between two
remanent waves induces a generalized and fast action on the organism. When such
an interaction does not occur, the solution simply has no impact on the
organism. The specificity of the diluted-succussed solution takes place within
has been centered on the enzyme peroxidase, which is seen as decoding structures
introduced by the dilution-succussion process and inducing a proton flow within
the organism. This has substantial promise in the understanding of meridian flow
structure within the organism, as well as shedding light on the findings of
Boyd, nearly half a century ago, who showed that homoeopathic potencies altered
the speed of the enzyme diastase.
The processes of
elimination and heart beat within the human body are proposed to fulfill all the
requirements of white hole emergence. Remanent waves are seen as pervading the
whole organism in a normal state of health. Food denial or fasting for a short
period is considered to improve the observation of the remanent wave. As a
result, a person may be considered as having a remanent wave profile, a
situation offering great promise in therapeutics.
6. The Future
Dr Conte and team are
currently preparing a second book for publication. We can only plead for a
glossary of terms in the next book, and wait for the benefits it offers for the
future of homoeopathy and human medicine.
Paul Callinan M.Sc. N.D.
D.Hom. is an Australian homoeopath, biophysicist and researcher who specializes
in providing scientific support for natural medicines. He has proposed models
for the mechanism of homoeopathic medicine in the research literature and at
international seminars. He has written several books on homoeopathy, and is a
contributing editor of Australian Wellbeing magazine. He works as a lecturer in
homoeopathic medicine, and conducts a clinical practice in Bangalow, northern