Research is the process of systematic investigation of collecting and analyzing information of a subject, theory or event to establish facts, and to increase our understanding of the phenomenon under study. This research provides scientific information for the explanation of the nature and the properties of the world around us. Similarly, medical research is the basic research to aid and support our knowledge in the field of medicine.
Homeopathy is one of the most widespread and controversial forms of alternative medicines. The growing popularity of this system has created certain questions related to its working and efficacy. As per conventional science, atoms and molecules are the fundamental building blocks of all matter. Highly diluted homeopathic medicines do not contain molecules of their original substance, and skeptics do not believe that homeopathy can work. They report that the beneficial effects of homeopathy are due to mere placebo effect.
In the UK, a fresh debate started about the efficacy of homeopathic medicines, the UK’s Science and Technology Committee has given its report and they have different opinions about the homeopathic system. I feel this is the fate of homeopathy and since its establishment by Dr. Hahnemann it has been opposed by many and every time it proves that it works.
Now Opponents of this system have pointed out that homeopathy is not evidence based medicine. In the last 200 years of results in recovery, healing and cures it is not fake, bogus or placebo effects!
I would say that homeopathy is evidence-based medicine and the treatment decisions are purely individualized. If you follow the principles of homeopathy as laid down by Dr. Hahnemann, then you are practicing evidence based homeopathy. To make this system achieve today’s scientific acceptance, we need to have research studies and internationally accepted standards.
While detailing his ideas about ‘experimental design for clinical research in homeopathy’, Dr ML Dhawale wrote
“… we do not appear to be much wiser with the experience we have acquired over the years. Some salutary ‘RESEARCH’ is needed in this vital area …”
Researchers are working on ideas, and you might have read more related articles in this issue, but I believe in the coming years we should come forward with more research studies with regard to the following points:
Highly diluted homeopathic preparations:
More research studies are required to prove the content and activity of these ultra high dilutions.
Working of homeopathic remedies:
A scientific explanation is required in which the effects of homeopathic remedies can be explained.
Design of research protocols:
We need to design research methodology where we can keep the integral principle of homeopathy intact ie: individualisation.
Randomized controlled trials:
Many randomized controlled trials have provided evidence that the effects of homeopathic medicines differ from placebo. We need to have such research studies where the beneficial effects of homeopathy are reproducible over time and from one group to another..
Long-term effects of homeopathy:
We need to have research studies to know the long-term effects homeopathy in preventing chronic disease conditions.
Beyond these points, we need to concentrate on continuing professional development, quality education, validation of homeopathic pathogenic trials – drug proving, establishing peer-review homeopathic journals, etc.