Homeopathy 2004; 93(04): 179-185
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2004.07.006
Original Paper
Copyright ©The Faculty of Homeopathy 2004

Homeopathic proving symptoms: result of a local, non-local, or placebo process? A blinded, placebo-controlled pilot study

H Walach
1  Department of Evaluation Research in Complementary Medicine, Samueli Institute—European Office, Institute for Environmental Medicine and Hospital Epidemiology, University Hospital Freiburg, Germany
J Sherr
2  39 Wells Rd, Malvern, Worcester, UK
R Schneider
1  Department of Evaluation Research in Complementary Medicine, Samueli Institute—European Office, Institute for Environmental Medicine and Hospital Epidemiology, University Hospital Freiburg, Germany
R Shabi
3  Homoeopathy Department, Michlala Leminhal College, Tel Aviv, Israel
A Bond
4  North West College of Homoeopathy, Manchester, UK
G Rieberer
5  Quarzweg 9, Hamburg, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Received26 March 2004
revised10 June 2004

accepted07 July 2004

Publication Date:
27 December 2017 (online)

Background: Homeopathic pathogenetic trials (HPTs) (provings) are the pillar of homeopathy. Symptoms experienced by healthy volunteers are used to find the correct medicine for therapy. It is unclear whether these symptoms are specific or due to placebo noise. Furthermore, it is uncertain whether proving effects, if present at all, are due to a local or non-local process

Objectives: To develop a test model which allows for testing if homeopathic proving symptoms are caused by placebo or causative mechanisms, and if these symptoms are due to local or non-local processes.

Design: Randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study, with 1-week baseline and 2-weeks proving period.

Subjects: 11 healthy volunteers from two different homeopathic schools.

Proving substance: An homeopathic medicine (Cantharis 30c), blindly chosen from 12 potential medicines, compared to placebo.

Outcome measure: Number of symptoms typical for the medicine in the experimental and control group during baseline and proving period.

Results: During baseline there was no difference in the number of typical or atypical symptoms in either group. During the proving period, both more typical symptoms for Cantharis (P = 0.03) and more atypical symptoms (P = 0.02) were observed compared to baseline. Between-group differences were not significant. Effect sizes for the difference between the proving and control group for typical symptoms was d = 0.4, and for atypical symptoms d = 0.6.

Discussion: This proving model could be valuable in studying the validity of proving symptoms of homeopathic substances in healthy volunteers.

Conclusion: Homeopathic proving symptoms appear to be specific to the medicine and do not seem to be due to a local process. Since this was a pilot study using a small number of provers, rival hypotheses cannot be ruled out and the study needs replication.

  • References

  • 1 Walach H. Provings: the method and its future. Br Hom J 1994;83:129–131.
  • 2 Walach H. Proving methodology. Letter. Br Hom J 1996;85:123–125.
  • 3 Walach H. The pillar of homoeopathy: remedy provings in a scientific framework. Br Hom J 1997;86:219–224.
  • 4 Dantas F et al. Homoeopathic remedy provings. An International Review, in preparation.
  • 5 Weingärtner O. Über die wissenschaftliche Bearbeitbarkeit der Identifikation eines “arzneilichen Gehalts” von Hochpotenzen. Forsch Komplementärmed Klass Nat 2002;9:229–233.
  • 6 Berezin AA. Isotopical positional correlations as a possible model for benveniste experiments. Med Hypotheses 1990;31:43–45.
  • 7 Anagnostatos GS. Small water clusters (clathrates) in the homoeopathic preparation process, In: ed. Endler P C, Schulte J. (eds). Ultra High Dilution—Physiology and Physics. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1994; pp 121–128.
  • 8 Milgrom LR. Patient-practitioner-remedy (PPR) entanglement: a qualitative, non-local metaphor for homeopathy based on quantum theory. Homeopathy 2002;91:239–248.
  • 9 Milgrom LR. Patient-practitioner-remedy (PPR) entanglement. Part 3. Refining the quantum metaphor for homeopathy. Homeopathy 2003;92:152–156.
  • 10 Milgrom LR. Patient-practitioner-remedy (PPR) entanglement. Part 4. Towards classification and unification of the different quantum models for homeopathy. Homeopathy 2004;93:34-42.
  • 11 Milgrom LR. Patient-practitioner-remedy (PPR) entanglement. Part 7. A gyroscopic metaphor for the vital force and its use to illustrate some of the empirical laws of homeopathy. Forsch Komplementämed Klass Nat 2004, in press.
  • 12 Walach H. Entanglement model of homeopathy as an example of generalizsed entanglement predicted by weak quantum theory. Forsch Komplementärmed Klass Nat 2003;10:192–200.
  • 13 Walach H. Magic of signs: a non-local interpretation of homeopathy. Br Hom J 2000;89:127–140.
  • 14 Walach H. Does a highly diluted homoeopathic drug act as a placebo in healthy volunteers? experimental study of Belladonna C30. J Psychosom Res 1993;37:851–860.
  • 15 Walach H, Hieber S, Ernst-Hieber E. The effects of homeopathic belladonna 30CH in healthy volunteers—a randomized, double-blind experiment. J Psychosom Res 2001;50:155–160.
  • 16 Walach H, Hieber S, Ernst-Hieber E. Effects of Belladonna 12 CH and 30 CH in healthy volunteers. A multiple, single-case experiment in randomization design, In: Bastide M. (ed.). Sings and Images. Selected Papers from the 7th and 8th GIRI Meeting, Held in Montpellier, France, November 20–21, 1993, and Jersualem, Israel, December 10–11, 1994, GIRI-Yearbook. Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer, 1997;pp 215–226.
  • 17 Sherr J. The Dynamics and Methodology of Homoeopathic Provings. West Malvern: Dynamis Books, 1994.
  • 18 von Lucadou W. The model of pragmatic information (MPI). Eur J Parapsychol 1995;11:58–75.
  • 19 von Lucadou W. Kommentar zu Taylor, et al. (2000) in Journal club, Forsch Komplementärm Klass Nat 2001;8:43–46.