Physicochemical Investigations of Homeopathic Preparations: A Systematic Review
05 February 2020 (online)
Objectives: The aim of our review program is to update and expand the current state of knowledge in the area of physicochemical properties of homeopathic preparations.
Methods: We identified relevant publications of sufficient reporting quality for further in-depth analysis. We reviewed all identified publications in terms of the individual experiments they describe. We extracted information regarding methodological criteria such as blinding, randomisation, statistics, controls, sample preparation, and replications, as well as regarding experimental design and measurement methods applied. Scores were developed to identify experimental techniques with most reliable outcomes.
Results: We identified 134 publications of sufficient reporting quality to be analysed in detail. These publications described 203 experiments. Less than 25% used blinding and/or randomisation, and about one third used adequate controls to identify specific effects of homeopathic preparations. The most promising techniques used so far are NMR relaxation, spectroscopy and electrical impedance measurements. In these three areas, several sets of replicated high-quality experiments provide evidence for specific physicochemical properties of homeopathic preparations.
Conclusions: For future experiments, we generally recommend using succussed controls, or comparing different homeopathic preparations with each other to reliably identify any specific physicochemical properties. Further in-depth analysis of the experiments is necessary to explore different hypotheses regarding a possible mode of action of potentised remedies.
Keywords: Systematic review, homeopathy, physics