Research in Homoeopathy: The need for awakening.
Dr Sreevals G Menon MD
Homoeopathy seems to be at a very interesting and revolutionary phase in time. On one hand, the commercial viability
of Homoeopathy through clinic chains is on the rise and on the other, the system faces immense threats and sarcasm from
factions of the scientific and medical community. There are groups who prefer to stay non-believers in Homoeopathy and
ignore its potential as a therapeutic method, no matter whatever comes up in favour of Homoeopathy, from any angle
justifying its significance.
Today we find India positioned quite strategically on the world homoeopathic map with near half of the worlds’
happenings in our discipline focused in the country. Our teachers and doctors rise to international significance
and their messages, teachings, experience and views are carried worldwide. The most attended LIGA event in history
in December 2011 almost proved to the world, the role of India and how we have positioned ourselves globally in the
field of Homoeopathy. At the same time, one needs to ponder on significant and interesting issues.
Have we genuinely done enough apart from having hundreds of graduate and academic
institutions in Homoeopathy across the nation and being quite successful in having government patronage even from
Could we rightly instill the faith in Homoepathy to the graduates and postgraduates delivered out of such academic institutions
and engage a greater majority in the profession in various domains, be it medical practice (individual/institutionalized),
research and academics?
Could we engage ourselves with our healthcare counterparts from the conventional,
traditional and complementary streams effectively in integrated and inter-disciplinary research? Could we initiate any moves in this
direction which have huge research prospects?
Being a country pregnant with huge masses in various social orders and strata using
Homoeopathy in variable proportions, could we efficiently reflect the success of our discipline in many states at the grassroot level to various developing
countries out there and help them replicate the same there and help ease their challenges in healthcare for masses?
Could we convince & use the international health-related organizations in this direction.
Could we efficiently and effectively carry the message of genus epidemicus and
get it to the prophylaxis spectrum on the WHO map?
Could we appreciate and nurture offshoots and ramifications from classical Homoeopathic
approaches with right support from the state and help them emerge?
Could we engage ourselves in a renewed outlook on effective vaccination
well differentiated from vaccinosis that we are worried about, use of supplements and complementary medications along with
Homoeopathy instead of distancing ourselves from them as grossly unhomoeopathic?
How far have we travelled and reached in standardization challenges at our
various domains though we always knew it would be an absolute nightmare at many levels?
Have we rightly utilized and nurtured the significant findings from the
scientific community from apex technical institutes in India wherein they explored and was convinced by the presence
of nano-particles in our ultra-dilutions?
Have we enthused them on more related studies with right support and funding
from concerned government departments and engaged them on advanced research on similar streams?
On a larger perspective, we do assess and perceive a vacuum of deficiency within ourselves and our achievements
in the past six decades of development of Homoeopathy in our country. We have always developed one thing or the
other in terms of expansion, new institutions, promotions at the levels of state & centre, national rural health
mission etc. But there has been a considerable neglect in inspiring, supporting and the facilitation of greater
initiatives in research in various levels of application of Homoeopathy and the exposure of its outcome to the
healthcare scenario which would certainly have proved immensely beneficial in skyrocketing the system as a
national priority. The role of our central research institute and the multiple extra-mural research programmes
happening across the nation has helped to some extent but has had no larger significance with their outcome.
They have been unable to silence the critics or to gather attention on the results and how efficiently we would
imply the small and large healthcare delivery challenges our country faces on a day to day basis.
The pressing need of the hour is for greater initatives in Homoeopathic research. Medical research has always been a
frenzied focus across the globe and the methods well defined. What we need is to have the right variants adapting to
the Homoeopathic philosphy and to plan and design the most suitable research methods to prove the efficacy of our
discipline. Although the larger areas of significance are in clincial research, we also have a large scope in
non-clinical sectors like homoeopathic pharmacology, renewed methods of production, appreciaton of shelf life etc.
Therefore, the scope in every aspect of homoeopathic application is unlimited.
The results of the various initiatives like case-control studies, randomized controlled trials of diverse nature,
meta-analysis (if we could reach there) could all produce very viable credentials for Homooeopathy and its impact
on the healthcare challenges we face today as a developing nation. The booming upper & middle-middle class and the
fast transforming upper middle class has brought in new challenges such as lifestyle diseases into the spectrum.
Studies based on prognostic criterions and assessable indicators/markers in such diseases and the analyzed result
would be of a greater significance today.
Similarly studies on various approaches we have today in Homoeopathy as offshoots from classical homoeopathy may also be
significant if their fundamentals are different and provided they are done by unbiased bodies. They would certainly help
as inhouse studies comparing the impact of methods in terms of result. Interestingly, they all claim to be classical and
at the same time addressed as x, y & z approach in Homoeopathy. Quite evidently they seem to serve the same wine disguised
in different bottles and thus draw followers from among desperate and unsuccessful homoeopathic students and graduates who
thus become disciples of such schools and feed cases to their so-called masters who proclaim to be living Hahnemanns of
today. This is something that I have observed as a rising and unfortunate trend in Homoeopathy.
Lengthy videos of “before, during and after treatment”, loud testimonials at religious services and at gawdy conferences often
become a stage to host miraculously successful cases and the crowd is often kept in the dark about the thousands of cases
which they have failed in. No element of audited statistics often come into such events, which explicitly exposes their
motives to propagate themselves to greater advantage. Such schools in spite of making a fortune from students, doctors
and patients are seen distancing themselves from any research initiatives. This is shameful and extremely unfortunate.
However, the perception of the need of research has been well-highlighted recently at multiple International Homoepathic congresses.
I was fortunate to be a part of a few such congresses to speak on the need of initiatives on research in homoeopathy and presented a
paper on ‘Introduction to Research Methodology in Homoeopathy.” The HSA National Conference at Capetown, South Africa in May 2012
was such an event. More such international events in Barcelona are on the way in 2013, which would be focusing on Research in
Homoeopathy. This clearly indicates a greater vision and awareness emerging amongst homoeopaths across the world about the
present challenges in the homoeopathic scenario. We seem to have realized the key requirements and that we have to bite
bullets to prove the efficiency of our philosophy and approach to medicine to the scientific community out there. We have
to overcome the obstacles and challenges with more scientific data and audited statistics. This will explain our results
in key clinical challenges faced globally and our efficacy and viability as a much cheaper and alternative source of
medicine without side-effects.
When we delve into the intricacies of research methodology, the role of research idea is of utmost importance. It begins
from an uncertainty related to a health issue. The first challenge is to find an important one. It should transform into a
feasible and valid study plan. The research ideas at times, come from pure inspiration, which is very rare. They often emerge
from critical reading of published papers, a conference or a seminar, by observing patients, and also by speaking to other
researchers. The emergence of new technology bring in new questions. Very often a doubt raised from a colleague may also
inspire research. It is a fact that good research ideas come to a prepared mind and one with a skeptical attitude to prevailing beliefs.
Clinical research is either, descriptive, explorative or experimental.
Descriptive types explain the population and the problem. They often relate to case studies, natural history,
morphology and survey. The exploratory types find the relationships. Here we use the cohort studies and the
case-control studies. The experimental method explores into the cause and effect. They are done through randomised
controlled trials (RCT's) and meta-analysis and a lot more supreme on the evidence pyramid. The pyramid shows the
supremacy of the meta-analysis and all the components at the bottom. Though supreme, the possibility of errors in
meta-analysis is also quite possible as they are from various clusters of RCT's done at variable methods.
The research design or design architecture is the framework in which investigation is planned and carried out.
It is necessarily based on the type of the research question. They are guided by the subjects under study, methods
of investigations and the statistical principles. A very appropriate research design is a pre-requisite for a valid study.
The research question provides a clear focus for the study. It describes the variables in terms that can be measured.
It also specifies the population that can be studied. The research question therefore, needs to be novel, relevant,
measurable, feasible, ethical and one that carries a high impact.
In the history of research in Homoeopathy, the first to conduct the same was Dr. Samuel Hahnemann himself.
During the19th century the most prominet was Dr Kent and towards the 20th century it was Dr Boyd. From the 21st
century saw George Vithoulkas and Dr Dana Ulman as the prominent doctors into clinical research.
The prominent regions of CCRH(Central Council of Research in Homoeopathy) in India which has been of a
considerable importance since its inception are :-
Clinical Research (General Areas)
Clinical Research ( Tribal Areas)
Clinical Research in Epidemics
Drug Proving Research
Clinical Verification Research
Survey, Collection & Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
The role of the Indian Homoeopathic Medical Association (IHMA) in promoting, inspiring facilitating and providing
training on research methodology has been commendable in the past decade as a responsible national platform of
qualified homoeopaths. The IHRC,(Indian Homoeopathic Research Centre) the research initiative of IHMA, has
always spear-headed such initiatives and conducts multi-day workshops in research methodology, which includes
conduct of mock research events and has thus inspired many to be enthused to take up larger research projects.
Such events have happened in a few states and I am sure IHRC looks forward to opportunities and invitations to
conduct such events in every state in the future. Under IHRC Kerala, the studies on chikungunya fever epidemics
and the development of 'fever protocol' were great recent achievements. The latter was developed when the state
was through a bad fever crisis, and was based on large research initiatives which was exhaustively conducted by the organiation.
Homoeopaths of today need to surge ahead with immense inspiration and drive to take up clinical research alongside
their practice and put in effort to obtain support from government bodies and NGOs. They need to be convinced that
this discipline needs the same from them and it is indeed a crucial requirement in the light of the present day
biased intolerance shown against homoeopathy by factions of the scientific community well supported by conventional
medicine lobbies. The so called “bad days” of Homoeopathy, after being repeatedly challenged by such factions,
actually started from a total intolerance based on the considerable global surge of Homoeopathy as the fastest
growing alternative medicine across the globe.
Very deliberate attempts happened to shatter Homoeopathy through major medical journals like Lancet, by designing
research in a manner where the embedded logic of the design was purely that of conventional medicine, which was
entirely inapplicable for homoeopathy in any rational study. The fundamental philosophy of Homoeopathy if well
perceived, should have brought in an entirely different research design which would have reflected in the results,
therefore, proving the efficacy of Homoeopathy. As much as one cannot read French in English though the alphabets
used in French are those of English, one needs to remember that the fundamental logic of a discipline is crucial in
framing a design for research.
I therefore conclude with thanks to Bjain & Homoeopathic Heritage for this wonderful opportunity to share the need
for the awakening of research in Homoeopathy in current times. Let us be inspired to rise and shine, and take
forward our discipline. Let us bring Homoeopathy at par with the ideals of the scientific community across the
world and thus, add more glory to Homoeopathy and ourselves.
The views and opinions expressed by the authors of articles in miscellaneous section are not necessarily
those of the editors and publishers. The articles in this section are unedited. Author remains responsible for
the copyright, authenticity and content of the article.