The alternative medical system of homeopathy was developed in Germany at the end of the 18th century. Supporters of homeopathy point to two unconventional theories: “like cures like”—the notion that a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people; and “law of minimum dose”—the notion that the lower the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness. Homeopathic remedies generally involve pills or elixirs containing an active ingredient, usually a plant or mineral substance.
Effectiveness Not Established
Pilkington, K., Kirkwood, G., Rampes, H., Fisher P., & Richardson, J. (2006). Homeopathy for anxiety and anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the research. Homeopathy, 95, 151–162.doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2006.05.005
Systematic review: Homeopathy for anxiety and anxiety disorders
A comprehensive search of major biomedical databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library, as well as specialist complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) databases AMED, CISCOM, and Hom-Inform, was conducted.
Only eight randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were identified. The types of anxiety studied were test anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, and anxiety related to medical or physical conditions, such as cancer or surgical procedures. Single case reports/studies were the most frequent study type, but others also were found. Three of the uncontrolled case studies were on patients with cancer with anxiety, which were referred to U.K. homeopathic hospital. The interventions were individualized homeopathy. All three used the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale as one measure, as well as others.
The sample sizes of the three case studies were 50, 100, and 45.
A comprehensive search demonstrated that there is limited evidence on the benefit of homeopathy in anxiety. The results were contradictory. Some patients’ anxiety improved, while others experienced worsening of symptoms and reappearance of old symptoms.
The reviewers felt it was difficult to assess the extent to which any response could be attributed to homeopathy.
- The RCTs measured different types of anxiety and reported contradictory results, were underpowered, or lacked methodology details.
- The three studies involving patients with cancer were not controlled or randomized, and they utilized consecutive patients.