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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2 (2005), Issue 4, Pages 441-452
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/neh141
Lecture Series

Immunology and Homeopathy. 1. Historical Background

1Department of Scienze Morfologico-Biomediche, University of Verona, Piazza L.A. Scuro, 37134 Verona, Italy
2Department of Medicina e Sanità Pubblica, University of Verona, Piazza L.A. Scuro, 37134 Verona, Italy
3Association for Integrative Medicine ‘Giovanni Scolaro’, University of Verona, Piazza L.A. Scuro, 37134 Verona, Italy

Received 1 August 2005; Accepted 7 October 2005

Copyright © 2005 Paolo Bellavite et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Homeopathy was born as an experimental discipline, as can be seen from the enormous amount of homeopathic data collected over more than two centuries. However, the medical tradition of homeopathy has been separated from that of conventional science for a long time. Conventional scientific wisdom dictates that homeopathy should have no effect above placebo but experiments on ultra-high dilutions of solutes together with some clinical data suggest the intriguing possibility that it might do in some circumstances. Today, an osmotic process between disciplines, previously seen as in conflict, is facilitated because over the last few decades homeopathy has initiated the methods of current medical science and a substantial number of experimental studies—at molecular, cellular and clinical levels—are available. One area of dialogue and of common progress is that of inflammation and immunity, probably because these are closely related to the traditional ‘vital force’ of the body's self-healing power. In a series of papers we review the historical origins of homeopathy, the laboratory and animal models related to the field of immunopharmacology, the clinical evidence in favor and against the use of homeopathy in the inflammatory diseases and the hypotheses regarding its action mechanism(s). Finally, we will enlighten the specific characteristics of the homeopathic approach, which places great emphasis on identifying a cure for the whole organism.