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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 3, Issue 2, Pages 171-186
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nel016
Lecture Series

Immunology and Homeopathy. 3. Experimental Studies on Animal Models

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

Received 5 December 2005; Accepted 16 March 2006

Copyright © 2006 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

A search of the literature and the experiments carried out by the authors of this review show that there are a number of animal models where the effect of homeopathic dilutions or the principles of homeopathic medicine have been tested. The results relate to the immunostimulation by ultralow doses of antigens, the immunological models of the ‘simile’, the regulation of acute or chronic inflammatory processes and the use of homeopathic medicines in farming. The models utilized by different research groups are extremely etherogeneous and differ as the test medicines, the dilutions and the outcomes are concerned. Some experimental lines, particularly those utilizing mice models of immunomodulation and anti-inflammatory effects of homeopathic complex formulations, give support to a real effect of homeopathic high dilutions in animals, but often these data are of preliminary nature and have not been independently replicated. The evidence emerging from animal models is supporting the traditional ‘simile’ rule, according to which ultralow doses of compounds, that in high doses are pathogenic, may have paradoxically a protective or curative effect. Despite a few encouraging observational studies, the effectiveness of the homeopathic prevention or therapy of infections in veterinary medicine is not sufficiently supported by randomized and controlled trials.