David Riley MD
Can scientific research methods such as randomization, blinding, placebo controls, cross-over designs, play a role in helping establish an improved system for identifying the symptom picture in a homeopathic drug proving?
In 1996 the HMRG working group in the UK said: “Remedy provings are the most important source of drug pictures of the homoeopathic materia medica. They may be supplemented by toxicological data, and that from successful clinical experience, but they are essential for a full drug picture to be developed.
A continuing supply of high quality provings is essential for the continuance of homoeopathy…. Provings are needed to develop new remedies and to clarify and improve knowledge of existing ones”. Clinical research plays a role in the contemporary practice of homeopathy as well; and some today, particularly in the regulatory community (Kommission D and HPCUS) call for verification of the symptoms experienced in a homeopathic proving with additional clinical trials. Samuel Hahnemann conducted more than 100 homeopathic drug provings in the process of investigating “… the peculiar actions of medicines on the health of man
…” [§ 108 Organon, section 4, Hahnemann 1958]. He stressed the need for homeopathic drug provings on healthy subjects for achieving a clear homeopathic symptom picture. Is that still true?
The homeopathic drug provings that I have conducted are considered clinical trials.
They adhere to a protocol (visible on www.clinicaltrials.gov), are approved by an institutional review board, and utilize many conventional research methods. The protocol follows the Good Clinical practice (GCP) guidelines and is a – prospective, randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, cross-over clinical trial; cross-over group design were considered appropriate by Koenig et al, (1987) and Walach (1993). In the provings I have conducted, each symptom – new or changed – is recorded and becomes a potential component of the homeopathic symptom picture. The process by which the symptoms that occur in a homeopathic drug proving are included in the symptom picture of this proving substance use the standards published in Homeopathy (1996).