Physicochemical Investigations of Homeopathic Preparations: A Systematic Review and Bibliometric Analysis

Alexander Tournier, PhD,1,2 Sabine D. Klein, PhD,1 Sandra Wu ̈rtenberger, MSc,3 Ursula Wolf, MD,1 and Stephan Baumgartner, PhD1,4,5 

Abstract 

Objectives: In Part 1 of the review of physicochemical research performed on homeopathic preparations the authors identified relevant publications of sufficient reporting quality for further in-depth analysis. In this article, the authors analyze these publications to identify any empirical evidence for specific physicochemical properties of homeopathic preparations and to identify most promising experimental techniques for future studies. 

Methods: After an update of the literature search up to 2018, the authors analyzed all publications in terms of individual experiments. They extracted information regarding methodological criteria such as blinding, randomization, statistics, controls, sample preparation, and replications, as well as regarding experimental design and measurement methods applied. Scores were developed to identify experimental techniques with most reliable outcomes. 

Results: The publications analyzed described 203 experiments. Less than 25% used blinding and/or ran- domization, and about one third used adequate controls to identify specific effects of homeopathic preparations. The most promising techniques used so far are nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxation, optical spec- troscopy, and electrical impedance measurements. In these three areas, several sets of replicated high-quality experiments provide evidence for specific physicochemical properties of homeopathic preparations. 

Conclusions: The authors uncovered a number of promising experimental techniques that warrant replication to assess the reported physicochemical properties of homeopathic preparations compared with controls. They further discuss a range of experimental aspects that highlight the many factors that need to be taken into consideration when performing basic research into homeopathic potentization. For future experiments, the authors generally recommend using succussed (vigorously shaken) controls, or comparing different homeo- pathic preparations with each other to reliably identify any specific physicochemical properties. 

Keywords: physics, very high dilutions, serially diluted and agitated solutions, ultrahigh aqueous dilutions 

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