RESEARCH IN HOMOEOPATHY: PRESENT AND FUTURE PERSPECTIVE


Published in Homoeopathi Heritage, a publication from the house of B Jain publishers in June 2010 issue


Dr Archana Narang M.O. (T), Dr Saurav Arora (SRF), Dr Latika Nagpal (SRF)

Dr. B. R. Sur Homoeopathic Medical College, Hospital & Research Centre,

Nanak Pura, Moti Bagh, New Delhi 110021

shmc.thyroidclinic@gmail.com

Research is an endeavour to discover answers to intellectual and practical problems through the application of scientific method.

CITATIONS FROM THE ORGANON

  • Experimentation is for one of the two purposes, observation for induction, or verification of inductions. Experimentation is analysis, deduction, analytic deduction…….We observe by contrast.
  • “….not, however, to construct so called systems, by interweaving empty speculations and hypotheses….
  • “…..cease to deceive suffering mankind with mere talk, and begin now, instead, for once to act, that is, really to help and cure.”

ABSTRACT

Research is a necessity in the ever growing era of modern science and we are now more prone for criticism and authenticity. Research and science is nothing new to us, we have been rooted on these grounds since the “Apple” fall on “Newton’s head”. Hahnemann was one of the four epochal figures in the history of practice of medicine. His experiment with materialistic doses of cinchona bark is theroot of logical thinking. From Hahnemann’s era we have been scientific, logical and philosophical. We need upgradation in the field of homoeopathy to compete in today’s world and to make ourselves more strong, clear and confident. Many a times we are questioned about our principles and methods of practice. To answer all the queries, we must prepare ourselves so strong that our existence doesn’t go in vain. The hard work of our forefathers has brought us where we stand today. The need of hour is scientific research, and this doesn’t mean only test tubes and laboratories, but it is a step ahead of it. Research can be done in numerous ways. The right research depends upon our insight and aims. There is a researcher and a scientist in every one of us, the need is to bring it to the front and think logically, the same way our master taught us. This article will try to touch the latest research methodologies in Homoeopathy, keeping in mind the basis of our philosophy.

INTRODUCTION

A basic research process can be defined as, “An inquiry process that has clearly defined parameters and involves discovery and creation of knowledge for testing, building, revision, confirmation, refutation of knowledge and theory by means of investigation of a problem for local decision making”. The first basic thing Hahnemann did to prove, there exists a science beyond the materials, was by means of experimentation and observation, observing it to the levels of criticism and analysing it to the depths of history. Research not only means noting down the observations and findings but to analyse them and to reach to a conclusionwhich is the landmark for future research.

OBJECTIVES OF RESEARCH

The purpose of research is to discover answers through the application of scientific procedures. Until and unless we are not clear about our objectives we cannot lead to a fruitful finding. The objectives can be:

  • To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insights into it – Exploratory or Formulative Research. This kind of research is key point to our trials regarding the action of remedies onto various systems in our body.
  • To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or a group – Descriptive Research, i.e., drug pictures, disease pictures, individualized case studies, research regarding group studies.
  • To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated with something else – Diagnostic Research, i.e., action of various remedies in specific conditions and vice versa.
  • To test a hypothesis of a causal relationship between variables – Hypothesis-Testing Research, i.e., clinical trials of (new or old) drugs on conditions which were not appeared drug proving but were benefitted in therapeutics, for example action of certain remedies on cancers.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD RESEARCH

A good research has some characteristics associated with it, without these it is nothing but a bundle of papers on table. The characteristics help us to learn the simple meaning of research methodologies. These characteristics also help us to understand the outcomes of such research; it is likewise applying a constitutional remedy to an individual. The purpose of the research should be clearly defined. The process which we are planning to adopt should be detailed. Once we have decided upon the area we want to work research protocol should be thoroughly made and planned. To make the protocol scientific and unbiased high ethical standards should be applied. If any limitations to the study are present they should be clearly defined and accepted. Once data is collected its proper analysis should be done by an expert, such as bio statistician. Logic is to be applied to every possible test to validate the data collected and conclusions reached. The outcomes of research should be presented with rationale and truthfulness and once the analysis is properly done the justified conclusions should be drawn from it and should be published for other’s benefit.

So, the linear research process consists of:

TYPES OF RESEARCH

There are numerous ways by which we can do research activities. The type of research depends upon our aim. There can be a mixed type of research on one topic also. The common types are:-

·         Descriptive: as in description of drugs and their Symptomatology.

·         Analytical: as in analysing already proved drugs for new spheres of actions.

·         Conceptual: as in making new treatment concepts in different diseases.

·         Empirical: research based on experience or observations.

·         Quantitative: as in drug standardization.

·         Qualitative: as in action of different potencies in different conditions.

·         Applied: as in application of remedies in specific conditions.

·         Fundamental: as in clinical proving, clinical verifications and collaborative research.

·         Diagnostic: as in action of various remedies in specific conditions and vice versa.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY IN HOMOEOPATHY

Following are the few areas worth discussing regarding research in Homoeopathy:

·         Drug standardization: Aphorism 122, “In these experiments – on which depends the exactitude of the whole medical art, and the weal of all future generations of mankind – no other medicines should be employed except such as are perfectly well known, and of whose purity, genuineness and energy we are thoroughly assured.” This drug standardization is conducted to ensure quality, genuiness, and authenticity of raw drugs and to evaluate the safety and efficacy of drugs. Physico chemical standardization studies include ash values, extractive values, colour reactions, physical constants of mother tinctures and thin layer chromatography (TLC) profiles of extracts and mother tinctures. Pharmacogonostic studies include morphology, anatomy, histochemistry, powder-microscopy and prelimiary chemical tests. Pharmacological tests include toxicity studies, antifertility activity, motor activity, hypoglycemic effects, Blood Pressure, CNS toxicity study etc.

  • Homoeopathic pathogenetic trials (HPTs): Human pathogenetic trials or commonly known as Drug Proving is the core activity we aim for. This goes in accordance with our philosophy and laws to know the effect of medicines on healthy human beings. Drug proving technique has been the same since the first time it was introduced by Hahnemann some 200 years ago. In the recent times the process and methodology of HPTs has improved greatly. The techniques have been unified to record and process the results of HPTs.
  • Clinical research: Clinical research is one of the major research activities in Homoeopathy in the past few years. The concept of “Evidence based medicine” is propagated through clinical research everywhere, and is welcomed everywhere. Councils, institutions, agencies, associations and physicians are now coming together in clinical research activities to promote Homoeopathy as “Evidence” based science. In the past few years many clinical research papers have been published in peer reviewed journals. The aim of the clinical research process is to gather scientific data at one place and to support & propagate Homoeopathy as evidence based science.
  • Clinical verification: To make clinical proving and research more authentic and scientific, clinical verifications are done at multicentric levels. This helps us to gain finer shades of remedies in terms of ethnicities, climates, populations etc.
  • Collaborative and fundamental research studies: Collaboration component of research is necessary to explore more on ground level. Collaborative studies are critically analysed and presented to larger masses of other fields. Further there are many areas where Homoeopathy is new as a science, thus collaborating with other institutes and individuals helps Homoeopathy to be rooted to those areas. This generates waves of new dimensions and horizons. Collaboration also provides us with the latest techniques and methods which otherwise are difficult to approach in day to day practice. Many of the research studies are done with renowned institutes like AIIMS, ICMR, BHU, INMAS etc.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Homoeopathy, the rational art of healing is based on scientific fundamental principles. As we all know that in today’s world research is an imparative part of any science, so for further development of homoeopathic practices and for the affirmation of the fundamental principles on which Homoeopathy is based, we have to focus on research oriented activities in our system of medicine. To strengthen the scientific base, improving Homoeopathic practice and verifying the clinical efficacy, research in Homoeopathy should be carried out and encouraged.

Research in Homoeopathy should aim at making Homoeopathy more effective and reliable in wider range of conditions. Research should improve the practice of Homoeopathy and at the same time evolve methods to make it easier to practice. We can achieve scientific credibility only by collecting clinical evidences for the efficacy of our drugs in various clinical conditions.

Sometimes it is very difficult for many of us to correlate scientific attitude with homoeopathy we are doing at our clinics and hospitals. Most of the time, we are afraid of the complexity of research, funding issues, absence of proper data collection, difficult access to published studies; online resources, and many more unaswered issues. Our aim towards research is very clear, to cure and benefit our patients, to become more scientific, to gather data, to grow stronger on philosophical and logical grounds.All practicing Homoeopaths can contribute to the progress of Homoeopathy by making data of their clinical experiences, by applying drugs on large number of cases and writing down the outcomes carefully. We can also identify the most reliable indications of each drug on which prescriptions can be made even while working at bedside in IPDs, OPDs or in our clinics. Every one of us can contribute to the data verification, repertory verification and proving the efficacy of drugs of our Materia Medica. Unbiased observation and data verification has been emphasised by, Hahnemann in aphorism 6 of Organon of Medicine, “The unprejudiced observer is well aware of the futility of transcendental speculations…..”

REFERENCES

1.      Organon of Medicine, Vth Edition.

2.      Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India. Good clinical practices for clinical research in India, 2006.

3.      Central council for research in Homoeopathy. Workshop on research methodology and standardization, 2006.

AOBUT THE AUTHORS

  • Dr Archana Narang (MD) is Medical Officer (T) at NHMC and is currently working as Co-Investigator in a research project on Thyroid disorders by CCRH at INMAS (Ministry of defense) & SHMC (Govt of Delhi). The author has many papers published at National & International level to her credit.
  • Dr Saurav Arora and Dr Latika Nagpal are working as Senior Research Fellow at SHMC.in
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