The Clinical and Biological Effects of Homeopathically Prepared Signaling Molecules: A Scoping Review

Background - Signaling molecules such as cytokines and interleukins are key mediators for the immune response in responding to internal or external stimuli. Homeopathically prepared signaling molecules have been used therapeutically for about five decades. However, these types of products are not available in many countries and their usage by homoeopaths is also infrequent. The aim of this scoping review is to map the available pre-clinical and clinical data related to the therapeutic use of homeopathically prepared signaling molecules. Methods - We conducted a scoping review of clinical and pre-clinical studies of therapeutically used signaling molecules that have been prepared in accordance with an officially recognized homeopathic pharmacopoeia. Articles in peer-reviewed journals reporting original clinical or pre-clinical research of homeopathically prepared signaling molecules such as interleukins, cytokines, antibodies, growth factors, neuropeptides and hormones, were eligible. Non-English language papers were excluded, unless we were able to obtain an English translation. An appraisal of eligible studies took place by rating the direction of the outcomes on a five-point scale. The quality of the papers was not systematically assessed. Results - Twenty-eight eligible papers, reporting findings for four different manufacturers’ products, were identified and reviewed. Seventeen papers reported pre-clinical studies, and 11 reported clinical studies (six experimental, five observational). A wide range of signaling molecules, as well as normal T-cell expressed specific nucleic acids, were used. A majority of the products (21 of 28) contained two or more signaling molecules. The most common clinical indications were psoriasis, vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory allergies, polycystic ovary syndrome, and herpes. The direction of the outcomes was positive in 26 papers and unclear in two papers. Conclusion - This scoping review found that there is a body of evidence on the use of homeopathically prepared signaling molecules. From a homeopathy perspective, these substances appear to have therapeutic potential. Further steps to explore this potential are warranted.

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