Homeopathic medicine is a form of natural healing which supports the body's own innate healing mechanisms. The idea that homeopathic medicine treats the whole person makes common sense. But, the medical world revolves around scientific research. Is there any scientific evidence supporting the treatment of skin diseases with homeopathic medicine?
Yes! There has actually been a number of good clinical dermatological research studies published in the recent medical literature which support the successful treatment or prevention of diseases with skin manifestations with classical homeopathic medicine:
Bach Flower Essence Rescue Remedy is a natural homeopathic-like remedy which can be used for relief of emotional stress (anxiety). Yet, Rescue Remedy is not well-known among dermatologists. Since most skin conditions get worse with emotional stress (eg. acne pimples, eczema, psoriasis, & many others), it would seem reasonable to consider the use of Rescue Remedy as a helpful adjunct treatment to alleviate acute stress in dermatology patients with high anxiety states.
In a published, randomized, double-blind clinical study, Halberstein, DeSantis, et. al. studied the use of Bach Flower Essence Rescue Remedy to see whether it could reduce high levels of anxiety in student nurses. They studied 111 individuals: 53 received Rescue Remedy and 58 received placebo. The Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) was administered before and after the use of Rescue Remedy or placebo. The researchers found that the subjects in the high anxiety subgroup who received Rescue Remedy had a statistically significant improvement in their anxiety as compared to those who received placebo (p<.03). They concluded that rescue remedy may be effective in reducing high levels of situational anxiety. (Reference: Halberstein R, DeSantis I, et. al. Healing with Bach Flower Essences: Testing a Complementary Therapy. Complementary Health Practice Review. Vol. 12, No. 1, January, 2007: 3-14.)
Dr. Robert Signore' office performed a prospective case series of nine patients with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) who were treated with classic homeopathic medicine. The patients in this study had hyperhidrosis for at least 1 year to as long as 23 years prior to receiving homeopathic treatment. The patients' ages ranged from 17 years old to 71 years old. Five patients were male and four were female. Five of 9 patients (56%) had a positive family history of hyperhidrosis.
Dr. Signore's study showed that 6 out of 9 patients (67%) responded successfully to homeopathic treatment and achieved a meaningful improvement in their excessive sweating. Their hyperhidrosis generally began to improve within 3 to 4 weeks after beginning treatment. Additionally, all 6 out of 6 responders (100%) noticed improvement in other seemingly unrelated medical issues: anxiety, obsessive thoughts, premenstrual cramps, fatigue, eczema, & dietary fat intolerance. Three out of 9 hyperhidrosis patients (33%) did not achieve meaningful improvement. Two of the 3 non-responders had very mild baseline hyperhidrosis. Although their excessive perspiration did not respond, all 3 "non-responder" patients still noticed improvement of other medical issues during homeopathic treatment, including: foot odor, constipation, and menstrual cramps. This demonstrates one of the benefits of classical homeopathic medicine - it addresses and benefits the whole person, and not just a patient's chief complaint. The homeopathic medicines were safe, well-tolerated, easy to administer, pleasant tasting, and had high patient acceptability. (Reference: Signore RJ. Homeopathy Today. Summer, 2014: pages 18-23.) For a free pdf copy of Dr. Signore's hyperhidrosis article, visit on our webpage "New Patients Homeopathic" and scroll down to the bottom & click on the pdf icon.
In 2017, Dr. S. Shraddhamayananda published a case study of 210 patients with warts: 200 patients received homeopathic medicines by mouth (Natrum muriaticum, Thuja, or Dulcamara) and 10 control patients received placebo. In 88% of the patients treated with actual homeopathic medicines, the warts completely resolved within 3 months. Wart remission in the 10 control patients occured between 6 months and 2 years time. Statistical analysis was done with GraphPad software which showed highly significant differences in the times to wart resolution in favor of the homeopathically treated wart patients (P<0.0001). (Reference: Shraddhamayananda S (2017). Healing of Skin Warts with Ultradiluted Homeopathic Medicines - A Study in 200 Cases. Clinical Research in Dermatology: Open Access: 4(5):1-4.)
In a clinical study of 455 patients who were known to be allergic to poison ivy, Dr. Elmer R. Gross, MD found that oral administration of a stabilized and diluted homeopathic extract of poison ivy HELPED PREVENT further cases of itchy poison ivy dermatitis. This homeopathic medicine was given for six weeks prior to outdoor exposure to poison ivy, and then was given three times a week for the remainder of the summer. He found that 350 of the 455 patients (77%) either were free of poison ivy rashes or experienced milder poison ivy reactions at the end of poison ivy season after having taken this homeopathic remedy. I77 of the 455 patients studied were employees of Asplundh Tree Service, Inc. and were known to be regularly exposed to poison ivy through their occupation as tree service workers.
Dr. Gross even performed patch testing on at least two of patients in the study. His patch testing confirmed that they were indeed allergic to poison ivy before taking the homeopathic medicine. As he had predicted, both patients' patch tests (done after taking the homeopathic medicine) showed negative results, which indicated that the homeopathic medicine had worked to successfully prevent poison ivy reactions. Note, both patch tested patients were known to have been exposed to poison ivy through summertime activities such as camping and scouting during the summer when they participated in the study, yet they both remained free of poison ivy dermatitis which they had regularly suffered with prior to taking the homeopathic poison ivy preventative medicine. Only 2 of the 455 patients (0.4%) had adverse effects (1 had "nausea and GI discomfort" and one had "intolerance or GI side effect"). Thus, the homeopathic medicine was safe and well-tolerated. (Reference: Gross ER. Industrial Medicine & Surgery. 1958: 27 (March); 142-144.) For a free pdf copy of Dr. Gross' poison ivy prevention study, go to the bottom of our webpage titled "Poison Ivy Prevention" and click on the pdf icon.
In 2013, an open observational pilot study was published on the homeopathic medical treatment of VITILIGO. Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disease characterized by white spots with complete lack of pigment cells. The researchers evaluated 27 vitiligo patients who were treated with homeopathic medicines for 6 months. Efficacy was measured using a vitiligo area scoring index (VASI) score, vitiligo European Task Force (VETF) score, & dermatological life quality index (DLQI) score. They found that individualized homeopathic treatment was associated with SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT of the patients' VITILIGO as measured by their VASI, VETF, and DLQI scores. This pilot study is important because it suggests that homeopathic medicine can be a HELPFUL THERAPY FOR VITILIGO. Conventional medical treatment of vitiligo can be very difficult, expensive, frustrating, and time-consuming as it can take months or even years to treat. Therefore, a safe and inexpensive treatment for vitiligo such as homeopathy would be a welcome addition to modern dermatology. (Ganguly S, et al. International Journal of High Dilution Research. 2013: 12 (45): 168-177.)
In 2012, Shraddhamayananda and colleagues published a prospective case series of 200 VITILIGO patients treated with single homeopathic medicines. They studied Indian patients with FOCAL, SEGMENTAL, & GENERALIZED VITILIGO. One unique feature of this study was that the researchers performed pre-treatment & post-treatment skin biopsies which were stained using H & E and Mason Fontana stains to compare for the presence of melanocytes & melanin pigment. The researchers found that 190 out of 200 patients (95%) showed IMPROVEMENT in their vitiligo. 140 of 200 patients (70%) showed COMPLETE REPIGMENTATION of vitiligo with HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE treatment. Patients found the homeopathic treatment to be simple, inexpensive, and easy to take. None of the patients experienced any adverse effects. (
Shraddhamayananda S, et. al. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical & Clinical Research. 2012: 5(2); 33-35.)
In 2010, Nayak et al published a prospective multicenter observational study of 397 patients with acute furuncles (boils). The researchers used a furunculosis symptom score (FSS) system to assess patient outcomes. They found that treating furuncle patients with homeopathic medicines (rather than conventional antibiotics) resulted in a statistically significant difference in the FSS from baseline and end of treatment in favor of homeopathic medicine. This study reflects the potential usefulness of homeopathic medicine in the treatment of acute bacterial furuncles (boils). This study is important because it suggests the potential of homeopathic medicine as a useful therapy,
especially in this era of increasing bacterial resistance to conventional antibiotics. (Nayak C, et al. Homœopathic Links; Spring 2010; 23: 60-63.)
In a randomized, single-blind, placebo controlled trial, Mousavi, et al studied 100 patients with minor aphthous ulcers (canker sores). They were treated with either individualized homeopathic medicines or placebo. Patients received 2 doses 12 hours apart and were followed for up to 6 days. Pain intensity and ulcer size were recorded at the start, on day 4, and on day 6. Pain intensity and ulcer size was significantly improved in the homeopathically treated patients as compared to patients who received placebo (p < 0.05). No adverse effects were reported. The researchers concluded that homeopathic medicine is a safe and effective treatment for minor aphthous ulcers (canker sores). (Homeopathy. 2009:98;137-141.) Note: This is an important study, because no consistently effective conventional therapy is available for canker sores, which are frequently painful and troublesome.
In the study of eczema (dermatitis), there have been 6 clinical studies published. Rossi and colleagues studied 40 children with atopic dermatitis as part of an observational longitudinal study with an average follow-up period of 8 years. The Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital Outcome Score was used to evaluated the results that were classified on the basis of a Likert scale. The patients had begun homeopathic treatment of atopic dermatitis before the age of 5. 28 of the 40 patients (70%) had complete disappearance of atopic dermatitis. 12 of 40 (30%) were still affected by atopic dermatitis. The researchers suggested a positive therapeutic effect of homeopathic medicine in atopic children. Furthermore, the patients treated in this study with homeopathy seemed to show a reduced tendency to maintain atopic dermatitis and a reduced tendency to develop asthma and allergic rhinitis in adult age. (Rossi E, et al. Homeopathy. 2012: volume 101, pages 13-20.)
Eizayaga and Eizayaga evaluated 26 atopic dermatitis patients in a prospective observational study. They evaluated severity of eczema by Rajka and Langeland's score and a set of 4 Visual Analogue Scales evaluating eczema severity, itch, general and psychological well-being and quality of sleep. They found that the patients eczema showed significant improvement, both clinically and statistically. The researchers concluded that homeopathic medicine could be regarded as an effective choice for patients with atopic dermatitis. (Eizayaga JE, Eizayaga JI. Homeopathy. 2012: volume 101, pages 21-27.
Keil and colleaguesfrom the Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics in Berlin, Germany studied 118 children suffering from atopic eczema. 54 children were treated with homeopathic medicine and 64 children were treated with conventional dermatology drugs. Both groups were followed for a period of 12 months. Children in both groups had their eczema symptoms improve. Disease-related quality of life improved equally in both groups. However, improvement of eczema as observed by physicians was significantly greater in the homeopathic group (Complement Ther Med. 2008: Feb; 16(1): 15-21.)
In Japan, Itamura and Hosoya studied 17 patients with intractable atopicdermatitis. These patients had previously failed conventional dermatological drug therapy. They were then treated with individualized homeopathic medical therapy, in addition to conventional dermatology therapy. The study's follow-up period was 6 to 31 months. The efficacy of homeopathic medicine was measured by objective assessments of the skin condition and the patients' own assessments, using a 9 point scale. 1 patient cleared completely, 7 patients partially cleared (=80% better), and 9 patients partially cleared (=50% better). Importantly, 5 of 17 patients (29%) were able to stop the use of topical steroid ointments. (Itamura R, Hosoya R. Homeopathy. 2003: 92; 108-114.)
In an observational study, Witt and colleagues studied 225 children with atopiceczema. The children were treated with homeopathic medicine and were allowed to also use conventional dermatology drugs. They were followed for 24 months. The severity of eczema in these patients improved and the changes in severity assessment were of large effect size. Reductions in the use of conventional dermatology drugs were observed. (Witt CM, et.al.Acta Dermato Venereol. 2009: 89(2); 182-183.)
In 2011, Dr. Signore's office published a case series of 6 patients with atopiceczema and irritant contact eczema in the journal Cosmetic Dermatology (September, 2011: Volume 24, Number 9, pages 420-425. Available at: www.nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org/files/Signore.pdf). We found that homeopathic remedies were helpful in the treatment of eczema. We also found that irritant contact eczema responds more quickly to homeopathic remedies than atopic eczema. Two of the six patients also experienced improvement in other seemingly unrelated medical conditions, such as constipation, asthma, joint pain, and emotional issues including anxiety and guilt. Finally, homeopathic treatment of eczema was helpful in reducing the use of topical steroids.
In an in vivo animal study, Dos Santos et al evaluated the homeopathic remedy, RHUS TOXICODENDRON, They evaluated its effect against experimentally-induced inflammation. They found that homeopathic RHUS TOX was significantly more effective in inhibiting rat paw edema caused by carrageenanthan negative controls (P<0.05).
The researchers used a well-known experimental model involving prostaglandins and other inflammatory mediators. In this experiment, Dos Santos et alfound that Rhus tox 6C had similar effects to indomethicin, a powerful prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. This study is very important because it shows that homeopathic Rhus Tox has significant anti-inflammatory effects - this might be one reason why this remedy is often helpful in the treatment of herpes zoster (shingles), arthritis, and certain inflammatory skin eruptions. (Dos Santos, et al. Homeopathy. 2007:96;95-101.)
In 2007, Bracho and colleagues performed what probably represents the largest study of homeopathic prevention of an epidemic in modern medical history. They intervened in a dangerous Leptospirosis epidemic in Cuba. (Leptospirosis is an serious infectious disease caused by bacteria. It begins with a sudden onset fever and flu-like symptoms. Patients may get a maculopapular rash, hives, and hemorrhagic skin lesions, as well as conjunctivitis and jaundice. Leptospirosis patients can die from kidney failure, meningitis, and liver involvement.)
Bracho and colleagues gave preventative oral homeopathic medicine to over 2 million Cuban citizens (2,112,257 individuals) at high risk in a Leptospirosis epidemic in 2007. They found that there was a significant decrease in the incidence of Leptospirosis in the group which received preventative homeopathic medicine. In fact, the incidence of Leptospirosis actually fell below the historical average in the homeopathically treated group. No such decrease was seen in the untreated group. However, one criticism of this study is that there was no control group in the intervention cohort. Cases of Leptospirosis were confirmed by serum antibody detection at Cuba's National Surveillance Program for zoonotic diseases of the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba.
The researchers concluded that administration of homeopathic Leptospirosis prophylaxis was associated with a large reduction in the disease incidence and resulted in control of the Leptospirosis epidemic. If the results of this large study can be replicated by other researchers, then this would suggest that homeopathic medicine could be a feasible tool for control of epidemics, especially in developing countries which cannot manufacture enough preventative vaccines. Advantages would include low cost and quick manufacture time. (Bracho G, et al. Homeopathy: 2010; 99, 156-166.)
In a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind trial, Cavalcanti and colleagues studied the effect of homeopathic treatment on itching of hemodialysis patients. Kidney failure patients undergoing dialysis treatment often have severe itching, which is difficult to control. The researchers assessed the role of individualized homeopathic treatment in this situation. Itching was evaluated using a previously published scale. Patients were classified as responders if they had greater than 50% reduction of itching. 20 patients were analyzed. Reduction of itching was statistically significant at every point ofobservation (Homeopathy. 2003: 92, 177-181.)
Witt and colleagues published a prospective multicenter observational study of 82 psoriasis patients with 2 year follow-up. Patients were treated with homeopathic medicine and also allowed to use conventional drugs. The researchers found that the severity of psoriasis improved. Patients were able to reduce the amounts of conventional drugs used. The severity of co-morbid diseases improved and the quality of life also improved. The utilization of health services decreased markedly. (Witt CM, et.al. JEADV. 2009: 23; 538-543.)
Mousavi and colleagues studied the effectiveness of the homeopathic remedy, Ignatia 30C in the treatment of oral lichen planus, a painful inflammatory dermatological disease. In this single-blind randomized clinical trial, 30 consecutive patients with oral lichen planus were randomized into two groups: one group received homeopathic Ignatia and the other group received placebo. The patients were treated for 4 months. The results showed that the size of theoral sores decreased significantly in favor of the homeopathic Ignatia treatedpatients. Also, the average pain was significantly lower in the homeopathicIgnatia group. The researchers concluded homeopathic Ignatia has a beneficial effect in the treatment of oral lichen planus in selected patients. (Mousavi F, et.al. Homeopathy. 2009: 98, 40-44.)
Pommier, et.al. published a phase III single-blind randomized comparison trial of homeopathic calendula ointment versus trolamine ointment in the prevention ofacute radiation dermatitis in women undergoing post-operative radiation treatment for breast cancer. The researchers studied 254 patients. They found that the occurrence of acute radiation dermatitis (grade 2 or higher) wassignificantly lower. (J Clin Oncol. 2004: 1447-1453.)
In an animal model study, de Paula Coelho and colleagues evaluated the homeopathic remedy Dolichos pruriens in the treatment of heat-induced itching in laboratory rats. The researchers found that in this blinded study, homeopathic Dolichos pruriens significantly demonstrated therapeutic effects in the inhibition of itching. The homeopathic remedy had no adverse effects. It is possible that the homeopathic remedy Dolichos pruriens could potentially be useful in humans with generalized itching without an eruption (e.g. "itching of unknown origin"). (de Paula Coelho C, et.al.Homeopathy. 2006: 95(3); 136-143.)
Robert J. Signore, D.O., P.C. Dermatology 17730 S. Oak Park Avenue, Suite C Tinley Park, Illinois 60477 (708) 429-2992 Phone (708) 429-3699 FAX
If you have a medical emergency, or your condition worsens, go to an emergency room immediately, or call 911