In vitro research on high potencies 129the remedies reach calculatory dilutions beyondAvogadro’s number, implying a non-molecularaction of remedies with speciﬁc healing proper-ties. Research in this ﬁeld arranges around threecore problems
:(1) What are the therapeuticeffects of homeopathic remedies? (2) What are thespeciﬁc characteristics of potencies? (3) Throughwhat mechanism(s) do they inﬂuence the organism?Relating to (1) and (3),
research searchesfor effects of potentized remedies on molecularor cellular systems. Reducing complexity this wayallows a higher degree of standardization than clin-ical research, and may eventually provide modelsystems to reveal the mode of action of high dilu-tionsdevoidofpharmacologicallyactivemolecules.Previous reviews of the ﬁeld have been eitherdescriptions of individual experiments without sys-tematic evaluation
,investigations of only theindependence of replications
,or do not presentdetails and rationales of their scoring procedure.
Other restrictions had been set on publicationslanguage
or research area,
so that a bothbroad and systematic assessment with transparentcriteria does not exist. In this evaluation we there-fore systematically assessed the
researchon effects of high potencies of a stock preparationby using a score system. Additionally, we tried toidentify experimental models that provide repro-ducible results or promising approaches that shouldbe replicated.
Inclusion criteria and data sources
We searched for written publications of
investigations on high potencies.
wasdeﬁned as ‘concerning cellular or subcellular enti-ties in isolation from a living organism’. Thisincluded cells (also from cultures) or molecules,but not isolated organs. All systems had to beof human or animal origin. Pathological materialssuch as cancer cells or cells from allergic donatorswere accepted. Pretreatment before cell extrac-tion, such as intoxication or sensitization, wasallowed, but the application of homeopathic prepa-rations had to be
only. Tested remedies hadto include high potencies that imply a calculatorydilution of at least 10
C12). Rem-edy mixtures (‘complex remedies’) were allowed.No other restrictions were imposed; all publicationlanguages were included.References from the Basic Research Databaseof the Karl and Veronica Carstens-Foundation,D-Essen,
were collected until December2005 by searching for ‘hom¨oopathie+basicresearch+experimental+
’ in each of thefollowing ﬁelds: immunology, toxicology, phar-macology, neurology, biochemistry. Medline
wassearched for publications of the years 1966 untilDecember 2005 using MeSH and full text termsin various spellings. Searched was for ‘home-opathy’ combined with each of the followingterms: ‘
’; ‘cell culture’; ‘tissue culture’;‘cells, cultured’; ‘granulocyte’; ‘lymphocyte’;‘macrophage’; ‘neutrophil’; ‘basophil’; ‘enzyme’;‘biomolecule’; ‘immunocompetent’. Amed
(Alliedand Alternative Medicine) was searched from 1985to December 2005 using the same search as inMedline. Previous reviews,
and all obtainedpublications were screened for further references.In addition, we asked experts for information.
Fromtheidentiﬁedreferences,thosetooshortforasensible scoring were excluded, among them wereall abstracts. From publications that were mostlyor fully identical or obviously referring to identi-cal experiments only the most detailed descriptionwas included. One author (MB) extracted data andscoredtheexperimentsexcepthisownpaper
thatwas scored by another author (SB) who did notparticipate in this work, the data were discussedwith a second author (CMW). For each experimentthe following data were extracted: publication,objective, technique, ﬁndings, substance tested,control or comparison, and solvent of potentizing,together with additional information of inter-est. All identiﬁed publications were classiﬁed bysystem: non-cellular systems (enzymes), or cel-lular systems of the categories cultured cells,erythrocytes, basophile granulocytes, neutrophilegranulocytes, and lymphocytes/mononuclear cells(including experiments with both neutrophiles andlymphocytes).Strategies involved either cellular or cell-freesystems, the former from healthy or from patholog-ical donators. Indirect effects in which the potencymodiﬁed the action of a stimulus on the target sys-tem were set apart from direct effects where thehomeopathic preparation acted on the target sys-tem directly.Replications were recognized when they investi-gated the same experimental setup (cell, enzyme,stimulant, noxa,
. . .
) with the same homeopathicremedy in high (but not necessarily identical)potency. They were operationally deﬁned as ‘inde-pendent’ if the publication had a different ﬁrstauthor and less than half of their authors had pub-lished experiments with this model before.