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Homeopathic Arnica: an Overview of Systematic Reviews

What is this project about?

This project, co-funded by Homeopathy UK and HRI, aims to clarify the clinical research evidence for homeopathic preparations of Arnica montana. This study will provide patients, practitioners and stakeholders with clear, comprehensive and objective information on one of the most commonly used homeopathic medicines.

Using an Overview approach, the project will identify relevant systematic reviews (SRs) and categorise them according to quality using recognised assessment tools. Information on individual trials of homeopathic Arnica within the SRs will be extracted and synthesised according to sub-groups: different clinical conditions, whether Arnica was given as a single remedy or in combination, tested against placebo or other treatment, and whether the potency used was above or below 12C.

In this way the project will identify what has been said in the published research literature about the effectiveness of homeopathic Arnica; critically assess what evidence was used to form these conclusions and identify any concerns regarding how the conclusions were reached.

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The Overview method is a recognised approach for gathering detailed information about a large body of clinical evidence already contained in a number of SRs. Guidance on performing Overviews has recently been updated by Cochrane and involves quality assessment and data extraction for two levels of evidence: the SR and the individual trials contained within. To assess quality of the SRs included in this project the validated assessment tools AMSTAR-2 and ROBIS will be used which look specifically at methodological quality and risk of bias respectively.

The protocol for the project is available on PROSPERO and a log of activity is available on ResearchGate.

Researcher

Angelina Mosley, BSc(Hons) Cantab MSc PhD LCHE

Before working in the homeopathy sector, Dr Angelina Mosley attained her degree in Biological Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, specialising in cellular pathology. She then went on to attain her MSc in Virology and PhD in Viral Immunology from Imperial College London, followed by working as a Post Doctoral Research Associate for several years, publishing a number of papers in conventional journals. In 2011, Angelina graduated from the Centre for Homeopathic Education, London with a licentiate in homeopathy and quickly became involved in homeopathy research working as Research Consultant for the Society of Homeopaths, and then, since 2015, as Research Advisor & Project Co-ordinator for HRI.

Why is this project important?

Arnica is arguably one of the most commonly used homeopathic medicines, either over-the-counter or prescribed, yet the information available for practitioners and the public is unclear. The clinical trial evidence base is very mixed with Arnica being tested in a wide range of experimental and clinical conditions, which do not always reflect how Arnica is most commonly used.

Patients, clinicians, dentists and other stakeholders can only make informed choices about the use of medicines if they have good quality, robust information. This project aims to provide that clarity for homeopathy’s most ‘famous’ medicine. It is crucial that we learn from all the work that has already been done, looking objectively at the full body of evidence available, before we can make truly evidence-based decisions about which homeopathic medicines work and under what circumstances.

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