Arsenic is a common toxin found in groundwater throughout the world. In some areas, it’s a serious problem resulting in severe health problems for the native population. India and Bangladesh are particularly hard hit. Because of rampant industrialization, it’s unlikely that the problem will be reversed. People are doomed to drinking toxic arsenic-laden water with predictable health effects.
Groundwater arsenic (As) has affected millions of people globally distributed over 20 countries. In parts of West Bengal (India) and Bangladesh alone, over 100 million people are at risk, but supply of As-free water is grossly inadequate. Attempts to remove As by using orthodox medicines have mostly been unsuccessful. A potentized homeopathic remedy, Arsenicum Album-30, was administered to a group of As affected people and thereafter the As contents in their urine and blood were periodically determined. The activities of various toxicity marker enzymes and compounds in the blood, namely aspartate amino transferase, alanine amino transferase, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase, lipid peroxidation and reduced glutathione, were also periodically monitored up to 3 months. The results are highly encouraging and suggest that the drug can alleviate As poisoning in humans.
The medicine used in the study was diluted to the point where no atoms of the original substance are likely to exist in the final product. The authors acknowledge that the means of action is unknown. Nonetheless, if biological changes occur as a result of a homeopathic medicine’s application, it would be pure hubris to claim it didn’t happen simply because we don’t know the mechanism behind it.
In this trial, we monitored the changes in As concentrations in urine and blood and also the activities of several enzymes and toxicity biomarkers, viz., aspartate amino transferase (AST), alanine amino transferase (ALT), acid phosphatase (AcP), alkaline phosphatase (AlkP), lipid peroxidation (LPO) and reduced glutathione (GSH) after administration of the ultralow doses of the Arsenicum Album-30. Any increase in the concentration of As in the urine accompanied/followed by a decrease in the blood after drug treatment was viewed as resulting from the removal of As from the body. Similarly, any increased activity in the favorable biomarkers and decrease in enzymes indicating toxicity were taken as evidence of alleviation of As toxicity.
The study’s subjects were residents of a West Bengal area where arsenic poisoning from the water supply is severe. Two trials were done on two different groups from the same village:
Trial 1: The first trial was double-blind and placebo-controlled. The researchers had difficulty convincing villagers to take part for two reasons: Some simply didn’t believe that homeopathy could be effective and others were suspicious because they had not been given the promised results of a previous trial performed by a less than honest team who had promised both that their treatment would be effective and that they’d be informed of the results.
55 people were convinced to take part. 22 received placebo and 33 receivedArsenicum album 30C.For 11 days, the subjects received daily doses of 8 globules that had been soaked in either medicine or placebo. Urine samples were taken daily and analyzed for arsenic.
Trial 2: The second trial was done on a different group of 68 randomly selected people in the same village. The researchers had a different problem this time: Villagers refused to sign an informed consent form unless they’d be given the active homeopathic medicine rather than placebo. Therefore, all subjects received Arsenicum album 30C.
Subjects were given 2 doses a day of 8 globules of active substance for 10 days, and nothing for the next 15 days. The dosing schedule was repeated two more times, that is, 10 days of dosing twice a day followed by 15 days without treatment. After that, subjects were given twice daily doses for 7 days with a 15 day gap between dosing. Subjects gave both urine and blood samples.
These remarkable results demonstrate a simple and inexpensive method for detoxing the growing number people suffering from arsenic poisoning. There is need for further study to identify optimal potencies and dosing schedule. It’s also important to ascertain how much toxicity can be alleviated and whether different potencies or dosing schedules might be advisable to different levels of poisoning.