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Scientific Proof that Homeopathics WORK!!!
NEW SCIENTIST WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
No. 110, 10 November 2001
Bizarre chemical discovery gives Homeopathic Credence!!!
It is a chance discovery so unexpected it defies belief and
proves there is a scientific basis for the fact that homeopathic medicines really work.
A team in South Korea has discovered a whole new dimension to just about
the simplest chemical reaction in the book - what happens when you
dissolve a substance in water and then add more water.
Conventional wisdom says that the dissolved molecules simply spread
further and further apart as a solution is diluted. But two chemists have
found that some do the opposite: they clump together, first as clusters of
molecules, then as bigger aggregates of those clusters. Far from drifting
apart from their neighbors, they got closer together.
The discovery has stunned chemists, and could provide the first scientific
insight into how some homeopathic remedies work.
Homeopaths repeatedly dilute medications, the higher the dilution, the more potent
the remedy becomes.
Some dilute to "infinity" until no molecules of the remedy remain.
The water holds a memory, or "imprint" of the active ingredient
which is more potent than the ingredient itself.
Others use less dilute solutions - often diluting a remedy six-fold.
The Korean findings at last reconcile the potency of these less dilute
solutions with orthodox science.
German chemist Kurt Geckeler and his colleague Shashadhar Samal
stumbled on the effect while investigating fullerenes at their lab in the
Kwangju Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea. They found
that the football-shaped buckyball molecules kept forming untidy aggregates
in solution, and Geckler asked Samal to look for ways to control how these
What he discovered was a phenomenon new to chemistry. "When he diluted
the solution, the size of the fullerene particles increased," says
Geckeler. "It was completely counterintuitive," he says.
Further work showed it was no fluke. To make the otherwise insoluble
buckyball dissolve in water, the chemists had mixed it with a circular
sugar-like molecule called a cyclodextrin. When they did the same
experiments with just cyclodextrin molecules, they found they behaved the
same way. So did the organic molecule sodium guanosine monophosphate,
DNA and plain old sodium chloride.
Dilution typically made the molecules cluster into aggregates five to 10 times
as big as those in the original solutions. The growth was not linear, and it
depended on the concentration of the original.
"The history of the solution is important. The more dilute it starts, the
larger the aggregates," says Geckeler. Also, it only worked in polar
solvents like water, in which one end of the molecule has a pronounced
positive charge while the other end is negative.
But the findings provide a mechanism for showing how Homeopathic
medicines work - something that has defied scientific explanation till now.
Diluting a remedy increases the size of the particles to the point when
they become biologically active.
It also echoes the controversial claims of French immunologist Jacques
Benveniste. In 1988, Benveniste claimed in a Nature paper that a solution
that had once contained antibodies still activated human white blood cells.
Benveniste claimed the solution still worked because it contained ghostly
"imprints" in the water structure where the antibodies had been.
Chemist Jan Enberts of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands is
more cautious. "It's still a totally open question," he says. "To say the
phenomenon has biological significance is pure speculation." But he has no
doubt Samal and Geckeler have discovered something new. "It's surprising
and worrying," he says.
The two chemists were at pains to double-check their astonishing results.
Initially they had used the scattering of a laser to reveal the size and
distribution of the dissolved particles. To check, they used a scanning
electron microscope to photograph films of the solutions spread over slides.
This, too, showed that dissolved substances cluster together as dilution
"It proves Homeopathy, and it's congruent with what we think and is
very encouraging," says Peter Fisher, director of medical research at the
Royal London Homeopathic Hospital.
"The whole idea of high-dilution homeopathy hangs on the idea that water
has properties which are not understood," he says. "The fact that the new
effect happens with a variety of substances suggests it's the solvent that's
responsible. It's in line with what many homeopaths say, that you can only
make homeopathic medicines in polar solvents."
Geckeler and Samal are now anxious that other researchers follow up their
work. "We want people to repeat it," says Geckeler. "If it's confirmed it will
Journal reference: Chemical Communications (2001, p 2224)
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