Posted by: Chris Maloney | December 10, 2011

Arsenic Poisoning in Poor Countries: Supporting Wide-Spread Homeopathic Use.

Skin lesions from arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh

Image by waterdotorg via Flickr

While arsenic poisoning is an issue here in Maine, brought to light by a recent Kennebec Journal series, we have options.  A person with chronic arsenic can get filtration, and be treated with expensive, in-hospital chelation treatments.  But what do those millions do who use wells that have arsenic, but have no access to any conventional treatments?

In many parts of the world, this is the case.  Quietly researchers have been working on treating those areas with homeopathic arsenicum, which is extremely cheap to produce and can be used in an outpatient setting without clinical facilities.  In first animal and now human trials, they have documented controlled studies showing consistent benefit over simple placebo in both subjective and objective symptoms of arsenic poisoning.

Let us be clear.  It is not an argument whether these communities should choose homeopathic treatment over conventional treatment.  It is simply that no conventional treatment exists in these areas.

In the same way that we support wide-spread public health projects for sanitation and hygiene, we need to support the wide-spread dissemination of homeopathic treatments for these communities.

The only resistance to life-saving treatment in these communities comes from a vocal group of skeptics who claim, despite any evidence to the contrary, that homeopathics have no evidence of active function.  At some point the rest of the scientific community will realize these self-proclaimed authorities have the same logical basis for their complaints as those who argued against hand-washing.  If no other treatment exists, and the available treatment shows some benefit, then arguments that the treatment “can’t work” and “is a waste of time and money” need to take a back burner to actually helping very sick people get better.

If not now, then when?  How many must die before we move forward on simple, life saving measures?

Here’s the data on human and animal trials for arsenicum album for chronic arsenic poisoning.  Several have free full texts back at medline for further reading.

Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2011 Jun;9(6):596-604.

An initial report on the efficacy of a millesimal potency Arsenicum Album LM 0/3 in ameliorating arsenic toxicity in humans living in a high-risk arsenic village.

Khuda-Bukhsh AR, Banerjee A, Biswas SJ, Karmakar SR, Banerjee P, Pathak S, Guha B, Haque S, Das D, De A, Das D, Boujedaini N.

Source

Department of Zoology, Laboratory of Cytogenetics and Molecular Biology, University of Kalyani, Kalyani 741235, India. prof_arkb@yahoo.co.in

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Millions of people are at risk of groundwater arsenic contamination, and there is no known remedy that can effectively remove the symptoms of prolonged arsenic poisoning. A potentized homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album LM 0/3 (Ars Alb LM 0/3), is claimed in homeopathic literature to have the ability to treat symptoms similar to that of arsenic poisoning. OBJECTIVE: This study examines whether Ars Alb LM 0/3 could provide some degree of amelioration for the victims living in an arsenic-affected village where no arsenic-free drinking water is available. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS AND INTERVENTIONS: This study was carried out on volunteers living in an arsenic-affected village where no arsenic-free drinking water is available. Twenty-eight volunteers from the village of Dasdiya, in Haringhata block under Nadia District, West Bengal, India, an arsenic-contaminated village where wells contain 55 to 95 μg/L arsenic, were selected to undertake a double-blind and placebo-controlled trial. The subjects provided samples of blood and urine before and after 2 months of taking either “verum” or “placebo”. Another 18 subjects living in an arsenic-free village, served as the negative controls. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Samples of blood and urine from the subjects were assayed for arsenic content, according to various toxicity biomarkers and pathophysiological parameters. Results: Out of the original 28 subjects, only 14 subjects provided samples while the other 14 dropped out. There were elevated levels of arsenic in the blood and urine, alkaline and acid phosphatases, lipid peroxidation, and glutathione activities and increased blood glucose, triacylglycerol, cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol contents, whereas there were decreased levels of aspartate and alanine aminotransferases, gamma glutamyl transferase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase contents, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and packed cell volume in the subjects. After 2 months of homeopathic remedy administration, the verum-fed subjects showed positive modulations within these parameters with slight lowering of matrix metalloproteinase activity as compared with the placebo group. Conclusion: Ars Alb LM 0/3 shows potential for use in high-risk arsenic villages as an interim treatment for amelioration of arsenic toxicity until more extensive medical treatment and facilities can be provided to the numerous victims of arsenic poisoning.

PMID: 21669162

Sci Total Environ. 2007 Oct 1;384(1-3):141-50. Epub 2007 Jul 12.

Homeopathic remedy for arsenic toxicity?: Evidence-based findings from a randomized placebo-controlled double blind human trial.

Belon P, Banerjee A, Karmakar SR, Biswas SJ, Choudhury SC, Banerjee P, Das JK, Pathak S, Guha B, Paul S, Bhattacharjee N, Khuda-Bukhsh AR.

Source

Boiron Lab, 20 rue de la Libèration, Sainte-Foy-Lés-Lyon, France.

Abstract

Millions of people are at risk of groundwater arsenic contamination, but supply of arsenic-free drinking water is grossly inadequate. The present study was intended to examine if a potentized homeopathic remedy reportedly showing ameliorating potentials in people inhabiting high-risk arsenic-contaminated areas but drinking arsenic-free water, can also ameliorate arsenic toxicity in subjects living in high-risk arsenic-contaminated areas, and drinking arsenic-contaminated water. This pilot study was conducted on 20 males and 19 females of village Dasdiya (arsenic contaminated) who initially agreed to act as volunteers; but as many as 14, mostly placebo-fed subjects, later dropped out. 18 volunteers, 14 males and 4 females, from a distant village, Padumbasan (arsenic-free), served as negative controls. In a double blind placebo-controlled study, a potentized remedy of homeopathic Arsenicum Album-30 and its placebo (Succussed Alcohol-30) were given randomly to volunteers. Arsenic contents in urine and blood and several widely accepted toxicity biomarkers and pathological parameters in blood were analyzed before and after 2 months of administration of either verum or placebo. Elevated levels of ESR, creatinine and eosinophils and increased activities of AST, ALT, LPO and GGT were recorded in arsenic exposed subjects. Decreased levels of hemoglobin, PCV, neutrophil percentages, and GSH content and low G-6-PD activity were also observed in the arsenic exposed people. The administration of “verum” appeared to make positive modulations of these parameters, suggestive of its ameliorative potentials. Most of the subjects reported better appetite and improvement in general health, thereby indicating possibility of its use in remote arsenic-contaminated areas as an interim health support measure to a large population at risk.

PMID: 17628642

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2003 Oct 22;3:7.

Ameliorating effect of microdoses of a potentized homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album, on arsenic-induced toxicity in mice.

Mallick P, Mallick JC, Guha B, Khuda-Bukhsh AR.

Source

Department of Zoology, University of Kalyani, Kalyani-741235, WB, India. palash_mallick@yahoo.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Arsenic in groundwater and its accumulation in plants and animals have assumed a menacing proportion in a large part of West Bengal, India and adjoining areas of Bangladesh. Because of the tremendous magnitude of the problem, there seems to be no way to tackle the problem overnight. Efforts to provide arsenic free water to the millions of people living in these dreaded zones are being made, but are awfully inadequate. In our quest for finding out an easy, safe and affordable means to combat this problem, a homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album-30, appears to yield promising results in mice. The relative efficacies of two micro doses of this drug, namely, Arsenicum Album-30 and Arsenicum Album-200, in combating arsenic toxicity have been determined in the present study on the basis of some accepted biochemical protocols.

METHODS:

Mice were divided into different sets of control (both positive and negative) and treated series (As-intoxicated, As-intoxicated plus drug-fed). Alanine amino transferase (ALT) and aspartate amino transferase (AST) activities and reduced glutathione (GSH) level in liver and blood were analyzed in the different series of mice at six different fixation intervals.

RESULTS:

Both Arsenicum Album-30 and Arsenicum Album-200 ameliorated arsenic-induced toxicity to a considerable extent as compared to various controls.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results lend further support to our earlier views that microdoses of potentized Arsenicum Album are capable of combating arsenic intoxication in mice, and thus are strong candidates for possible use in human subjects in arsenic contaminated areas under medical supervision.

PMID: 14570596

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Responses

  1. Arsenicum Album 30C for arsenic toxicity: Evidence-based findings from a randomized placebo-controlled double blind human trial http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17628642

  2. […] Arsenicum Album for arsenic toxicity: Evidence-based findings 1 NEW […]

  3. Dear Dr. Malik,

    Thanks for the link up and the research! I thought you might like: https://alternativendhealth.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/croup-at-3-am-why-i-love-homeopathy-even-though-i-dont-believe-in-it/

    I think it gives something of the reality of homeopathic practice for parents and “blue-collar” homeopaths like myself.

  4. […] there is not chelation or even filtration as an option, arsenic sufferers can use homeopathics.  (here) In terms of toxicity, a good homeopathic prescribed by a doctor means the needs of chronic […]


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