Nanoparticle Model Of Iris Bell And Mary Koithan For Homeopathy- Skyscraper On A Flimsy Foundation

Iris Bell and Mary Koithan, belonging to  Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine, has proposed a new model for homeopathic remedy effects, based on concepts such as ‘low dose nanoparticles’, ‘allostatic cross-adaptation’, and ‘time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system’ in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 22 October 2012 issue. You can read this full article at:

Even though most homeopaths actually got nothing about it, being desperately looking for some or other SCIENTIFIC footing for homeopathy, have embraced this theory with enthusiasm, as they hope it will give homeopathy a respectable status of NANOTECHNOLOGY!

The foundation of the proposed MODEL is the assumption that potentized drugs “contain measurable source and silica nanoparticles heterogeneously dispersed in colloidal solution”. This assumption is based on the RESEARCH conducted earlier by a team of scientists from IIT – B, which claimed they could ‘detect’ traces of nanoparticles of ‘elements’ in potentized drugs. As such, the feasibility of this model primarily depends up on the authority of IIT-B work.

ABSTRACT OF ARTICLE is given below:

This paper proposes a novel model for homeopathic remedy action on living systems. Research indicates that homeopathic remedies (a) contain measurable source and silica nanoparticles heterogeneously dispersed in colloidal solution; (b) act by modulating biological function of the allostatic stress response network (c) evoke biphasic actions on living systems via organism-dependent adaptive and endogenously amplified effects; (d) improve systemic resilience.


The proposed active components of homeopathic remedies are nanoparticles of source substance in water-based colloidal solution, not bulk-form drugs. Nanoparticles have unique biological and physico-chemical properties, including increased catalytic reactivity, protein and DNA adsorption, bioavailability, dose-sparing, electromagnetic, and quantum effects different from bulk-form materials. Trituration and/or liquid succussions during classical remedy preparation create “top-down” nanostructures. Plants can biosynthesize remedy-templated silica nanostructures. Nanoparticles stimulate hormesis, a beneficial low-dose adaptive response. Homeopathic remedies prescribed in low doses spaced intermittently over time act as biological signals that stimulate the organism’s allostatic biological stress response network, evoking nonlinear modulatory, self-organizing change. Potential mechanisms include time-dependent sensitization (TDS), a type of adaptive plasticity/metaplasticity involving progressive amplification of host responses, which reverse direction and oscillate at physiological limits. To mobilize hormesis and TDS, the remedy must be appraised as a salient, but low level, novel threat, stressor, or homeostatic disruption for the whole organism. Silica nanoparticles adsorb remedy source and amplify effects. Properly-timed remedy dosing elicits disease-primed compensatory reversal in direction of maladaptive dynamics of the allostatic network, thus promoting resilience and recovery from disease.


Homeopathic remedies are proposed as source nanoparticles that mobilize hormesis and time-dependent sensitization via non-pharmacological effects on specific biological adaptive and amplification mechanisms. The nanoparticle nature of remedies would distinguish them from conventional bulk drugs in structure, morphology, and functional properties. Outcomes would depend upon the ability of the organism to respond to the remedy as a novel stressor or heterotypic biological threat, initiating reversals of cumulative, cross-adapted biological maladaptations underlying disease in the allostatic stress response network. Systemic resilience would improve. This model provides a foundation for theory-driven research on the role of nanomaterials in living systems, mechanisms of homeopathic remedy actions and translational uses in nanomedicine.

The MODEL proposed by the authors has TWO parts. First part explains what are the ACTIVE PRINCIPLES of potentized drugs: “Research indicates that homeopathic remedies contain measurable source and silica nanoparticles heterogeneously dispersed in colloidal solution”. Second part suggest a BIOLOGICAL MECHANISM by which these active principles act up on the organism: “Homeopathic remediesact by modulating biological function of the allostatic stress response network, evoke biphasic actions on living systems via organism-dependent adaptive and endogenously amplified effects, improve systemic resilience.”

Second part of this MODEL becomes relevant for a discussion only after first part is proved right.

It is made clear that the authors proposes a model for biological mechanism of homeopathic therapeutics, on the basis of the assumption that “homeopathic remedies contain measurable source and silica nanoparticles heterogeneously dispersed in colloidal solution”, as ‘indicated’ by ‘researches’. It is the foundation of this MODEL.

References given as authority for this assumption are:

1. Bhattacharyya SS, Mandal SK, Biswas R, Paul S, Pathak S, Boujedaini N, Belon P, Khuda-Bukhsh AR: In vitro studies demonstrate anticancer activity of an alkaloid of the plant Gelsemium sempervirens. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2008, 233(12):1591-1601. OpenURL

2. Chikramane PS, Suresh AK, Bellare JR, Kane SG: Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective. Homeopathy 2010, 99(4):231-242. OpenURL

3. Upadhyay RP, Nayak C: Homeopathy emerging as nanomedicine. International Journal of High Dilution Research 2011, 10(37):299-310. OpenURL

4. Ives JA, Moffett JR, Arun P, Lam D, Todorov TI, Brothers AB, Anick DJ, Centeno J, Namboodiri MA, Jonas WB: Enzyme stabilization by glass-derived silicates in glass-exposed aqueous solutions. Homeopathy 2010, 99(1):15-24. OpenURL

REF-1 has nothing to do with ‘nanoparticle’ theory. Study was regarding “anticancer activity of an alkaloid of the plant Gelsemium sempervirens”.

REF- 3 is an article based on the ‘research’ of IIT-B team, and only a repetition. It provides nothing new to support the propositions of authors.

REF- 4 is a ‘study’ on ‘enzyme stabilization by glass-derived silicates in glass-exposed aqueous solutions’ . It is not clear how it becomes relevant as a reference in present context. If they expected it to ‘prove’ ‘silicea’ theory, they will have to explain why IIT-B research did not detect presence of “silicea nanoparticles” in the samples they examined.

It is the REF-2 that matter here. It is a paper published by IIT-B scientists, the real ‘research’ that for the first time claims to have detected the presence of ‘nanoparticles’ in potentezed homeopathic drugs. But, if you read that paper carefully, they no where said  about “measurable source and silica nanoparticles heterogeneously dispersed in colloidal solution”, but only says they detected “traces of nanaoparticles of ‘metallic elements’ only, ‘floating in the upper layers’ of the solution”. “TRACES FLOATING IN UPPER LAYERS” is different from “measurable source and silica nanoparticles heterogeneously dispersed in colloidal solution”. IIT scientists do not make any reference detection of “SILICEA NANOPARTICLES”. They detected only ‘nanoparticles of metallic elements’, that too not as “heterogenously dispersed”, but as “traces floating in upper layers only”. Obviously, the reference provided does not corroborate the claims of present authors.

If SILICA nanoparticles, ‘heterogenously dispersed’ along with ‘source materials’ were the ACTIVE PRINCIPLES of homeopathic drugs, why IIT scientists could not detect any SILICEA nanoparticles in the samples they experimented? They only talks about ‘traces of nanoparticles of source elements’ only, ‘floating in top 1%layer”. Some body have to explain this point before building MODELS based on this nanoparticle theory.

Reports regarding IIT-B research says, “in a study done as part of project work of a ‘chemical engineering’ ‘student’ for his doctorate theses, they ‘bought some samples of medicated globules of homeopathic potencies of some ‘metal elements’  from neighboring shops’, and prepared ‘high dilutions from  these globules’. When examined under high resolution electron microscope, they could detect  ‘traces’ of ‘nanoparticles of metallic elements floating on the top 1% of the solution’. They also found that all potencies from 6c to 200cthey examined contain nanoparticles of same quantity and shape. They claim to have proved “all dilutions are only apparent and not real in terms of the concentrations of the starting raw materials.”

Can anybody with rational mind set make MODELS of homeopathic drug actions based on the findings of such a ‘research’?

JAYESH BELLARE, one of the authors of IIT study, said: “Our paper showed that certain highly diluted homeopathic remedies made from metals still contain measurable amounts of the starting material, even at extreme dilutions of 1 part in 10 raised to 400 (200C),’’ “The hypothesis is that nanobubbles form on the surface of the highly diluted mixtures and float to the surface, retaining the original potency.” “The hypothesis is that a nanoparticle-nanobubble rises to the surface of the diluted solution; it is this 1% of the top layer that is collected and further diluted. So, the concentration remains”. ” All dilutions are only apparent and not real in terms of the concentrations of the starting raw materials.”

Can you imagine why the IIT team conducted their experiments using only potencies of ‘elemental metals’? Could they detect any nanoparticles of ‘alkaloids’ or ‘hormones’ contained in  ‘parent drugs’ in any of the complex drug substances of vegetable or animal origin, other than potencies of  ‘elemental metals’ such as gold, copper and iron? What does it mean?

Only ‘elemental’ drugs and simple minerals can be expected to be converted into nanoparticles by process of trituration. Hence, nanoparticles of complex molecules of complex drugs can never be detected. No body can prepare nanoparticles of complex molecules such as atropine or strychnine by homeopathic potentization process. I think the IIT team was very clever to conduct their experiments with ‘metallic elements’ only.

Remember, ‘metallic elements’ are triturated before subjecting to the subsequent process of serial dilutionss and succussions. During this violent ‘rubbing’ of triturating, some metal ions may be converted into ‘nanoparticles’. If the higher potencies were not prepared exactly as prescribed, some of  these nanoparticles may remain in traces in ‘higher’ potencies. The IIT team actually may have detected these remnants of nanoparticles ‘floating’ in upper layers of solutions. This finding by no way proves that these nanopartcles are the real active principles of homeopathic high potency drugs. The presence of traces of nanoparticles in high potency solutions only shows that the samples they ‘bought from neighboring shops ‘were not perfectly potentized, or they may be contaminated.

Do you subscribe to their reported observation that only “top layer” is therapeutically effective, since it is only there the nano particles are ‘floating”? What will happen if we remove not only ‘top layers’, but whole upper half from a bottle of potentized medicines? Do you think the remaining part will not be effective therapeutically? If the ‘nano particles’ are only in ‘traces’, and they ‘float’ on top layers of liquid, it is obvious that these nano particles are not the real active principles of potentized drugs. In order to explain our every day experience that every single drop of drug is powerful, the whole drug should be uniformly saturated with this nanoparticles, and if  that were the case, we cannot say it is in trace amounts. Kindly think over.

Note their observation: “all of the nanoparticles levitate to the surface and are accommodated as a monolayer at the top”. If their reported hypothesis that “nanoparticle-nanobubble rises to the surface of the diluted solution, and it is this 1% of the top layer” that contains “nano particles” of element which is the active factors is accepted, how would you explain the everyday experiences of homeopaths that even the last drop of our medicines are equally powerful? Do homeopaths utilize only “only 1% of top layer” for therapeutic application in their daily practice? Do they throw away remaining parts of their stock? Is not this hypothesis at least in this aspect utterly meaning less?

Why can’t we examine IIT ‘research’  from another angle? The report says that the samples for study were products of some Indian manufacturers, purchased from ‘neighboring shops’. What if the samples were not actually potentized to the level labeled on them, so as to get rid of traces of drug particles? Do you think it is correct on the part of such a reputed research house to purchase samples from open market for conducting such a sensitive experiment? They should have first devised some way to ensure the quality and potency of samples.

IIT-B paper says: “Despite large differences in the degree of dilution from 6c to 200c, there were no major differences in the nature of the particles(shape and size) of the starting material and their absolute concentrations (in pg/ml).”

What does this observation show? If “from 6cto 200c, there were no major differences in the nature of the particles (shapeand size) of the starting material and their absolute concentrations”, it leadsto some serious doubts whether the samples used were really genuine. Ifdilutions were prepared in prescribed manner, 6c and 200c will never contain’same’ quantity and concentrations of starting material. This observation lacks logic. Over all, there are many gray areas in this study,which should be seriously considered by homeopaths.

We all know, ‘trace’ particles of ‘metal elements’ will be present in any sample of water we obtain from nature. They should have ensured that there is no ‘traces’ of ‘metal elements’ in control dilutions, before publishing this report. Instead of  ‘naturally occuring’ minerals, that may be present in any natural diluents, somebody should have conducted the study using potencies of complex drug substances, and verified whether ‘nanparticle theory’ hold good for them also, before making ‘models’ on the basis of such an assumption.

Only because somebody could detect the presence of some ’traces’ of ‘nanoparticles’ of original ‘metal elements’ floating on the surface of a ‘particular sample’ of homeopathic drug purchased from market, is it prudent to declare that these ‘traces’ are the active principles of homeopathic drugs, and that they have ‘shown the way homeopathy works’? This is a very hasty and unwise conclusion. One has to take into consideration a lot of other variables and factors before makingsuch a tall claims. What if that particular ‘sample’ was not properly potentized as per strict homeopathic guidelines? What if those drugs were not really ‘high’ potencies, as the labels indicated? What if those ‘traces’ of ‘elemental particles’ came from the water they used for making ‘dilutions’ from ‘medicated pills’  they purchased from ‘shop’? There are a lot of such possibilities.

Regarding the SILICA theory. Do the SILICA particles come from the ‘glass vials’, or from contamination of water or alcohol? What if the potentization was done using some polymer-based vials other than glass? Did anybody conduct such an experiment before proposing the SILICA theory? According to the MODEL proposed by the present authors, homeopathic drugs will be impotent in the absence of SILICA particles in them!

If all homeopathic drugs contain SILICA particles, and if they are part of ACTIVE principles of those drugs, what about our homeopathic SILICA? If all drugs contain SILICA nanoparticles, why should we make separate SILICA for homeopathic drug? Any homeopathic drug will act as SILICA, since they contain SILICA nanoparticles? If all homeopathic drugs contain SILICA nanoparticles, how can we claim our drugs are safe? We all know, SILICA can interact with biological molecules and produce molecular errors, which is evident from the symptomatology of SILICA recorded in our materia medica works!

Since the basic theory of NANOPARTICLES as the ACTIVE factors of potentized drugs is by itself untenable and implausible, a MODEL based on that ‘theory’ has no any value at all. Foundation itself is very flimsy, on which the authors are trying to erect a ‘skyscraper’. Propositions made by the authors that homeopathic drugs ACT by “modulating biological function of the allostatic stress response network”, “evoke biphasic actions on living systems via organism-dependent adaptive and endogenously amplified effects”  and “improve systemic resilience”, are not based on any RESEARCH or observations, but only imaginations and speculations of wildest creativity.


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