Friday, December 11, 2009

Does homeopathic Argentum nitricum reduce anxiety?

Back on November 17th Madeline Innocent (who is a natural health consultant in Perth, Australia) wrote briefly at Ezine Articles about Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking with Ease. She claimed that:

“The homeopathic medicine Argentum nitricum, Arg nit for short, is a wonderful medicine to allay anticipation anxiety.”

That same day she also posted three other articles praising that homeopathic medicine: Anticipation Anxiety Treatment in One Easy Step, Performance Anxiety Can Be a Help or a Hindrance, and Holistic Anxiety Treatment is Most Likely to Be Permanent.

There are lots of other articles which recommend homeopathic Argentum nitricum. For example, R. Oliva’s eHow article on Homeopathic Treatment of Anxiety says that:

“Argentum nitricum is most effective when used before a big event such as an important test or a public speaking event.”

What is Argentum nitricum? It just is fancy terminology for a tiny bit of silver nitrate dissolved in a whole lot of water. Does it really work for reducing anxiety?

In 2006 Karen Pilkington and her colleagues published a long article (in Homeopathy magazine) called Homeopathy for Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders: A Systematic Review of the Research. You can read the abstract and conclusion here at PubMed. They found no clear and compelling evidence that homeopathy was effective for treating anxiety.

In the article they mention that there were two clinical trials for Argentum nitricum on test anxiety, which is one important type of anticipation anxiety. The first one, done in 1982 by Stanton, found that it helped reduce test anxiety. A second one in 2003 by Don Baker et al attempted to replicate the first one, but found no effect compared with an inert placebo. By the way, that 2003 article reported on work done in Australia! You can read the abstract here at PubMed. Both studies used a concentration of 12X. That means one part per trillion, which is equivalent to 1 drop of water diluted into 20, two-meter-deep Olympic-size swimming pools (50,000 cubic meters), or one second of time in approximately 31,700 years.

What about results from university theses? There was yet another study on Argentum nitricum for test anxiety done in 2005. Christinette Snyman’s Masters of Technology (M Tech) thesis at the University of Johannesburg also found no effect when using a lower concentration (or higher potency) of 200CH. However, an M Tech thesis in 2000 by Gabrielle Traub found that a combination of Kalium Phosphoricum, Argentum Nitricum and Gelsemium at 200CH reduced anxiety. Another M Tech thesis in 2002 by Rowena Emmeline Kathyrn Thomson did not find an effect on anxiety for a combination. An M Tech thesis in 2002 by Karin Pelser also found no effect for Gelsemium sempervirens at 200 CH. Traub has mentioned her thesis results in an interview here. The other subsequent results also are interest.

So, I think you should take any claims about the effectiveness of homeopathy against anxiety with a grain of salt (or in their terminology, many truckloads of Natrum muriaticum).
You should do your own research, read the literature, and make up your own mind.

Also, as I mentioned in a
previous post, homeopathic tablets often incorporate lactose (which can be a problem for some of us).

Update: On December 19, 2009 the first article I mentioned by Madeline Innocent reappeared on another web page titled Cure Your Hemorrhoids.

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