Homoeopathy may help check Japanese encephalitis: study

Homoeopathic medicine `Belladonna' has a probable role help in preventing Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus infection, according to a recent study conducted by Indian researchers.

The study was conducted by the School of Tropical Medicine (STM), Kolkata in collaboration with the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), under the central government department of AYUSH.

The in-vitro study conducted at STM aimed at assessing the prophylactic action of `Belladonna' in homoeopathic potencies on Chorioallantoic Membrane (CAM) of chick embryo infected with the JE virus.

The results of the study showed a significant decrease in the pocks (discrete foci of cell proliferation and necrosis) count when the JE virus infection on CAM was challenged with homoeopathic medicine `Belladonna' in different potencies, in comparison to placebo.

The results of the study are published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Infectious Diseases, with the title, `Decreased Intensity of Japanese Encephalitis Virus Infection in chick Chorioallantoic Membrane under influence of Ultra diluted Belladonna Extract', by the principal investigator Dr Bhaswati Bandopadhyay, assistant professor of virology, School of Tropical Medicine, co-investigator Dr Satadal Das, pathology specialist, Dr Chandan Saha, assistant professor of pharmacology (STM) Dr Milan Sengupta, research associate and scientists of Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy.

JE presents a significant risk to humans and animals, particularly in Southeast Asia (including India), where around 50,000 cases and 10,000 deaths occur per year, essentially affecting the children below 10 years of age. The statistics reveal that about 50 per cent of the patients who develop Japanese encephalitis suffer from permanent neurologic defects and 30 per cent of them die due to the disease.

Further, the JE virus has shown a tendency to extend to other geographic areas. The outcome of the study was also presented by Dr Bhaswati Bandopadhyay, the principal investigator, at the 25th Clinical Virology Symposium held from 19 to 22 April 2009 by the PAN American Society for Clinical Virology, Florida, USA. This study is a fitting reply to the critics and skeptics of Homeopathy who have been denouncing the therapy as placebo.

The study thus provides a new ray of hope in preventing JE through homoeopathy, although more researches are needed on this front, says C Nayak, director-general of CCRH.