Natural Homeopathic Injections Provide Safe, and Cost Effective Treatment for Arthritis
By: Edward G. Loniewski, DO, FACOS, FAOAO
Homeopathic preparations were developed possibly as early as 400 B.C. when Hippocrates claimed that very small doses of the Mandrake root helped treat mania when larger doses caused this condition. It was Samuel Hahnemann who brought this concept to worldwide acceptance with his concept of “like cures like.” Hahnemann’s theory was based on the concept that dilutions of a substance that may cause a symptom may in fact, stimulate the body to correct. He believed that deep seeded ailments or “misaims” can be removed or corrected with very diluted botanical and mineral preparations. Homeopathic concepts grew in popularity throughout Europe and even in the United States. The first medical college of Homeopathy was opened in Philadelphia in 1835, and even the University of Michigan opened its Homeopathic College in 1891. However, the popularity of Homeopathy faded after the establishment of the FDA and rigid government requirements for medical education. Over the years, homeopathic preparations have been studied for common ailments such as influenza, attention deficit disorders and arthritis. The major criticisms of these studies include the lack of blinded and placebo controls. Thus, many medical organizations such as the American Medical Association, United Kingdom’s National Health Service and Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council claim that there was no “good quality” research to support the concepts of homeopathy.
However, this may change soon with the release of some recent studies released by such institutions such as the Case Medical Center and the University of Miami. In addition, some basic science studies now show some significant positive biologic changes occurring with these preparations. The first study compared a homeopathic preparation called Zeel to two traditional arthritis medication called Celebrex (celcoxib) and Vioxx (refacoxib). Although there are some flaws in the design of the controls of this study and no use of a placebo, it did conclude that there was no statistical superiority of any of the medications in the treatment of mild to moderate arthritis of the knee. This meant that the homeopathic preparation performed just as effectively as two traditional medications [i] Another interesting study evaluated the biochemical effect of Traumeel in vitro (in a test tube) on human T-Cells and gut epithelial cells. The researchers at The Center for Integrative Complementary Medicine in Jerusalem, Israel found that Traumeel had a profound effect on the pro-inflammatory production of Interleukin 1-beta (IL-1B) , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha ( TNF-a) and Interleukin-8 ( IL-8). Traumeel reduced these toxic, inflammatory byproducts of cells by 50-70% in both active and resting cells and this effect had an inverse relationship to the concentration of the product thus proving the long time held concepts of homeopathy.[ii] In plain English this means that the homeopathic preparation dramatically reduced harmful biochemical markers which are important in the treatment of arthritis. These pro-inflammatory products especially Interleukin-1 beta are extremely important in joint homeostasis or the restoration of normal biochemical function of the knee.[iii] In addition, it appears that Traumeel has further effects on the activation of biochemical pathways which help with the repair of a damaged joint. Researchers at the University of Leipzig found that exposing chondrocytes (cartilage cells) to Traumeel caused an elevation of Transforming Growth Factor – Beta (TGF-B) as well as stimulating the basic function of cartilage cells while also reducing harmful chemicals called Matrix Metalleoproteinases (MMP-13).[iv] This study helped to solidify the previous study and it revealed that this homeopathic solution not only stimulated positive effects on cartilage cells, but also helped protect these cells. Finally, the MOZArT study helped justify this concept by putting together a blinded and placebo controlled study conducted in the United States at Case Hospitals in Cleveland.[v] Over 252 patients between the ages of 45-80 with moderate to severe osteoarthritis of their knee were enrolled to either receive 3 injections of Traumeel/ Zeel combination or a placebo of saline. They received one injection per week for 3 weeks. They completed pain and function scores as well as 50 foot walking test and a global physician assessment. Patients were accessed about every 2 weeks for 99 days. The homeopathic injection group with Traumeel and Zeel had statically significant improvements in all parameters except for the readings at day 29. There were no serious adverse events noted in any of the groups and there were no abnormalities noted in laboratory, electrocardiograms and vital signs between the groups.
Traumeel is a botanical mixture of approximately 14 biologic minerals and is designed for short term pain relief of inflammation caused by trauma, or arthritis. It can be used orally, topically or as an injection into a joint. Zeel is also a botanical mixture of 14 biologic minerals in differing dosing to provide longer term relief of pain caused by an arthritic joint and is proposed to slow down the degenerative process of arthritis. There are studies in progress comparing these preparations to other common treatments for arthritis such as steroid injections or hyaluronic injections. However, from the studies we have reviewed, it appears this treatment may be a safe and effective for arthritis, tendonitis and bursitis. These preparations have been used by practitioners in Germany and Austria for over 30 years with excellent safety profiles.
A combination of just 2 cc of Traumeel and 2 cc of Zeel with 1-2 cc of standard local anesthetic can be injected into almost any arthritic joint with little need for any time off work or activities. Most patients notice changes beginning after the second injection and most notice relief for at least 3-6 months. The injections of Traumeel and Zeel do not interfere with other medications, nor cause any changes in blood sugars which is a problem with corticosteroid injections. The injections can be safely injected into tendons or ligaments without fear of rupture or destruction. The treatments can also be repeated without concerns about resistance or further damage to the joint surface.
Because these are botanical minerals and they are diluted way beyond what a traditional pharmaceutical product, the prices are naturally lower. A single injection is less than a night out at the movies and dinner. The series of three injections is much lower than the costs for hyaluronic injections or platelet rich plasma. This medication is not covered by any insurance and is therefore an out of pocket expense. Because this natural botanical preparation does not produce harmful effects on cellular preparations, this can be safely used in patients receiving stem cell or PRP injections for faster pain relief while helping to restore the normal biochemical environment of an arthritic joint. Advanced Orthopedic Specialists is excited to offer this option to our patients as we continually strive to provide “state of the art care in a friendly environment
[i] Birnesser H, Klein P, Weiser M.Treating osteoarthritis of the knee: A modern homeopathic medication works as well as Cox-2 inhibitors. Der Allgemeinarzt 2003;25(4):261-4.
[ii] Inhibition of IL-1β and TNF-α Secretion from Resting and Activated Human Immunocytes by the Homeopathic Medication Traumeel® S.Porozov S, Cahalon L, Weiser M, Branski D, Lider O, Oberbaum M.Clinical and Developmental Immunology. 2004 Jun; 11(2): 143-149
[iii] Dinarello, CA et al, Treating inflammation by blocking interleukin-1 in humans; Semin Immunol. 2013 Dec 15 25(6) 469-84
[iv] B. Seilheimera,C. Wierzchaczb, R. Gebhardtb; Influence of Traumeel on cultured chondrocytes and recombinant human matrix metalloproteinases: Implications for chronic joint diseases; European Journal of Integrative Medicine, Volume 1, Issue 4, December 2009, Pages 252–253
Lozada,C et al. Arthritis Rheumatol 2014:66(11 Suppl): 1266 Abstract 2896. Clinical Trails.gov// www.clinicaltrails.gov/ctz/show/NCTO1887678.