An Exclusive Interview with
Prof. Leoni Villano Bonamin
Professor at Universidade Paulista – UNIP
Founder: Initiative to Promote Research in Homeopathy
Saurav Arora (SA): Welcome to Initiative to Promote Research in Homeopathy Ma’am. First of all, we would like to know more about Prof. Leoni Villano Bonamin as a researcher, and how and when you got attracted towards Homeopathy? Your first encounter with homeopathy?
Prof. Leoni Villano Bonamin (LB): My first encounter with homeopathy was in 1983 when I had just begun my studies in University of São Paulo, Brazil. I followed a course about “alternative therapies in Veterinary Medicine”, where there was a conference about homeopathy. It was a “love at the first sight”. I went to my home sure that this will be the focus of my professional life.
SA: Brazil is well known for research and clinical practice in Homeopathy. We would like to know your views on the same. Is homeopathy well established and accepted in Brazil?
LB: Homeopathy is an official specialization for doctors, veterinarians, pharmacists, and dentists. Now the license for agronomist engineers is also under discussion since some experimental uses of homeopathy in crops have been resented a significant success. This situation helps the improvement and funding of research on homeopathy, in clinical trials and in basic research as well. There is a good support from the population too.
SA: Now it is crystal clear that we are facing Universal-Scepticism for homeopathy especially the research part. Is it true in context to Brazil? What challenges do you face while doing research in homeopathy and high dilutions?
LB: Scepticism is everywhere. But the main cause of this is the huge distance of both languages: that from the allopathic point of view and that from a homeopathic point of view. From the first part, there is an important difficulty to understand that something different of the “key-locker” rationale can be as efficient than the known pharmacological preparations, acting on different mechanisms and reaching different outputs from the expected “inhibition of symptoms” and/or “killing microorganisms and cancer cells”. Homeopathy is not able to do that but improve the sensitivity and specificity of natural organic adaptations process to deal with aggressive stimuli. For the more conservative, if a drug is not able to kill bacteria or cancer cells, it is not efficient enough. But for homeopaths, this concept is quite controversial.
Today, it is known that homeopathy works – at least in part – by a very specific control of gene expression and regulation of intracellular pathways. There is more to be discovered. These findings can be a good step to approach both forms of rationality.
SA: Animal models have been a preferred model for basic research in homeopathy. Can you share your experience with pros and cons of using animal models for research in high dilutions?
LB: Animals models are classic. Most of the knowledge about immunology, toxicology, and physiology is based on rodent models. This is very important when we are working with unknown and often unpredictable variables, like homeopathy, because we can understand very well what is the basis, the natural output after certain challenges and, thus, make clear what has been modified after treatment. Homeopathy has systemic and coordinated effects on the body and it is not comparable to classical pharmacology. This aspect depends on a whole system to be understood. This is the most important pro. The cons are related to the ethics in research since rodents have a high level of sentience and any manipulation implies in a certain degree of discomfort or suffering. The use of alternative species, such as invertebrates, which present small level of sentience, can be a good replacement in certain cases, but not all. Idem for cell cultures.
SA: Which animal model have been the most successful model in your experimental settings?
LB: There is no “most successful” model. All living beings respond very well to homeopathy. It depends on what kind of variables do you want to study after treatment of a living system with homeopathic medicines. For instance, it is impossible to study lymphocyte functions in invertebrates, simply because they do not have these cells.
SA: Usage of Homeopathy and high dilutions in allied sciences seems to be very promising e.g. veterinary homeopathy. What are your views?
LB: Veterinary homeopathy is a reality. In Brazil, it is an official specialization in the veterinary area. It has the same usefulness and efficacy as homeopathy for humans. The veterinarians just must know how to read the signs. But it is a mandatory skill of the profession, even without homeopathy. But homeopathy has other utilities. In agriculture, in environmental managing and even in other engineering activities, as shown by Dr. Papiya Nandy, in India. There is no doubt that homeopathy effects go above the medical practice. The unique trouble is the regulation of these activities by the respective professionals.
SA: As a professor of General Pathology can you throw some light on the modus operandi part of homeopathy and high dilution?
LB: This is a puzzle, but we have some pieces already placed. Homeopathy can regulate cells functions and pathways, at least in part by regulating gene expression. On the other hand, there are the nano and microparticles in suspension, after succussion, that can exert some role in the biological effects, but how much it is specific and fits the biological phenomenology of high dilutions, we do not know yet. Nanobubbles are present too and require the same answers. Water itself can change dipole features after serial dilutions and succussions, according to the original solute. But how these changes could touch the expression of specific genes is a matter still not explained. There is still a lot of work to do.
SA: Can you tell us in brief about your project Biodilutions?
LB: In 2015, I realised that the scientific advances on homeopathy were learned by a very restrict circle of researchers. Moreover, many homeopaths do not care about what is new about homeopathy research and prefer to stay in their doctrinaire comfort zone. This causes a huge trouble because people who are following an educational program on homeopathy don´t even imagine how homeopathy works on neuro-immune regulation, behavioural patterns and cell pathways control, concepts that are very present in other areas of medicine (and veterinary). The most conservative homeopaths think that these subjects have no interest in clinical practice, instead, they think that homeopathy does not need it. It is quite bizarre and impairs that the clinical practice be improved too.
So, I decided to make a personal contribution, creating the website www.biodilutions.com, in which some themes about research on homeopathy could be presented in an easy-to-read format, to incentive all interested people, mainly students, know something about homeopathy research and cultivate the routine to read about. There are open access material and a booklet that can be downloaded by some contribution, as a mechanism to keep the site independent of any institutional or commercial support, which could characterize as a conflict of interest. This book is available on Kindle – Amazon, too. In the future, some video-classes will be offered too.
SA: How many peer-reviewed publications and books have you published in homeopathy/high dilution?
LB: Two books and about 80 articles on homeopathy and high dilutions.
SA: You have strong network or researchers who believe in undertaking collaborative research in high dilutions. How you manage to undertake these studies? What is the source of motivation to them?
LB: Homeopathy itself is the main motivation. But there is a catalytic mechanism called “GIRI” (Groupe International de Recherche sur l´infinitésimal), the first scientific society organized to gather researchers from all countries interested in homeopathy research. The annual meetings of the GIRI make their members in regular and constant contact with each other and, naturally, the partnerships are born.
SA: We would like to know more about Project – Zincum.
LB: This is a good example of how these meetings can generate good fruits. Me, Prof. Carla Holandino and Prof. Paolo Bellavite had the idea of working together on a common subject. After some online discussion, we decided to work on Zincum metallicum, each one using his own experimental model, in such a way that a mosaic of several points of views was produced at the end of the project. This was very interesting because Zincum metallicum is a remedy poorly understood.
SA: Your future plans to undertake and support research?
LB: Continue searching for the understanding the mechanism of action.
SA: Recommended books or literature to learn more about research in high dilutions?
- Discovering how homeopathy works available at biodilutions.com or https://www.amazon.com/author/leonibonamin.
- Dossier about recent research on homeopathy organized by Brazilian scientists (Silvia Waisse and Marcus Z Teixeira available at http://aph.org.br/revista/index.php/aph/issue/view/42
- Signals and Images – contributions and contradictions about high dilution research available at springer.com
SA: Your take away message to the homeopathic fraternity.
LB: I hope that humanity could know, ASAP, all potential of homeopathy to “fix” the world, in all areas where it can be useful.
SA: Thank you, Ma’am, for your valuable time.
Short Bio with contact details
- Doctor in Veterinary Medicine by the University of São Paulo – Brazil (USP, 1987)
- Master’s degree (1990) and PhD (1995) in Experimental and Comparative Pathology by the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil, with a sandwich period at École Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon – France (1992-1993)
- Post-Doctorate in Environmental and Experimental Pathology by UNIP – São Paulo – Brazil (2015)
- Full Professor at Universidade Paulista – UNIP (undergraduate and postgraduate levels) since 1991
- President (2002-2008) and Vice-President (2008-2014) of GIRI (Groupe International de Recherche sur l’Infinitésimal)
- Deputy Editor of “Homeopathy – The Journal of Faculty of Homeopathy, London” since 2015 and member of the editorial board of the International Journal of High Dilution Research (IJHDR) since 2007Accredited researcher at the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI, UK) and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Global Homeopathy Foundation (GHF, India)
The main subject of research: Basic research in high dilutions and homeopathy and their biological mechanisms of action, since 1997.
Recent publications in the high dilution – homeopathy field:
- SANTANA FR; DALBONI, L. C.; FIALHO K; KONO, F. T.; SARAIVA AMA; CORREIA MSF; CORREA MD; CASARIN RCV; HURTADO ECP; LALO, M. A.; LAURENTI MD; BENITES, N. R.; BUCHI DF; BONAMIN, L. V. High dilutions of antimony modulate cytokines production and macrophage – Leishmania (L) amazonensis interaction in vitro. Cytokine. v.92, p.33 – 47, 2017.
- COELHO, C. P.; MOTTA PD; PETRILLO, M.; IOVINE RO; DALBONI, L. C.; SANTANA FR; CORREIA MSF; CASARIN RCV; CARVALHO, V. M.; BONAMIN, L. V. Homeopathic medicine Cantharis modulates uropathogenic coli (UPEC)-induced cystitis in susceptible mice. Cytokine. v.92, p.103 – 109, 2017.
- CAJUEIRO APB; GOMA EP; SANTOS HAM; RODRIGUES IA; TOMA HK; ARAÚJO SM; BONAMIN, L. V.; GOMES NBN; CASTELO-BRANCO MT; DIAS EPS; PYRRHO AS; HOLANDINO C. Homeopathic medicines cause Th1 predominance and induce spleen and megakaryocytes changes in BALB/c mice infected with Leishmania infantum. v.95, p.97 – 101, 2017.
- NASCIMENTO KF, DE SANTANA FR, DA COSTA CRV, KAPLUM V, VOLPATO H, NAKAMURA CV, BONAMIN LV, DE FREITAS BUCHI D. M1 homeopathic complex trigger effective responses against Leishmania (L) amazonensis in vivo and in vitro. C 2017 Nov; 99:80-90. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2017.07.001.
- BONAMIN, L. V., BELLAVITE, P. Immunological models in high dilution research following M Bastide. Homeopathy. 2015 Oct; 104(4):263-8. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2015.08.004.
- BONAMIN, L. V.; CARDOSO, THAYNÁ NEVES; CARVALHO, A. C.; AMARAL J. The use of animal models in homeopathic research – a review of 2010-2014 PubMed indexed papers. Homeopathy. 2015 Oct; 104 (4):283-91. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2015.06.002.
- GUEDES JR; CARRASCO, S; FERREIRA CM; BONAMIN, L. V.; SOUZA W; SHAIMBERG CG; PARRA RE; CAPELOZZI VL. Ultra-High Dilution of Triiodothyronine Modifies Cellular Apoptosis in Rana catesbeiana Tadpole Tail in vitro. Homeopathy (Edinburgh. Print), v. 100, p. 220-227, 2011.
- BONAMIN, L. V.; ENDLER, PC. Animal models for studing homeopathy and high dilutions: Conceptual critical review. Homeopathy (Edinburgh. Print). v.99, p.37 – 50, 2010.
- ENDLER, PC; THIEVES K; REICH C; MATHIESSEN P; BONAMIN, L. V.; SCHERR C; BAUMGARTNER S. Repetitions of fundamental research models for homepathically prepared dilutions beyond 10-23: a bibliometric study. Homeopathy (Edinburgh. Print). v.99, p.25 – 36, 2010.
- BONAMIN, L. V. Signal and Images – contributions and contradictions about high dilution research. Dordrecht: Springer, 2008, v.1. 222pp.
See complete curriculum vitae at Lattes platform (CNPq – Brazil): http://lattes.cnpq.br/0980105036844028