Smell is a Fallen Angel – Olfaction and Homeopathy


This Quick Research Byte post relates to the recent commentary “Could the Olfactory System Be a Target for Homeopathic Remedies as Nanomedicines?” published by Florence Courtens, Jean-Louis Demangeat, and Mourad Benabdallah in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 00, Number 00, 2018, pp. 1–7.

The full article can be accessed and downloaded here.

The salient points in the articles are summarized below for the quick overview:

  • The Introduction clearly defines that the plant extracts of homeopathic medicines contain specific odours such as flavonoids and terpenes which are termed as Odorant Molecules (OMs).
  • The OM and homeopathic medicines share few similarities when it comes to stimulation of the nervous system.
  • Some OM enhances while other can inhibit homeopathic medicine’s action (This may be the reason why homeopathic medicines are advised not to be taken with strong smelling substances).
  • Demangeat suggests the dual character of homeopathic medicines depending on their level of dilution. At low dilution, below C2–C4, (molecular nature) would act locally on cellular or intracellular receptors, whereas at high dilution, in a nanoparticulate form, they would cross cell membranes and physiological barriers as mucous membranes, lungs, blood-brain barrier, or would directly reach the brain through a neural pathway.
  • The authors quote the theory of vomeronasal organ by Benabdallah and McGuigan which suggest that terrestrial animals can sense pheromones sometimes in concentration which can be equivalent to 8th or 9th centesimal dilution.
  • “The three functions of the olfactory system are a sense of smell, immune function, and olfactory nerves regeneration. Molecules of various structure, size, and chemical properties can have an odour.”
  • The human sense of smell can detect extremely low concentrations of odorants as low as 10-18 g/L, equivalent to a C9 homeopathic dilution.
  • Nasal Pathway to Cure Diseases has been studied extensively in numerous conventional research studies.
  • Recent works highlighted that homeopathic remedies exist in a dual form, that is, a still molecular form at low dilution and a nanoparticulate form at high dilution, and that remnants of source remedy persist in extremely high dilutions.
  • From the literature, both odorants and nanoparticles (NPs) can enter the body through inhalation, digestive absorption, or through the skin, especially, NPs or viruses can directly reach the brain through axons of nerves.
  • Clinical effects are observed for homeopathic remedies administered through inhalation, and homeopathic remedies exhibit similar properties as OMs.
  • The authors prompt for further investigations, such as (1) tracking homeopathic nanoparticles through the nerves and into the brain by animal studies, (2) studying EEG responses to various dilutions of a definite homeopathic remedy, and (3) identifying immune responses from the nasal-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT), or (4) directly studying the action of homeopathic remedies on olfactory receptors from different tissues by in vitro studies.

Homeopathy vials and globules2

The concept and use of olfaction as a route of administration of homeopathic medicines are widely described in the Organon of Medicine:

  • Aphorism 246, fifth edition – footnote – “olfaction of Mercur metall X, Sulph X);
  • Aphorism 248, sixth edition – one globule of medicine dissolved in alcohol and allowed to olfact;
  • Aphorism 269, sixth edition – footnote – living sensitive fiber – by means of intake or olfaction;
  • Aphorism 284, sixth edition – the nose and respiratory organs are receptive to the action of medicines in fluid form by means of olfaction and inhalation through the mouth;
  • Aphorism 285, fifth edition – to employ the smallest possible dose and to bring about the most rapid result, one single olfaction merely will suffice;
  • Aphorism 286, sixth edition – the dynamic force of minerals magnet, electricity and galvanism.
  • Aphorism 288, fifth edition – footnote – It is especially in the form of vapour, by olfaction and inhalation of the medicinal aura that is always emanating from a globule impregnated with a medicinal fluid
  • Aphorism 290, fifth edition – …. taken by the mouth or still better by olfaction and inhalation.

There have been numerous instances where we encounter, observe and see the actions of homeopathic medicines through olfaction. It is a common phenomenon taught and practised in routine clinical practice.

Scientific research studies (fundamental and clinical) are warranted in this area. There has been equal scepticism for medicines of low dilution levels as well ultra-high dilutions (apparently or absolute lack of original drug molecules) for olfaction as a route of administration of homeopathic medicines.

The article has aptly described various issues related to olfaction and action of homeoapthic remedies and brought into notice the finer aspects, scientific facts, and present research scenario in the olfactory research area. The article has ignited many queries which must be dealt with methodically. 

IPRH welcomes your valuable views on the same.

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