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Keywords:

  • Efficacy;
  • evidence;
  • hay fever;
  • homeopathy;
  • meta-analysis

Abstract

Homeopathic preparations of Galphimia glauca (GG) are sometimes recommended for the treatment of hay fever. While an earlier meta-analysis reached a positive conclusion regarding the use of GG for hay fever, limitations of this study warrant reanalysis. The aims of this article were to (1) systematically review the evidence from randomised placebo-controlled trials for or against the notion that GG is effective for hay fever, and (2) critically evaluate the reliability of the published meta-analysis of GG for hay fever. All 11 studies included in the meta-analysis were considered. Electronic literature searches were conducted to locate further relevant trials. Only randomised, placebo-controlled studies were included. Four randomised controlled trials met the inclusion criteria. Three studies were found to be in favour of homeopathic GG over placebo, though all RCTs were conducted and published by the same research group. Even though findings of the review seem to suggest efficacy, important caveats prevent any firm conclusions being made; it also casts doubt on the reliability of the conclusion of the published meta-analysis.