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Clin Dev Immunol. Jun 2004; 11(2): 143–149.
PMCID: PMC2270708

Inhibition of IL-1β and TNF-α Secretion from Resting and Activated Human Immunocytes by the Homeopathic Medication Traumeel® S

Abstract

Abstract Traumeel® S (Traumeel), a mixture of highly diluted (10-1-10-9) extracts from medicinal plants and minerals is widely used in humans to relieve trauma, inflammation and degenerative processes. However, little is known about its possible effects on the behavior of immune cells. The effects of Traumeel were examined in vitro on the ability of resting and PHA-, PMA- or TNF-α-activated human T cells, monocytes, and gut epithelial cells to secrete the prototypic pro-inflammatory mediators IL-1β, TNF-α and IL-8 over a period of 24-72 h. Traumeel inhibited the secretion of all three agents in resting, as well as activated immune cells. IL-β secretion was reduced by up to 70% in both resting and activated cells; TNF-α secretion was reduced by up to 65 and 54%, respectively, and IL-8 secretion was reduced by 50% in both resting and activated cells (P<0.01 for all cells). Interestingly, the effect appeared to be inversely dose-related; maximal inhibition (usually 30-60% inhibition; P<0.01) was seen with dilutions of 10-3-10-6 of the Traumeel stock material. This finding suggests that Traumeel does not inhibit immune cells functions by exerting a toxic effect. Indeed, Traumeel did not affect T cell and monocyte proliferation. Although additional studies are needed to clarify the mode of action of Traumeel and to demonstrate causative relationship between the inhibition of cytokine/chemokine secretion in cell culture and the reported clinical effects of the preparation, our in vitro results offer a mechanism for the anti-inflammatory effects of Traumeel observed in clinical use.

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