Anthroposophic medicine and antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major global health problem - Studies show the significant potential from anthroposophic and other integrative medicine approaches to safely reduce antimicrobial use. Find  IVAAs statement  here.

Have as well a look at the presentation prepared for the CAM Interest Group, European Parliament, Bruxelles 1April 2014 

In November 2015, on occasion of the "Antibiotics Awareness Day", the IVAA together with EUROCAM published the position paper

 The role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in reducing the problem of antimicrobial resistance

Anthroposophic Medicine, Effectiveness, Utility, Costs, Safety

Gunver S Kienle, Helmut Kiene, Hansueli Albonico: Anthroposophic Medicine. Effectivness, utility, costs, safety.

Schattauer Verlag Stuttgart New York 2006

GUnver S Kienle, Helmut Kiene, Hansueli Albonico: Anthroposophic Medicine. Effectivness, utility, COSTs, safety. Schattauer Verlag Stuttgart New York 2006

This Health Technology Assessment (HTA) report was commissioned by the Swiss Federal Social Insurance Office and produced as part of the national Complementary Medicine Evaluation Programme (PEK).
The presented review is an update of this HTA-report, providing an overview of the available scientific literature on the effectiveness, utility, costs and safety of anthroposophic medicine.


  • Introduction
  • Presentation of the special aspects of anthroposophic medicine, in fundamental research and  clinical practice
  • Discussion of the methodology
  • Material and methods
  • Results with regard to effectiveness, utility, costs and safety
  • Discussion
  • Comment on published criticism regarding studies with mistletoe
  • Catalogue of case presentations and literature not used for the analysis etc.


Single case studies
 (not analysed in the review): 2090 studies

Clinical studies suitable for analysis: 195 studies

Systematic reviews in 4 “Domains”: 127 studies

  • Anthroposophic Medicine studied as a therapeutic system for various disorders (including comparisons of systems) 
    8 studies
  • Treatment of pain or treatments of wounds with anthroposophic medicines 
    18 studies including 3 RCTs
  • Non-pharmacologic treatment of various disorders 
    5 studies and 3 extra-analyses
  • Anthroposophic mistletoe treatment of cancer
    96 studies including 15 RCTs

Further studies ("Appendix"): 68 studies

  • Chronic hepatitis B or C 
    10 studies
  • Neurological or psychiatric disorders 
    7 studies
  • Gynaecology and Obstetrics 
    6 studies
  • Acute infections (upper respiratory tract, ear, eyes, gastrointestinal) 
    18 studies
  • Circulatory diseases 
    6 studies
  • Thyroid diseases 
    4 studies
  • Pulmonary diseases (sarcoidosis) 
    6 studies
  • Other disorders 
    11 studies

Results: effectiveness

Results: summary 4 Domains and Appendix

195 studies were analysed:

186 studies had positive results for the AM-Group (similar or better result compared to conventional therapy regarding at least 1 clinical parameter).

  • 8 studies showed neither positive nor negative results.
  • 1 study showed a negative trend.
  • The practical relevance was throughout the studies high.
  • The quality of the studies varied from very to good to very poor (in particular the retrospective comparative studies).
  • The satisfaction of the patients was high.
  • The positive results were still relevant, if the analysis was restricted to the qualitatively good studies. 

Results: utility

Users of anthroposophic medicine:

  • patients of basic national health care and patients with a special interest
  • especially women, patients aged 30-50 years and children
  • high level of education
  • often after complications or ineffectiveness of conventional treatment
  • interest in comprehensive treatment and active engagement
  • high degree of patient-satisfaction with AM

Results: safety

  • 2 carefully designed safety analyses, phase I-studies, questionnaires within the framework of clinical studies, database, case reports
  • good compliance
  • 0.005% of the applications of medicines caused slight side effects
  • In general, AM had higher compliance and less side effects, if compared to conventional medicine.

Results: costs

  • Within the framework of PEK the cost analysis was done in general and not differentiated for the different therapeutic approaches.
  • Only very few cost analyses are available specifically for anthroposophic medicine.
  • 1 German study, which was performed in 141 offices of anthroposophic medical doctors, including 898 patients treated with anthroposophic medicines for chronic diseases showed less costs during the study year, if compared to those during the year before enrolling into the study (3.484 Euro vs. 3.637 Euro).
  • The patients treated with anthroposophic medicine had less costs for medicines and less referrals to hospital care, although the severity of their disorders was similar or even worse, if compared to the conventionally treated group.


  • Anthroposophic medical therapies result in favourable clinical outcomes according to the large majority of the reviewed studies. This conclusion also holds when limited to studies with good quality.
  • Anthroposophic medicine is used by both patients within ordinary health care provision and by patients with a special interest for this therapeutic approach.
  • Anthroposophic medical therapies are satisfactory to the patients and safe.


Anthroposophic medical therapies may also be cost effective through lower rates of referrals to hospital-treatment and lower costs for medication particularly in chronic diseases.




Last update 3.7.2016 ©IVAA 2016


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