Does homeopathy work?

Homeopathy doesn’t work. Period! It is not a medicine but an alternative medicine. Alternative medicine? A medicine without evidence of its efficacy. An alternative medicine that works is called medicine.

Google homeopathy and you will most probably see the Wikipedia page at the top of the search results. Wikipedia, as usual, has a lot to say about homeopathy. Unfortunately, it does say nothing that a homeopathy doctor, patient, student or a supporter would like to hear. Wikipedia says the following about homeopathy –

  • homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann
  • it is based on the doctrine of like cures like (similia similibus curentur, a claim that a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people would cure similar symptoms in sick people
  • Homeopathy is a pseudoscience – a belief that is incorrectly presented as scientific.
  • Homeopathic preparations are not effective for treating any condition
  • large-scale studies have found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo, suggesting that any positive feelings that follow treatment are only due to the placebo effect and normal recovery from illness.
  • Homeopathy is not a plausible system of treatment, as its dogmas about how drugs, illness, the human body, liquids and solutions operate are contradicted by a wide range of discoveries across biology, psychology, physics and chemistry made in the two centuries since its invention.
  • the World Health Organization has warned against using homeopathy to try to treat severe diseases such as HIV and malaria.
  • The continued practice of homeopathy, despite a lack of evidence of efficacy, has led to it being characterized within the scientific and medical communities as nonsense, quackery, and a sham.

The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia found “no evidence” that homeopathy is effective. In a report published in 2014, the NHMRC looked at 57 systematic reviews of the treatment. They found there were no health conditions for which homeopathy was effective, that no good large-scale studies found that homeopathy was better than a placebo. So it looks like science isn’t on the side of homeopathy.

Don’t be gullible. Do’t use homeopathy. Do your own research if you must (I would advocate that) and cut this pseudo-science bullshit. Homeopathy doesn’t work. Plain and simple!

Source: – We at The Rolling Indian are spreading awareness about this pseudo-science called Homeopathy. Let us Indians develop a spirit of inquiry and reform. Always use evidence-based medicine – Is Homeopathy A Scam? Spoiler Alert: Yes, it is! – The Rolling Indian

20 Replies to “Does homeopathy work?”

  1. In 1796, when Samuel Hahnemann invented the concept of homeopathy, allopathic medicine was often toxic, scary and ineffective (blood letting), since our knowledge of pathophysiology and medicine at that time was almost non existent, also a belief system, mostly unproven but taken from ancient books written by the famous Arabic (and Greek) physicians of the olden times, not empirical.  So the chances of survival would often be better on homeopathic medicine.

    Nowadays, the results of randomized controlled trials (RCT's) being the basis on which rational allopathic medicine is practiced (we hope, although we still prescribe antibiotics for viral colds), a lot of homeopathic research doesn't measure up to the quality norms we hope researchers adhere to.
    The best result are obtained in trials with the least quality, and vice versa, so the proof is still very much in doubt.

    Having said all that, I remember being very much surprised by the results of a trial of homeopathy for hay fever by the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital of the University in Glasgow, published on October 18th 1986 in The Lancet, where they found it to be effective after a time, but at the cost of symptom aggravation at the start of the treatment (so not free of side-effects either), see IS HOMOEOPATHY A PLACEBO RESPONSE? CONTROLLED TRIAL OF HOMOEOPATHIC POTENCY, WITH POLLEN IN HAYFEVER AS MODEL

    A lot of symptoms will go away by themselves, whatever the practitioner does or does not, to their credit I must say these alternative practitioners do give a lot of attention to their patients, something we in the regular medical practice hardly have time for, we all know that this attention in itself can have positive effects of the health of our patients.

    So, at present I would say there is no proof of the efficacy of homeopathy, but we should always be open to the results whenever new research of good quality is published.

  2. A look at the principles homeopathy takes root in will help you decide for yourself whether homeopathy is a sham or not.

           Postulated by a physician Samuel Hahnevann all the way back in the 1700s, 'The 'Law of similars' states that Like cures like'. A remedy to an ailment produces symptoms which are similar to the ailment itself. Coffee acts as a stimulant and makes a person more energetic and prevents them from sleeping. According to this bizarre explanation, a person who is suffering from restlessness can be cured by administering coffee (which produces symptoms similar to that of the ailment) . How can the public be so gullible to believe that coffee, a universally known stimulant can be used to cure insomnia and restlessness? 

          A homeopathic preparation of Coffee, is sold as a sleep- causing agent under the name 'Coffea Cruda' to make insomniac people sleep!!

    We all know that cutting an onion can cause eyes to water. So, if anyone is suffering from watery eyes and a running nose, administer to them a dose of Allium cepa, the homeopathic preparation of Red Onion. What the onion causes in the healthy, it will cure in the unwell. Would you agree to this with a sane mind and in all conscience?

          Homeopathy also relies on an inaccurate, age old principle called 'Law of Infinitesimals' which claims that effectiveness of a drug becomes multi-fold with repeated DILUTION of the substance. 3C= 0.0001% of the substance. Homeopathic remedies are generally sold at concentrations of around 12 C. At dilutions of about 12C it is difficult to find even a single molecule of the substance within the tiny sugar balls which are being doled out as medicine.
    Critics have pointed out that an analogy to the concentrations used in Homeopathy would be a pinch of salt added to both North and South Atlantic oceans combined. With this imagination in mind, it would be safe to assume that the theory defies all common sense- even a fourth grader would be able to say that chemical activity of a substance is proportional to its concentration. Imagine turning around all that modern science is telling us by believing in absurd, archaic pseudoscience.

             Another inexplicable and bizarre principle which homeopathy relies on is the 'Law of Succusion' which theorizes that vigorous shaking of a diluted substance makes it more potent by helping water retain the 'memory' or 'vibrations' of the diluted substance.

           If this were true, wouldn't the argument hold that the same water would have come in contact with a lot of other substances and the effect of their 'vibrations' in water should show up as well. We all drink water which, at some period of time in the water life cycle, would have been churned up vigorously with a great number of random substances in it. Wouldn't the same theory hold in this case and deem all the water on this earth unfit for consumption.

           I am no doctor, but with all the explanations I have been provided with, I am not satisfied to believe that homeopathy has any real cure to any ailment. Any improvements noticed after taking homeopathic medicines may be due to a Placebo effect or a natural healing with time. The placebo effect -a perception of feeling better due to psychological satisfaction of having taken a medicine is itself a controversial term and also, it applies with conventional medicines (Allopathy) as well. There is no reason it should be hailed as a trophy of homeopathy alone.

    Science has progressed a lot since the 1796 when Homeopathy came into existence and people are demanding an explanation to everything that exists on the planet. It is shameful that we hold on to ridiculous theories which are crafted to buoy patient's gullibility in the medical field for commercial gain. Only a fraction of people actually would care to know the mechanism of how their medicine works and would accept any treatment meted out by a trusted doctor. Lack of scientific evidence about the efficacy of Homeopathy itself shows that it is a dubious treatment option. The worst it can do is mislead people into thinking that there are no side effects in Homeopathy. The correct statement would be that there are no effects at all.

    Sites I have referred to make my argument-

    1) Homeopathy
    2) Tutorial 1 – The Law of Similars – Homeopathy Plus
    3)  Homeopathy: there's nothing in it-

       Incidentally, the 10:23 campaign was a protest campaign by critics of homeopathy who gathered to consume overdoses of homeopathic remedies to prove its inefficacy. No one was cured of anything, no one was harmed in any way.

  3. No, homeopathy is a fraud and proven to not be better than placebo in randomized, double-blind studies:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hom

    The effectiveness of homeopathy has been in dispute since its inception. One of the earliest double blind studies concerning homeopathy was sponsored by the British government during World War II in which volunteers tested the efficacy of homeopathic remedies against diluted mustard gas burns.[111]
    No individual preparation has been unambiguously demonstrated to be different from placebo.[2][112] The methodological quality of the primary research was generally low, with such problems as weaknesses in study design and reporting, small sample size, and selection bias. Since better quality trials have become available, the evidence for efficacy of homeopathy preparations has diminished; the highest-quality trials indicate that the remedies themselves exert no intrinsic effect.[17][14][36]:206 A review conducted in 2010 of all the pertinent studies of "best evidence" produced by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that "the most reliable evidence – that produced by Cochrane reviews – fails to demonstrate that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo."[113]

  4. Do any homeopathic remedies work?

    To a first approximation, no: only rarely, due to contamination.

    This should not be surprising. The fundamental concept of homeopathy is the “Law of Similars”, the belief that a substance that causes symptoms in healthy subjects will treat diseases with similar symptoms; for instance, chili peppers can make your mouth and throat burn and cause heartburn, so homeopaths may prescribe it for sore throat and heartburn.¹ Of course, this idea of ‘like treats like’ has nothing to do with medicine, and is much more closely related to sympathetic magic—the kind of thinking that makes people think that because rhinoceros horns are vaguely phallic, they can treat impotence.

    The more familiar absurdity, that dilution increases potency of ‘remedies’, is remarkable but not fundamental; not all homeopathic preparations are diluted to the point where it’s just water². More peculiar is the idea of succussion, the belief that it’s not enough merely to dilute—the dilution must also be shaken up in ways that are often ritualistic, e.g. “shake it up and down ten times, side to side ten times, back and front ten times”—though the specifics vary.

    I believe there have been cases of homeopathic drugs adulterated with real medicine, just as various Chinese herbal medicines have sometimes been found to actually contain steroids, antibiotics, and other prescription drugs. For this reason, I expect that there may be some homeopathic remedies that ‘work’, although the reason has nothing to do with homeopathy and everything to do with the lax regulations of the homeopathic industry. (However, this appears to be rare; most references I can find are about herbal medicines.)


    ¹ The full process is a lot sillier. Developing a new homeopathic ‘remedy’ involves a process called “proving”, which has nothing to do with proof. (This is not deceptive, it’s just a linguistic confusion—it comes from a German word for testing, if I recall correctly.) This involves perhaps a dozen volunteers who take a tiny amount of whatever they are testing—chili pepper, duck liver, bits of the Berlin Wall—who write down everything they experience: every ache, pain, discomfort, and even dreams. Anything that multiple subjects experience may then be considered as things the ‘remedy’ can help with. Go ahead, read that Berlin Wall bit. It’s an actual homeopathy site, not a parody of criticism. They are serious.

    ² Or sugar pills, or alcohol medium, &c.

  5. No, homeopathy does not work.

    There is absolutely nothing in the remedies except for water, alcohol or sugar.

    It has been scientifically proven in many, many studies and meta-analyses of these studies. For example, the most recent meta analysis, published in The Lancet (http://goo.gl/KmMiY), Shang et al states –

    This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects.

    This means that the homeopathic sugar pills were no more effective than non-magic sugar pills. Not really surprising. The placebo effect is not going to prevent malaria or cure AIDS or any of the other ridiculously dangerous claims that are made by homeopaths. Stick to evidence-based medicine, and you won't go wrong. Rely on evidence-free so-called alternative medicines, and you'll suffer.

  6. Whether homeopathy works, or not, has nothing to do with homeopathy. It is determined by your definition of “works”. In conventional medicine, most medicines make no attempt to cure, they are designed to address signs and symptoms. If they successfully (defined as better than a placebo) address signs and symptoms some of the time (eg. in some clinical studies), they are considered to “work”. Cured is not defined and not a goal for any disease not caused by a parasite, so most medicines make no claim, and no attempt to work.

    Perhaps first we should be honest about placebos. Placebos work. If they did not work, they would not be called placebos, and no-one would pay any attention to them. The goal for a modern medicine is to work “better than a placebo”, because we know placebos work.

    Unfortunately for homeopathy busters, by this definition, homeopathy works. In general, homeopathy works just as well as a placebo – as proven in many clinical studies. In some clinical studies, it works better than a placebo.

    In 1966 a clinical study “Homoeopathic versus placebo therapy of children with warts on the hands: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial.” tested the application of a homeopathic medicine against a placebo, in the treatment of warts. It found that, in regards to symptoms – homeopathic medicines worked only slightly better than a placebo. Nine patients benefited from the homeopathic medicine, seven from the placebo. The study concluded: “There was no apparent difference between the effects of homoeopathic therapy and placebo in children with common warts under the conditions of this study.”

    But the conclusion was marred a bit by the fact that the homeopathic treatment cured 20% of the patients warts. The placebo cured 3.3 percent.

    Thirty-two years later, in 1998, an almost identical study “A double-blind, controlled clinical trial of homeopathy and an analysis of lunar phases and postoperative outcome.” was completed. You might wonder, as I do, about the objectivity of the scientists, who grouped it together with a study of the analysis of phases of the moon on postoperative outcomes.

    The wart portion repeated the first study almost exactly. There were the exact same number of participants and with regards as to symptoms – the exact same result. Homeopathic medicines produced shrinkage in nine of the patients, and the placebo produced shrinkage in seven of the patients. The homeopathic medicine performed slightly better than the placebo – but no statistical difference.

    There was one difference between the studies. The second study did not measure, did not count ‘cured’. The study parameters did not include testing for cures.

    The second study ‘proved’ that homeopathy does not work, by eliminating the test for cured.

    Most science that is designed to test homeopathy (or any other alternative medicine for that matter) is not designed to test for results. It is designed to prove that the treatment is ‘no better than a placebo’. This ignores two important realities:

    1. Placebos perform very well in many medical situations. If you look up placebo effect in the dictionary you will see that it is a REAL positive effect, beneficial to the patient.
    2. Most medicines that are tested against alternative medicines – do not cure. If medical science can provide a cure, there is no need to ask which is better.

    As a result, scientific tests of homeopathy (and many other alternative medical techniques) are, for the most part, clinical studies that ask which medicine “does not cure” best.

    We shouldn’t be surprised that there is ongoing debate about the results. A lot of the science is simply nonsense, as demonstrated by both of the studies listed above. But that doesn’t stop people from quoting them as ‘scientific’ evidence for one side or the other.

    to your health, tracy

  7. Disclaimer, I'm a Chinese Medicine practitioner and not a homeopath which are two very different forms of medicine, so take my input with a grain of salt.  I'm only answering because I was unsatisfied with the other answers offered and see some of the same knee-jerk negative reactions which are often offered regarding many other forms of "alternative" medicine.

    First, homeopathy is a system of medicine that has tools for arriving at a diagnosis and avenues for treatment according to its own set of theories.  No one system of medicine is fully responsible for all aspects of every human condition – nor should it be.  So, if by "real", you are asking if homeopathy should/could be used as an exclusive form of medicine for every condition that plagues human existence – then no, it is not "real".  But is it an avenue that works well with some things and well in conjunction with western treatments for others things and not well for other things?  – then, on that premise, yes, it is real.

    Many people are unaware of the voluminous clinical information behind homeopathy.  For example, the University of Michigan medical school, a well respected medical school in current times, was initially the University of Michigan homeopathic medical college (they merged with the allopathic college in 1921). 

    The system itself was founded by a "western" medical doctor – Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, who after a number of years into his clinical work decided that current methods of strong drugs, bloodletting, strong purgatives, etc. was not always helping in the way he felt they should. 

    Using a concept of "like treats like" – homois (similar) and pathos (disease) – he devised a system which focused on using similar substances to treat conditions.  This was first discussed in an article published in 1796 in the Journal of Practical Medicine discussing a system of medicine which utilized – prevention and systems of treatment using opposites (contraria contraris) and like with likes (similia similibus).

    What does this look like?  A modern example would be something like taking an anxious child with add, for example.  One approach would be xanax or morphine and just zone them out.  Another approach is to give them (the "like" substance) caffeine and then that helps them function.  (hugely generalizing all cases to make the point obviously).  This is no different in some ways from using adderall – minus cost, control and lots of other arguments you could make.  But at the end of the day, the principle is the same and valid – or "real".  There are many other examples.

    Now knowing that many "like" substance would be toxic to the body the amount of would have to be controlled and this is part of how the initial homeopathic tinctures were started.  A way to deliver the essence of the substance to the body without harming it more – similar in general base theory to the idea of vaccines. 

    Some would argue that this trace (or even energetic) amount doesn't accomplish anything besides placebo, yet, in clinical studies this doesn't appear to be true (or in actual clinical responses, comparisons to other forms of medicines, etc.).  But it is debatable to varying degrees.  The problem with the debate is you are limiting the valid concepts and potential and arguing some of the methods instead of looking to broaden things we are not getting good results with in allopathic medical approaches.  This same type of knee jerk offputting reactions happen with Chinese Medicine which also has volumes of studies, clinical experience, published research, etc.  For our point here, however, some published clinic study examples of value (nearly randomly selected from many):

    • Physiotherapy with arnica, etc. for pain
    • Effects of homeopathic medicines not even ingested, just being near the body.
    • An Italian facility that used a combination of Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine and homeopathy to see if patient outcomes improved overall.

    At the end of the day it is best, in my opinion, to not just throw out entire systems of information and treatment methods.  Even in the case where there are "faster" western treatments that doesn't always mean better.  An example would be being on nexium for reflux for the rest of your life vs. changing your diet, perhaps using some herbs or homeopathy and never needing treatment again.  This isn't always possible, there is power and strength and strong validity within western medicine, but no one system has all the answers and all the validity. 

    If you really are open and care about what is the best outcome for patients, you will avoid trying to separate out all of these systems and viewpoints.  You will also realize that even if western medicine may have a superior treatment method, it is often cost prohibitive for large numbers of people.  So systems that don't just look for the best outcome, but a proper mix of outcomes/cost/deliverability, etc. need to be maintained/further developed.  This is what is often behind many of the published clinical research studies within Chinese Medicine that compare a western drug directly with a Chinese herbal formula or other treatment method (examples, acupuncture vs. prozac for depression, less side effects combining Chinese herbal formula with chemo, herbal formula vs. hrt after removal of ovaries).

    With this open mind and consideration of value, instead of domination, you will also avoid completely knee-jerk statements such as the statement in another response "that if you run enough studies sampling error will give you good results."  If you think for all but 5 seconds – who has more money for studies, a small homeopathic center/individual practitioner or a large pharmaceutical company?  Obviously homeopaths are not capable financially/resource-wise of skewing results through repetitive testing to get the results they want (but guess who is…).  Further, the other very common and wrong knee-jerk response, again from a post below is to assume that because someone is seeking homeopathy or anything else they are "using homeopathy as a substitute for needed medical intervention."  This is wrong because (a) most people would have already gone that route and not got the response they wanted – certainly in the west and (b) not every condition does well with western medicine – particularly if you look at resolving conditions vs. managing them.  In short, it's not us vs. them, nor is it only double-blind clinical study validated research vs. not which should dictate possible treatments. 

    On the clinical study side, the nature of some of these medicines is not as conducive to the double blind clinical study model as others – aspects of Chinese Medicine have similar issues.  Part of this is the complexity of the underlying diagnosis from the perspective of that medicine and the individualized nature of the treatment which by its very nature does not lend itself to treating large numbers of people with one treatment/medicine, etc.  An example, you cannot ethically take 100 people with insomnia and test a homeopathic treatment on them, without ensuring that they all have the specific underlying diagnosis required by that treatment.  So you have two options you do a study following an individual practitioner (so case study research) or you take the time and do it right (money and resources).  These do not get done well very often because of these limitations and/or who or what entity is conducting the study.

    So long story short, is homeopathy capable of treating everything, no, are there aspects and treatment methods which do not work at all, work well, or are not as effective as other methods, yes.  Can the system and methods be further developed with more research and more clinical development, yes.  Are there valid treatment methods, yes.  Should you disregard it entirely? no.  Treating the whole person is a valid approach depending on what you see as a good outcome to a medical condition.  Working with the body instead of against it is generally a good idea and arguably is a better approach for the fairly common experience of having multiple conditions with related root(s).  All in all if you are interested, research it and experience it – don't blindly believe in any of it, but don't blindly believe those with no experience and no training in the methods or approaches either.

  8. XKCD has debunked Homeopathy more than once.
    See:
    1] http://xkcd.com/765/ and
    2] http://xkcd.com/808/ http://www.explainxkcd.com/2010/
    Saw a video once that used the most famous equation in Physics to justify how a small tablet could pack so much punch http://www.sciencebasedmedicine….

    To cite experiences that I came across, heard the story of how Homeopathic treatment helped bring down elevated levels of blood Urea in quick time for a critical patient, where the surgeon handling the case (who allowed the alternative medicine as just placebo) was surprised, and it helped cure Typhoid in another case. However, these could be anecdotal. And I would be still typically sceptical.

  9. I think this is a fairly thorough answer to the question:

    There is no good quality evidence that homeopathy is an effective treatment for these or any other health conditions. Some practitioners also claim that homeopathy can prevent malaria or other diseases. There is no evidence to support this and no scientifically plausible way that homeopathy can prevent diseases.

    Homeopathy – NHS Choices

    The NHS have recently announced that homeopathy will not be funded under the NHS in the U.K.

    The term which stands out for me is scientifically implausible.

  10. This is from Wikipedia:
         Homeopathy lacks biological plausibility,and the axioms of homeopathy have been refuted for some time. The postulated mechanisms of action of homeopathic remedies are both scientifically implausible and not physically possible. Although some clinical trials produce positive results, systematic reviews reveal that this is because of chance, flawed research methods, and reporting bias.

    I have long been interested in alternative therapies, and was a Founding Member of the American Holistic Medical Association.

    My opinion is just this: medical research has reached epic proportions in the last 50 years. Great minds have practiced medicine during that time, and yet very few have switched to homeopathy.

    For my money, if something helped my patient I would use witchcraft. Yet very few legitimate doctors use homeopathy in their practice.

  11. In one word – YES. It does.

    Several elaborate answers, indeed very well presented, by proponents of both sides of this discussion abound on this forum. In support of their answers, Quorans have quoted from a vast multitude of surveys, studies and a variety of research papers.

    So, I would not like to dwell on quoting any more references in support of my answer. Nor would I like to quote any personal anecdotal evidences, although I have had the good fortune to observe from close quarters several successful as well as not so successful applications of both approaches to healthcare.

    Instead, I would like to invite Quorans, in the true spirit of scientific inquiry, to keep their minds OPEN and inspect the evidences for themselves, analyze for themselves, and then draw appropriate conclusions.

    While drawing the appropriate conclusions, I would also like to draw the attention of all Quorans to some important facts:

    Point 1] Almost every renowned homoeopath, especially among the Founding Fathers, whose tireless efforts unraveled the principles of Homeopathy that guide its practice and application for the alleviation of sickness, right from The Founder of Homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, started life as an “allopath”. Almost each of these eminent persons was a successful practitioner of the prevalent system of medicine. In fact, each was skeptic about homeopathy and was eventually “converted to” homeopathy, most often despite their own prima facie disbelief.

    Quoting the examples of just two of these:
     (i) Samuel Hahnemann was a trained doctor, had a practice, but found himself dissatisfied because a deep analysis of what the “allopathic” approach was doing convinced him that it wasn’t a very rational approach. In fact he was so dissatisfied that he voluntarily gave up a successful practice and retired to doing medical writing, translating books etc for a livelihood, rather than indulge in lancing / bloodletting / use of sudorific substances, etc. That was when he accidentally stumbled upon the principles that form the foundation of Homeopathy.
     (ii) James Tyler Kent was an “allopath” – in fact an “eclectic”, who reluctantly invited a homeopath in his neighborhood for the treatment of his first wife who was dealing with a terminal illness, and who had tried out all possible medications. It was the dramatic relief – much better than any medication hitherto tried that led him to a deeper study of Homeopathy and eventually he became a committed homeopath.

    Point 2] Homeopathy is often discredited as “unscientific” because it is claimed to go against some fundamental Laws of Science, such as Avogadro’s Law etc.

    Homeopathy does not go against Avogadro’s Law. It merely is a case of a situation where it works for reasons that are not apparent to our current understanding. Samuel Hahnemann was himself very well trained in Chemistry in his early years of education, and knew what he was dealing with when he was discovering the Principles of Homeopathy. He was in fact almost a contemporary of Avogadro.

    The sense of disbelief that several people have when it comes to how homeopathy works despite infinitesimal dilutions etc brings to my mind the following analogy.

    Suppose an unlearned simple aboriginal from the deepest interiors of Africa, uninitiated to much of technology, wishes to heat a vessel full of water.

    He knows very well that if he places the vessel on a burning pile of wood, it will obviously get heated – there is no question of not believing this will happen. Allopathic approach is just as obvious and “in front of you”.
    Likewise, if one is suffering from the effects of excess acid secretion in the stomach, ingestion of an alkaline substance will obviously neutralize it – what is there to disbelieve it.
     Now, if this aboriginal is shown a cold refrigerator with the provision to irradiate one section of it with microwaves of suitable frequency and told that if he keeps the water in this freezing cold refrigerator, it will get heated, he will obviously scoff at the idea. He is unaware of the way in which microwaves can cause heat by making molecules of water vibrate to generate heat, he will certainly not “believe” in this approach. If a suitable container to hold the water is provided, he will be even more surprised that the container is cool, but the content is hot. This will go against all his prior experience and knowledge of heat transfer, and he could outright reject this as some “black magic”, etc.
     But let us keep in mind that because he does not know how it works, it does not mean that the water cannot be heated without any actual application of a burning fire.

    Likewise in the case of Homeopathy, there is some subtle healing strength in the medications – it is not so plain and obvious as a chemical whose presence can be demonstrated. but to completely discredit it because we as yet cannot find it is like denying that microwaves can heat water without any visible fire.

    Point 3] When it comes to the double blind scientific trials etc, please keep in mind that by its very nature, Homeopathy is a highly individualized approach to healthcare. So a scientific double blind trial in homeopathy is required to be done in a suitably modified manner, and such trials have overwhelmingly endorsed Homeopathy.

    To understand this, let us see the following example.

    Suppose we wish to study whether a message can be successfully conveyed to a crowd of people.
     If we shout loudly in front of the crowd, it is but obvious that they will hear what message you wished to convey.
     If however you called each person having earphones in place on his mobile handset and conveyed softly and individually to each person the same message, the message would still be conveyed with no apparent and visible to the eyes and ears shouting on your part. BUT, you will have to dial each person’s number individually – you cannot call up on one person’s number and expect that by dialing the same number repeatedly every person will still receive the message.
     Likewise, homeopathic medicines are individualized, need to be fine-tuned for each person separately – the same medicine will not apply as a blanket approach to each person.

    Point 4] Regarding the placebo effect. If the placebo effect was so strong, then it should be all the more strong for “allopathic” medicines – they come as big pills, often bitter, sometimes as injections, etc.
     So should we discredit all “allopathy” as being essentially placebo?
     Please keep in mind that the effects of Homeopathic medicines have been amply clearly demonstrated in
     (i) unconscious patients
     (ii) infant patients
     (iii) disbelieving patients ready to discredit any possible benefit
     (iv) animals
     (v) tissues cultured in laboratories
     NONE of the above can be said to endorse placebo effects.

    Point 5] Finally, regarding the memory of water theory, and other quantum phenomena – Homeopaths have NOT claimed that these ARE the explanation of how homeopathy works. In fact. most homeopaths would find it challenging to understand Quantum Physics.
     These are all POSSIBLE explanations – in the nature of proposed hypothesis / theories that have been put forth by various scientists to suggest possible mechanisms behind the working of Homeopathy.
     A more balanced answer to “How Does Homeopathy Work?” would probably be –

    We do not quite understand this as yet – we hope to do so as we progress – However there is enough evidence to show that it does, Why deny the benefit of its immense curative powers just because we do not understand the underlying mechanisms? That is tantamount to an illiterate person or a child denying the use of a train for travel because he does not know how it operates.

    Wish you all a healthy life!

  12. Does homeopathy work?

    They are as effective as any other placebo – you can get a Voodoo doctor to dance around you and wave some bones – if you believe that will make you better, then it will be just as effective as homeopathy.

  13. We cannot yet explain homeopathy, but it does not mean that it's ineffective:
    http://www.homeopathyeurope.org/

    "There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo"
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubm

    "Some data–both from randomized, controlled trials and laboratory
    research–show effects from homeopathic remedies that contradict the
    contemporary rational basis of medicine. Three independent systematic
    reviews of placebo-controlled trials on homeopathy reported that its
    effects seem to be more than placebo, and one review found its effects
    consistent with placebo. There is also evidence from randomized,
    controlled trials that homeopathy may be effective for the treatment of
    influenza, allergies, postoperative ileus, and childhood diarrhea.
    Evidence suggests that homeopathy is ineffective for migraine,
    delayed-onset muscle soreness, and influenza prevention. There is a lack
     of conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for most
    conditions. Homeopathy deserves an open-minded opportunity to
    demonstrate its value by using evidence-based principles, but it should not be substituted for proven therapies."

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/site

    Homeopathy is cheap so, if there's a chance it actually works, why not use it?  There are very few, if any, adverse reactions.

  14. No.  The mind's will to "believe" can produce interesting results though (AKA the placebo effect).  An interesting take:

    Via  ngpharma.eu.com/news/homeopathy-hard-to-swallow/

  15. Eupatorium perfoliatum = Boneset

    Crotalus horridus = Rattlesnake

    Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine in Primary Health Care: The Brazilian Experience

    http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/35842.pdf

    3. Brazilian experiences with Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine in the Unified Health System (SUS)

    3.1 Homeopathy used in fight against Dengue

    ‘’ The experience of homeopathy to fight Dengue in Brazil was described by two researchers, Marino (2008) in the city of São José do Rio Preto, state of São Paulo and Nunes (2008) in the city of Macaé, state of Rio de Janeiro. Both cities are located in the Southeast, the region with the largest population of the country.

    Marino (2008), described the use of the homeopathic remedy Eupatorium perfoliatum in dilution 30cH in single doses to prevent Dengue fever. The study was conducted in the Cristo Rei area, the neighborhood with the highest incidence of Dengue in São José do Rio Preto in May 2001.

    The remedy was chosen by applying the principles of epidemic genus, considering the symptoms obtained in patients residing in the same neighborhood between March and April 2001 with confirmed diagnosis of Dengue. At the time, 4,850 residents lived in the neighborhood, 1,959 individuals (40.2%) took the homeopathic remedy. After the homeopathic intervention, Dengue incidence decreased by 81.5%, a highly significant decrease as compared with neighborhoods that did not receive homeopathic prophylaxis (p<0.0001). Decrease in the number of cases in the neighborhoods considered between the first period – incidence of Dengue from January 1st to May 4th 2001- and the second period – reported cases from May 5th to December 31st 2001 – dramatically demonstrates the fall inincidence in Cristo Rei area. The author does not examine biases or factors that may have confounded this association.

    Since the experiment conducted in the state of Rio de Janeiro, city of Macaé with complex Eupatorium perfoliatum, Phosphorus and Crotalus horridus – all in dilution 30cH proposed by Marino (2008) could be completed without political and administrative problems. The remedy was prescribed in single doses, 2 drops p.o. for preventio purposes. In symptomatic cases suggesting dengue, the patient received at the public outpatient clinic a 5 ml vial of homeopathic remedy, to take 5 drops p.o. 3 times a day for one week.

    Educational materials were distributed among the population, explaining features of homeopathy: composition of remedies, expected effect, target population, side effects, corresponding legislation, prevention regarding the mosquito and information on the disease and the fluxogram of treatment. Health workers were specifically trained; a “Routine for the assistance of patients suspected of dengue” included a protocol for the use of homeopathy. The estimated population of Macaé was 180,000 inhabitants. 156,000 doses of homeopathic remedy were freely distributed in April and May 2007 to asymptomatic patients and 129 doses to symptomatic patients treated in outpatient clinics. The incidence of the disease in the first three months of 2008 fell 93% by comparison to the corresponding period in 2007, whereas in the rest of the State of Rio de Janeiro there was an increase of 128%. While confounding factors were not controlled for, these results suggest that homeopathy may be an effective adjunct in Dengue outbreak prevention (Nunes, 2008).

    Using these data, a Brazilian pharmaceutical company, registered homeopathic complex Eupatorium perfoliatum, Phosphorus and Crotalus horridus in dilution 30cH developed by Marino (2008) in National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA). Since December 2008, this product can be purchased at pharmacies and drugstores. ‘’

    Homeopathy and Collective Health: The Case of Dengue Epidemics.

    http://www.feg.unesp.br/~ojs/ind

    Contribution of homeopathy to the control of an outbreak of denguein Macaé, Rio de Janeiro.

    http://www.feg.unesp.br/~ojs/ind

    Dengue epidemic: What can we offer? Manchanda RK

    Comparative Clinical Study on the Effectiveness of Homeopathic Combination Remedy with Standard Maintenance Therapy for Dengue Fever.

    http://www.bioline.org.br/pdf?pr13095

    The adoption of homeopathy in small Brazilian dairy farms.

    http://wp.ufpel.edu.br/zooprec/f

    Thailand : Ministry to try homeopathy in Sing Buri to fight dengue – The Nation

    Evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy.

    Wassenhoven

  16. No.  It doesn't work.

    And homeopathy isn't harmless.  It trains people to try useless treatments for serious medical conditions, and avoid real proven treatments.  Homeopaths in general are more likely to reject vaccinations.  It substitutes woo (unfounded or ridiculous ideas) for science.  And, of course, it means that the purveyors of homeopathy are preying on the gullibility of the sick and suffering.

    Homeopathy; what's the harm?

  17. Explain to me how diluting a substance makes it more powerful.

    Here’s an idea!

    Take two spoonfuls of salt and put them in two seperate cups of water. Mix them up.

    Now, do the whole homeopathy thing on ONE cup (Emptying 1/2 of it and replacing it with fresh water).

    Do it a ton of times until it should be “Super powerful” according to homeopathy.

    Now, stir both again. Take a sip of the untouched salt water. Does it taste salty?

    Take a sip of the homeopathic salt water. Does it taste salty? No. It doesn’t.

    Homeopathy is a scam used to take advantage of you.

  18. Homeopathy has no scientific basis. So I don't think it works. It may look like it works in a few cases because of the placebo effect or a reporting bias. Most common ailments go away given enough time. If that time was spent “treating” using homeopathy, homeopathy wrongly gets the credit there.

    On another note, when I was a kid, I used to get conjunctivitis and/or a supposedly fungal infection in my eyes every year without fail. The upper or the lower eyelid would become swollen and slightly painful and I would walk around with a permanent wink for a few days…and then it would go away until next year. One such year, my mother decided it was time to try homeopathy. I went to the “doctor” and got my “medication” – three tiny vials with 100 tiny sugar beads soaked in a tiny amount of alcohol-ish liquid in each. The regimen of having four sugar beads from each vial at an interval of 10 minutes, once every day followed. And voila! The infection was cured in a few days (as I would have expected without intervention). I loved the sugary medication too; it tasted good for some reason ;). The surprising thing was that I never got the infection ever again in the following years. However, I don't think I was cured or that the “medication” made me immune. Just that, something happened and I never went though it again. Maybe, I really was a slob at washing my eyes when I was a teenager. Maybe, the fungus loved kids under a certain age only. I would probably never know. But I am happy I didn't catch it again.

  19. So what exactly is the question, does homeopathy work as a medical(ish) treatment or do homeopathic compounds have biologic activity?   The doctors at MD Anderson don't care what anyone thinks and settled the second part of this with a study using breast cancer cells and homeopathic medicines/compounds in a dilution which you all say has no actual stuff in it.  Guess what?  The answer they got was yes it does.  And since they were using breast cancer cells and not people, there is no placebo affect.  Just because it doesn't make sense, doesn't mean the results aren't valid and since the results were published in a peer reviewed journal means the study and results were vetted by people with more expertise than anyone in this forum. 
    Cytotoxic effects of ultra-diluted remedies on b… [Int J Oncol. 2010]
    Certainly the following studies show benefit and as such negate the statements that there has never been a study which shows positive results.
    Treatment of acute childhood diarrhea with homeop… [Pediatrics. 1994]
    Homeopathic combination remedy in th… [J Altern Complement Med. 2006]
    And both were DBRC (double blind randomized controlled). 
      Apparently in this forum not looking for positive results is taken as meaning there has never been such a study (since I have been called to task for this by members of this community following the principles of "Myth Busters" being-"If we can't do it, it can't be done-regardless of how many times it has been done"). 
    And while not really an argument for homeopathy, if the MD's and DO's and other experts are going to pooh pooh homeopathy for "placebo" effect, low back pain, colds, ear infections, IBS, depression are all conditions which get more placebo treatment than real treatment.  The biggest placebo (or at least most intensive) was done by the VA which showed most knee surgeries (to "clean up arthritis") was BS and was wasting time, money and endangering pts. 
    So any doctor who prescribes antibiotics for a viral infection and has an issue with homeopathy as a placebo is really a hypocrite. 
    And lastly for all those super knowledgeable in the field of scientific studies that prove something doesn't work, you can't prove a negative.  Medical studies are  awash in results which prove the results that were looked for, so if there are any which meet the criteria they should be listed as "some studies have suggested a benefit but have not been reproduced in larger scale studies" otherwise one is looking for stuff which support only the author's position. 
    Being lazy or biased has no place in legitimate discussion as this site is purported to have.

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