Homeopathic Medicine – Background
Homeopathy is a personalized approach to treating imbalances and disease with highly diluted medicines. These aim to trigger the body’s natural healing ability and the remedy prescribed will be individualized to the patient.
Homeopathy is based on the principal that “like treats like”. What this means is that a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses can also be used in diluted amounts to treat the same symptoms. For example, excessive consumption of coffee can result in nervousness, irritability and insomnia. According to the principal of “like cures like” coffee in its homeopathic dilution can treat insomnia, irritability and nervousness. This principal can be seen in pharmaceutical therapy as well. The drug methylphenidate (Ritalin) is used to treat people with Attention deficit disorder. It is a strong stimulant and if taken in large quantities by healthy people, produces ADHD like symptoms. True homeopathic remedies however are ultra diluted non-toxic medicines.
Development of Homeopathic Medicine
Though the principle of treating “like with like” dates back to Hippocrates (460-377BC), homeopathy in its current form was discovered by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann. Hahnemann disagreed with the harsh medical practices of the day (which included blood-letting, purging and the use of poisons such as arsenic) and was interested in finding a safer yet effective alternative. He began experimenting on himself and a group of healthy volunteers, giving smaller and smaller doses of current medications. Hahnemann found fewer side effects and noted the medicines actually appeared to be more effective with lower doses.
While the exact science of how homeopathy works is still under investigation, clinical results and carefully controlled lab studies show that homeopathic medicines are biologically active.
Evidence Base For Homeopathic Medicine – The Society of Homeopaths
Although many scientists and doctors scoff at homeopathy it seems many of them have simply chosen to ignore the available research. By the end of 2009, there were 142 randomized controlled trials (gold standard in medical research) published in peer-reviewed journals comparing homeopathy with placebo or conventional treatment. Please email me if you would like a copy of this research.
Seventy-four out of the 142 were able to draw firm conclusions (that it definitely worked or it definitely didn’t work). Sixty-three out of the 74 showed a clear benefit of homeopathy while only 11 did not. There have been 5 major systemic reviews on homeopathy, 4 of which were positive (Kleijnen, J, et al; Linde, K, et al; Linde, K, et al; Cucherat, M, et al).
The bottom line is that even though we don’t know exactly how homeopathy works, homeopathic medicines are safe, non-toxic and can be used on even the smallest or most frail patients, usually with good clinical results.