Opinions

Cottle on Homeopathy

Publication YearIssue Date 

The campaign known as 10:23 has been gaining popularity in its anti-homeopathic agenda. This campaign, created to raise awareness of the supposed falsity of homeopathy, was formed by a non-profit organization called the Merseyside Skeptics Society of Liverpool.

They believe that homeopathy is a form of quackery and that pharmacies are misleading people by selling these remedies.

This cynicism fails to critically consider homeopathy.

German physicist Samuel Hahnemann created homeopathy 200 years ago. Disillusioned by the leaches and purging in widespread use which did just as much harm as good, Hahnemann retired as village doctor out of a sense of duty to his patients. He resolved to investigate the problems concerning the practice of medicine by embarking on research and translation of medical documents.

Hahnemann discovered that some herbal medicines caused symptoms similar to the diseases they treated. For instance, cinchona -- peruvian bark -- treats malaria, but also mimics symptoms of malaria when taken by healthy people. This principle of 'like' cures developed into the "law of similars," the cornerstone of homeopathic medicine.

Ingesting substances to experience their effects, Hahnemann learned that the substances often produced toxic effects, so he began to explore dilutions.

After much exploration, Hahnemann specified that one must 'succus' the remedies through vigorous mixing in addition to his dilutions, rendering many of his remedies absent of the original pharmacologically active compounds.

To a medical sceptic, homeopathy has all the makings of a fraudulent pseudoscience, yet it is the second most widely used medicine in the world after herbal medicine.

Many people, particularily the advocates of 10:23, dismiss homeopathy as being no more than a placebo, as if such a claim was enough to prove it wrong. It is true that our present science has failed to shed substantial light onto the workings of homeopathy, but that again doesn't prove it wrong. New advances in scientific exploration are happening every day. Who is to say homeopathy doesn't contain scientific mysteries yet to be discovered? The fact of the matter is that many people use homeopathy and it is an inexplicable boon to their bodies. Whether that boon was placebic or beyond the comprehension of present science is shadowed by the marked effect in many peoples' well-being.

Doctors have traditionally taken the hippocratic oath -- "primum non nocere," first do no harm. 10:23 says that homeopaths cause harm by replacing doctors as sources of medical advice. With 106,000 deaths per year in America alone, attributed to improperly prescribed drugs, it's no wonder people choose homeopathy, which has caused no deaths to date.

In an era where it is too easy to be cynical and dismissive, we fail give many things the attention they deserve. Homeopathy has increased the well-being of many people, and still deserves our serious consideration.

Tags: 

Section: 

Issue: 

Comments

This isn\'t about \"not understanding why homeopathy works therefor it must be a placebo\". This is about the fact that unlike any real medicine out there, homeopathy fails to produce ANY results beyond placebo, regardless of wether or not we understand its workings.

And for a medicine 200 years old to not have an explanation for what\'s going on, I say it\'s pretty dubious. In science new things are discovered everyday while homeopathy has failed to make any progress.

The homeopathic field has done a lousy job of making their clinical study results available to the masses. In truth, there are dozens upon dozens of clinical studies proving the efficacy of homeopathic medications. A product called Traumeel has over 15 clinical studies alone, nearly all of them proving it is much more effective than a placebo at speeding up the healing process. Most of these studies take place in Europe and South America, therefore rarely reaching the United States. Google it, you will find a wealth of information reinforcing the legitimacy of homeopathic medications.

Thisguy makes the usual sweeping unscientific statement that so many of the sceptic cabal make\' homeopathy fails to produce ANY results beyond placebo,. His statement is simply false. One positive trial would be enough to logically counter his absolutist statement but there are in fact a number high quality trials that show results beyond placebo.There are others that don\'t of course but one positive example is enough to counter his extreme statement.

Oh sure let\'s all use homeopathic medicine. But one of the key ideas is that the greater the dilution the more effective it becomes. For homeopathy to work we\'d have to throw out the laws of physics, water has a memory that can remember what has been in it? Right. Pull the other one, it has bells on.

In the words of Tim Minchin: \"Water has memory! And though its memory of a long lost drop of onion juice seems infinite, it somehow forgets all the poo it\'s had in it.\"

Just think of that the next time you take your dose of water looking for a cure. How powerful that dinosaur dung must be by now.

\"10:23 says that homeopaths cause harm by replacing doctors as sources of medical advice.\"

This is not a percieved issue, it\'s something people have actually died from. Your assertion that no one has died from homeopathy is a lie.

This website: whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html
Cronicals the very real damages of homeopathy. They estimate that 368,379 people have been killed, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages have been done.

It\'s also worth noting that these numbers are probably much lower than the actual effect homeopathy has. Unlike the conventional medical establishment, homeopaths are not held accountable to establish the number of deaths or injuries caused by malpractice/inadequate care.

To put a human face on the situation, here is a story of a baby girl who died a horrible death in excrusiating pain because her parents did not seek medical help for her condition and instead opted for homeopathy. Proper medical intervention had a 100% chance of saving her life.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/parents-guilty-of-manslaughter-over-daughters-eczema-death-20090605-bxvx.html