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Homeopathy:Proven Alternative Medicine Or A Placebo

Jun 27, 2008
Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician disenchanted with these methods, began to develop a theory based on three principles: the law of similars, the minimum dose, and the single remedy.The word homeopathy is derived from the Greek words for like (homoios) and suffering (pathos). With the law of similars, Hahnemann theorized that if a large amount of a substance causes certain symptoms in a healthy person, smaller amounts of the same substance can treat those symptoms in someone who is ill.

The basis of his theory took shape after a strong dose of the malaria treatment quinine caused his healthy body to develop symptoms similar to ones caused by the disease. He continued to test his theory on himself as well as family and friends with different herbs, minerals and other substances. He called these experiments "provings."

As we might expect, the intensity of the symptoms caused by the original proving was harrowing. So Hahnemann began decreasing the doses to see how little of a substance could still produce signs of healing. With the minimum dose, or law of infinitesimals, Hahnemann believed that a substance strength and effectiveness increased the more it was diluted.

Minuscule doses were prepared by repeatedly diluting the active ingredient by factors of 10. A "6X" preparation (the X is the Roman numeral for 10) is a 1-to-10 dilution repeated six times, leaving the active ingredient as one part per million. Essential to the process of increasing potency while decreasing the actual amount of the active ingredient is vigorous shaking after each dilution.

Some homeopathic remedies are so dilute, no molecules of the healing substance remain. Even with sophisticated technology now available, analytical chemists may find it difficult or impossible to identify any active ingredient. But the homeopathic belief is that the substance has left its imprint or a spirit-like essence that stimulates the body to heal itself.

Critics of homeopathy point out that no way such a dilute medicine could work. People are feeling better because of the placebo effect. Critics also say the research in homeopathy is very unimpressive. Proponents of homeopathy point out to numerous trials that have been successful.

Recent homeopathic trials include a trial done by A Swiss-UK review of 110 trials found no convincing evidence the treatment worked any better than a placebo. However, there seems to be many problems with this type of trail.

The University of Limberg investigators, who are all epidemiologists, found 107 controlled studies in homeopathy. Most of these studies did not meet the research standard that they were looking for. However, 22 trials meet their strict criteria. The researchers used trials with a large number of people, double blind studies where neither physician or participant knew who was receiving the remedy or the placebo and a random assignment of patients in a treatment group.

Of the 22 trials, 15 were in the favor of Homeopathy working better than a placebo. The other 7 trials showed Homeopathy working equivalent to a placebo. This is almost a 2 to 1 ratio of successful homeopathic trials to unsuccessful studies.
About the Author
Sanjib Sarkar is a content writer for Hmedicine.com
Hmedicine.com offers a vast selection of
homeopathy information to the public. You can visit our homeopathic remedies store for more information.

Referenced article below
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0815/is_n143_v16/ai_10684564/pg_1
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