- Alternative & Natural Medicine
The Myth of Homeopathic Medicine
The Origins of Homeopathy
Although Hippocrates may have been the first to exercise a homeopathic principle in 400 B.C., the term itself does not appear in medical literature until 1807 when it was coined by Samuel Hahnehmenn. It is helpful to consider that bloodletting and the administration of Venice Treacle (of mixture of potent drugs and toxins) was also included in the medical literature of the time.
Hahnemenn began to establish his theory of homeopoathy and it's underlying tenets while translating the writings of William Cullen, a Scottish physician.
The basis principles of Homeopathy are as follows;
1. Like cures like. In other words administering a compound that cause the symptoms complained up will cure the symptoms.
2. The more dilute the concentration of the "active ingredient," in a solutions is made the more potent the solution's apothecary value becomes.
3. These dilute solutions produce therapeutic vibrations that can be passed to untreated water and thus make this water also medicinal.
Why homeopathy is a Waste of Money
Examining just the first principle of homeopathy shows it to be fallacious. There is no evidence that introducing something into the immune system that provokes the symptoms complained of will lead to a long term amelioration of said symptoms.
Secondly even if we were to grant this, (which I am not) we must consider the level of dilutions with which Homeopathy deals. A typical solution available at any drug store, is diluted to one part in 1x10^1,500. Avogadro's number ( 6.02214129(27)×1023 mol−1) states that there is only a chance of a single atom or molecule of the origin solvent (active ingredient) in a solution once it has been to the point of Approximately 6X10^23. A homeopathic solution is dilute around 1,477 more than this and with each of these successive dilutions the probability of the solution containing one molecule or atom of the active ingredient is reduced by 1/10.
An analogy to help understand this level of dilution is helpful. If an active ingredient, the size of a grain of rice, was diluted in a vat of water the size of our solar stem and then that solution was diluted in the same manner 2 Billion times we would be very close to the level of dilution that homeopathic "medicine" is subjected to.
And so the plain fact is that every homeopathic medicine you buy is purely water if in a aqueous solution or inert fillers if in a pill or capsule form. The fact that these products are sold at nearly all major pharmacies (of course over the counter) alongside actual medicine at a price far higher than many actual medicines testifies to the overwhelming power of the placebo effect.
A Consistent Track Record of Clinical Failure
From the Nazi scientist Paul Ulrich Unschuld, to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 which declared homeopathic solutions to be drugs, to the financial incentives that encouraged pharmacies to market Homeopathic solutions as real medicine in the 1990s, not a single properly controlled double blind study has determined homeopathic solutions to be any more effective than pure water or sugar pill placebos.
Based on long demolished scientific precepts, the new age appeal of Homeopathic solutions seems to convince consumers of their effectiveness by speaking of nebulous scientific sounding terms like, "quantum vibrations." This is of course simply a ploy that uses jargon from emerging scientific theories like Quantum Theory, and then perverts the meanings of the terms and principles upon which these sciences are based in order to attain something that ostensibly sound like ultra modern breakthroughs and consequently like plausible treatments. The opportunistic practitioners of homeopathy and the companies that produce homeopathic solutions are responsible for the needless pain and suffering of many children and credulous adults who believe they are providing themselves and their loved one's with real medicine when in fact they are only paying for very expensive water and sugar pills.