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Homeopathy: Myths and Facts

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Homeopathy: Myths and Facts

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Questions about the effectiveness of homeopathy have been raised by many. This article discusses various myths surrounding homeopathy versus the facts.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At December 23, 2017
Reviewed AtMarch 14, 2024

Introduction:

Homeopathy is an alternative therapeutic system of medicine that has been in use since the 18th century, and it is otherwise known as homeopathic medicine. Homeopathy is hailed as the second-largest system of healing in the world. Though it is a widely used therapeutic system, it is still plagued with various misconceptions. Most of these misconceptions are put forth by the non-medical or non-homeopathic community without understanding the facts and science behind them.

What Is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine that is based on two unconventional theories:

  • "Like cures like," meaning disease can be cured with a substance that can produce similar symptoms in a healthy individual.

  • Secondly, the "Law of minimum dose" means the lower the dose of the medication, the greater the effectiveness. Usually, most homeopathic products are diluted such that no molecules of the original substance remain.

Homeopathic medicines are usually in the form of sugar pellets that need to be placed under the tongue. It also comes in various other forms like ointments, gels, creams, drops, and tablets. Most often, the treatment is individualized to each person. In homeopathy, it is very common for people with the same and similar conditions to receive different treatments.

In What All Conditions Homeopathy Can Be Used?

Homeopathic medicine is employed across a wide spectrum of health conditions, including chronic ailments such as allergies, migraines, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome. It can also address minor issues like bruises, scrapes, toothaches, headaches, nausea, coughs, and colds.

However, it is crucial to avoid using homeopathic remedies for life-threatening conditions such as cancer, asthma, and heart disease, or during emergencies. Additionally, homeopathic products should not be substituted for vaccines, as there is no scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of homeopathic "nosodes" as vaccine alternatives.

What Is the Mechanism Behind Its Functioning?

Homeopathy operates on the principle of "like cures like," using diluted substances that mimic symptoms to stimulate the body's natural healing mechanisms. Homeopaths prepare remedies by diluting substances like red onion or poison ivy and believe that shaking them transfers healing properties. Remedies come in various forms and are tailored based on individual symptoms.

What Are the Potential Dangers or Drawbacks?

The FDA regulates homeopathic remedies but does not verify their safety or efficacy. While most are highly diluted and safe, some can contain potent ingredients like heavy metals, posing risks. Consult the doctor before trying homeopathic treatments.

What Are the Commonly Faced Myths And Facts About Homeopathy?

Despite homeopathy being the second largest system of treatment in the world, there are still many myths regarding homeopathy.

Myth 1: Homeopathy pills are nothing but placebo pills (inactive pills with no therapeutic effect).

Fact 1: Homeopathy has been practiced for the last 200 years in 175 countries. So, if one thinks this way, that is nothing but ignorance. The support for homeopathy is growing among the people as it works for them.

Myth 2: Homeopathy works slowly.

Fact 2: Although the remedies work for everyone, how long it takes generally depends on the individual to be treated. If they present with clear indications, then the result will be seen in minutes or hours. So, this is not true. Homeopathy can cure acute cases like diarrhea, fever, and infections as quickly as conventional medicine.

Myth 3: Homeopathic medicine is herbal therapy.

Fact 3: There are innumerable sources from which homeopathic medicines are prepared, for example, plant sources, animal sources, minerals sources, nosodes, sarcodes, etc. It is not purely herbal.

Myth 4: Homeopathic medicines contain steroids.

Fact 4: Nothing is farther from the truth. Non-allopathic doctors cannot prescribe steroids in any form. Moreover, homeopathic medicines are prepared from natural sources like plants or minerals and do not contain any chemicals or steroids.

Myth 5: Homeopathy is black magic.

Fact 5: Homeopathy is a science that is accepted based on the results of various clinical trials performed on healthy human beings. However, the principles of cure are very different from those of conventional medicine. In conventional medicine, opposites are believed to cure, whereas, in homeopathy, it is based on 'like cures like.'

Myth 6: In the homeopathic system, we do not require diagnostic help.

Fact 6: Diagnosis helps a lot in prescribing the correct medicine. So, it is a helping tool in the hands of a homeopath. Even though not always, sometimes few investigations might be recommended in certain cases to confirm the diagnosis, assess prognosis, select medicine or potency, or monitor the effectiveness of treatment.

Myth 7: Homeopathy aggravates the condition first.

Fact 7: In cases of suppression, we do get aggravation with the medicine, but it is only for the time being and not seen in every case.

Myth 8: Homeopathy can help avoid surgery.

Fact 8: Homeopathy may indeed prevent going under the knife for various conditions treated by surgery in conventional medicine. But, in pure surgical cases, we are required to go ahead with the surgery. Of course, it can assist with preoperative care and quick recovery in surgical cases.

Myth 9: Homeopathy cannot be used to treat acute conditions.

Fact 9: Homeopathy is known to be a great alternative in treating acute illnesses like fever, cold, tonsillitis, and sinusitis. Researchers have stated that homeopathic medicine is given at the initial stages, and it gives effective relief for the condition. And when given in acute conditions, it gives instant relief from the symptoms.

Myth 10: Homeopathy can be dangerous when used with other conventional treatments.

Fact 10: In most cases, patients who seek homeopathy are already on some form of treatment for other medical conditions like hypertension or diabetes. There is no need to discontinue the medications as homeopathy and other conventional drugs act at different molecular levels within the body.

Myth 11: A good certified medicine should have an expiry date printed on it.

Fact 11: It is not true homeopathic medicines do not have an expiry date. They are prepared with a certain amount of alcohol mixed in them to preserve them. For better and more effective results, homeopathic medicines are suggested to be stored in dark-colored bottles.

Myth 12: Homeopathic medicines do not have any side effects.

Fact 12: Homeopathic medicines can cause side effects when the medicine is taken more than the prescribed dose due to negligence or thinking of it to be a placebo. Anything, when taken more than required, can be harmful. T

Conclusion:

Homeopathic medicines are developed from natural sources are made under strict standardization guidelines, and are thoroughly assessed for quality and effectiveness before they are brought into the market. Most of the criticisms are brought by the non-medical and non-homeopathic community without understanding the facts and theories behind them. So it is always better to attempt to understand the facts about homeopathic medicine by consulting a homeopath.

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Dr. Siddiqui Adnan Reyaz Ahmed
Dr. Siddiqui Adnan Reyaz Ahmed

Homeopathy

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