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Homeopathy: coined in German from Greek hómoios-ὅμοιος- "like-" + páthos πάθος "suffering" Oxford English Dictionary
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/ˌhoʊmiˈɒpəθi/ (also spelled homoeopathy or homœopathy) is a form
of alternative medicine in which practitioners claim to treat patients using highly diluted preparations that are believed to cause healthy people to exhibit symptoms that are similar to those exhibited by the patient. The collective weight of scientificevidence has found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo. In the context of homeopathy, the term remedy is used to refer to a substance which has been prepared with a particular procedure and intended for patient use; it is not to be confused with the
generally accepted use of the word, which means "a medicine or therapy that cures disease or relieves pain". The basic principle of homeopathy, known as the "law of similars", is "let like be cured by like." This was first stated by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, and is not a true law of nature.
Homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution with shaking by forceful striking on an elastic
body, which homeopaths term succussion. Each dilution followed by succussion is assumed to increase the effectiveness. Homeopaths call this process potentization. Dilution often continues until none of the original substance remains. Apart from the symptoms, homeopaths examine aspects of the patient's physical and psychological state, then homeopathic reference books known as repertories are consulted, and a remedy is selected based on the totality of symptoms. While some individual studies have positive results, systematic reviews of published trials fail to demonstrate efficacy. Furthermore, higher quality trials tend to report results that are less positive, and most positive studies have not been replicated or show methodological problems that prevent them from being considered unambiguous evidence of homeopathy's efficacy. Depending on the dilution, homeopathic remedies may not contain any pharmacologically active molecules,and for such remedies to have pharmacological effect would violate fundamental principles of science.Modern homeopaths have proposed that water has a memory that allows homeopathic preparations to work without any of the original substance; however, there are no verified observations nor scientifically plausible physical mechanisms for such a phenomenon. The lack of convincing scientific evidence to support homeopathy's efficacy and its use of remedies lacking active ingredients have caused homeopathy to be described as pseudoscience, quackery,
and a "cruel deception".
Oral homeopathic remedies are safe at the high dilutions recommended by Hahnemann, since they likely contain no molecules of the original substance, but they may not be safe at lower dilutions.
Homeopathy has been criticized for putting patients at risk due to advice againstconventional
medicine such as vaccinations, anti-malarial drugs, and antibiotics. The regulation and prevalence of homeopathy is highly variable from country to country. There are no specific legal regulations concerning its use in some countries, while in others, licenses or degrees in conventional medicine from accredited universities are required. In several countries, homeopathy is covered by the national insurance to different extents, while in some it is fully integrated into the national healthcare system. In many countries, the laws that govern the regulation and testing of conventional drugs do not apply to homeopathic remedies.
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1 Philosophy 1.1 Law of similars 1.2 Miasms and disease 2 Remedies 2.1 Preparation 2.2 Dilutions 2.3 Provings 2.4 Physical, mental, and emotional state examination; Repertories 2.5 Homeopathic pills 2.6 "Active" ingredients 3 Related practices 3.1 Isopathy 3.2 Flower remedies 3.3 Veterinary use 3.4 Electrohomeopathy 4 Evidence 4.1 High dilutions 4.2 Effectiveness 4.3 Meta-analyses 4.4 Effects in other biological systems 4.5 Methodological and publication issues 4.6 Ethics and safety 5 Regulation and prevalence 6 History 6.1 Historical context 6.2 Hahnemann's concept 6.3 19th century: rise to popularity and early criticism 6.4 Revival in the late 20th century 7 Footnotes 8 References 9 External links
9.1 Videos 9.2 Associations
A homeopathic remedy prepared from marsh tea. The "15C" dilution shown here exceeds theAvogadro constant so contains no trace of the original herb.
Homeopathy is a vitalist philosophy that interprets diseases and sickness as caused by disturbances in a hypothetical vital force or life force. It sees these disturbances as manifesting themselves as unique symptoms. Homeopathy maintains that the vital force has the ability to react and adapt to internal and external causes, which homeopaths refer to as the law of susceptibility. The law of susceptibility implies that a negative state of mind can attract hypothetical disease entities called miasms to invade the body and produce symptoms of diseases. However, Hahnemann rejected the notion of a disease as a separate thing or invading entity and insisted that it was always part of the "living whole".Hahnemann proposed homeopathy in reaction to the state of traditional western medicine at that time, which often was brutal and more harmful than helpful. Hahnemann coined the expression "allopathic medicine," which was used to pejoratively refer to traditional western medicine.
Law of similars
Hahnemann observed from his experiments with cinchona bark, used as a treatment for malaria, that the effects he experienced from ingesting the bark were similar to the symptoms of malaria. He therefore decided that cure proceeds through similarity, and that treatments must be able to produce symptoms in healthy individuals similar to those of the disease being treated. Through further experiments with other substances, Hahnemann conceived of the law of similars, otherwise known as "let like be cured by like" (Latin: similia similibus curentur) as a fundamental healing principle. He believed that by using drugs to induce symptoms, the artificial symptoms would stimulate the vital force, causing it to neutralise and expel the original disease and that this artificial disturbance would naturally subside when the dosing ceased. It is based on the belief that a substance that in large doses will produce symptoms of a specific disease will, in extremely small doses, cure it. Hahnemann's law of similars is an ipse dixit axiom, in other words an unproven assertion made by Hahnemann, and not a true law of nature.
Miasms and disease
In 1828, Hahnemann introduced the concept of miasms; underlying causes for many known diseases.
A miasm is often defined by homeopaths as an imputed "peculiar morbid derangement of [the] vital
force". Hahnemann associated each miasm with specific diseases, with each miasm seen as the root cause of several diseases. According to Hahnemann, initial exposure to miasms causes local symptoms, such as skin or venereal diseases, but if these symptoms are suppressed by medication, the cause goes deeper and begins to manifest itself as diseases of the internal organs. Homeopathy maintains that treating diseases by directly opposing their symptoms, as is sometimes done in conventional medicine, is ineffective because all "disease can generally be traced to some latent, deep-seated, underlying chronic, or inherited tendency". The underlying imputed miasm still remains, and deep-seated ailments can be corrected only by removing the deeper disturbance of the vital force. Hahnemann originally presented only three miasms, of which the most important was "psora" (Greek for itch), described as being related to any itching diseases of the skin, supposed to be derived from suppressed scabies, and claimed to be the foundation of many further disease conditions. Hahnemann believed psora to be the cause of such diseases as epilepsy, cancer, jaundice, deafness, and cataracts. Since Hahnemann's time, other miasms have been proposed, some replacing one or more of psora's proposed functions, including tubercularmiasms and cancer miasms. Hahnemann's miasm theory remains disputed and controversial within homeopathy even in modern times. In 1978, Anthony Campbell, then a consultant physician at The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, criticised statements by George Vithoulkas claiming that syphilis, when treated with antibiotics, would develop into secondary and tertiary syphilis with involvement of the central nervous system. This conflicts with scientific studies, which indicate that penicillin treatment produces a complete cure of syphilis in more than 90% of cases. Campbell described this as "a thoroughly irresponsible statement that could mislead an unfortunate layman into refusing orthodox treatment". The theory of miasms has been criticized as an explanation developed by Hahnemann to preserve the system of homeopathy in the face of treatment failures, and for being inadequate to cover the many hundreds of sorts of diseases, as well as for failing to explain disease predispositions as well as genetics, environmental factors and the unique disease history of each patient.
See also: List of homeopathic preparations
known asimponderables because they do not originate from a material but from electromagnetic energypresumed to have been "captured" by alcohol or lactose. and synthetic substances in its remedies. A homeopathic Materia medica is a collection of "drug pictures". Opium. A homeopathic repertory is an index of disease symptoms that lists remedies associated with specific symptoms. and respiratory discharges. derived from poison ivy. blood. Homeopathy uses many animal. “Remedy” is a technical term in homeopathy that refers to a substance which has been prepared with a particular procedure and intended for patient use.000 different remedies commonly used in homeopathy. and Thyroidinum (thyroid hormone). Today there are about 3. disease) made from diseased or pathological products such as fecal. plant.” that describes the symptom patterns associated with individual remedies. and tissue. Some modern homeopaths have considered more esoteric bases for remedies. which means "a medicine or therapy that cures disease or relieves pain".Homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron.  Homeopathic practitioners rely on two types of reference when prescribing remedies:Materia medica and repertories.  Homeopathic remedies prepared from healthy specimens are calledsarcodes. Natrum muriaticum (sodium chloride or table salt). it is not to be confused with the generally accepted use of the word. Examples include Xrays andsunlight. organised alphabetically by “remedy. These includepaper remedies. mineral. Examples include Arsenicum album (arsenic oxide). Lachesis muta (the venom of the bushmaster snake). where the substance and dilution are written on a piece . Homeopaths also use treatments called nosodes (from the Greek nosos. urinary.  Some homeopaths also use techniques that are regarded by other practitioners as controversial.
 A 6C dilution repeats this process six times. He therefore specified that the substances be diluted. and verging upon magic and superstition.000 parts of the solution. into homeopathic remedies. A 2C dilution requires a substance to be diluted to one part in one hundred. or placed under a glass of water that is then given to the patient. This works out to one part of the original substance in 10. Hahnemann had a saddle-maker construct a special wooden striking board covered in leather on one side and stuffed with horsehair.of paper and either pinned to the patient's clothing. In producing remedies for diseases. speculative.  Hahnemann advocated using substances that produce symptoms like those of the disease being treated. such as quartz and oyster shell. Hahnemann believed that the succussion activated the vital energy of the diluted substance and made it stronger. including quartz and oyster shells. put in their pocket. Hahnemann created thecentesimal or C scale. diluting a substance by a factor of 100 at each stage. but found that material doses intensified the symptoms and exacerbated the condition. Preparation Mortar and pestle used for grinding insoluble solids. sometimes causing dangerous toxic reactions. ending up with the original material diluted by a factor of . To facilitate succussion. and then some of that diluted solution diluted by a further factor of one hundred. as well as the use of radionics to prepare remedies. are diluted by grinding them with lactose (trituration). The centesimal scale was favored by Hahnemann for most of his life. Dilutions Main article: Homeopathic dilutions Three logarithmic potency scales are in regular use in homeopathy. Insoluble solids. Such practices have been strongly criticised by classical homeopaths as unfounded. homeopaths use a process called dynamisation orpotentisation whereby a substance is diluted with alcohol or distilled water and then vigorously shaken by ten hard strikes against an elastic body in a process called succussion.
Some homeopaths developed a decimal scale (D or X).000. sugar or alcohol). Hahnemann never used this scale but it was very popular throughout the 19th century and still is in Europe. Higher dilutions follow the same pattern. "12X" is the same level of dilution as "6C". In homeopathy. diluting the substance to ten times its original volume each stage. for example. i. In the last ten years of his .000.e.000. This bottle contains arnica montana(wolf's bane) D6. and more dilute substances are considered by homeopaths to be stronger and deeper-acting remedies. The D or X scale dilution is therefore half that of the same value of the C scale. This potency scale appears to have been introduced in the 1830s by the American homeopath. In Hahnemann's time it was reasonable to assume that remedies could be diluted indefinitely. as the concept of the atom or molecule as the smallest possible unit of a chemical substance was just beginning to be recognized. The end product is often so diluted that it is indistinguishable from the dilutant (pure water.000). Constantine Hering. a solution that is more dilute is described as having a higher potency.  Hahnemann advocated 30C dilutions for most purposes (that is.100−6=10−12 (one part in one trillion or 1/1. dilution by a factor of 1060). the nominal dilution is one part in a million (10-6). The greatest dilution that is reasonably likely to contain even one molecule of the original substance is 12C.
1X = D1. the 30C solution would probably contain no molecules of water that had come into contact with the original substance. 2X = D2. A given dilution on the Q scale is roughly 2.35 times its designation on the C scale. since even in a 15C solution there would very likely be no molecules of the original substance left. D6 3C 10−6 8X. . D8 4C 10−8 allowable concentration of arsenic in U. D24 12C 10−24 Has a 60% probability of containing one molecule of original material if one mole of the original substance was used. D60 30C 10−60 Dilution advocated by Hahnemann for most purposes. D400 200C 10−400 Dilution of popular homeopathic flu remedy Oscillococcinum Note: the "X scale" is also called "D scale".000 parts of diluent.life. Hahnemann also developed a quintamillesimal (Q) or LM scale diluting the drug 1 part in 50.S. drinking water 12X. D12 6C 10−12 24X. For example a remedy described as "20Q" has about the same concentration as a "47C" remedy. or 1034 gallons of liquid remedy (10 billion times the volume of the Earth) to consume a single molecule of the original substance Moreover. etc. 60X. patient would need to consume 1041 pills (a billion times the mass of the Earth). 400X. X C Scale. D1 — 1:10 described as low potency 2X. D2 1C 1:100 called higher potency than 1X by homeopaths 6X. Ratio Scale D Scale Note Ø Ø 1:1 mother tincture (undiluted) 1X.
Oscillococcinum would thus require 10320 more universes to simply have one molecule in the final substance. The method used for determining which remedies were suitable for specific diseases was called proving. Provings Hahnemann experimented on himself and others for several years before using remedies on patients. The volunteers were observed for months at a time and made to keep extensive . rarely going beyond "12X". a dilution of one molecule in the observable universe would be about 40C. Some products with such relatively lower dilutions continue to be sold. Dilution debate Not all homeopaths advocate extremely high dilutions. after the original German word Prüfung. At first Hahnemann used material doses for provings. and the resulting symptoms were compiled by observers into a drug picture. but like their counterparts.Hahnemann is reported to have joked that a suitable procedure to deal with an epidemic would be to empty a bottle of poison into Lake Geneva. Another example given by a critic of homeopathy states that a 12C solution is equivalent to a "pinch of salt in both the North and South Atlantic Oceans". miasms and a spiritual interpretation of disease. because he thought that the most similar remedy. by virtue of its ability to induce symptoms similar to the disease itself. Those favoring low dilutions stressed pathology and a strong link to conventional medicine.Critics and advocates of homeopathy alike commonly attempt to illustrate the dilutions involved in homeopathy with analogies. while those favoring high dilutions emphasised vital force. As there are only about 1080 atoms in the entire observable universe. they have not been conclusively demonstrated to have any effect beyond that of a placebo. sick people were excluded from these experiments. meaning "test". A popular homeopathic treatment for the flu is a 200C dilution of duck liver. His experiments did not initially consist of giving remedies to the sick. The high dilutions characteristically used are often considered to be the most controversial and implausible aspect of homeopathy. Hahnemann administered remedies to healthy volunteers. but he later advocated proving with remedies at a 30C dilution. which is approximately correct. would make it impossible to determine which symptoms came from the remedy and which from the disease itself. The split between lower and higher dilutions followed ideological lines. and most modern provings are carried out using ultradilute remedies in which it is highly unlikely that any of the original molecules remain. Therefore.  One third of a drop of some original substance diluted into all the water on earth would produce a remedy with a concentration of about 13C. A homeopathic proving is the method by which the profile of a homeopathic remedy is determined. if it could be succussed 60 times. marketed under the name Oscillococcinum. Many of the early homeopaths were originally doctors and generally used lower dilutions such as "3X" or "6X". During the proving process.
evidence that nitroglycerin might be useful as a treatment for angina was discovered by looking through homeopathic provings. or wine for the duration of the experiment. For James Tyler Kent's 1905Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica. After the experiments were over. systematic and quantitative procedures. their life circumstances and any physical or emotional illnesses. Provings have been described as important in the development of the clinical trial. playing chess was also prohibited because Hahnemann considered it to be "too exciting". They were forbidden from consuming coffee. Repertories Homeopathic repertory by James Tyler Kent. at which time he would interrogate them extensively concerning their symptoms. due to their early use of simple control groups. though they were allowed to drink beer and encouraged to exercise in moderation. and his 1810 Materia Medica Pura contained 65. Homeopaths generally begin with detailed examinations of their patients' histories. though homeopaths themselves never used it for that purpose at that time. mental.journals detailing all of their symptoms at specific times throughout the day. The homeopath then attempts to translate this information into a complex formula . and emotional state examination. including questions regarding their physical. Hahnemann made the volunteers take an oath swearing that what they reported in their journals was the truth. His Fragmenta de Viribus (1805) contained the results of 27 provings. 217 remedies underwent provings and newer substances are continually added to contemporary versions. tea. mental and emotional states. Physical. The lengthy records of self-experimentation by homeopaths have occasionally proven useful in the development of modern drugs: For example.   The first recorded provings were published by Hahnemann in his 1796 Essay on a New Principle. spices. and some of the first application of statistics in medicine.
dislikes. The first symptomatic index of the homeopathic materia medica was arranged by Hahnemann. upon which a drop of liquid homeopathic preparation is placed. published in German (1835).of mental and physical symptoms. supplemented with clinical data. which is an index of symptoms. It consisted of three large volumes. the homeopath chooses how to treat the patient. This version was less focused on disease categories and would be the forerunner to Kent's later works. one of his students Clemens von Bönninghausen. while clinical homeopathy involves combinations of remedies to address the various symptoms of an illness. But because a practitioner first needs to explore the remedies for a particular symptom rather than looking up the symptoms for a particular remedy. lists after each symptom those remedies that are associated with it. Some diversity in approaches to treatments exists among homeopaths. is known as a homeopathic materia medica. which was then first translated to English (1838) by Constantine Hering as the Repertory to the more Characteristic Symptoms of Materia Medica. Repertories are often very extensive and may include data extracted from multiple sources ofmateria medica. created the Therapeutic Pocket Book. The first such homeopathic repertory was Georg Jahr'sSymptomenkodex. A compilation of reports of many homeopathic provings. typically lactose). innate predispositions and even body type. Such repertories increased in size and detail as time progressed.  From these symptoms. the homeopathic repertory. homeopathic remedyOscillococcinum Homeopathic pills are made from an inert substance (often sugars. There is often lively debate among compilers of repertories and practitioners over the veracity of a particular inclusion. another homeopathic repertory. Homeopathic pills Homeopathic pills. Soon after. including likes. Classical homeopathy generally involves detailed examinations of a patient's history and infrequent doses of a single remedy as the patient is monitored for improvements in symptoms. "Active" ingredients .
Although the product is marked "homeopathic" it does contain two ingredients that are only "slightly" diluted:zinc acetate (2X = 1/100 dilution) and zinc gluconate (1X = 1/10 dilution). New Zealand.  Many so-called "homeopathic vaccines" are a form of isopathy. which were developed by the physician and homeopath Edward Bach.The list of ingredients seen on remedies may confuse consumers into believing that the product actually contains those ingredients. Australia. The most famous of these are the Bach flower remedies. such as pus. In fact. are made up either from things that cause the disease or from products of the disease. None of the hundreds of demonstrators in the UK. Some of the homeopathic ingredients used in the preparation of Zicam are galphimia glauca. Some marketers of remedies state that one "cannot overdose on homeopathic medicines". the method of preparation is different. especially an overdose. It contains a number of highly diluted ingredients that are listed as "inactive ingredients" on the label. histaminum hydrochloricum). a condition termed anosmia. This illustrates why taking a product marked "homeopathic". Bach flower remedies are prepared in "gentler" .luffa operculata. either". known as "nosodes". and sulfur. can still be dangerous because it may contain biologically active ingredients. Flower remedies Flower remedies can be produced by placing flowers in water and exposing them to sunlight. histamine dihydrochloride (homeopathic name. they are strong enough to have caused some people to lose their sense of smell. Following is a demonstrative example: Zicam Cold Remedy is marketed as an "unapproved homeopathic" product. which means that both are present in a concentration that contains biologically active ingredients. Isopathy differs from homeopathy in general in that the remedies. remedies are prepared starting withactive ingredients that are often serially diluted to the point where the finished product no longer contains any biologically "active ingredients" as that term is normally defined. Although the proponents of these remedies share homeopathy's vitalist world-view and the remedies are claimed to act through the same hypothetical "vital force" as homeopathy. Scientific skeptics highlight the lack of active ingredients in homeopathic products by taking large overdoses .examples include James Randiand the 10:23 campaign groups. According to normal homeopathic practice. The list of ingredients normally refers to the ingredients originally used in their preparation. Related practices Isopathy Isopathy is a therapy derived from homeopathy and was invented by Johann Joseph Wilhelm Lux in the 1830s. Canada and the US were injured and "no one was cured of anything.
S. as there has been little scientific investigation and current research in the field is not of a high enough standard to provide reliable data. veterinary surgeons who use homeopathy belong to the Faculty of Homeopathy and/or to the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons. Animals may be treated only by qualified veterinary surgeons in the UK and some other countries. Electrohomeopathy Electrohomeopathy was a 19th century practice combining homeopathy with electric treatment. The FDA has not approved homeopathic products as veterinary medicine in the U. Internationally. Veterinary use The idea of using homeopathy as a treatment for other animals. The use of homeopathy in veterinary medicine is controversial. Related scientific disciplines Chemistry. Homeopathic remedies rarely contain any atom or molecule of the substance in the remedy. Other studies have also found that giving animals placebos can play active roles in influencing pet owners to believe in the effectiveness of the treatment when none exists. the body that supports and represents homeopathic veterinarians is the International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy. Medicine Year proposed 1807 Original proponents Samuel Hahnemann . termed veterinary homeopathy.ways such as placing flowers in bowls of sunlit water. In the UK. Evidence Homeopathy Claims Proponents claim that illnesses can be treated with specially prepared extreme dilutions of a substance that produces symptoms similar to the illness. Hahnemann himself wrote and spoke of the use of homeopathy in animals other than humans. and the remedies are not succussed. dates back to the inception of homeopathy. There is no convincing scientific or clinical evidence for flower remedies being effective.
Luc De Schepper. The proposed rationale for these extreme dilutions – that the water contains the "memory" or "vibration" from the diluted ingredient – is counter to the laws of chemistry and physics. or. Heel. George Vithoulkas Pseudoscientific concepts Homeopathy's efficacy is unsupported by the collective weight of modern scientific research.Miralus Healthcare.Jeremy Sherr. Beyond ethical issues and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship. The lack of convincing scientific evidence supporting its efficacy and its use of remedies without active ingredients have led to characterizations as pseudoscience and quackery. leaving only non-specificplacebo effects or various novel explanations. homeopathy is a placebo treatment and the Government should have a policy on prescribing placebos. prescribing pure placebos is bad medicine. worsening outcomes or exposing the patients to increased risk. The extreme dilutions used in homeopathic preparations usually leave none of the original material in the final product.as it means patients do not have all the information needed to make choice meaningful. The Government is reluctant to address the appropriateness and ethics of prescribing placebos to patients. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the United States' National Institutes of Health states: . Jan Scholten." Use of homeopathy may delay or replace effective medical treatment.Robin Murphy. such as the law of mass action.Subsequent proponents Organizations: Boiron.  Pharmacological effect without active ingredients is inconsistent with the observed dose-response relationships of conventional drugs. Their effect is unreliable and unpredictable and cannot form the sole basis of any treatment on the NHS. water memory. Rajan Sankaran. Nelsons. the British House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has stated: In the Committee’s view.which the Government claims is very important . Prescribing of placebos is not consistent with informed patient choice . Referring specifically to homeopathy. "placebo therapy at best and quackery at worst. is considered implausible in that short-range order in water only persists for about 1picosecond. in the words of a 1998 medical review.Zicam Individuals: Paul Herscu. which usually relies on some degree of patient deception. The modern mechanism proposed by homeopaths.
Since even the longest-lived noncovalent structures in liquid water at room temperature are stable for only a few picoseconds. has noted that: since the least amount of a substance in a solution is one molecule. Park. High dilutions The extremely high dilutions in homeopathy have been a main point of criticism. Homeopathic remedies are usually diluted to the point where there are no molecules from the original solution left in a dose of the final remedy.Homeopathy is a controversial area of CAM because a number of its key concepts are not consistent with established laws of science (particularly chemistry and physics).000. critics have concluded that any effect that might have been present from the original substance can no longer exist.000. where the effects are dependent on the concentration of the active ingredient in the body.000.000.000. Practitioners of homeopathy contend that higher dilutions produce stronger medicinal effects.000.000. For these reasons.000. receive treatment for every imaginable condition. Homeopaths contend that the methodical dilution of a substance.000.000. Physicist Robert L.000. Others point to observational and anecdotal evidence that homeopathy does work and argue that it should not be rejected just because science has not been able to explain it. a 30C solution would have to have at least one molecule of the original substance dissolved in a minimum of 1. beginning with a 10% or lower solution and working downwards.000. with shaking after each dilution.and humans. since water will have been in contact with millions of different substances throughout its history. according to this interpretation.000 [or 1060] molecules of water.000. produces a therapeutically active remedy. Critics think it is implausible that a remedy containing a miniscule amount of an active ingredient (sometimes not a single molecule of the original compound) can have any biological effect—beneficial or otherwise. No evidence of stable clusters of water molecules was found when homeopathic remedies were studied using NMR. critics point out that water is therefore an extreme dilution of almost any conceivable substance.000. critics argue that continuing the scientific study of homeopathy is not worthwhile. This would require a container more than 30.  rats. .000. This dose-response relationship has been confirmed in myriad experiments on organisms as diverse as nematodes. former executive director of the American Physical Society.000. Furthermore.000.000. in contrast to therapeutically inert water. This idea is inconsistent with the observeddose-response relationships of conventional drugs.000.000.000.000 times the size of the Earth. By drinking water one would.
However. and selection bias.  The methodological quality of the research base is generally low. the theory of relativity and chaos theory.Further.[cite this quote] The laws of chemistry state that there is a limit to the dilution that can be made without losing the original substance altogether. No individual preparation has been unambiguously demonstrated to be different from a placebo. the .Park has also noted that. Scientific tests run by both the BBC's Horizon and ABC's 20/20 programs were unable to differentiate homeopathic dilutions from water. small sample size. "to expect to get even one molecule of the 'medicinal' substance allegedly present in 30X pills. and the highest-quality trials show that the remedies themselves have no effect. including quantum entanglement. as the quality of the trials become better. Abstract concepts within theoretical physics have been invoked to suggest explanations of how or why remedies might work. is roughly equal to homeopathic potencies of 12C or 24X (1 part in 1024). which is related to Avogadro's number. One of the earliest double blind studies concerning homeopathy was sponsored by the British government during World War II in which volunteers tested the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies against diluted mustard gas burns. it would be necessary to take some two billion of them. This limit. even when using tests suggested by homeopaths themselves. Effectiveness Old bottle of Hepar sulph made fromcalcium sulfide The effectiveness of homeopathy has been in dispute since its inception. the evidence for homeopathy preparations being effective diminishes. with such problems as weaknesses in design or reporting. which would total about a thousand tons of lactose plus whatever impurities the lactose contained".
to the point that those results were clinically irrelevant. when taking collectively all the systematic reviews. In 2002. One of the positive meta-analyses. a review of systematic reviews found that higher-quality trials tended to have less positive results. and current evidence did not allow to recommend its usage in clinical treatment. In 2005. et al. and the opposite was the case for complementary and alternative medicine journals. It seems. by Linde. likely that our meta-analysis at least overestimated the effects of homeopathic treatments. and a recent update of our review for the most "original" subtype of homeopathy (classical or individualized homeopathy). have been used to evaluate the effectiveness of homeopathy. in which positive trials tend to be sent to CAM journals and negatives ones to mainstream journals.explanations are offered by nonspecialists within the field. a considerable number of new homeopathy trials have been published.have negative results.  Reviews in all journals approached the subject in an apparently impartial manner. whereas 9 . a meta-analysis of clinical trials on the effectiveness of homeopathy concluded that earlier clinical trials showed signs of major weakness in methodology and reporting. and often include speculations that are incorrect in their application of the concepts and not supported by actual experiments. though most of the reviews published in CAM journals made no mention of the plausibility of homeopathy. Also. was later qualified by the authors. Since we completed our literature search in 1995. in which large groups of studies are analysed and conclusions drawn based on the results as a whole. Meta-analyses Meta-analyses... and that homeopathy trials were less randomized and reported less on dropouts than other types of trials. there was no convincing evidence that any homeopathic remedy had better effects than placebo. In 2001. a systematic review of the representation of homeopathy in the medical literature suggested that mainstream journals had apublication bias against clinical trials of homeopathy that showed positive results. but such studies have warned that it was impossible to draw firm conclusions due to low methodological quality and difficulty in controlling for publication bias in the studies reviewed.. A 2010 inquiry into the evidence base for homeopathy conducted by the United Kingdom's House of Commons Science and Technology Committeeconcluded that homeopathy is no more effective than placebo. The authors suggested that this could be due to an involuntary bias. or otherwise a submission bias. Early meta-analyses investigating homeopathic remedies showed slightly positive results among the studies examined. who wrote: The evidence of bias [in homeopathic trials] weakens the findings of our original meta-analysis. seem to confirm the finding that more rigorous trials have less-promising results. The fact that a number of the new high-quality trials. therefore.
individualized homeopathy works better than nonclassical variations. has stated that the claim assumes without evidence that classical. These 19 studies showed a pooled odds ratio of 1.migraines   or delayed-onset muscle soreness. No difference from placebo was found for adenoid vegetation." Jay Shelton. The Lancet medical journal published a meta-analysis of 110 placebo-controlled homeopathy trials and 110 matched medical trials based upon the Swiss government's Program for Evaluating Complementary Medicine.out of 10 reviews in mainstream journals mentioned a lack of plausibility of homeopathy in the introduction. Other researchers found no evidence that homeopathy is beneficial for osteoarthritis. been a number of clinical trials that have tested individualized homeopathy. Health organisations such as the UK's National Health Service.23 in favor of individualized homeopathy over the placebo. A 2007 systematic review of homeopathy for children and adolescents found that the evidence for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and childhood diarrhea was mixed. Evidence was not sufficient to recommend any therapeutic or preventative intervention. A 2006 meta-analysis of six trials evaluating homeopathic treatments to reduce cancer therapy sideeffects following radiotherapy andchemotherapy found "encouraging but not convincing" evidence in support of homeopathic treatment. the American Medical Association. There have. however. The evidence.17 to 2. however. In 2005. The Cochrane Library found insufficient clinical evidence to evaluate the efficacy of homeopathic treatments for asthma dementia. Clinical studies of the medical efficacy of homeopathy have been criticised by some homeopaths as being irrelevant because they do not test "classical homeopathy".  and the FASEB have issued statements of their conclusion that there is no convincing scientific evidence to support the use of homeopathic treatments in medicine. author of a book on homeopathy. but no difference was seen when the analysis was restricted to the methodologically best trials. A 1998 review found 32 trials that met their inclusion criteria. or upper respiratory tract infection. asthma. is not convincing because of methodological shortcomings and inconsistencies. . or PEK. 19 of which were placebo-controlled and provided enough data for meta-analysis. Their analysis concluded that there was "insufficient evidence to support clinical efficacy of homeopathic therapy in cancer care". The study concluded that its findings were compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homeopathy are nothing more than placebo effects. or for the use of homeopathy in induction of labor. The authors concluded "that the results of the available randomized trials suggest that individualized homeopathy has an effect over placebo.
acting deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. symptoms vary over time and patients tend to seek care when discomfort is greatest." He adds: "There is. P-value. which can cause unpleasant side-effects. concern and reassurance a patient experiences when opening up to a compassionate caregiver can have a positive effect on the patient's well-being. to my knowledge. or otherwise affect an individual's biology Therapeutic effect of the consultation — the care. all of which can increase health and decrease symptoms The placebo effect — the intensive consultation process and expectations for the homeopathic preparations can result in the release ofendorphins or other body-effecting chemicals that alleviate pain or other symptoms. improvements are attributed to homeopathy when the actual cause is the cessation of the treatment causing side-effects in the first place Lifestyle changes — homeopaths often recommend diet and exercise. may have occurred Regression toward the mean — since many diseases or conditions are cyclical. says homeopathy "goes beyond current understanding of chemistry and physics. they may feel better anyway but because the timing of the visit to the homeopath they attribute improvement to the remedy taken Non-homeopathic treatment — patients may also receive non-homeopathic care simultaneous with homeopathic treatment. may appear to cure diseases or alleviate symptoms: Unassisted natural healing — time and the body's ability to heal without assistance can eliminate many diseases of their own accord Unrecognized treatments — an unrelated food.Jack Killen. no condition for which homeopathy has been proven to be an effective treatment. and Publication bias Mainstream science offers a variety of explanations for how homeopathy. if the preparations themselves are ineffective. environmental agent or treatment for a different ailment. exercise. as well as limitations in alcohol or coffee consumption and stressreduction. and this is responsible for improvement though a portion or all of the improvement may be attributed to the remedy Cessation of unpleasant treatment — often homeopaths recommend patients stop getting conventional treatment such as surgery or drugs." Explanations of effects Further information: Statistical hypothesis testing. .
While some articles have suggested that homeopathic solutions of high dilution can have statistically significant effects on organic processes including the growth of grain. sceptical of the results. "interpretation has been clouded by the exclusion of measurements in . and enzyme reactions.by definition. In 1987. and publishers are more likely to accept articles that report a positive finding. Effects in other biological systems Old homeopathic belladonnaremedy. Still sceptical of the findings.researchers are more likely to submit positive trials for publication. and sceptic and magician James Randi. Upon replication in four separate laboratories the study was published. released histamine when exposed to a homeopathic dilution of anti-immunoglobulin E antibody. the team found that the experiments were "statistically ill-controlled". French immunologist Jacques Benveniste submitted a paper to the journal Nature while working at INSERM. histamine release byleukocytes. a positive outcome is seen as significant. Publishing standards. The paper purported to have discovered that basophils. The journal editors. As a result. requested that the study be replicated in a separate laboratory. such evidence is disputed since attempts to replicate them have failed. a type of white blood cell.Nature assembled an independent investigative team to determine the accuracy of the research. about 1 in 20 tests can be expected to show an effect even though there is none. After investigating the findings and methodology of the experiment. if the probability of being due to chance rather than a real effect is less than 5%. p-value . consisting of Nature editor and physicist Sir John Maddox. American scientific fraud investigator and chemist Walter Stewart. Publication bias .
 340 cases were settled out of court in 2006 for12 million U. While . This may be due to improper preparation or intentional low dilution. Critics of homeopathy have cited other concerns over homeopathic medicine. "We believe that experimental data have been uncritically assessed and their imperfections inadequately reported. but that the researchers had allowed "wishful thinking" to influence their interpretation of the data.Some homeopaths suggest that vaccines be replaced with homeopathic "nosodes". dollars. ignoring meta-analyticstudies in favour of cherry picked positive results. most seriously cases of patients of homeopathy failing to receive proper treatment for diseases that could have been easily diagnosed and managed with conventional medicine and who have died as a result and the "marketing practice" of criticizing and downplaying the effectiveness of mainstream medicine. a process referred to as "suppression". Some homeopaths (particularly those who are non-physicians) advise their patients against immunisation. In 2009. but the FDA warned Zicam via a Warning Letter that this policy does not apply when there is a health risk to consumers. which contains 2X (1:100) zinc gluconate. Zicam Cold remedy Nasal Gel. bacilli from sputum or (in the case of "bowel nosodes") feces.walled themselves off from academic medicine. diseased tissue.  Homeopaths claim that use of conventional medicines will "push the disease deeper" and cause more serious conditions. and critique has been all too often met with avoidance rather than argument.conflict with the claim". created from biological material such as pus. with very few articles reporting null results. reportedly caused a small percentage of users to lose their sense of smell.15).. Instances of arsenic poisoninghave occurred after use of arsenic-containing homeopathic preparations. and the promotion of an observational study (that Goldacre described as "little more than a customer-satisfaction survey") as if it were more informative than a series of randomized trials. have ". Only in rare cases are the original ingredients present at detectable levels.S. These included the high publication biases of alternative therapy journals." Ethics and safety As homeopathic remedies usually contain only water and/or alcohol. the FDA advised consumers to stop using three discontinued cold remedy products manufactured by Zicam because it could cause permanent damage to users' sense of smell. and concluded." James Randi stated that he doubted that there had been any conscious fraud. they are thought to be generally safe. stating the research on homeopathy is problematic for a variety of reasons. Goldacre also states that homeopaths who misrepresent scientific evidence to a scientifically illiterate public.. Methodological and publication issues Ben Goldacre published an article on homeopathy in The Lancet. Zicam was launched without a New Drug Application (NDA) under a provision in the FDA’s Compliance Policy Guide called "Conditions Under Which Homeopathic Drugs May be Marketed" (CPG 7132.
These treatments are biologically implausible and the clinical tests have shown they don't do anything at all in human beings. a homeopath instructed one of her patients to stop taking conventional medication for a heart condition. Cases of homeopaths advising against the use of anti-malarial drugs have been identified. in one case in 2004.. that ethical dilemmas inherent in recommending products lacking proven safety and efficacy data be discussed.Hahnemann was opposed to such preparations. The argument that this information is not relevant or important for customers is quite simply ridiculous. then a consultant physician at The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. advising her on or around 20 August that she no longer needed to take her heart medication. but tell them the truth about what they are buying. Edzard Ernst. Also. Let people buy what they want. Steven Pray of the College of Pharmacy at Southwestern Oklahoma State University recommends that pharmacy colleges include a required course in unproven medications and therapies." The patient was admitted to hospital the next day. when treated with antibiotics. since homeopathic remedies are completely ineffective against the malaria parasite. Anthony Campbell. Campbell described this as a thoroughly irresponsible statement that could mislead an unfortunate layperson into refusing conventional medical treatment. "She just cannot take ANY drugs – I have suggested some homeopathic remedies . and adding on 23 August. and that students should be taught where unproven systems such as homeopathy depart from evidence-based medicine.. criticised statements made by George Vithoulkas to promote his homeopathic treatments. the first Professor of Complementary Medicine in the United Kingdom and a former homeopathic practitioner. modern homeopaths often use them although there is no evidence to indicate they have any beneficial effects. I feel confident that if she follows the advice she will regain her health." Michael Baum. the final diagnosis being "acute heart failure due to treatment discontinuation". advising her on 22 June 2004 to "Stop ALL medications including homeopathic". A 2006 review by W. Professor Emeritus of Surgery and visiting Professor of Medical Humanities at University College London (UCL). This claim echoes the idea that treating a disease with external medication used to treat the symptoms would only drive it deeper into the body and conflicts with scientific studies. which indicate that penicillin treatment produces a complete cure of syphilis in more than 90% of cases. In 1978. would develop into secondary and tertiary syphilis with involvement of the central nervous system. . Vithoulkas stated that syphilis. and died eight days later. has described homoeopathy as a “cruel deception”. has expressed his concerns about pharmacists who violate their ethical code by failing to provide customers with "necessary and relevant information" about the true nature of the homeopathic products they advertise and sell: "My plea is simply for honesty. This puts visitors to the tropics who take this advice in severe danger.
Austria and Denmark mandate licences to diagnose any illness or dispense of any product whose purpose is to treat any illness. there are no specific legal regulations concerning the use of homeopathy.In an article entitled "Should We Maintain an Open Mind about Homeopathy?" published in the American Journal of Medicine. licences or degrees in conventional medicine from accredited universities are required. after a 5-year trial. Regulation and prevalence Main article: Regulation and prevalence of homeopathy Hampton House. the United Kingdom. In some countries. Michael Baum and Edzard Ernst—writing to other physicians— wrote that "Homeopathy is among the worst examples of faith-based medicine. In other countries. while in others. Denmark. It is practised worldwide and professional qualifications and licences are needed in most countries. one of two homeopathic hospitals run by the NHS. If homeopathy is correct. the former site of BristolHomeopathic Hospital. Homeopathy is fairly common in some countries while being uncommon in others. the public health service requires scientific proof of effectiveness in order to reimburse medical treatments and homeopathy is listed as not reimbursable but exceptions can be made. and pharmacology must be incorrect…". In Germany. much of physics. such as Belgium. Regulations vary in Europe depending on the country. including France. Some homeopathic treatment is covered by the public health service of several European countries. is highly regulated in some countries and mostly unregulated in others.. stating that they did not meet efficacy and cost-effectiveness criteria. The Swissgovernment. homeopathy is not covered. withdrew homeopathy and four other complementary treatments in 2005.   private health insurance policies sometimes include homeopathic treatment. no specific regulations exist. In Austria. andLuxembourg. These axioms [of homeopathy] are not only out of line with scientific facts but also directly opposed to them. while France. chemistry.. but following a referendum in 2009 the five therapies are to be reinstated for a further 6-year trial .
prescribing pure placebos is bad medicine. The decision by the House of CommonsScience and Technology Committee follows a written explanation from the Government in which it told the select committee that the licensing regime was not formulated on the basis of scientific evidence." the Committee said. the NHS should cease funding homeopathy. select committee inquiry.that further clinical trials of homeopathy could not be justified. homeopathy is a placebo treatment and the Government should have a policy on prescribing placebos. The Committee concluded . including funding of homeopathy under the National Health Service and government policy for licensing homeopathic products. and a minimum of a recognised diploma in homeopathy and registration on a state register or the Central Register of Homoeopathy is required to practice homeopathy in India.. Prescribing of placebos is not consistent with informed patient choice . The Committee also stated: . The Indian government recognises homeopathy as one of its national systems of medicine.. Beyond ethical issues and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship. In the Committee’s view... The inquiry sought written evidence and submissions from concerned parties. which usually relies on some degree of patient deception. In February 2010 the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee concluded that: . It also concludes that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) should not allow homeopathic product labels to make medical claims without evidence of efficacy. The Government is reluctant to address the appropriateness and ethics of prescribing placebos to patients. because government consideration of scientific evidence was not the basis for their establishment.which the Government claims is very important . The Committee concurred with the Government that the evidence base shows that homeopathy is not efficacious (that is. Their effect is unreliable and unpredictable and cannot form the sole basis of any treatment on the NHS. MPs inquired into homeopathy to assess the Government's policy on the issue. As they are not medicines. it does not work beyond the placebo effect) and that explanations for why homeopathy would work are scientifically implausible.given that the existing scientific literature showed no good evidence of efficacy . "The three elements of the licensing regime (for homeopathic products) probably lie outside the scope of the . In the United Kingdom.as it means patients do not have all the information needed to make choice meaningful. homeopathic products should no longer be licensed by the MHRA.period from 2012.
 by February 2011 only one third of PCTs still funded homeopathy. and administered complex mixtures. such as Venice treacle. and viper's flesh. While the virtues of these treatments had been extolled for centuries.and provide accordingly for those treatments." The response also stated that "the overriding reason for NHS provision is that homeopathy is available to provide patient choice". used laxatives and enemas. and NHS doctors should not refer patients to homeopaths. A nineteen page document details the Government´s response. History 1857 painting by Alexander Beydemanshowing historical figures and personifications of homeopathy observing the perceived brutality of medicine of the 19th century Historical context An early assertion that like cures like was made by Hippocrates about 400 BC. are best placed to make decisions on what treatment is appropriate for their patients . when he prescribed mandrake root. Such measures often worsened symptoms and sometimes proved fatal. The funding of homeopathic hospitals — hospitals that specialise in the administration of placebos — should not continue. In July 2010 the newly appointed UK Secretary of State for Health deferred to local NHS on funding homeopathy. mainstream medicine employed such measures as bloodletting and purging. myrrh. rather than Whitehall.including complementary or alternative treatments such as homeopathy .We conclude that placebos should not be routinely prescribed on the NHS. he favored the use of single drugs at lower doses and promoted an . by prescribing a dose smaller than what would produce mania. In the 16th century the pioneer of pharmacology Paracelsusdeclared that small doses of “what makes a man ill also cures him. Instead. and it states that "our continued position on the use of homeopathy within the NHS is that the local NHS and clinicians. which was made from 64 substances including opium. which produced mania." but it was Hahnemann who gave it a name and laid out its principles in the late 18th century. to treat mania. Hahnemann rejected such methods as irrational and inadvisable. At that time.
considered to be the father of homeopathy Hahnemann conceived of homeopathy while translating a medical treatise by Scottish physician and chemist William Cullen into German. and cleanliness. with the development of microbiology.  Hahnemann's concept See also: Samuel Hahnemann Samuel Hahnemann. a procedure that would later become known as "homeopathic proving". Hahnemann came to believe that all effective drugs produce symptoms in healthy individuals similar to those of the diseases that they treat. Upon ingesting the bark. although he began outlining his theories of "medical similars" or the "doctrine of specifics" in a series of articles and monographs in 1796. symptoms similar to some of the early symptoms of intermittent fever. Hahnemann ingested some of the bark specifically to see if it cured fever "by virtue of its effect of strengthening the stomach".immaterial.) Hahnemann also advocated various lifestyle improvements to his patients. Hahnemann saw these data as a way of identifying substances suitable for the . believing that diseases have spiritual. he noticed few stomach symptoms. This later became known as the "law of similars". including exercise. These time-consuming tests required subjects to clearly record all of their symptoms as well as the ancillary conditions under which they appeared. the germ theory of disease. vitalism was part of mainstream science. vitalistic view of how living organisms function. it wasn't completely discarded until the 20th century. the disease that the bark was ordinarily used to treat. From this. shivering and joint pain. as well as physical causes. and advances in chemistry. diet. (At the time. Being skeptical of Cullen's theory concerningcinchona's action in intermittent fever. the most important concept of homeopathy. Hahnemann began to test what effects substances produced in humans. The term "homeopathy" was coined by Hahnemann and first appeared in print in 1807. but did experience fever.
however strong or powerful. he devised a technique for making dilutions that he believed would preserve a substance's therapeutic properties while removing its harmful effects. and its kindred delusions. The first collection of provings was published in 1805 and a second collection of 65 remedies appeared in his book. proposing that this process aroused and enhanced "the spirit-like medicinal powers of the crude substances". and throughout the 19th century dozens of homeopathic institutions appeared in Europe and the United States. would almost surely cause no harm. death rates in homeopathic hospitals were often lower than in conventional hospitals. 19th century: rise to popularity and early criticism Homeopathy achieved its greatest popularity in the 19th century. there were 22 homeopathic colleges and 15. the billionth or decillionth of which would in the least degree affect a man or harm a fly." 19th century American physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes. By 1900. patients of homeopaths often had better outcomes than those of the doctors of the time. whose 6th edition. John Franklin Gray (1804– 1882) was the first practitioner of Homeopathy in the United States.treatment of particular diseases. One reason for the growing popularity of homeopathy was its apparent success in treating people suffering from infectious disease epidemics. During 19th century epidemics of diseases such as cholera. Because medical practice of the time relied on ineffective and often dangerous treatments. Sir John Forbes. James Young Simpsonsaid in 1853 of the highly diluted drugs: "No poison. published in 1921. so he advocated extreme dilutions of the substances. Sr. however.  Hahnemann believed that large doses of drugs that caused similar symptoms would only aggravate illness. Materia Medica Pura. "an outrage to human reason". The members of the French Homeopathic Society observed in 1867 that some of the leading homeopathists of Europe not . is still used by homeopaths today. was also a vocal critic of homeopathy and published an essay in 1842 entitled Homœopathy. The first homeopathic schools opened in 1830. beginning in 1828 in New York City. where the treatments used at the time were often harmful and did little or nothing to combat the diseases. The Organon of the Healing Art. Dr.000 practitioners in the United States. From its inception. homeopathy was criticized by mainstream science. making the users of homeopathic remedies less likely to be killed by the treatment that was supposed to be helping them. said in 1843 that the extremely small doses of homeopathy were regularly derided as useless. science-based medicine. physician to Queen Victoria. He gathered and published a complete overview of his new medical system in his 1810 book. even if ineffective. in 1810. The relative success of homeopathy in the 19th century may have led to the abandonment of the ineffective and harmful treatments of bloodletting and purging and to have begun the move towards more effective. Homeopathic remedies.
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