What is Homeopathy? ~ the little lioness

What is Homeopathy?

Oh, hai there internets.


After posting this photo from Coles last night, discussion ensued on my FB wall about the merits or non-merits of homeopathy, how much your own experience of something can weigh up against a systematic review of systematic reviews (of homeopathy).

So, what is Homeopathy? Shall we consult wikipedia?

Homeopathy i/ˌhoʊmiˈɒpəθi/ (also spelled homoeopathy or homœopathy; from the Greek hómoios- ὅμοιος- “like-” + páthos πάθος “suffering” ) is a form of alternative medicine originated by Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843), based on the hypothesis that a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure that disease in sick people.[1] This hypothesis is known as “the law of similars” or “like cures like”. Scientific research has found homeopathic remedies ineffective and their postulated mechanisms of action implausible.[2][3][4] Conventional medicine generally considers homeopathy to be quackery.[5][6][7]
Homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution in alcohol or distilled water, followed by forceful striking on an elastic body, called “succussion”. Each dilution followed by succussion is assumed to increase the remedy’s potency. Homeopaths call this process “potentization”. Dilution usually continues well past the point where none of the original substance remains.[8] Apart from the symptoms, homeopaths consider the patient’s physical and psychological state and life history,[9] consult homeopathic reference books known as “repertories”, and select a remedy based on the “totality of symptoms” as well as traits of the patient.
The low concentrations of homeopathic remedies, often lacking even a single molecule of the diluted substance,[10] lead to an objection that has dogged homeopathy since the 19th century: how, then, can the substance have any effect? Modern advocates of homeopathy have suggested that “water has a memory”—that during mixing and succussion, the substance leaves an enduring effect on the water, perhaps a “vibration”, and this produces an effect on the patient. However, nothing like water memory has ever been found in chemistry or physics.[11][12] Conventional medicine has found that higher doses usually cause stronger effects, whereas homeopathy claims the opposite.
Homeopathic remedies have been the subject of numerous clinical trials, which test the possibility that they may be effective through some mechanism unknown to conventional science. These studies have generally found that homeopathic remedies perform no better than placebos,[13][14][15][4][16] although there have been a few positive results.[17][18][19] Because of the extremely high dilutions, most homeopathic remedies are, at least, harmless. Patients who favor homeopathic cures over conventional medicine do, however, incur some risk of delaying diagnosis and effective treatment.[20][21][22] The regulation and prevalence of homeopathy vary greatly from country to country.[23]

So, what does this actually mean? Well, it means that there may only be the “memory” of the active ingredient in the product you are buying. Yes, Brauer teething products might be a good placebo, but there probably is little in it aside from sugar and a smile that actually does anything physiologically to remedy the discomfort of teething. Had I realised that Brauer was a homeopathic company when I went to the Blogger’s Brunch last time, I would have spent more energy drilling them on it and trying to edumacate the others around me (you know, the same people who were busy being baffled by the presence of Nestle at the same event). I was too busy playing with the Lego and chatting to companies about their Gluten Free products.

Why does it frustrate me so much?

Well, I just don’t feel that people are getting what they think they’re paying for. Also, it’s sugar water being passed off as “medicine”. If sugar water works, then great, let me buy a bag of chemist jelly beans and I’ll be set for life. But quit with the “may help relieve” claims, and perhaps test out your products?

Oh yeah, and stop taking people who are desperate for a solution for a ride.

See the 10:23 site for some more info.

And for those who ask “what’s the harm?”

Kids and science



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8 comments for “What is Homeopathy?

  1. July 7, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Yup. I’m with you :-)

  2. July 7, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Sadly, I have had my share of experiences with homeopathy. Coming from India originally means there are lots of people who believe in it. I was put on the same for anxiety when I was in Year 12. Did nothing. [Duh!] Given that my dad’s a doctor, I always preferred normal medications but my maternal grandfather believed in homeopathy big time. I know my sis took some for a skin condition and it took a lot of convincing from me to switch to scientifically proven medications which did end up helping a lot more. Yes, people notice some changes with homeopathy but I’m sure that’s placebo.

  3. Jen
    July 7, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Pretty sure the jelly beans from the chemist are better than any medication, proven or disproven, for curing all that ails you.

    • July 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

      I think so.

      I think that the spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

      Moar Jellybeans!!!

  4. Kelkel
    July 7, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Lol, learnding is fun.

    But Jen does have a point! I need a jellybean to cure my…. Need of jellybeans. :D

    • July 7, 2012 at 11:01 am

      But like cures like.

      So, um…

      Your lack of jellybeans will be cured by something else that makes you crave jellybeans.

      Like standing near em at the chemist.

  5. July 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm


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