Busting myths about Homeopathy
The understanding about homeopathy is somewhat sketchy and is fraught with many myths. On the occasion of World Homeopathy Day observed on April 10, Dr Shreepad Khedekar, throws more light on this alternative system of medicine by debunking the myths
11th April 2019, 02:50 Hrs
Dr SHREEPAD KHEDEKAR
On April 10, World Homeopathy Day is observed to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy. For over 250 years, the alternative system of medicine has shown results and managed to stay popular among its believers, despite its many criticisms that it is unscientific or that it’s a placebo.
Homeopathy is constantly compared to Allopathy, which is the first line of treatment for any disease today, no matter how acute or chronic. Modern medicine treats a disease with drugs that have the opposite effects of the symptoms.
Homeopathy, in principle, is the polar opposite of that, which can understandably confuse many of us. After all, how can one treat a disease by inducing symptoms similar to that of the ailment?
One has to understand how Homeopathy works. Unlike Allopathy, homeopathy does not treat the symptoms. It believes in ‘similia similibus curantur’, meaning ‘like cures like.’ It is a method of treating an ailment by introducing a substance that creates symptoms similar to that of the disease. So if the disease is nausea, diluted tinctured form of ipecac, which causes vomiting, is introduced. The founder of Homeopathy, Dr Samuel Hahnemann realised that the ingredient in the diluted form helped in relieving nausea.
To give you an example, a light from a candle can be seen or felt in a dark room. Now imagine turning on the tube light. Will you still be able to see the candle light? The candle light is the disease symptom and the tube light is the symptoms created artificially by Homeopathy. The latter cancels the former.
Let’s break seven myths one after the other. The first myth is Homeopathy worsens diseases by creating similar symptoms. Allopathy is all about the management of the disease without treating the symptoms. Even after 100 years after diabetes was first detected, it has not managed to eradicate the disease or cure it. The only area where it has been able to successfully eradicate diseases (polio, small pox) is through vaccination. And on what principles does vaccination work? It introduces small amount of an agent that resembles a disease-causing micro-organism. This means, Allopathy also harnesses the theory of ‘Like cures like’.
The second myth is Homeopathy is Placebo. Placebo refers to a procedure where a substance with no therapeutic effect is given to the patient to give him or the impression of being treated. Genuine Homeopathy works on a ‘single dose; single remedy’ approach. Since patients find it difficult to believe that a single dose works, some Homeopathic practitioners include placebo pills along with the real medicine to give them confidence.
Is Homeopathy unscientific? In Homeopathy, a substance is diluted many times in water or alcohol. By doing so, the diluted substances does no harm to the body and is chemically ineffective. But the body still registers the vital essence of the substance, which stays back in the dilutions. Critics cite Avogadro’s limit to argue that traces of the original medicine are absent in the dilutions and are of no use to the body.
They don’t acknowledge that Super Avogadro’s numbers exist. Homeopathic dilutions are diluted above the Avogadro’s limit due to which, it can’t be detected in blood samples or be monitored in a lab setting. This is why detractors think Homeopathy is unscientific.
People often ask, if Homeopathy has side effects. Let me tell, Homeopathy primarily has no side effects and is one of the safest methods of treatment. What detractors commonly call as side effects may be the result of suppressing a disease through the wrong Homeopathic remedy. The suppressed ailment can then manifest as another disease. It can also happen when the wrong dosage is taken or if the person continues to take the medicine after he or she is cured.
Do Homeopathic medicines contain Allopathic drugs? Some critics believe that the only reason why Homeopathic remedies work that fast is because they contain Allopathic drugs. This is completely false, however some fraudulent Homeopathic doctors may resort to such unethical practices to speed up the treatment.
So is Homeopathy slow? Sometimes, Homeopathic remedies can work within days and in some cases they can take some time to show results. It differs on case-by-case basis. Most people who eventually take Homeopathic treatment are already suffering from some type of chronic ailment for years. So it may take time for the remedies to show results.
People have doubts whether Homeopathy can be given to infants. This belief is clearly a myth because Homeopathy can be safely given even to infants. We have given to children and infants and have seen great results. The medicines are safe even for animals.
Proponents of Homeopathy believe that many of these misconceptions are fuelled by the big pharmaceutical companies who keep people hooked on to medicines endlessly, without giving them the promise of a cure. The fact that it still practiced and followed 250 years after it was founded speaks volumes about the faith people have in it.
( The writer is MD at
How does social media matter?
Social media is being seen as an important influence in ongoing elections, but given India’s low to medium rates of Internet penetration and prevalence of misleading information on the web, how much of an impact will it really have on the elections? Read more