Homeopathy, beloved by The Royal Family and
millions around the world. But does it actually work? Hey guys Julia here for DNews Homeopathy. A very.. contentious form of alternative
medicine practiced by millions all over the world. The National Health Service in the
UK spends about 4 million pounds a year on these kind of treatments. And some estimates
place that number as high as 11 million pounds. So it’s more than just a fringe movement. In fact even the Royal Family seems to be
fans. The Queen’s Physician, Peter Fisher, recently called for more people to use it.
He says that it’s “Safe, popular with patients, improves clinical outcomes without
increasing costs, and reduces the use of potentially hazardous drugs, including antimicrobials.” Although in the US, the National Institute
of Health says that “There is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment
for any specific condition.” So what is it? Homeopathy isn’t a new idea.
It was introduced by the German Physician Samuel Hahnemann over 200 years ago. Homeopathy’s
premise is based on a few interesting ideas. According to The National Center for Homeopathy,
the first idea is that “like cures like” and that’s what homeopathy means in Greek,
same suffering. Or that something that produces symptoms in a healthy person, makes a sick
person healthy. So like caffeine, a molecule that keeps people awake, might be used to
treat people with insomnia. But only if caffeine is diluted to very small amounts. And that’s the second premise. The more
dilute the remedy, the more potent it is. And thirdly, that the illness is specific
to the person. Homeopaths take into account a holistic view of a person. So how is the medicine made? Well let’s
go back to that caffeine example. A bit of caffeine goes through the process of ‘potentization’
which involves dilution and succussion (vigorous shaking), so all the toxic effects of the
extract or compound are removed. And when I say dilution, I mean a lot of dilution.
Something might be diluted 1 in a hundred 30 times in a solution of water or sugar.
Medicine doses are based on the centesimal or C scale. A 2C dilution requires a substance
to be diluted to one part in one hundred, and then some of that mixture being diluted
AGAIN to one part in a hundred. So basically you wind up with one part of the original
substance in 10,000 parts of the solution. And so on and so forth. This process can be
repeated. Basically the plant or animal extract is so diluted that there’s almost no molecules
of it left. But according to homeopathic theory the more diluted it is, the more “potency”
it has. Homeopaths believe that water retains the “memory” of that extract. The idea
is that after each dilution the extract and water, sugar, or what ever the dilution is,
goes through succussion, which activates the “vital energy” of the extract.
Alright so that’s the process… but what does the science say about it? Well one study published in the journal Rheumatology
found that homeopathy helped arthritis patients over the course of six months, when added
alongside conventional medicine. Buuuuuuut it was because of “its unique consultation
process,”. Basically homeopathy treats the patient, not just the symptoms. So it was
really the one on one, patient focused appointments that helped, not the homeopathic medicine. Well the National Health and Medical Research
Council of Australia found “no evidence” that homeopathy is effective. In a report
published last year, the NHMRC looked at 57 systematic reviews of the treatment. They
found there were no health conditions for which homeopathy was effective, that no good
large scale studies found that homeopathy was better than placebo. And Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor, at the
University of Exeter wrote in an opposing letter to the Queen’s physician, that homeopathy
is “implausible” and that it “flies in the face of science”. So it looks like science isn’t on the side
of homeopathy. But you know what science DOES support? Meditation.