World Homeopathy Day 2018: Common Homeopathy Myths You Should Stop Believing In, According to an Expert
On April 10th every year, we observe World Homeopathy Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy. For over 200 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?
How Does Homeopathy Work?
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. Dr. Shreepad Khedekar, MD, Imperial Clinics, uses an analogy to explain: “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.”
Allopathy is the golden standard today; in comparison, the understanding about homeopathy is rather sketchy and is fraught with many myths. On World Homepathy Day, Dr. Khedekar helps us understand this alternative system of medicine by debunking the myths.
Homeopathy Worsens Diseases by Creating Similar Symptoms
Dr. Khedekar says, “Allopathy is all about the management of the disease without treating the symptoms. Even a 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 do vaccination work? It introduces small amount of an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism. Allopathy also harnesses the theory of ‘Like cures like.”
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. Dr. Khedekar says, “Genuine homeopathy works on a ‘single dose; single remedy’ approach. Since patients find it difficult to believe that a single dose works, some homeopathic practioners include placebo pills along with the real medicine to give them confidence.” He adds that it’s an unethical method practiced by some fraudulent doctors to monetise the process and is against the rules of homeopathy.
Homeopathy is 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,” says Dr. Khedekar.
Homeopathy has Side Effects
Homeopathy primarily has no side effects and is one of the safest methods of treatment. Dr. Khedekar says that 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.
Homeopathic Medicines contain Allopathic Drugs
Some critics believe that the only reason why homeopathic remedies work that fast is because they contain allopathic drugs. While this is completely false, Dr. Khedekar adds that some fraudulent homeopathic doctors do resort to such unethical practices to speed up the treatment.
Homeopathy is Slow
Sometimes, homeopathic remedies can work within days and in some cases they can take some time to show results. Dr. Khedekar says that 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 will take time for the remedies to show results,” he adds.
Homeopathy Cannot 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,” says Dr. Khedekar.
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 200 years after it was founded speaks volumes about the faith people have it in.