Menu Icon Search
Close Search

The Future of Medicine: Homeopathy

Created 04.01.12 by Chivas Owle
Share Comment


More than 3 billion dollars are spent annually on homeopathic medications in the United States. Most people who use homeopathy report being likely to use it again in the future to treat similar symptoms. In Europe, homeopathy is so popular that there are homeopathic hospitals and pharmacies, both covered by insurance. The WHO has endorsed alternative medicine, including homeopathy, as being affordable when compared to allopathic medicine for many conditions. More people use alternative medicine, including homeopathy, than any other system of medicine in the world – approximately 80%!

In spite of these impressive and totally true statistics, many people still do not understand homeopathy. The principles of homeopathy date back to early recorded history. However homeopathy was not given its name by Samuel Hahnemann until 1807. The principles taught then are the same that are taught today, that using minute (actually undetectable) amounts of a substance that cause a symptom in the body can cure the body of that symptom.

“It makes perfect sense”, says leading homeopathic expert John Herbmann, “It’s just like how a vaccine can prevent a virus from causing a disease. Except that instead of using antigens that go through a rigorous testing and approval process, we use plants – the same plants that were used 200 years ago. That’s how you know they are good. Unlike allopathic medicine that is constantly looking for ‘the next great drug’ with their constant drug research and clinical trials, we homeopaths never trust any medication that hasn’t been around a few hundred years. Obviously, if it was good enough for Hahnemann, it’s good enough for me.” After pausing a moment to consider what he has said, Herbmann added, “Also, homeopathy does not cause autism”.

In fact, one of the main benefits of homeopathy is the complete absence of any side effects. Because the compound used in the initial manufacturing of the medication is not present in therapeutic concentrations (or even detectable using such fancy and sensitive techniques as GC-MS), it cannot react unfavorably with the patient’s body. How then does it have any effect at all a skeptic might ask? The mechanism of action is not entirely clear. The principles of homeopathy make it clear that “like cures like” and “less is more”. It is unclear if skipping a dose of homeopathic medication leads to an overdose or how to reverse such an overdose should it occur.

Homeopathic medications are prepared by taking a toxic amount of the substance in question, diluting it in water, shaking the water vigorously (a process called ‘invigorating’), taking a drop of that mixture and adding it to a new container of water, and repeating the invigorating process. This is done over and over until none of the original substance remains. How do we know it works? Because Hahnemann said it works, that’s how. Then the water is used to make tablets or something. That part is not important, it’s the invigorating that is important. It is so important, homeopathic remedies list on the package how many times it was diluted invigorated on the package. Hahnemann developed a C scale that had a factor of 100 dilution of each invigoration. So a 6C dilution would result in a one part per trillion “mixture.” Perhaps this seemed too simple, because the scale never caught on. Instead most homeopathic product manufacturers use a system where each dilution has a factor of 10 and is reported on the products packaging using a D or X. In this system a 6C dilution is equivalent to 12X or 12D.

Hahnemann had this to say about dilutions: “Don’t get caught up in the numbers, just trust that we know what we are doing.” When asked if there is any number that is considered the “best” number of dilutions he answered with, “Personally, I would never trust a compound that has not been diluted at least 12 times. It would just be too weak, having that many detectable particles around trying to exert a physiological effect. Just remember that the more dilute the compound is, the stronger the effect on the healing process. Your chemistry professors may have tried to teach you otherwise, but who are you going to believe, people who have been using the same system for hundreds of years or someone who tests their theories against reproducible evidence?”

Homeopathic medicine was extremely popular when it was originally created due to the fact that it didn’t cause people to die, unlike the hospitals and physicians of the day. Conventional medicine of that era used such cutting edge procedures as bloodletting to cure what ails you. Homeopathy somewhat fell out of favor around the time penicillin and other actual effective drugs came into use, because people could start taking medications to save their life. But recently homeopathy has begun to surge back into popularity. Why visit an expensive ER (or God-forbid make an appointment with your PCP) when you can just buy something that is cheap, available everywhere, and has no side effects? “It’s a no brainer,” says Herbmann. “Your body has everything it needs to fight any ailment. Sometimes it just needs a boost in the form of a tablet made with water less contaminated than what you would drink from any sink in America.”

When asked to compare homeopathy to other forms of alternative medicine, such as acupuncture (which predates homeopathy by roughly 2000-4000 years) and chiropractors, Herbmann was aghast. “What do you think we are, a bunch of quacks?!” He declined any further comment on the subject.

So what ailments are particularly well-suited for homeopathic medicine? Anything that you would see your doctor for! Yes that’s right, homeopathy works on everything from asthma to zygomycosis, anal cancer to xeroderma pigmentosa*. Why see a physician with years of education, training, and experience when you can see a homeopathic “doctor” for a fraction of the price? Remember, no one taking homeopathic medication has ever experienced a legitimate effect side-effect from treatment. No physician can make that claim.

Hopefully this article has informed you of the many virtues of homeopathy. Sadly due to space constraints, we are unable to publish any of the dozens of anecdotal stories of how homeopathic medicine saves lives. Just trust us on this, it does.

Those interested in learning more about Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, or SCaMS, are encouraged to checkout Mark Crislip’s Quackcast.

We look forward to your comments below and in the forums. Please be on the look-out for next week’s article, “Nurse Practitioners: Why They Are Better Than Physicians (And Save You Money!)”.

*Special note: For reasons unclear to the author, the WHO does not support the use of homeopathy in HIV, cancer or other life threatening conditions. They are probably in the pocket of Big Pharma and Big Medicine.

// Share //

// Comments //

Comments

  1. scarshapedstar says:

    Thank you so much! I’m going to quote this extensively in my PS.

  2. Greg says:

    WOW! This was a very interesting article! They should definitely create a whole new profession and create educational programs for a Doctor of Homeopathy, or HO.

    Anyway, homeopathic medicine is definitely gaining popularity with consumers these days. Just look at all those people in Whole Foods shopping in the Homeopathic aisles, or all the endorsements by Dr. Oz and other doctors on television…

    1. Zoop says:

      There already is such a thing. ND = Naturopathic Doctor. Those from accredited institutions take something like two years of homeopathy coursework.

      1. Jake says:

        Just to be clear, those aren’t the same thing at all. Naturopathic medicine is a bit more credible and based on evidence. I’m not advocating for it at all, but it’s not the same thing as homeopathy.

  3. Astrocytes full says:

    I thought I was reading an article in The Onion. This statement by Herbmann illustrates how little he understands about modern medicine “the more dilute the compound is, the stronger the effect on the healing process. Your chemistry professors may have tried to teach you otherwise, but who are you going to believe, people who have been using the same system for hundreds of years or someone who tests their theories against reproducible evidence?” This article makes Homeopathy seem comical in how it completely disregards the scientific method.

    1. RJ Herrmann says:

      Homeopathy is not molecular energy, it is quantum physics. Your education needs a little updating.

      1. MedWonk says:

        Not sure if this is troll, but you do realize that understanding the theory behind energy levels of molecules, atoms, etc., requires a solid understanding of quantum mechanics, right?

      2. RJ Herrmann says:

        Again, update…

  4. Astrocytes full says:

    I really hope this is an April fools article.

    1. scarshapedstar says:

      Everyone knows that the rise in autism and the rise in Huffington Post articles written by homeopaths are unrelated.

      A word of warning, though, homeopathy can be used for evil – if you take one drop of everclear, dilute it, shake it, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, dilute it again, shake it again, and then slip it into someone’s cocktail, their liver will be instantly destroyed.

      1. Chivas Owle says:

        That many dilutions is dangerous. I hope this is a hypothetical discussion and not something you have ever tried.

  5. Sharman says:

    Wow!!! What’s the saying again: a fool and his money are soon parted!!

    But of course there’ll be no side effects when u give someone something as innocuous as WATER, disguised as some “potent remedy”!!

    This is why scientific literacy should be mandated and taught throughout high school and beyond!! Principles behind homeopathy are unscientific and require willful suspension of critical thinking!

    Here’s the major flaw in homeopathic “medicine”:

    “…There are challenges in studying homeopathy and controversies regarding the field. This is largely because a number of its key concepts are not consistent with the current understanding of science, particularly chemistry and physics….” (NIH)
    http://nccam.nih.gov/health/homeopathy

    1. RJ Herrmann says:

      Sharman, you need a little more information than you received in high school. There is a reason homeopathy is so popular, and if you have a closed mind, don’t try it. It might shake your beliefs, and we can’t have that!

      Ridicule is a form of fear – and you’re obviously frightened of having your foundations shaken.

      1. acoustic says:

        Good post RJ Hermann. Opening by ridiculing Sharman and then condemning ridicule – I see what you did there!

      2. Sharman says:

        My foundations are in science, facts and critical thinking. I worked as a Chemist for a number of years, before returning to grad school for an Engineering Masters and now I’m medical student.

        Homeopathy and the “law of similars” at its core, is really nothing short of a ponzi scheme. You peddle essentially “water” and fleece a gullible public of their money, I’m actually baffled that such blatant fraud is legal!

        There’s a dearth of critical thinking in homeopathy! How can you, with a straight face, claim that something becomes more potent as its diluted to infinity! Do you guys understand chemistry and physics? Or do you just ignore inconvenient scientific facts as perpetrate what’s tantamount to fraud?

      3. RJ Herrmann says:

        Seems you’re a little sensitive – that was not ridicule, it was observation. And having a background in science does not mean you know anything about homeopathy. If you start off with ridicule, you have no room for conversation.

  6. vc7777 says:

    Help!

    I missed a dose of my Homeopathic treatment last night! Since less is more…Doesn’t that mean I have overdosed?

  7. Andrey Pavlov says:

    I also hope that this is an April Fool’s post. Otherwise it is a completely laughable and sad day on the SDN.

    I’ll reserve my harshest criticisms for a little while until it is clear whether this was a joke or not. If not, I’m happy to say this is a execrable affront to actual medicine.

    1. Kent Whitney says:

      note the link to quackcast, thank goodness for that, nevertheless, still dangerous.

      1. Chivas Owle says:

        I linked to quackcast because that seemed to be a popular podcast about Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicines. I hope that is not calling into question the seriousness of the article? Dr. Herbmann and myself spent a great deal of time composing this article to educate about the benefits of homeopathy. I would hate for one link to discredit the entire article.

    2. RJ Herrmann says:

      Great article, and since homeopathy was around before the AMA, good information for those that think they know it all. Homeopathy will not go away simply because it’s effective, inexpensive, and works.

      1. Chivas Owle says:

        Well said! So few people seem to understand the benefits of a therapy that has no side effects, is inexpensive, and requires no formal education or license to practice.

  8. aslan says:

    Hilarious! Well done!

  9. Steve-MDJourney says:

    Wow, almost forgot it was April fools!

  10. acoustic says:

    What’s funny is this article. What isn’t funny is that this “RJ Hermann” that keeps posting might be legit (a real homeopathy practitioner). It baffles me that these people don’t get sued to the gills.

  11. […] Medicine:  Is the future of medicine going back to the past?  Homeopathy makes a case for alternative medicine’s en-roads to better health. […]

  12. Deepak Chopra says:

    I agree 100% with this article! It is BIG PHARMA that keeps people sick and tries to hold back real medicine from people. The true medicine, that has been used in the east for the past 3000 years!

    1. scarshapedstar says:

      The real deal is aeropathy. No need to buy expensive vials of homeopathic water, all the H2O you need is already dissolved in the air.

      1. kpcrew says:

        What? How could you be so irresponsible as to suggest that dihydrogen monoxide, a known carcinogen, could be simply siphoned from the air we breathe? Sir, you go too far.

  13. Dennis says:

    I could feel my blood pressure mounting, then I looked at the date in the corner of my screen. Happy April Fools Day, SDN!

  14. JlLin says:

    Some of these comments are so frustrating. Naturopathic medicine can and does work. It will not and does not replace western medicine…which is best at diagnostics. What naturopathic medicine can do is help to build wellness and prevent chronic conditions from escalating in many cases. There will, unfortunately, never be enough money allocated from the kind of research big pharm can do…and even then, nothing produced by big pharm is totally benign. All things in balance. All things in moderation. It should not be about some polarized either/or mentality. We ‘re well into the 21st Century..why the extreme, polarized , immovable fixations?

    1. Sep says:

      For one, there is a difference between natural remedies and naturopathy/homeopathy. Many drugs are derived from compounds in nature (e.g. asprin from willow bark), so certainly there are natural sources of medicine. But this can all be studied scientifically and has nothing to do with naturopathy and homeopathy, which have there own entire philosophies based on things like “vital energy” and “water memory” which have no support for them and don’t stand up to scrutiny. Don’t try and say it’s because there isn’t enough money in it – homeopathic pills pull in a lot of money as the ill-informed public are willing to throw their money away on outrageous claims of all sorts.

  15. Oratees says:

    April Fools lol

  16. devenirnedecin says:

    Is this a joke? The argument being made here for homeopathy is weak at best. Clearly this is a poorly written article.

    1. Owlegrad says:

      Sorry you didn’t like the article, I hope my poor arguments for homeopathy do not pursued people to doubt it validity.

  17. J J J says:

    I have done BHMS – BACHELOR IN HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE AND SURGERY IN INDIA AND CURED MY SELF FIRST CRONS , TONSILLITIUS , TO BELIEVE AND FURTHER CURED ARTHRITIS,SINUSITIS ETC,..
    UNFORTUNATELY IT IS VERY DIFFICULT SCIENCE TO UNDERSTAND .IT CAN BE UNDERSTOOD ONLY BY YEARS OF PRACTISE THATS TRUE…….

  18. Kasey says:

    I am totally going to use this article for my paper debating Homeopathy. Thanks so much for your article and I will give you all the credit in my paper. Thanks again for writing this.

  19. Tom C says:

    Well that was snotty.

  20. Tyler says:

    I’m confused. The article is pro homeopathy (to a level of stupidity) but then quotes Mark Crislip’s Quackcast, which is a podcast solely aimed at debunking medicinal nonsense such as homeopathy. What’s going on here? Also, why would SDN post such garbage?

  21. RJ says:

    Since Hahnemann has been dead for a couple of centuries, I doubt you’d have interviewed him. Your ‘Discover_Homeopathy’ site is really a waste of time, ridicule, again, is thinly veiled contempt and really undignified.

    From one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush:
    “Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a Special privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.”

    There are profound and numerous reasons why the general public sees alternative medicine practitioners in such great numbers: IT WORKS. You can try to tell a mother with a screaming infant that has just quietly gone to sleep within minutes, that the remedy the baby received was a placebo. She won’t believe you; with good reason.

  22. RJ wrote:

    “There are profound and numerous reasons why the general public sees alternative medicine practitioners in such great numbers:”

    OK, let’s hear them.

    Which part of Discover Homeopathy do you think is factually incorrect?

  23. Owlegrad says:

    Sadly I failed to interview Hahnemann for this piece, though that would have been great! Love the site BTW.

// Recent Articles //

20141222_Fleming_1869
  • Medical, +1 MORE
  • Finding the Joy in Medicine: A Conversation with Dr. David A. Fleming

  • Posted 12.22.14 by Suzanne Barston
  • Despite being the current President of the American College of Physicians (ACP), David A. Fleming, MD, MA, FACP thinks of himself as a “simple country doc”. The native Missourian’s roots were indeed in rural, community-based medicine, but his distinguished career has earned him impressive accolades from the academic, professional and medical arenas. Yet at the...VIEW >
IOTW-SDN small
  • Figure 1 Image of the Week, 12/20/14

  • Posted 12.20.14 by Figure 1
  • Image of the Week – Shawl Sign The skin finding pictured in this image is commonly referred to as the “shawl sign”, and is a classic skin finding in dermatomyositis. This inflammatory myositis often presents with hip flexor weakness and skin changes in sun-exposed area. Occasionally, other skin changes are present as well. See more...VIEW >
20141219_Team_SS_74087899
20141218_ASDAPreDent_SS_222370252
  • National Predental Week – Feb. 8-15, 2015

  • Posted 12.18.14 by ASDA
  • During the week of Feb. 8-15, the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) will celebrate National Predental Week. There are currently more than 22,000 ASDA members representing each of the 65 U.S. dental schools and a growing number of predental members. Why You Should Participate If you are a predental, consider joining the largest national student-run...VIEW >
20141217_MedStudent_SS_220419091
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective Clinical Students

  • Posted 12.17.14 by Rishi Kumar, MD
  • Republished with permission from here. Congratulations! You’ve made it to the clinical portion of medical school. Now you’ll work alongside interns, residents, attendings, pharmacists, social workers, and a myriad of other health care workers to provide quality care for your patients. As a resident, I’ve seen medical and PA students struggle with feelings of anxiety,...VIEW >
20141215_Obesity_SS_122049247
  • Medical, +1 MORE
  • Effective Communication with the Obese Patient

  • Posted 12.15.14 by Brian Wu
  • Whether a physician goes into general practice or into a specialty area, it is likely that he or she is going to have to work with a patient population that is increasingly overweight or obese. In America alone, over half of the population is overweight and one-third is considered to be obese. Furthermore, medical experts...VIEW >
IOTW-SDN small
  • Figure 1 Image of the Week, 12/13/14

  • Posted 12.13.14 by Figure 1
  • Image of the Week – The Clock Draw Test The clock draw test can be a window into the mind of a patient with dementia. Certain types of dementia show classic patterns on a clock draw test, which is why this test has become an important part of any dementia assessment. The erratic layout of...VIEW >

// Forums //