Does homeopathy actually work? Science explains the surprising results!
At ScIQ, our wonderful Producer Yoahan is from Indonesia, and every time she gets sick, her mother gives her Chinese herbs – a homeopathic remedy. Around the world, millions of people use homeopathy to treat everything, from sinus infection to stress. But does homeopathy really work? We did a ScIQ investigation to bring you the science behind homeopathy!
But first, a Homeopathy 101:
Homeopathy is an alternative medical practice. The idea of homeopathy is that a tiny amount of a toxin that causes a problem can also fix the problem – the same idea behind vaccines. For example, Poison Ivy causes a rash, so a small amount of Ivy toxin could cure a rash.
The thing is, when we say a small amount, we mean a REALLY small amount. Homeopathy uses extremely dilute amounts of natural toxins, often so dilute to have any effect on the body whatsoever. There’s been literally hundreds of studies of homeopathy, and almost uniformly, the studies find homeopathic remedies doesn’t any better than a placebo. There are ZERO good-quality, well-designed studies with enough participants for a meaningful result that have reported either that homeopathy caused greater health improvements than placebo.
Problems can also arise from the toxin being too strong and actually causing harm. A 2012 report by the American Association of Poison Control Centers listed 10,311 reported cases of poisoning related to homeopathic treatments – shockingly 8,788 cases were attributed to young children five and under (likely indicating adult doses were being given to children, whose bodies could not fight the toxin). The 2012 report also detailed cases of harm – including deaths – that would have been prevented had the patients chosen conventional medicine over homeopathy.
In 2012, a review published in the Journal of Clinical Practice, found that “homeopathy has the potential to harm patients and consumers in both direct and indirect ways”. One of the reviewers highlighted the real problem behind ‘alternative’ medicine; “if used as an alternative to an effective cure, even the most ‘harmless’ treatment can become life-threatening”. Even the World Health Organization have warned people against using homeopathy!
But overall, the main reason we know that homeopathy doesn’t work, is that if it did work, it wouldn’t be ‘alternative medicine’ anymore. It would be normal medicine. Doctors and scientists search every avenue to find things that work, and often they find that unusual treatments (like injecting cow pox to cure small pox) actually works. When they discover something works, they adopt it. So if Homeopathy showed real results, it would have already been adopted by mainstream medicine by now, even if we didn’t understand it’s mechanism.
Any substance (other than food) that has demonstrable results on the body in the prevention or cure of disease, and can make legal claims about it’s effectiveness, is legally a drug.
So why do people continue to pay for homeopathic treatment?
Well, there are those who say; “I was sick, I did homeopathy, and now i’m fine?”
And in many countries, private health insurance pays for homeopathic treatment – so it must be effective, right?
Well, science has shown that homeopathy is no more effective THAN A PLACEBO – but in many cases, the placebo itself is somewhat effective. The therapeutic effect of the consultation ― the care, concern, and reassurance a patient experiences when opening up to a compassionate caregiver, can have a positive effect on the patient’s well-being.
Advocates of homeopathy point out that doctors rarely have time to properly listen to and treat a patient. The sheer act of listening, testing, and treating a patient with understanding and compassion may have therapeutic benefits in itself – just as a placebo does.
So the homeopathic treatments itself don’t necessarily work – but homeopaths continue to serve a function in society.
This video is presented by Jayde Lovell, produced and edited by Yohana Yoshe, at Youtube Space NYC.
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Produced by Jayde Lovell and Bec Susan Gill. ScIQ is a partner of the TYT Network.
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