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What is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a system of medicine that is fundamentally different from conventional (allopathic) medicine.  Whereas allopathic medicine focuses on suppression of symptoms, homeopathy seeks to correct the underlying imbalance that caused the symptoms in the first place. Homeopathy achieves this by strengthening the body’s own defenses, thereby allowing the body to heal itself.

It’s unfortunate that the word homeopathy has the prefix “home” in it because it gives the impression that homeopathy is synonymous with home remedies, food supplements, vitamins and herbs. In fact, homeopathy does not incorporate any of these modalities.

Homeopathy is derived from the Greek word “homeo” meaning like or similar and “pathos” meaning pathology or illness. So the literal meaning of homeopathy is similar illness. This means that a homeopathic medicine is administered based upon its ability to mimic the disease state, thereby stimulating the body to heal itself.

Homeopathy had its beginning in eighteenth century Germany, with Samuel Hahnemann, a physician and scholar whose practice included aristocracy and royalty.  Disappointed in the results of the medicine that he and his colleagues were then using, Hahnemann left his prominent practice.  He went on to discover a profound natural law, the Law of Similars, which became the foundation for homeopathy. The Law of Similars asserts that any substance which can cause symptoms when given to a healthy person can help to heal those who are experiencing similar symptoms when given in a very minute amount.

 

Studies, Studies, Studies

 

Otitis media study can be found at http://www.sandiegohomeopathy.com/downloads/Otitis.pdf

“1997, The Lancet published a thorough meta-analysis which showed that of 89 clinical trials, 44 reported homeopathy to be significantly more effective than placebo.”

http://goo.gl/Npx5B

  • The treatment of ear infections was conducted in India and showed that homeopathy out weighed allopathic treatment. (Sinha MN, et al. Randomized controlled pilot study to compare Homeopathy and Conventional therapy in Acute Otitis Media. Homeopathy 2012 Jan;101(1):5–12).  Eighty-one children were randomly assigned to a homeopathically or conventionally treated group. The trial was also “blinded” — neither the parents nor the researchers knew who belonged to which group. Conventional treatment involved use of anti-inflammatories, analgesic, and fever-reducing medicines for three days, followed by antibiotics if the child hadn’t improved by at least 50%. Homeopathic treatment used LM potencies. As Johnson writes:

“All children had their eardrums examined by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist—at entry to the study, and at days 3, 7, 10, and 21—and rated on the Tympanic Membrane Examination scale. Parent assessments of their children’s symptoms were also taken at these times. The use of an ENT specialist assessing on the basis of visual observation of the eardrum, unaware of which treatment a patient was receiving, is a rigorous, objective outcome measure, placing the quality of this study at the highest levels of clinical research. At entry to the study, both groups had nearly identical ratings on each of the twelve parameters assessed, meaning they were perfectly matched for comparison. “Cure” was defined as a score of zero on all assessment scales. The results were:
• All children in both groups were cured by day 21
• Four in the homeopathic group were cured by day 3, versus one in the conventional group
• By day 3, total symptom score dropped from 14.2 to 8.2 (6 points) in the homeopathic group and from 14.5 to 12.5 (2 points) in the conventional group
• 39 of 40 children in the conventional group required antibiotics
• 0 of 38 children in the homeopathic group required antibiotics.
• By day 3, the difference between the two groups in favor of the homeopathic group was hugely significant statistically, with the odds being less than 1 in 1000 that the findings occurred by chance.” 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22226309

The following are a few studies showing homeopathy’s efficacy. All of them are published in peer-reviewed journals indexed on the NIH database of medical literature, PubMed:

  1.     A randomized, double-blind trial comparing homeopathy to Prozac (Fluoxetine) in the treatment of moderate to severe depression took place at a state medical school in Brazil. It found homeopathic treatment comparable to Prozac on all measured parameters (actually, homeopathic treatment was superior on all parameters, though not in a degree rising to “statistical significance”). Additionally, “a higher percentage of patients treated with Fluoxetine reported troublesome side effects.”  http://goo.gl/6LDql

2.    A 2007 German prospective study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found a specific homeopathic product to be comparable (actually slightly more effective) when compared to Ativan (Lorazepam) for the treatment of various nervous conditions (insomnia, distress, anxiety, restless, burnout, etc.) http://goo.gl/BJwqe

3.   In 1997, The Lancet published a thorough meta-analysis which showed that of 89 clinical
trials, 44 reported homeopathy to be significantly more effective than placebo.” http://goo.gl/Npx5B

4. An otitis media study can be found at http://www.sandiegohomeopathy.com/downloads/Otitis.pdf

5. A study on the treatment of ear infections was conducted in India and showed that homeopathy outweighed allopathic treatment. (Sinha MN, et al. Randomized controlled pilot study to compare Homeopathy and Conventional therapy in Acute Otitis Media. Homeopathy 2012 Jan;101(1):5–12).  Eighty-one children were randomly assigned to a homeopathically or conventionally treated group. The trial was also “blinded” — neither the parents nor the researchers knew who belonged to which group. Conventional treatment involved the use of anti-inflammatories, analgesics and fever-reducing medicines for three days, followed by antibiotics if the child had not improved by at least 50%. Homeopathic treatment used LM potencies. As Johnson writes: “All children had their eardrums examined by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist—at entry to the study and at days 3, 7, 10, and 21—and rated on the Tympanic Membrane Examination scale. Parent assessments of their children’s symptoms were also taken at these times. The use of an ENT specialist assessing on the basis of visual observation of the eardrum, unaware of which treatment a patient was receiving, is a rigorous, objective outcome measure, placing the quality of this study at the highest levels of clinical research. At entry to the study, both groups had nearly identical ratings on each of the twelve parameters assessed, meaning they were perfectly matched for comparison. “Cure” was defined as a score of zero on all assessment scales. The results were:

• All children in both groups were cured by day 21
• Four in the homeopathic group were cured by day 3, versus one in the conventional group
• By day 3, the total symptom score dropped from 14.2 to 8.2 (6 points) in the homeopathic group and from 14.5 to 12.5 (2 points) in the conventional group
• 39 of 40 children in the conventional group required antibiotics
• 0 of 38 children in the homeopathic group required antibiotics.
• By day 3, the difference between the two groups in favor of the homeopathic group was hugely significant
statistically, with the odds being less than 1 in 1000 that the findings occurred by chance.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22226309

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