Homeopathy has a lot of critics and a lot of fans, depending on which side of the fence you’re on. If you’re not familiar, it was ‘invented’ 200 years ago by medical doctor Samuel Hahnemann who decided that ‘like cured like’. So if you have chickenpox, you take a pill that has been ‘serial diluted’ and shaked (successed) which is very different to just being ‘a memory of water’ as some sceptics often claim. So say for chickenpox, you would receive a serial diluted chickenpox virus, on the theory of ‘like cures like’ (a bit like how vaccines work).
Although it does not have the dangers associated with herbal medicine (like interactions with medication), many say it’s dangerous as some quacks tell people to give up conventional medicine, and use them. And there are other issues (some remedies come from bee stings that are endangered creatures, and one even comes from the spit of a rabid dog?) Whereas previously most homeopathic remedies were lactose (from milk) today they can be sucrose or even drops. However most people still have to order them from health shops, as they are rarely available on the NHS (unless you have a forward-thinking or homeopathically-trained GP).
You would think it was all quackery. But in fact, many medically-qualified GPs (and vets) use homeopathy as part of their practice, even ones who used to be sceptics. And considering the side effects of many pharmaceutical drugs, if certain remedies do help, then all for the good.
Critics say that homeopathy is not scientifically proven, as unlike conventional medicines it does undergo animal tests (a legal requirement at present, though there are humane research options the government would look at). In fact, homeopathy is regulated by MHRA (medicines & healthcare regulatory agency) so qualifies as a licensed medicine (unfortunately NHS England stopped funding homeopathy back in 2007 saying there was a ‘lack of evidence’). What makes this interesting however is that in Germany (a country with a similar population to England but where naturopaths have more or less the same status as GPs), homeopathy is considered ‘to have an effect beyond placebo’ and this alone means homeopathic doctors can prove legally they are not quacks.
Then we have religious zealots (some Popes used homeopathy, but some Catholic bloggers now say this was not correct, and we should not use it). These are the same ones who have problems with yoga as it’s from India (so is tea!) That was likely created by Hindus too! What you believe or wish to try responsibly is up to you. But if you are going to balance the pros and cons, then do so with advice from the experts, not right-wing religious bloggers from the US, saying you’ll go to Hell if you don’t use conventional medicine.
Homeopathy UK offers free and discounted treatment for those who wish to try it, and lists hundreds of qualified homeopaths who are members of registered bodies (thes are self-policed, but stops the quacks falling through the cracks as much). The body also has nationwide clinics in Liverpool, Norwich, Kent, Winchester and Scotland, plus an online virtual clinic run by a homeopath and GP (introduced to the practice by her vet grandmother, who used belladonna to ‘astonishing effect’ after being bitten by a horsefly). There is also a clinic in southeast England for survivors of domestic abuse (and one for asylum seekers in Wales).
does homeopathic medicine work?
Two organisations that have qualified homeopaths who have to pass strict exams and requirements are Society of Homeopaths & Alliance of Registered Homeopaths. Although the NHS stopped funding a few years back, some GPs still use it for long-term ailments that have not responded to conventional medicine like:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Read Anita’s testimonial. In 2020, she fell from a ladder to a concrete floor 10 feet down, and was found unconscious in a pool of blood. She could not stand up and was diagnosed by paramedics with a bleed on the brain, and ushed to hospital where she spent three days undergoing brain scans. She was constantly sick with a splitting headache, then discharged (due to COVID patients taking up beds). She still could not walk and was aching with a broken thumb.
Two days later, her daughter contacted her homeopath who prescribed a medley of medicines. One week later, she was much improved and out of bed. She stopped taking the medicine, then relapsed. So she took it again and got better again. 10 weeks later, she had returned to working as a magistrate, after what was almost a fatal accident. This homeopath wrote a book on remedies for children.
This is similar to a story of an Irish farmer who used homeopathic remedies for his cattle with mastitis. When they got better, he won an award for the best quality dairy milk, and is now an unconventional convert. For more information, visit Homeopathy at Wellie Level which teaches farmers who wish to include homeopathic remedies in their health planning responsibly and effectively, using remedies according to homeopathic principles (they do not supply remedies, this is done by registered homeopathic pharmacies).
The most reliable clinical trials for medicine are ‘randomised controlled trials’ (‘double blind trials’). There have been over 100 published in peer-reviewed journals, showing that evidence is far greater than the placebo effect. Cambridge-educated Dr Peter Fisher (the Queen’s homeopathic physican for 17 years) worked at Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, was consultant rheumatologistat King’s College Hospital and chaired the working group at World Health Organisation on homeopathy, until he died in a London cycling accident in 2018. Here’s his research paper.
Sceptics frequently claim there is no scientific evidence for homeopathy. This is untrue. Clinical research show it to be safe and effective for a range of conditions. Integrating homeopathy in healthcare systems is associated with improved outcomes, less use of drugs and economic benefits. Dr Peter Fisher