Homeopathy is easily on of the most polarizing topics facing modern medicine today. Supporters consistently profess the benefits of homeopathic medicine while detractors continue to reference the lack of scientific evidence supporting any of the claims. Despite the arguments of both sides, homeopathy as an industry has grown to become a multi-billion dollar international industry. So, what is homeopathy?
Homeopathy originated about 200 years ago in Germany and focuses on two key beliefs. These beliefs are:
- Like Cures Like – a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people.
- The law of minimum dose – The lower the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness.
The idea of “like cures like” is similar to the idea of modern vaccinations. Vaccines contain dead or weakened parts of a specific virus that trigger your body’s immune response in order to fight the disease and protect against future cases.
The second tenet of the “law of minimum dose” is of particular concern. The majority of homeopathic medicine is diluted and diluted in the attempt to attain greater levels of potency. Many marketed dilutions have so few remaining fragments that modern researchers cannot distinguish the original materials.
The issue though is that there have been very few large scale well organized studies that have resulted in homeopathic medicine being found more effective than a placebo medication. Further, the homeopathic community has remained stringently opposed to the traditional medical community and in many cases has remained hostile to outside questioning or concern.
Since, in essence, most homeopathic “medicines” contain very little active ingredients they are regulated for sale by the Food and Drug Association under specific Homeopathic regulations and often require a prescription from a homeopathic practitioner. Recently, there has been a push by homeopathic practitioners to recommend homeopathic vaccines. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that parents utilize traditional vaccination measures, as the homeopathic vaccines have not been proven effective in any clinical trials.
For health care providers it is important to be aware that patients may be utilizing these treatment options in place of traditional medicine. Further, there are several homeopathic treatment solutions that claim to either help prevent or cure cancer. Again, there is no clinical evidence supporting the claims that homeopathic medicine is effective in reducing or eliminating cancerous growths.
Health care providers must stay up to date on the most recent evidence regarding complementary and alternative medicine. The popularity of which has grown tremendously and many patients are seeking out ways in which they can incorporate complementary and alternative cancer therapies with their conventional treatment programs.