Ten myths about homeopathy demystified

Myth #1. Homeopathy is just ‘sugar pills’, or a placebo, because all medicines look the same.

This is wrong. Do you know that even the most diluted homeopathic remedies, if taken frequently, may result in ‘provings’, because the remedy matches a particular set of symptoms? If they were, indeed, just sugar pills, they would not have caused symptoms, or provings to appear.

Points to consider:

  1. Placebo effect is only temporary.
  2. Homeopathic medicinal effects are long-lasting.
  3. Homeopathy acts in children, animals, and also on plants.
  4. Actual medicine is traceable below the 6c potency.
  5. Clinical and double-blind studies have proven the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.

Homeopathic remedies are not dispensed only as sugar pills. They are available in different forms, such as mother tincture, dilution, ointment, tablet, pellets, gel, lotion, oral sprays and even injections.

Homeopathy is growing in popularity all over the world because its medicines are gentle, efficient, non-toxic, non-habit-forming and safe. Some critics also think or are convinced of the fact that homeopathy works on the power of suggestion, just like hypnosis, because the individual, or patient, is convinced that it works. This is all hogwash. It’s hard to visualise that homeopathy would have been so successful and useful to crores of people all over the world in providing therapeutic benefits — not just in acute ailments, but also in serious diseases — for over 200 years.

What’s more, homeopathy works well in animals and plants. Need we say more?

Myth #2. Homeopathy is religious dogma. It is simply not science.

This is baseless. Homeopathy has scored innumerable therapeutic victories, or triumphs, in its 200-year-old existence. It’s squarely the politics of medicine that needs to be blamed for conventional medicine to be at loggerheads with homeopathy — not the other way around.

Myth #3. Coffee reduces medicinal effects.

From a cup of coffee that cheers to certain foods or ingredients that ‘jazz-up’ our feelings, such as mint, several things have been taboo for a long time. This isn’t quite the case today. However, homeopathic medicines and their effects may be affected, if not neutralised, by certain strongly-flavoured over-the-counter (OTC) preparations, such as anti-cold topical creams, pain balms, not to speak of microwave ovens and certain oils used in aromatherapy, herbal medicine and ayurveda. It is best to keep a short gap (30 minutes) between taking homeopathic medicines and coffee, food and so on. The reason is that they may impinge upon the natural, therapeutic action of homeopathic medicines.

Myth #4. Homeopathy is vaccine-like therapy.

Vaccine therapy may be somewhat similar to the homeopathic principle — what can cause, can cure. In reality, this is not the case. Homeopathy follows the principle of similars. A suitable medicine that matches the symptom-picture of the individual or patient is given in homeopathy. In vaccine therapy, the same vaccine is given to everyone.

Vaccines are tested on animals; they are evidenced to cause several adverse effects, some of them serious. Homeopathy, on the contrary, is tested on healthy human beings (provings). Homeopathic medicines do not cause or trigger any side effects.

For long, homeopaths have successfully used Anthracinum for anthrax, Pertussin for whooping cough and so on. According to the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, during the infamous outbreak of meningitis in Brazil, in 1974, 18,640 patients were given the homeopathic nosode, Meningococcinum (prepared from a diseased tissue), as a preventative remedy. Just four cases of meningitis were reported in this group. On the contrary, 6,340 people, who formed the control group and didn’t receive any treatment, developed 32 cases. The homeopathic efficacy is evident.

There is a school of thought now gaining ground — it holds the view that conventional vaccines may be harmful. The latest debate is related to the new swine flu (H1N1) vaccine. It’s weighed down by controversy, thanks to its side effects. Many conventional doctors today are of the view that vaccines suppress our immunity. This means they reduce our natural immune function, leaving us vulnerable to a number of illnesses.

Homeopathic medicines do not cause such problems. They are friendly on the system. They cause no tissue damage. They protect, treat and also prevent illness.

Homeopathic ‘vaccines’ are non-toxic and effective in prophylaxis. For example, Parotidinum works well as a preventative remedy for mumps, Influenzinum for flu, Diphtherinum for diphtheria and so on. This is homeopathy’s most fundamental advantage. This is also its medicinal or therapeutic reality.

Myth #5. Homeopathy is no good for life-threatening diseases. You cannot take homeopathy and allopathy together.

Homeopathy can treat extremely serious illnesses and diseases, by correcting the underlying cause. This can complement conventional treatment. However, homeopathy cannot treat life-threatening diseases by itself, or medical and surgical emergencies such as a heart attack, stroke, or organ damage.

The old or traditional homeopathic opinion was they should not be taken or combined together, because homeopathy believes strongly in the theory of suppression through the use of certain conventional or allopathic medications. For example, a cold, suppressed by modern medicine, may lead to asthma. Likewise, the application of steroidal creams can suppress an eruption and lead to flare-ups or other unrelated illnesses, because the underlying factors, the real cause of the problem, or toxins, are not naturally expelled.

Homeopathic medicines eliminate such flagrant mechanisms from the inside-out — not just at the superficial level. Today, there is agreement that some ‘life-supportive’ conventional medicines can lead to drug-dependence; for example, anti-hypertensive and anti-diabetic medications.

Homeopathy can complement modern medicine in such cases. The idea is to use the two together — synergistically. There’s clinical evidence to show that conventional medicine and homeopathy work well in controlling diabetes.

In a study conducted at Athens, a group of patients of diabetes mellitus type-2 were treated with Daonil — a conventional medicine — and a placebo (Group-1), and Daonil and homeopathy (Group-2). The duration of the study extended over a period of nine months of parallel treatment. Group-1 showed 47% improvement; Group-2 showed a hugely impressive 97% improvement.

Homeopathy has also been shown to be a useful adjuvant therapy in post-operative care, or after bypass surgery. The homeopathic medicine Arnica Montana is a medicine of choice in either situation.

Besides, homeopathy can also play a balancing role. Some cases require hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but if the patients are not suitable for HRT, because they have had hysterectomies for malignancy, then homeopathy is often useful.

Myth #6. Homeopathy is herbal medicine. It is also quite like ayurvedic medicine.

Homeopathy, herbal, and ayurvedic medicines are different forms of alternative medicine. They are not similar. While homeopathy uses minute or micro-doses of medicines derived from herbs, plants and other sources, herbal medicine is based on the use of actual extracts of herbs and plants; just as ayurveda.

Myth #7. Homeopathy works for human patients, not animals.

Homeopathic medicines work well in animals, even plants. This can’t be the placebo effect, right? Homeopathy offers a safe and gentle way to treat your pets for allergies, injuries, digestive problems, joint and muscle aches, among other problems. The homeopathic remedy, Magnesia Carbonicum, works well in pets showing symptoms of ‘separation sickness’.

Myth #8. Homeopathy is easy to learn, so one can treat oneself, family and friends.

Early homeopaths encouraged learning in areas where there were no doctors. For long, missionaries learned and ‘practised’ homeopathy. They have helped and continue to help innumerable people get over everyday ailments and illnesses with simple homeopathic medicines.

Anyone can certainly learn the rudiments of homeopathy to treat cold and flu, not chronic or difficult illnesses. This would need the professional skills of a qualified homeopathic doctor, because of the subtleties involved in the selection of appropriate homeopathic medicines.

Myth #9. Every practising homeopathic doctor is an alternative or complementary doctor, who is in disagreement with conventional medicine.

This is not correct. For instance, professional homeopathic doctors study for five-and-a-half years full-time in a professional medical college; some of them also study for a post-graduate degree (MD). These doctors are trained to diagnose medically; they call for the use of the same clinical and diagnostic techniques as any conventional medical practitioner. They also conduct the same physical examination; they also seek the same blood tests, X-ray, CT scan, MRI and so on, when required, to confirm the diagnosis for their patients.

They also refer patients to conventional specialists for their opinion and advice.

Myth #10. Some homeopaths use steroids.

This is incorrect. Professionally-qualified homeopaths do not use steroids. The long-term use of steroids leads to apparent or noticeable side effects, like weight gain, puffy, bloated face, brittleness of bones and compromised sugar metabolism. All these signs are easy to figure out.

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