Homeopathetic: Failed health outcomes coupled with lies

Homeopathic medicine doesn’t work. Often, it seriously harms the people who rely on it.

Anant Naik

More than 200 hundred years ago, a German doctor by the name of Samuel Hahnemann developed his idea of curing diseases using materials that caused symptoms of disease in a healthy person. For example, if a patient came to him and had nausea, Hahnemann would give the patient medicine that would provoke mild nausea in a healthy person. In fact, he believed the more diluted the medicine was, the more impact it would have.

Sound ridiculous? It is. Yet Americans spend $3 billion on this every year. The scientific community considers homeopathic medicine to be incredibly unscientific. Countries like the U.K. are considering a ban to prevent physicians from prescribing it — it’s time for the United States to get rid of it altogether.

One big reason why homeopathy became incredibly popular was because of how people were impressed with how “effective” it was. Much of this testimony relied on fact that many patients had conditions that disappeared naturally over time. Homeopathy got the credit for something that would have happened anyway.

It wasn’t until 1835 that researchers conducted the first double-blind experiment regarding the health impacts of homeopathy. The study showed that not only was homeopathic medicine ineffective — it was borderline health fraud.

Even today, many scientists believe we shouldn’t substitute homeopathic medicine for scientifically accepted treatments. In fact, a study by the National Health and Medical Research Council concluded that there are no medical conditions in which homeopathy is effective. None. Zilch.

At its best, the effect of homeopathic medicine is a placebo. However, a meta-analysis conducted across a large pool of data over many different kinds of clinical conditions found that, on the whole, even placebos weren’t effective at treating diseases. Undeniably, there were instances, like pain, in which placebo treatments seemed to work. However, the psychology behind placebo treatments is a field under scientific scrutiny. To claim that things like dangerous diseases can go away from the placebo effect is simply absurd.

If anything, homeopathy has destructive consequences that can harm patients in their pursuit of well-being. First, I think it reinforces the concept that there is a pill for everything. Walk into a homeopathy store, and you’ll see a sea of glass bottles with strange-colored labels marked with varying disease names.

This philosophy could deter patients from looking into real treatments from actual medical professionals. Furthermore, in 2012, the National Institutes of Health found that many homeopathic medicines contained heavy metals like mercury, which can cause other lasting health problems.

Don’t substitute homeopathy for real treatment. There is no evidence to suggest its usefulness, and its “logic” defies the fundamental rules of chemistry and biology. Getting rid of homeopathic medicine from the hospital is one easy step we can take toward scientific progress.