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Does homeopathy work?

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine based on the idea that a sick person can be cured by giving them infinitesimal quantities of a substance that in large quantities would cause the same symptoms of the sickness. It is a credit to Samuel Hahnemann who discovered homeopathy in 1796, that the basic tenets of his theory remain as is in modern homeopathy. The scientific community remains skeptical, citing the pseudo-scientific nature of the theory and the lack of empirical evidence to back it up.

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Experts In Homeopathy

Samuel Hahnemann    Inventor of Homeopathy
The curative power of medicines, therefore, depends on their symptoms, similar to the disease but superior to it in strength, so that each individual case of disease is most surely, radically, rapidly and permanently annihilated and removed only by a medicine capable of producing (in the human system) in the most similar and complete manner the totality of its symptoms, which at the same time are stronger than the disease.
28 Mar 1833    Source

Rudolf Verspoor    Homeopathist
Most often the symptom picture that the classical homeopath puts together is false and fails. ... The conclusion I have come to is that “classical homeopathy” is more like a belief system to be defended, than a science open to critical discussion. ... As a result of the general failure of existing homeopaths and homeopathic schools to incorporate the insights set out in The Dynamic Legacy into their programs, we founded the Hahnemann College for Heilkunst, which [is Homeopathy that works].
15 Jul 2008    Source

Deepak Chopra    Inventor of Quantum Healing
[The homeopathy debate] represents the usual confusion. Adherents to alternative medicine clash with the establishment, both sides pointing to their own research, but both sides also having to admit that definitive results never seem to settle their disputes. I've come to feel that the argument will never be settled until we accept a fact of nature: everyone has a unique response to disease. No single treatment can be expected to cure or prevent illness with complete reliability...
26 Nov 2007    Source

Experts In Science

Paul Z. Myers    Biology Professor
As anyone who has looked into homeopathy at all knows, these are very high dilutions—dilutions that mean there is no active agent present at all, so [a homeopathic remedy is equivalent to] a drink of water.
24 Jul 2006    Source

Stephen Barrett    Psychiatrist
At best, the "remedies" are placebos... If the FDA required homeopathic remedies to be proven effective in order to remain marketable — the standard it applies to other categories of drugs — homeopathy would face extinction in the United States.
04 Oct 2007    Source

Steven Novella    Neurologist
Homeopathic products (mostly – some products labeled homeopathic may have active ingredients) do not have side effects because they do not have any effects. Most are diluted well past the point of having any active ingredient. What is left is ultimately just a sugar pill – a pure placebo.
15 Nov 2012    Source

Experts In Philosophy

Robert Todd Carroll    Philosophy Professor
We know that there is virtually no scientific evidence that homeopathic remedies are effective.
01 Jan 2008    Source


Wikipedia    World's Largest Encyclopedia
Claims of homeopathy's efficacy beyond the placebo effect are unsupported by the collective weight of scientific and clinical evidence. While some individual studies have positive results, systematic reviews of published trials fail to conclusively demonstrate efficacy. Furthermore, higher quality trials tend to report less positive results, and most positive studies have not been replicated or show methodological problems...
26 Apr 2010    Source


Add Your TakeOnIt (click to expand, no login required)
0 Points      MTC      23 Feb 2013      Stance on Question: Disagree
Of course not. Physics, chemistry, and direct evidence all shows that it is merely a placebo.

0 Points      blacktrance      10 Feb 2011      Stance on Question: Disagree
Homeopathy is little more than the placebo effect.

1 Point      TZX      16 Feb 2011      Stance on Question: Disagree
"Little" presumably meaning "exactly equal to a glass of water"

1 Point      Christopher Maloney      06 Jul 2010      Stance on Question: Mostly Agree
The extended research on homeopathy has shown that, because of the extended doctor/patient relationships and lengthy visits (often three + hours) patients benefit from homeopathic attention without the proper remedy. Since the doctor/patient relationship provides significant healing (mistaken experts are calling it a placebo effect, when it is the caring effect seen throughout medicine) the homeopathic remedies themselves are less robust in their significance of effect.

Those who take issue with homeopathy do so because it "is a waste of time" when we have significant studies on the alleviation of life threatening illnesses in developing countries. In these situations it is not homeopathy versus conventional medicine, it is homeopathy versus no intervention. The mistaken belief that we will be capable of providing the model of healthcare available in some countries worldwide is a delusion. We need to look at those trials of substances within homeopathy that are effective at alleviating heavy metal poisoning and chronic diarrhea. It is because of its dilution that homeopathy can be dispensed for almost nothing to a desperately ill world.

0 Points      Benja      07 Jul 2010      Stance on Question: Disagree
"Those who take issue with homeopathy do so because..."
the theory underlying homeopathy is incoherent, a suspicion that is validated by numerous empirical studies which show that homeopathic remedies have no measurable effect beyond a placebo.

A homeopathic concoction can be replaced with water, and there is no difference in efficacy. This shows that any therapeutic effects of homeopathy do not come from the medicine itself. This makes homeopathic medicine a placebo, a term homeopaths don't like, because it empowers patients with an understanding of the difference between real and fake medicine.

Regarding developing countries - we should not waste our time and theirs exporting non-scientific medicine that has failed to work in our own countries. People in developing countries need more education - not more voodoo. I'm highly suspicious of claims that homeopathic remedies help with heavy metal poisoning and chronic diarrhea. Furthermore, the long-term self-help solution here is to education them on acquiring clean water and sanitation. How are they supposed to understand what clean water and sanitation is, when we pollute their heads with homeopathic theories that distort and deny the scientific basis of disease, and for that matter, can't even define "water" correctly?

0 Points      the27th      09 May 2010      Stance on Question: Disagree
As far as I know, no.