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Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine.[1][2][3] It was created in the 18th century by Samuel Hahnemann. The theory behind homeopathy is that a sick person can be healed with very small amounts of something that produces the symptoms of the illness in a healthy person. Scientists say that homeopathy does not work and only makes people think they feel better (this is called the placebo effect.)[1][4]

Homeopaths make their medicines by taking the ingredients, adding water, and shaking the mixture. They then take a drop of the mixture, throw out the rest, and add more water. They do this usually 30 times but sometimes up to 200 times. They call it potentisation. Hahnemann said this would bring out the "spirit-like medicinal powers held within a drug".[5] Science can show how many atoms or molecules - tiny things that cannot be divided up any more - of the original substance are left in the homeopathic drug. In most homeopathic drugs, there is not a molecule left of the substance they started out with.[6] Homeopaths believe that the solution carries a "memory" of the original substance.[2][3] Science says that goes against the laws of physics and chemistry.[6]

Homeopathy became popular because it was created at a time when medicine did not work very well and could make people sick.[7] Back then, taking homeopathy might have kept people from getting hurt by bad doctors. However, medicine has improved since then, and now helps a lot more than it hurts people. Homeopaths have also been known to tell their patients not to take medicines like antibiotics and vaccines that could cure (or keep them from getting) dangerous diseases.[8][9][10][11][12]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ernst E (2002). "A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy". Br J Clin Pharmacol 54 (6): 577–82. PMID 12492603.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Shang A, Huwiler-Müntener K, Nartey L, et al. (2005). "Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy". Lancet 366 (9487): 726–732. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67177-2. PMID 16125589.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "When to believe the unbelievable". Nature 333 (30): 787. 1988. doi:10.1038/333787a0.
  4. Ernst E, Pittler MH (1998). "Efficacy of homeopathic arnica: a systematic review of placebo-controlled clinical trials". Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill. : 1960) 133 (11): 1187–90. doi:10.1001/archsurg.133.11.1187. PMID 9820349. http://archsurg.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/133/11/1187.
  5. Organon of Medicine, Samuel Hahnemann, combined 5th/6th edition
  6. 6.0 6.1 Weissmann G (2006). "Homeopathy: Holmes, Hogwarts, and the Prince of Wales". FASEB J. 20 (11): 1755–8. doi:10.1096/fj.06-0901ufm. PMID 16940145. http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/full/20/11/1755.
  7. British Medical Journal: Blood-letting, page 283, March 18 1871, retrieved on March 21 2008
  8. Ernst E (1997). "The attitude against immunisation within some branches of complementary medicine". Eur. J. Pediatr. 156 (7): 513–515. doi:10.1007/s004310050650. PMID 9243229.
  9. Ernst E, White AR (1995). "Homoeopathy and immunization". The British journal of general practice: the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners 45 (400): 629–630. PMID 8554846.
  10. Ernst E (2001). "Rise in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine: reasons and consequences for vaccination". Vaccine 20 Suppl 1: S90–3; discussion S89. doi:10.1016/S0264-410X(01)00290-0. PMID 11587822.
  11. Jones, Meirion (2006-07-14). "Malaria advice 'risks lives'". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/5178122.stm. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
  12. Critical review of The Science of Homeopathy from the British Homoeopathic Journal Volume 67, Number 4, October 1978