Myths & Facts
Myth: ‘Homoeopathy is mysterious, unscientific and an unproved system of medicine’.
Fact: The fact that Homoeopathic medicines are prepared in a pharmacy or a laboratory and that their preparation involves a particular technique subject to precise and clearly stated controls (it does not involve mysterious and secret processes which put it into the realm of white magic or alchemy) is enough to convince many people of its validity.
Homeopaths have traditionally justified their practice by their results, without feeling a need to explain how their methods work. The Homoeopathic philosophy or doctrine is a set of rules for practice – one that hasn't changed since it was formulated 200 years ago. These rules and principles constitute a unified hypothesis whose validity is tested out empirically – with cured patients confirming the hypothesis.
Harris Coulter, in his book Homoeopathic Science and Modern Medicine (The Physics of healing with Microdoses) , discusses this issue at great length and also describes many of the trials that have been conducted over the past fifty years or so using plants, animals and humans as controls to prove the effectiveness of Homoeopathic medicines.
Myth: Homoeopathic medicines are only sugar pills which act more as placebos and have no medicinal value as such.
Fact: Yes, the white sugar pills, as such do not have any medicinal value. But these act as vehicles or carriers for the medicines, which are alcohol based. Otherwise the medicine can be taken directly or dissolved in water. Homoeopathic medicines have been scientifically studied the world over and found to be effective in a wide range of diseases. A placebo is an unmedicated pill which the patient believes contains something that will cure him or her. Double-blind trials always involve the inclusion of a control group taking a placebo instead of the medicine being tested in order to rule out the individual's 'suggestibility'.
It is because Homoeopathic remedies do not always work that they are sometimes believed to be ineffective, and, because routine prescriptions such as Rhus toxicodendron for rheumatism and Chamomilla for teething babies are freely available from chemists, people are wrongly persuaded into thinking that they need not consult a Homoeopath. If the remedies do not work it is assumed that Homoeopathy does not work; if they do work it is attributed to a placebo effect – some double blind!
Homoeopathic medicines work effectively on babies and animals, neither of whom are open to being affect by placebos.
It is always essential to individualize the remedy to fit the patient and not the disease, to ensure that the underlying principles are observed so that the element of chance is decreased and Homoeopathy can be seen to work.
Of course, there are many people who will recognize the experience of consulting a practitioner who inspires belief and hope, who left them feeling buoyant and encouraged. But if this initial rapport is not backed up with good solid prescribing, then no amount of that positive 'transference' will cure the patient.
Myth: Homoeopathy is slow acting and cannot be used in acute cases of diarrhea, fever, cough, cold, etc.
Fact: Homoeopathy is fast acting in acute cases and can be effectively used in treating infections, fever, cold etc. Unfortunately, people tend to go to a Homoeopath only when the acute problem becomes chronic. Naturally, these cases take longer to treat. Also, most people take recourse in Homoeopathy in cases of arthritis, allergic asthma or skin conditions etc., which take a longer time to treat with any other medicines.
Myth: Homoeopathy is a ‘magic remedy’ that can treat any disorder.
Fact: Homoeopathy like any other field of medicine, has its limitations. For example, it cannot treat cases where surgery is unavoidable.
Myth: Homoeopathic doctors are quacks who do not have formal training in the field of Medicine.
Fact: Qualified doctors practice Homoeopathy , in most parts of the world. In India, there are over 200 Homoeopathic medical colleges and world over the number is close to 500, which offer graduate and post -graduate studies in Homoeopathy. At present, there are over 2,00,000 trained Homoeopaths in India and at least half-million across the globe.
Myth: One has to follow strict dietary I restrictions while on Homoeopathic treatment.
Fact: Some patients are asked to abstain from onions, garlic, coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol etc. as these substances interfere with the action of certain Homoeopathic medicines . But then, restricting alcohol and tobacco is also safe and healthy.
Myth: Homoeopathy is only useful in chronic cases.
Fact: Very often it is – where everything else has failed! But the true reason for this perception is because people turn to Homoeopathy so late when everything else has failed! After years of allopathic treatment often an illness becomes chronic, the treatment will now naturally take longer than in case of using Homoeopathy right from the beginning, the recovery period is very less. Homoeopathic medicines are equally effective in chronic and acute ailments.
Myth: Homoeopathy cannot be used in diabetic patients.
Fact: It can be used! The minute amount of sugar globules (the little round pills) taken daily does not matter. Sugar intake in the daily diet is significantly higher than that taken by a few globules. In very severe cases, the dilution may be taken as drops in water or over lactose.
Myth: The Homoeopath gives the same white pills for all types of illnesses. How can they be really effective?
Fact: Depending on the illness, Homoeopaths medicate with different medicines. The sugar pills serve only as a vehicle for transfer of the medicine. The selected medicine, out of a range of more than 3000 different dilutions, is targeted to the individual problems.
Myth: Are there really no side effects of Homoeopathic medicine?
Fact: Generally there are no side effects of Homoeopathic medicine if prescribed in potencies of 3C and above. However, some tinctures and triturates in very low potencies like 1x, 2x have some side effects of minor nature. Sometimes, Homoeopathic medicines in higher dilutions may also elicit drug-proving in sensitive individuals. But just like any other medicine, Homoeopathic medicines should be used with caution and in chronic ailments; they should not be taken without consultation with a qualified Homoeopath.
Myth: ‘Homoeopathy is a form of vaccination’
Fact: People often say that they understand Homoeopathy to be like a vaccination in that the patient is given a small quantity of the disease he already has in order to make him immune to it.
This is not true. Homoeopathy and vaccination have similar , not the same , concepts and very different practices. Vaccines work on the physical body in a very specific way, in that they stimulate the immune system directly to produce specific antibodies as if that person has contracted that particular disease; in so doing they are, of course, stressing the immune system. Many vaccines have been known to produce permanent side effects. They must be tested on animals and then on humans to verify their safety, and even then children and adults are often damaged on a physical, emotional or mental level.
A Homoeopathic remedy works in a totally different way. Homoeopathic remedies affect the energy patterns or vital force of a person and by so doing stimulate the body to heal itself. They are administered orally in a diluted (and safe) dose as opposed to being introduced directly into the bloodstream, as is the case with vaccination, thereby bypassing the body’s natural defense system and stressing it in a way that is not fully understood. Homoeopathic medicines are not tested on innocent animals and do not have side effects.