Homeopathy doesn't work

in homeopathy •  2 years ago

After my recent post on the antivax movement I thought i'd comment on a pet peeve of mine: homeopathy.

What is homeopathy?

First of all, homeopathy is NOT the same thing as herbal medicine. Depending on the particular herb, herbal remedies have actual biologically active effects on the human body.

Homeopathy is a system of "medicine" based on a few principles:

  1. "Like cures like"
    Homeopaths find substances that cause the symptoms they want to treat (for example, they use caffeine for insomnia) and use this as the basis of their "remedies". Note however that this is not an internally consistent belief system: it is common to see homeopaths prescribe homeopathic st johns wort for depression for example (and plain st johns wort is an antidepressant - so according to homeopathy, homeopathic st johns wort should CAUSE depression).
  2. "Law of Infinitesimals"
    Homeopaths believe that their remedies are stronger the more diluted they are, they dilute the original substance by a huge amount until there's essentially no detectable levels of the original molecule left, just water. They claim that the water has "memory" of what was in it. This water is then either sold directly or dripped onto sugar pills which are then sold.

Why it can't work

Basically what you're actually consuming when you take a homeopathic "remedy" is plain water (sometimes with ethanol added) or sugar pills. There is not enough of the original compound left to cause a biological response, and if there was it would be a negative one.

Homeopaths claim the "water memory" means the body can respond to the homeopathic "remedy" in some form, but if this were true we would all be getting all the homeopathic remedies we need from tap water.

Why it seems to work

A lot of people swear homeopathy works, and from their viewpoint it looks like it does. However, the reason for this is that with simple self-limiting conditions they often resolve by themselves without medical treatment. Combined with the placebo effect this is sufficient to explain the odd case of people apparently being healed by homeopathy.

To date, no well-run study has found a distinction between homeopathic remedies and plain water or sugar pills. There is no difference from placebo.

Not convinced?

If you can detect the difference between plain old water and a homeopathic remedy, contact James Randi and you can claim 1 million dollars. If you can not detect the difference however, you must concede it is mere placebo.

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Can you share your sources where you found your info?


The Wikipedia article on Homeopathy has this information and much more! It also has a plethora of annotated sources. Hope this helps. If not....drink some water. :)


Actually, if you ask most homeopaths the Wikipedia article on homeopathy is extremely biased since only one point of view is allowed to be written on it.



This stuff is common knowledge, you can ask the homeopaths yourself about the basic principles and they'll tell you all about the "like cures like" stuff.



In conclusion, the hypothesis that any given homeopathic remedy leads to clinical effects that are relevantly different from placebo or superior to other control interventions for any medical condition, is not supported by evidence from systematic reviews. Until more compelling results are available, homeopathy cannot be viewed as an evidence-based form of therapy.


Overall, no consistent or clinically relevant results across all outcomes between homeopathic Q-potencies versus placebo and homeopathic versus conventional case taking were observed.

There are plenty, here are two random publications discussing homeopathy vs placebo. You may see an effect from a homeopathic treatment, but you would also see the same effect if I gave you a tic-tac and told you it was a medication for the same ailment.


I wondered whether to bother citing the MANY MANY studies on the subject, but I figured there's so many I don't know where to begin and anyone interested can look it up on pubmed or just accept that water isn't medicine for anything beyond dehydration.


When that is the case it's easier to just site a few meta studies and call it a day.

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Yeah, water memory, how does the water remember the right molecule, what if I drink the wrong water?!

Ironically, drinking some water is often a cure for a headache as the cause of many, not all, headaches is dehydration!

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Youre absolutely right, homeopathy is downright nonsense. The whole concept that dilution of a "medicine" makes it stronger, and the more dilute the stronger it gets is absolutely nonsensical. It doesn't have any basis in physical reality, thats just not how things interact with one another. Hell at the highest homeopathic dilutions there is likely not even molecules of the medication present anymore.

200, 1:10 serial dilutions. My ass.


Nice to see some more scientific thinkers on steemit

Since 2000 I have been very convincing about the western medical community and medicine miracles, but when I lost a close relative of mine by an unknown-unidentified caused fever I lost every trust I had on western medicine. So I started first by using homeopathy for me and my wife. After a strong psychological shock my wife developted diabetes type 2. We visited our homeopathy doctor who privided us with the correct medicine for her. At that time we had some friends who realy don't believe in homeopathy and insisted us to visit a "classic doctor" in order to take the "correct" prescription of drugs. We did that as an experiment and while we were talking with the doctor, he almost started laughing when we described to him that we are under homeopathy thretment. He sayed that it is a placebo effect and it doesn't work but we will see after farther blood exams... I can't describe the doctor's face after a couple of days when he called us to his office announcing that the glucose levels where adjusted!!! . That's a very small example of homeopathy. Its not my intention to argue if homeopathy is good or not. If a small homeopathic pill adjust my diabetes or adjust the period cycle or acts as antibiotic medicine and do it well, give me a good reason to use a chemical substitute that has so many side effects. Even if I accept that it is a placebo who cares if the final result is a healthy human being?


What did the homeopath actually give you? Are you sure it wasn't actually something active like a herb? I know certain herbs in the ginseng family can have a balancing effect on blood sugar levels.

Quite often people mistake homeopathy for all "natural" remedies.

I'm sorry to hear about your relative, without knowing the context I can't comment on their case in particular, but what I can say is that medicine is sadly not perfect - but science-backed medicine at least works. Homeopathy simply does not work, this has been proven time and time again in studies and if you look at the underlying principles there's no way it COULD work.

You're right that in the end it doesn't matter if it's placebo if it still results in good health, but sadly there are many conditions which placebo alone is insufficient for, and you're also forgetting that real medicine also has the placebo effect in addition to the biological effects.


Well its been a long time and I don't remember the name of the homeopath pill we got. It was a homeopathic pill and not something like natural remedies. I know personally classic doctors, surgeons who use homeopathy for their family as a main way of treatment. I am sure that they are not crazy to put their family in any danger. From what they have told me, there kids was half days away from school for medical reasons compared to the other kids in class. What I have learned from the "alternative" medicine is that if you practice it from your early years you have less chances to get sick in your later years. Here I have to notice also that there is a big difference on how homeopathy treatment or any alternative treatment served in each country. I know for example - and please correct me if I am wrong- that in the States, homeopathy pills sold in Supermarkets like a natural remedy!!! That is forbidden in my country Greece, for example. Again, it's not my intention to compare what is right and what is wrong. I believe that everyone has the right to follow any path he feels safe for his life. For me the main problem of the health system is the corruption of people who deal with it.


Homeopathy is not dangerous in any way (except where it might make people fail to seek proper treatment) and it "works" fine for mild conditions due to the placebo effect.

Suffice to say, i'm deeply skeptical of your story and would love to see the raw data (the actual name of the pill you were given and a chemical analysis to confirm it is homeopathic and not something active).

I hope this doesn't come across as insulting as I understand you truly believe the homeopathic remedy worked for you, but there's a reason we don't base medical decisions on single anecdotes and instead use proper double-blinded studies to determine what works and what doesn't.

The term "alternative medicine" is a bit of a catchall, but a lot of it is, like homeopathy, just plain quackery. Some people classify things like all dietary supplements and herbal remedies as part of "alternative medicine", despite such things having actual biological effects. Since it's such a catchall, you can't really make blanket statements about it.

It's clear for example that the rational use of dietary supplements is good for your health, and some herbal remedies are effective too, so if you class that as "alternative medicine" your statement would be right for at least that aspect of it.

Where it comes to the rest of "alternative medicine" though, we have a wide range of different practices, some of which are at least plausibly effective and some of which are downright insane and dangerous.


There is no insulting at all. It is always a pleasure to share ideas. And I agree that we don't base medical decisions on single anecdotes I honestly don't remember the pill, I asked my wife twice since you mentioned it. I am just sharing what I have witnessed all these years. We share ideas and I am not trying to convince anyone to follow the same path I did. The fact that I lost my trust on classic medicine doesn't mean that I contempt all classic medicine. That would be totally insane. In general, i believe that any type of medicine can become dangerous without a proper diagnosis of the problem.


I came here to ask you about Tensorflow but I'd appreciate if you would actually post stuff you know something about.

There are of course studies incl. double random placebo controlled trials (which are the most rigorous?) that prove homeopathy works but you have to look for them. IIRC it was in a talk from the Truth about Cancer.

Episode 5: Cancer Causing Blindspots, Toxic Vaccines, Homeopathy & The Power of Emotions
Episode 6: The NOCEBO Effect, Healing Vaccines, Advanced Detoxing & Going Inside A German Cancer Clinic


Well, interestingly, if you hitch it up to a spectrographic transmitter you find that the more you dilute it the more it starts transmitting energies. And now you can’t argue with a spectrograph. It’s the most exquisitely sensitive scientific instrument we have. That’s what tells you there’s manganese on a star that’s a thousand billion light years away. You can’t argue with a spectrograph. And yet the homeopathic remedies actually start to broadcast the more you dilute them.

There are a thousand studies showing it’s highly effective. In fact there’s a very good one that was published in The Lancet in 1994. They did it three times because they couldn’t believe it was working. Three times it performed better than placebo.


Can you show me these studies?


Yep I wish. I had grabbed a gazillion TIFF screenshots with MacOS/Grab untill memory was full haha, I think I have deleted some time ago, before I was on Steem. But it was in the Lancet, there was even a year, check your replies.

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The reason why you guys can't believe that homeopathy works is because it lays outside your materialistic worldview. Saying homeopathy doesn't work means nothing to the millions of people that benefit from its use.

Just because science isn't advanced enough to understand it doesn't mean that it doesn't work. When you see someone get better from homeopathy repeatedly you can no longer just bury your head in the sand and say it is all placebo.