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By Gary F. Zeolla
Homeopathy is an alternative medical methodology. It is based on the idea that “like cures like.” In other words, the idea is that a small amount of something that makes healthy people sick will actually cure a sick person. Or it will use a small amount of a substance with supposed healing powers, like herbs.
The substance is diluted in alcohol or distilled water. It is diluted numerous times, so that the resulting remedy will have very little or none of the original substance. So what the patient takes may or may not contain any of the original substance. And if it does, we are literally talking about a molecule or two of it.
The remedies are usually delivered in very small amounts, either by using an eyedropper or a sprayer. The small amount is dripped or sprayed into the mouth, one to three times a day.
If this sounds rather strange, well it is. If there is none or at best, an infinitesimal amount of the supposed healing substance in the remedy the patient actually takes, then how can it do anything? But homeopathic advocates claim the distilled water or alcohol contains the “energy” of the original substance. But that makes no scientific sense. And in fact, homeopathy has not held up to scientific scrutiny.
Homeopathic remedies have been the subject of numerous clinical trials. Taken together, these trials showed at best no effect beyond placebo, at worst that homeopathy could be actively harmful. Although some trials produced positive results, systematic reviews revealed that this was because of chance, flawed research methods, and reporting bias. The proposed mechanisms for homeopathy are precluded by the laws of physics from having any effect. Patients who choose to use homeopathy rather than evidence based medicine risk missing timely diagnosis and effective treatment of serious conditions such as cancer. The regulation and prevalence of homeopathy vary greatly from country to country (Wikipedia).
Note that this paragraph from Wikipedia has many footnotes to studies supporting these claims.
And a meta-analysis of studies on Homeopathy on PubMed concluded, “The findings of currently available Cochrane reviews of studies of homeopathy do not show that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo” (PubMed).
Further discussion of the unscientific nature of homeopathy can be found in the article on the subject on QuackWatch.
Homeopathy for Allergies
Back in the winter of 2000-01, I went to a traditional allergist. He tested me via skin scratch tests for a variety of environmental items like dust and pollen, along with a variety of foods. I tested positive for over half of the items he tested me for. He recommended that I take an allergy medication and undergo allergy shots (a.k.a. immunology) for the environmental allergies. But at that point, due to listening to alternative doctors on the radio, I had been “brainwashed” that traditional medicine was not safe or effective and that alternative medicine was the best way to treat ailments.
Moreover, the traditional allergist told me I would need to come for allergy shots every week for the next 3-5 years. But that prospect did not appeal to me. I was looking for a “quick fix” for my problems. So that is why I looked into homeopathy. In spite of coming across information like the above about how worthless it was, I also read enough “testimonials” on the Web about it being effective. So I called a homeopath, located in downtown Pittsburgh.
We talked on the phone. What I liked was that she said all of our “appointments” would be on the phone, and she would mail the remedies to me, so I wouldn’t have to actually drive into Pittsburgh. In my laziness, that also sounded appealing. And most of all, the homeopath said that I would only need to take the homeopathic remedies for a few weeks or months at best, and then I would be “cured.” I would need no more treatments. Moreover, she said the treatments would cure my food allergies, something that traditional medicine cannot do.
I think each phone appointment cost something like $50, plus each remedy only cost about $5-10. So it didn’t sound like it would be very expensive. However, I ended up having several phone appointments and needing to take quite a few of the remedies. Moreover, the homeopath talked me into buying a case of her “Super Aloe Vera Juice.” That was quite expensive, but she convinced me that it was truly a “super” drink and would improve my health considerably. So I fell for it, and ordered the entire case of it.
I took the remedies faithfully just as instructed, several drops of each remedy on my tongue each morning before eating or drinking anything. They were rather tasteless. I also drank the “Super Aloe Vera Juice” in the prescribed amount. That, however, tasted completely awful. But I drank it anyhow.
After several weeks, it was obvious that the treatments were doing absolutely nothing. Each time I talked to the homeopath, she seemed flabbergasted that I wasn’t getting better. But she kept changing the remedies to get something to work. But nothing did. She finally concluded that my “emotions” were somehow preventing the remedies from working. So she gave me more remedies that would supposedly deal with that “blockage.” But still, nothing, no benefit at all.
After spending over $500 and wasting about three months of time, I gave up on the homeopathic treatments and looked elsewhere for relief. More than the money, that three months of wasted time is important. All the while I was undergoing these treatments my allergies and health in general were getting worse. If I had gone to the traditional allergist and followed his recommendations, I might have been improving rather than getting worse.
But even after this failure, I still did not go back to the traditional allergist. I instead made the mistake of pursuing NAET treatments for my allergies and other developing health problems. I discuss that mistake in the article, Dangers of Applied Kinesiology and NAET.
Homeopath for other Health Difficulties
For various reasons, I came to believe that at least part of the reason for my worsening health was low testosterone and growth hormone levels. As a means of treating these problems I tried a couple of homeopathic remedies: Male Sexual Energy (which is supposed to increase testosterone levels) and Vital HGH.
In the linked to articles, I discuss how I felt that these products did have a positive effect. But it was minor. As I state in the articles, it was while taking these remedies that I was diagnosed with clinically low testosterone levels. So the Male Sexual Energy did not significantly bring up my T levels. The improvements I thought I was experiencing from it might have been real, or they might have been just placebo effect. I cannot say.
However, as I discuss in that article, I found I got better results from an altered my eating plan and workout program designed to optimize hormones. And by doing so, I tripled my testosterone levels, from being clinically low to being in the middle of the normal range. I present in detail that eating and exercise plan in my book God-given Foods Eating Plan.
But despite my improved testosterone levels, my health in general continued to decline, so I tried many other homeopathic remedies from the same company for a variety of other health problems. Most importantly, was one that was for allergies. I should mention that these were all sprays, which contained alcohol. But they did nothing. So I tried homeopathic remedies for allergies and other health problems from other companies. But they were all to no avail. These remedies were either drops or sprays, but all of them contained alcohol.
As a result of taking so many remedies that contained alcohol, I developed an allergy to alcohol. I’ve had that problem with other alternative treatments and supplements that I have tried. If I take too much of something in a short period of time, I develop an allergy to it. So as a result, I can no longer even try homeopathic remedies, which is not a bad thing, as they are worthless. I don't normally drink alcoholic beverages, but now, as a result of this homeopathic experimentation, I don't even have the option of enjoying a simple glass of wine. But whatever the case, the point is, all of this experimentation with homeopathic remedies proved to be a complete waste of time and money. And all the while, my health was worsening.
Homeopathy is a sham. As I said, I might have experienced slight improvement from a couple of remedies, but a change of diet and exercise plan gave an even greater effect. But most of all, it was while I was consulting with a homeopath and self-experimenting with homeopathic remedies that my allergies and other health problems were worsening. So not only was I wasting a lot of time and money on unscientific treatments, but I was not pursuing what could have been proven treatments.
For a related article, see Alternative Medicine Experiences.
Homeopathy Experiences. Copyright © 2013 by Gary F. Zeolla.
The above article was posted on this Web site June 22, 2013.
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