In Defense of Homeopathy
Homeopathic methodology itself is the very definition of scientific method. Medicinal substances are gathered and their capacity to cause symptoms in the human organism is studied. These substances are administered in diluted form to volunteers who are not told what they are receiving. The symptoms reported by these study subjects are then recorded in great detail. The symptomatic profile of each medicine is developed and documented in reference texts called materia medicas. Highly diluted doses of these medicines are then given to sick persons who exhibit similar symptom profiles. The responses are noted and used to confirm the symptom profiles of these substances and to expand the database of information regarding their uses.
In this sense, homeopathy is the most empirically reliable medical methodology ever devised. It is based upon direct experience and real time, real life clinical outcomes and patient feedback. Just because the mechanism of action of homeopathy is as of yet undetermined does not mean that it does not qualify as a science. No scientist in his or her right mind dismisses an unusual phenomenon simply because it cannot be explained. Homeopathy utilizes a sound scientific methodology that can yield remarkable results.
Objection 4. There is no scientific evidence to support homeopathy.
This particular objection to homeopathy is perhaps the most egregious of all. It is simply untrue. By any objective standard, it is a flat out falsehood. There is a growing mountain of research that demonstrates the positive benefits of homeopathy. Nevertheless, diehard skeptics who show no interest in factual evidence continue to spread lies to the contrary. When you hear the statement that there is no scientific evidence in support of homeopathy, you know you are dealing with someone who is either uninformed, willfully ignorant, a scientific zealot, or a mercenary for PhRMA.
Many who insist that there is no evidence are usually just parroting propaganda that they’ve heard elsewhere. At best, a skeptic will acknowledge the existence of a particular homeopathic study, only to then nitpick over the supposed flaws in that study. This is a common tactic employed by fundamentalist devotees of scientism. In any event, the studies are there to examine for all who are genuinely interested. A small sampling of homeopathic research references is provided at the end of this article.
When it comes to medical research, there are some real issues worth discussing. One such issue is the increasing unreliability of scientific studies, which are often funded and conducted by vested interests. When drugs approved by the FDA are taken off the market with such regularity, then the research that justified their approval in the first place must be called into question.
Another problem is the way in which we define scientific evidence itself. Modern scientists have convinced themselves that experiential evidence is not real evidence. Patient’s reports of their own experiences and physician’s firsthand observations of the patients that they treat have somehow become second-class forms of evidence. Skeptics tell us that this type of evidence is merely “anecdotal.” We are supposed to believe that direct firsthand experience is inferior to the abstract statistical data produced by modern research trials. A belief like this can only come from armchair quarterbacks who are out of touch with patient reality. As far as I am concerned, I glean far more practical information from individual patient case studies than from artificially homogenized trials involving large groups of patients.
It appears that the Emperor of Research is wearing no clothes. Society as a whole is dazzled by quantitative data—and seems to have lost its capacity for common sense and sound judgment. We have been bamboozled into believing that our own experiences cannot be trusted. This, to me, is the true crisis engendered by modern medicine. Its misguided beliefs regarding experiential evidence have had a dehumanizing and disempowering effect on doctors and patients alike.
This issue is particularly important to homeopathy because it is an empirical science. In other words, it places a great deal of emphasis on patient experience. Homeopathic evaluations are heavily influenced by the subjective information provided by patients regarding their own perceptions of their illnesses. The standards of evidence used by homeopathy are much broader than those of conventional medicine. Homeopathy is more inclusive because, in addition to research findings and objective diagnostic information, it respects the value of subjective patient input.
Conventional medicine places much higher value on objective factors like lab results and imaging tests. It shows little interest in the subjective evidence that is so important to homeopathy. However, none of this mitigates the fact that there are numerous conventionally designed clinical trials that point to the benefits of homeopathy.
Objection 5. Homeopathic treatment is dangerous because it prevents patients from obtaining the “real” medical care that they need.
This objection is just another red herring. Homeopathic treatment is known for its lack of side effects and unparalleled safety record. When compared side-by-side, allopathic medicine is far more prone to iatrogenic dangers including allergic reactions, side effects, adverse events, and complications.
Furthermore, the course of illness is not always predictable. Even a well-chosen antibiotic, for example, may not work, during which time the patient’s condition can worsen. A doctor may diagnose indigestion in a patient who later turns out to have appendicitis. These types of events occur all the time. And they can happen to practitioners of all stripes; allopathic, homeopathic, and otherwise. All practitioners have patients who take turns for the worse, and who get sick in spite of their best efforts. To argue that this is unique to homeopaths is ludicrous.
The reverse is also true. I have seen my share of patients who, in my medical opinion, could have avoided the side effects and complications from various drugs or surgical interventions had they chosen to consult me for homeopathic care in the first place. In fact, homeopathic physicians have an advantage in the sense that they have training in both conventional and homeopathic approaches. As it turns out, “real” medical care is not the exclusive province of orthodox medicine.
Homeopathy is here to stay
In spite of relentless opposition, homeopathy has withstood the test of time. It continues to endure deliberate misinformation campaigns designed to undermine its good reputation. Hard core skeptical ideologues hurl epithets like “junk science” and “pseudoscience.” Much of the rhetoric coming from these anti-homeopathy mercenaries amounts to defamation of character. They need to be identified for who they are and held accountable for their libel and slander. These self-proclaimed defenders of science are the most unscientific hucksters of all.
Homeopathic remedies are manufactured by legitimate pharmacies, regulated by the FDA, and in popular demand among consumers. But few U.S. physicians show any interest in learning about how homeopathy can help their patients. Furthermore, the corporate medical establishment views homeopathy as competition. PhRMA can’t own homeopathic medicines exclusively because they cannot be patented. You can draw your own conclusions about the motivating reasons behind FDA and FTC’s recent scrutiny of the marketing of homeopathic products.
Homeopathic medicines are exceptionally safe precisely because the material quantities involved are so minute. As such, the likelihood of an allergic reaction or adverse event is virtually nil. One can quibble over whether homeopathic medicines act as bioenergetic catalysts or whether the life force is a real thing or not. It doesn’t really matter, because the final results are what count. Millions of doctors and patients around the globe can attest to the positive benefits of homeopathic treatment.
As bioenergetic catalysts, homeopathic remedies have broad and all-encompassing effects on human health. Homeopathy is truly holistic because it acts on the whole person. Because homeopathic remedies have such deep effects, they are capable of getting to the root of chronic health problems. When a homeopathic remedy gets to the root of a problem, the life force ceases to generate symptoms because there is no further need to call attention to the problem.
Homeopathy is safe, inexpensive, and effective. It represents the cutting-edge of Space Age futuristic medicine precisely because it transcends the pitfalls of material medicine. In the immortal words of Bones McCoy, “I’m a doctor, Jim, not a car mechanic!”