Health

Ideas Behind Homeopathy are Scientifically Unsound

| by Science-Based Parenting

Homeopathic remedies are not all-natural herbal supplements. They are not an alternative to western medicine and prescription drugs. They are placebos in the form of sugar pills that are manufactured in such a way as to erase any trace of their original substances. And they are a waste of money and energy.

It doesn’t matter which homeopathic treatment a child takes, she will end up with nothing more than the equivalent of a tic tac. That is because the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann, invented the treatment in the 19th century when leeches were a popular way to treat disease. Not much has changed since  his original illogical ideas, which he described as laws.  I think that once you read these “laws”, you may want to insist that your cute hippie pregnant wife return the Arnica 30x to the store.

The Law of Similars can best be compared to vaccines and venom antidotes. For vaccines, a live strain of disease is introduced to the human body causing the immune system to build a defense against the disease. Venom antidotes work the same way, except they are injected into animals, and we use the animal’s antibodies to fight the venom in humans.

Hahnemann had the same idea, but instead of using medical science as his guide, he just made it up and hoped it would stick. His thought was that certain natural substances cause symptoms in the body, and that those substances (in a diluted form) could prevent diseases and conditions that have similar symptoms. Confused? Say tree sap gives you a headache when ingested, well that means that tree sap can prevent headaches. Besides being a non-sequitur, the concept is void of logic. You won’t magically cancel out your headache when you ingest substances that cause a headache. The idea is absurd on it’s face, and even more absurd when you think about the fact that Hahnemann tested these substances without using any standards or controls. He put all his answers down in a little black book called Materia Medica, and homeopaths use many of the same remedies to this day.

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The Law of Infinitesimals states that the more you dilute a substance the more powerful are it’s medicinal properties. Huh? That is SO counter-intuitive that I can’t even conceptualize how this man devised such a backwards idea. The less there is of something, the more it cures? Of all the failed medical concepts, I find it hard to undestand how this one lasted over a 100 years and is still widely believed by Whole Foods Market shoppers everywhere.

You might find a homeopathic bottle with 30x on the label. That doesn’t mean it is 30 times more powerful. It doesn’t even mean that it is 30 times less powerful. It means that it is diluted 1 to the 30th power.

A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the earth and a 30C solution would require a container more than 30 billion times the size of the Earth.

Science has told us that there is a limited amount of dilutions a substance can handle before the original molecules are gone. That means that anything greater than 24x is nothing but sugar water.  Homeopaths will tell you that magical phantom traces of the original substance are left after vigorous shakings called succusions, but we know this to be hogwash that is unverifiable. Any relief comes from placebo or random natural healing.

Cindy Crawford (what is it with these pretty celebrities?) recently went on the Oprah show to reveal her favorite things, including a homeopathic kit and “bible” that she uses to treat “mosquito bites, bee stings, bruises, etc.” I guess there are worse substances to cure your children with, but there are also better ways to spend your money.  Not everyone has the money to waste that Cindy Crawford does. My money goes to the body’s natural immune system and healing abilities, and when that doesn’t work- good old fashioned doctor-prescribed science-based medicine.