HOMEOPATHy does it really work?

This was a lecture delivered for Rotary club, Pune north in April 2013. The audience was so well informed and had some very basic to very intelligent questions about Homoeopathy. The interest and serious thought that people give to Homoeopathy really moved me.Society is taking Homoeopathy very seriously, and we have a huge responsibility to prove the value of Dr. Hahnemann’s life task, and the wonderful science and art called Homoeopathy.‘Homoeopathy‘is a subject that has intrigued us for long- This was how the topic was introduced by the senior Rotarian. The lecture was dedicated to Hahnemann on his 258th Birth Anniversary. Homoeopathy is used by over 500 million the world over, and is the most popular alternative medicine used extensively. However there have been many misconceptions about the healing science and art called Homoeopathy. This lecture is meant to help to dispel them, so that Homeopathy can reach more people so that they can draw from the immense benefits that it has to offer. 

The commonest misconception is that –

1.     Homoepathy takes too long?- This is not true at all. Homoeopathic Medicines act fast. Their action starts instantaneously. The change may be noticed sooner or later depending upon various factors- like the duration of illness, reactivity of the person, past illnesses and constitutional tendencies. Homoeopathy stimulates the boy’s own mechanisms to heal itself. The natural self restorative processes. Thus in serious illness it may be necessary to take allopathic medications to bring the restorative forces of the body to a state of reactivity. Homoeopathic medicines like Carbo veg, Arsenicum album,Camphor, Veratrum Album, Opium etc. do have a role to play in serious situations as well, and can be very helpful in the restorative process. 

The second major misconception is that,

2. Homoeopathic medicines contain steroids ? and that sometimes they have been detected in laboratory tests as well. Homoeopathic medicines do not contain steroids.They are prepared from natural substances found in nature, by the process of potentisation. In laboratories the tests commonly used to detect steroids use tetrazolium blue salts. The tests normally used give a false positive in the presence of sugar. All homeopathic medicines contain a vehicle of a small amount of lactose (milk sugar) which would give FALSE POSITIVE results when tested using the “Colorimetric method (which uses tetrazolium blue salts). In this test, the reaction of tetrazolium blue salt gives a highly colored compound known as Farmazan. Under controlled conditions, the amount of Farmazan developed is proportional to the quantity of steroid or any reducing sugar present in the material being tested. Tetrazolium salts have been used for determination of reducing sugars since the past several years.  So if any drug contains any lactose, it will impart a strong color with tetazolium blue salt which will give a false impression of the presence of a steroid. Secondly,if the alcohol used in this method is not completely free from aldehyde,it will interface with the characteristic color, which may again give a falsepositive reaction for a steroid. So this method is not advisable to determine the presence of steroids in the drug. Most homeopaths use lactose as a base. Together with the alcohol, this is likely to give a false positive test for steroids if this method is used.Another method used to test steroids is Liberman Buchard test, thin layer chromatography method and UV absorption method. Almost all steroids show UV absorption between 235 and 240 nm in dehydrated alcohol or methanol in a clear solution. If an ultraviolet spectrum of this solution is taken between 400 nm and 200 nm on a suitable spectrophotometer, any steroid present will show up as a maximum between 235nm and 240 nm. Absence of such a band means absence of steroid.When homeopathic remedies were tested for steroids using the UV absorption method, none of the samples showed maximum between 235 nm and 240 nm. Thus it is clear that homeopathic medicines do not contain any steroids, and one must understand the testing procedures which were used to eliminate the possibility of a misleading result.Sothe best way to rule out presence or absence of steroid is - UV SPECTROSCOPY, OR THIN LAYER CHROMATOGRAPHY. 

Q.The next question was- 

Is it true that Homeopathy has no side effects?and so anyone can use it with reading few books. The science of Homoeopathy has numerous aspects and can be practiced by a person who has in depth study of the Organon and Materia Medica along with Anatomy,Physiology, Medicine and all the diagnostic abilities, in order to be a rational practitioner. Yes it is VERY SAFE—But only IF USED UPON THE PRINCIPLES as described by Dr. Hahnemann. The Ultraminute doses of medicines that are used in Homoeopathy are not poisonous,but deep acting on the cellular level and on that of the energy planes, so they should be used judiciously. A lot of research is being carried out in IIT Bombay, and the world over, and they have proved that there are nanoparticles in Homoeopathic potencies.  Homoeopathy is a highly individualised form of treatment. And it has been observed that people having been treated of their chronic illnesses or disease tendencies, have a healthier progeny. In acute emergencies also Homoeopathic medicines - act like excellent supportive to the sustenance of life. An example was given here of the effectiveness of Homeopathy in animals, plants and babies. So to say that Homoeopathic medicines are placebo is a huge folly. Homoeopathic treatment results in a rapid, gentle, permanent restoration of health. It has been of immense use, not only in physical problems but also behavior problems, and criminal tendencies. In this respect I have found great results with medicines like Nux Vomica, hyoscyamus, stramonium. tarentula, tuberculinum, bufo etc. We see that homoeopathy acts on the subtle planes of being, and brings about a state where a person pauses and thinks..’ what and why am I doing this, maybe I am wrong’. I think this is a huge step forward in the beginning of healing, where a person can be made useful to himself and society. Homoeopathic treatment stimulates the mind to think and can make a person receptive to counseling.

 Q–A dilution of Homoeopathic medicine is equivalent to 1 grain of salt in an ocean. How does a dilution like this work? Ans-In Homoeopathy, it is not mere dilution but ‘potentisaion’.In potentisation, a pressure of about 10,000 atmospheres is exerted to potentise, these are called succussions. The process dissociates the molecules, and also brings about changes in the molecules of the vehicle.This has been described as water memory- seen on ultrasensitive microscope. 

Q -We feel that a lot of questions are asked and they seems irrelevant- and at times very embarrassing .Eg. I had gone for pain in foot- and was asked which side you sleep on, and colour and consistency of your stool !!Ans- We try to understand you as an individual, what are your tendencies and mental and physical nature. We have a huge repertory to find most appropriate medicine that will help you. But it not always necessary to ask embarrassing questions!

Q – Is Homoeopathy static? So much research going on in Allopathy, Ayurveda, why not Homoeopathy?As I mentioned earlier,  a lot of research is being done in India and abroad , a pioneering work was done in IIT Bombay, a video is available on you tube by the VC of MUHS, illuminating how it has now been proved that homoeopathic  potencies act like nano particles..Also, in terms of different ways of understanding cases and proving new remedies various schools of thought have evolved. But as the basic principles are based on nature’s laws-they remain unchanged, and continue to prove useful.The central idea is‘That which can cause can cure’. Hahnemann meticulously experimented on himself  and followers the effects produced by 99 drugs.It is the most extensive scientific observation study done on human beings in medicine till date. So Bryonia used 200 years ago is still useful .Just because it is the good old Bryonia- it is not a stagnant system of healing. 

Q- Can a completely  damaged cartilage regenerate?

Ans- It cannot regenerate, but homoepathy can slow down the aging process..

Q. Why can you not standardize the treatment, like in Allopathy removes the effect of placebo, in research of the effects of drugs.

Ans. In Homoeopathy we cannot get and exact‘control’ eg. A person Mr.X  who is so irritable and cannot speak a single word decently, who suffers from IBS, we cannot have another just like him, to see the difference in effects with Homoeopathic drug and Placebo. But in certain situations like injuries or in bone density problems we can clinically observe that patients treated with Homoeopathy recover faster that those without. 

Q. Do you catagories patients into personality types?Ans- Yes but in a much more detailed way-like we have a Nux Vomica type, A Pulsatilla  type and hundreds  such types.

Q- Do you have medicines for Alcoholism.Ans-We look at addictions as a mental tendency or weakness or personality disorder, and treat it. We find that it becomes easier to overcome. Homoeopathic medicines can change the way the body responds. Just as hormones are in micro or pico grams but their changed levels can create a huge problem. So the tiny innocuous looking Homoeopathic pills can change someone’s life.

Q. Can we generalize that Homoeopathy gives a long lasting change, though Allopathy can be a quick fix? Ans. Homoeopathy also can give a quick fix which may not recur again, especially if treated constitutionally.

Concluding question-Q- Is Homoeopathy a science?

Ans- Yes It is a science. As it is based on experiments that have been verified large number of times. Anyone can verify them. It is a science, but the practice of Homoeopathy is an artistic application of its principles.