The puzzle of homeopathy

Author: Reilly D
Conference/Journal: J Altern Complement Med
Date published: 2002
Other: Volume ID: 7 , Issue ID: Suppl 1 , Pages: S103-9 , Word Count: 190

Homeopathy is a branch of Western medicine that has mostly been rejected by Western orthodoxy for the last 200 years because of conceptual and scientific clashes. Homeopathy uses microdoses of potential toxins to provoke defense and self-regulatory responses, rather than the more orthodox approach of blocking body reactions. This approach hints at its clinical scope: it can help, at times resolve, conditions that are intrinsically reversible rather than mechanical problems, deficiencies, or irreversible breakdowns in body functions where it is only palliative. In recent years, there has been a renaissance of interest. Public demand has soared, and with it professional interest. Approximately 20% of Scotland's general practitioners have completed basic training. This is partly occasioned by public interest in complementary medicine and a sympathy with the more mind-body approach of homeopathy, and partly by recent scientific evidence. Some homeopathic dilutions are so extreme they are dismissed by critics as only placebo. Yet trials and meta-analyses of controlled trials are pointing toward real effects, mechanism of action unknown. Clinical outcome studies suggest useful clinical impact and excellent safety. There seems to be a potential to enhance patient care by integrating the two systems.