Homoeopathy

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What's your stance on homoeopathy?

Complete bogus
15
60%
Good in addition to a "normal" therapy
8
32%
The only rational form of healing
0
No votes
I don't really know enough about homoeopathy to give an informed opinion
2
8%
 
Total votes : 25

Homoeopathy

Postby ChristianBecker » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:27 pm

As most of you know, I'm studying pharmacy and before that acquired a degree in chemistry.
As a pharmacy student I'm quite interested in what you people think about homoeopathy, since during my internships at two pharmacies I learned, that not only a lot of people are fond of this healing method, but also more chemists than I would have thought. If you like, feel free to explain your views.
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby Tonyblack » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:40 pm

It's kind of difficult to know which category to tick as, although I think there is absolutely no scientific reason that these things work, they clearly do something for some people. Now whether it's the Placebo Effect that is doing that - like Granny's coloured water - or something else, I don't know. Personally I don't believe they work, so they almost certainly wouldn't work on me. :?
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby Bickaxe » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:06 pm

Depends on what you deem as homeopathy.

Massage works well, especially in sports or to ease pain but I would never believe that rubbing the urine if bees on your feet would help you see better. Natural remedies make sense to a degree such as local honey eaten in winter and spring will help with hayfever come the summer. I have friends that try to inflict things on me should I mention a slight cold.

I prefer more pharmaceutical methods though, you know, the ones with a proven track record.
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby KnightOfFewWords » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:07 pm

I ticked "completely bogus" with confidence. Placebo effect aside, a statistically insignificant amount of a substance is not going to have any effect on your wellbeing - or even if it did, the signal would be overwhelmed by the background noise of all the trace substances in our diet. For example, flour contains small traces of dirt and stone from the milling process.

Obligatory link to Mitchell and Webb's Homeopathic ER.

This kind of woo is mostly harmless, but not when it discourages people to seek proper treatment. To take an extreme example, I know someone who is involved with a 'healer' who is has been convicted for fraud in France, for parting vulnerable, desperate people from their money. There are laws against - for example - claiming to be able to cure cancer, for good reason.

One small caution concerning the poll: it will be subject to a strong selection bias. You are polling Terry Pratchett readers, not the general population.
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby ChristianBecker » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:12 pm

I know, Knight. It's not as if I'm starting a dissertation based on your views. I'm just interested in what you people think. I wouldn't know of any place for a poll like this where the results wouldn't be biased. :D

@Bickaxe
When I say homoeopathy I mean homoeopathy as invented by Samuel Hahnemann. Many people tend to mix that up with phytotherapy and/ or any other form of alternative medicine, like Bach flowers and so on.
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby Dotsie » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:36 pm

It's complete poo. There has never been a study that showed more than the placebo effect, which is actually not huge anyway. Much is made of this effect, but the numbers are so low I'd much prefer some good old-fashioned drugs.

Interestingly, the placebo effect (and homeopathy) are greater if the 'physician' is male and mature in years. It's also greater if there is some ritual element (feel your glands, write a prescription, weigh your pills etc), or if the treatment is an injection rather than a pill. Pain relief gets the best results, as this is largely subjective.

Patients like to be listened to, and feel that they are believed. My GP is a patronising little madam, so I can understand that. But people who say they believe in homeopathy should be encouraged to try homeopathic contraceptives. Snigger.
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby cheery_j. » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:56 pm

I can't really tick one. I find it hard to believe that homoeopathic medicine works because - as far as I know - it's mainly water/sugar. However, if somebody feels better because of taking a few globuli and if taking them doesn't keep that person from other treatments if they're seriously ill, I can't see what's wrong with it.
So, if you think it eases your headache after a night in the pub - go ahead with homoeopathy.
If you discover curious lumps in your body or have appendicitis - maybe old fashioned chemistry and a sharp knife are your better options.
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby KnightOfFewWords » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:34 pm

ChristianBecker wrote:I wouldn't know of any place for a poll like this where the results wouldn't be biased. :D


Sorry, I misread OP and thought you said 'people in general' rather than 'people on here'.

Dotsie wrote:But people who say they believe in homeopathy should be encouraged to try homeopathic contraceptives.


:D

So, you start with a condom, put it in a phial of water and shake it about a bit...

The only problem with this is, on the whole I'd prefer that the people who believe in homoeopathy use effective contraception.
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby RSoak » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:52 pm

As others mentioned, 1) the definition given is a bit vague; and 2) the options are a bit limiting.

My personal experience (in life in general) is that it's usually not a good idea to rule something completely out...or in. Something may be ineffective some of the time or most of the time, but if it works even on rare occasions - regardless of the reasoning - then it works. Absolutes don't work well anywhere except mathematics - and vodka drinks I suppose.

So effectively, I'm saying try to avoid pigeon-holing things.
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby KnightOfFewWords » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:17 pm

RSoak wrote:As others mentioned, 1) the definition given is a bit vague


Sorry RSoak, what definition are you referring to please?
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby Mycroft Vimes » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:18 pm

Dotsie wrote:It's complete poo.

Second that! ;)
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby Sister Jennifer » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:43 pm

I'm trusting of pharmaceutical medicine. Don't most medicines come from natural sources anyway? In saying that, myself or my family have never had to take any type of regular medication, which I'm thankful for.

Health supplements? Whatever happened to eating good food & taking a bit of exercise? It's like people have forgotten about their immune system & how amazingly good our body is at looking after itself.

It worries me that people take extra calcium & potassium & things like that for no good reason other than someone's told them it's good for you. I looked after a girl who had an acute kidney injury from taking calcium tablets. But then again, I've looked after many more people who've over-used pharmaceutical drugs. It's all a bit mad really.

However, if someone who has a terrible illness to deal with every day of their lives decides they're going to see a Chinese mystic that sells this amazing cure-all herb, I'd offer to take them there myself.
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby raptornx01 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:24 am

So whats the difference between Homeopathic remedies and, say, vaccines? I mean, it's still introducing the root cause of an illness in an attempt to cure said illness.

Meh, i take the road others have said in that if it does actually make some people feel better I don't see the harm n supplementing other treatments.
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby michelanCello » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:44 am

Tonyblack wrote:Now whether it's the Placebo Effect that is doing that - like Granny's coloured water - or something else, I don't know.

I believe it's got a lot to do with the person's mentality. If he/she really believes in it, and then I mean REALLY then I think it can help.
Now my mom, she never believed this kind of stuff. She had/s (I never know which tense to use, I mean, the friend still lives... it's kind of weird...) a friend who was very much into all of this and was pushing her sort of toward it, and my mom let her, partly because she was her friend, partly because she had such a huge trauma because of the chemo and the operation... I do believe that's the reason why she abandonned "normal" treatment in favour of these alternative things (we'd put all sorts of special mud on her and she'd drink special kinds of tea and go to acupressure and whatnot...). She never wanted to listen to any of us when we were urging her to go see her doctor (even though he said she'd need more chemo as the operation didn't really go the way it should've been), but she wouldn't listen. She kept repeating she'd get better and that everything was going to be fine (which it didn't, obviously). I think she was so terrified by the thought of more of that pain she had from regular treatment that she made herself believe in a different method, only I also think she never really got the hang of believing it... :S the frustrating part is that I'll never know, cause she never talked about her illness with me, she never "let me in" and I'll never know what was in her head...
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Re: Homoeopathy

Postby ChristianBecker » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:59 am

That's very sad, mC. Many people whose treatment doesn't work as it is supposed to and is painful, like chemotherapy, tend to try alternative methods, because they seem to be a bargain. No side effects, pure healing.

@RSoak
Actually, the definition I did not give isn't vague. What is vague is the concept many people have of homoeopathy, which is not their fault.
The options shouldn't be limiting. I tried not to give too many, and thought I covered everything from "complete poo" to "only reasonable method" without putting fifty shades of grey between those extremes. I may have failed there. Which other options would you have liked?

@raptornx
The difference is, that there is proof that vaccines work, whereas there is no proof that homoeopathy does. :D
Or, in more detail: While vaccines contain non-infective pathogens, which the body's immune system then learns to recognize so that it can fend of the real beasties when they arrive, homoeopathic medicine contains (or rather, very much does not) some stuff (plant extract, mineral, secretion etc.) that, if taken undiluted, allegedly cause the symptoms of, say, a flu. So a homoeopathic flu cure would not actually attack the root of the flu (the virus). The reasoning is, that the homoeopathic drug, figuratively speaking, gives the body a kick to get it off its arse and start doing something against the symptoms. So, the drug isn't actually healing you, you're doing it yourself. The drug only activates the body's healing powers. Allegedly. Apart from that, vaccines are more isopathic than homoeopathic, because for a flu you get flu viruses.
This might sound logical to a point. On the other hand, would you take a poison that has the same effect as atropine (deadly nightshade) if you had eaten one of the berries?
Moreover, in a vaccine, you actually have a measurable number of pathogens, whereas in homoeopathic drugs, you often don't have anything. You might start with, as Hahnemann did, cinchona, which, consumed undiluted, allegedly causes the same symptoms as malaria. Then you dilute the hell out of it. The more you dilute it, the more powerful the drug becomes. There are dilutions based on powers of 10, 1:10, 1:100, 1:1000 (D1, D2, D3), on powers of 100 1:100, 1:10000, ... (C1, C2, ...) and on powers of 50000 - 1:50000, 1:2500000000 ... (LM I, LM II, ...). With dilutions higher than D24 (not uncommon) you statistically get less than one molecule per bottle - if you started with 100ml of, say, snake venom of a concentration of 1mol per litre, you'll get 1 molecule of snake poison in about every second of the 100ml D24 dilutions you made from that, none in the others.
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