Harvard Study Has Good News for Homeopathic Medicine

The American Journal of Public Health has recently published a survey article out of Harvard that shows that homeopathic medicine, while still only used by a small fraction of the U.S. population, has jumped 15% in use. In addition, most users put homeopathy among the top 3 complementary and integrative strategies they use in their health care.

american-journal-of-public-healthThe interest of this journal in this publication is linked to possible public health benefits from the use of homeopathic medicine. The principal investigator was Michelle Dossett, MD, PhD and the team also included placebo expert Ted Kaptchuk, OMD. They hail from Harvard’s School of Public Health and from a Harvard Medical School affiliated hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess. The teams notes that prior studies of homeopathy “suggest potential public health benefits such as reductions in unnecessary antibiotic usage, reductions in costs to treat certain respiratory diseases, improvements in peri-menopausal depression, improved health outcomes in chronically ill individuals, and control of a Leptospirosis epidemic in Cuba.”

The data was gleaned from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. The researchers explored the prevalence and use patterns of homeopathic medicines among U.S. adults in relation to other complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) use. Versions of this survey in 2002 and 2007 found use of homeopathic medicines at 1.7% and 1.8% of the adult population, respectively. The 15% growth in the recent half-decade corresponds to an overall use rate of 2.1% in 2012. The most common conditions for which people sought homeopathic treatment were respiratory and ear-nose-and-throat complaints as well as musculoskeletal pain syndromes. Users tended to be more educated than non-users.

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The similia law is the fundamental pillar of homeopathy and Hahnemann tried to explain it with the pharmacological examples of Organon par. 65, regarding coffee, opium and wine. Fortier-Bernoville in the 1930s introduced the notion of ‘reverse action’ of low doses in respect to high doses, following the rule of stimulant action of low doses of poisons stated by Arndt and Schulz in 1888. This rule biased the discussion on Similia law with the previously unknown idea of an inversion of effect with dilutions, which became a comprehensible model to represent the similitude. Nothwithstanding hormesis and homeopathy share some analogies, important distinctions are present, first of all the concept of different responses between health and disease states, absent in hormesis and basic in homeopathy.

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Criteria for symptom-remedy-cure correspondences: a critical approach of clinical verification with examples from dental praxis

Clinical verification in homeopathy is necessary to ameliorate the tools we are working with, in order to obtain cognition based homeopathy. Cognition based homeopathy is depending on experience, experiment and a pool of verified clinical cases.

The ‘Guidelines for clinical verification of homeopathic symptoms’ (Michel Van Wassenhoven 2010,ECH subcommittee Research) ) is en excellent paper about clinical verification and an extended version of the Five Steps of Hering.

Hering’s 5th step to obtain a verified symptom is the clinical verification (at the bedside, with the sick). The first step in clinical verification, before any other steps, is to check the reliability of the symptom-remedy- cure correspondence.

This implies the importance of the reliability of the symptom-remedy- cure correspondence. Is the result after the administration of the remedy always due to this remedy (only)?

Which are important criteria for a reliable symptom-remedy-cure correspondence in general practice in verification of (proving) symptoms? Is it possible to elaborate a checklist, and/or is this desirable? Anyway it’s an important step to avoid too much “wishful thinking” about the effectiveness of a remedy or an intervention and to make fysicians and dentists more aware of this.

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