On April 20-21, 2015, the FDA held a public hearing about changing the way it regulates homeopathic medications. Many homeopaths feared that this hearing would be the first step toward banning homeopathic medications in the United States. As someone who strongly believes that holistic healing and alternative medicine are necessary supplements to traditional medicine, I find this appalling. People need more choices, not fewer!
Homeopathic medicine is safe, effective, and time-tested. It is based on real science and physics. Unfortunately, few understand how and why it works and are therefore tempted to dismiss it as pseudoscience. This is why those of us who do understand it are working hard to make our voices heard at this important juncture.
The History of Homeopathic Medicine
In 1796, German doctor Samuel Hahnemann, namesake of a prestigious medical school in Philadelphia, established the practice of homeopathic medicine. By the mid-1800’s, homeopathy was among the most common medical practices in America.
The editors at Health Impact News point out that, “Worldwide, homeopathy is the second largest system of health care used behind conventional pharmaceutical-based medicine. The number of homeopaths worldwide doubled between 1999 and 2009, and the number of homeopathic hospitals grew from under 2,000 to 7,000.” Unfortunately, there are no such hospitals in the United States thanks to a push against homeopathy by the pharmaceutical industry.
The Physics and Science Behind Homeopathic Medicine
One of the most common arguments against the practice of homeopathy is that it is “junk science” and “quackery.” This is untrue. The tenets of his sciences were based on three principals:
- The Law of Similars: This states that whatever caused your symptoms will also cure them. It may sound absurd, but it is a belief that holds true in traditional medicine as well. Take, for example, overstimulated kids diagnosed with ADHD. What is usually prescribed to calm them down? Ritalin, Adderall or a similar stimulant.
- The Law of Infinitesimals: This states that repeatedly diluting remedies makes them stronger and more effective. In homeopathic medicines, substances are diluted such that they are measured in nano-doses. This makes them extraordinarily safe and unlikely to interfere with other medications that you may be taking.
- The Law of Succession of Forces: Hahnemann believed that dilution of a drug was not enough to produce a cure. To achieve potentization, after each dilution the solution must be shaken vigorously (a process known as “succession”).
Homeopathic remedies are prescribed differently, depending on the patient’s ailment, body-type, and even personality. Since patients are treated by ingesting that which made them feel ill (for example, taking poison ivy to cure an itch), the ingredients of the medications are frequently toxic. However, by diluting them through a series of succession, they are rendered harmless but their energies are harnessed as medication.
As a paper published in The Technology Journal of the Franklin Institute explains, “there is a large but finite and specific number of atoms or molecules in a mole of substance (a mole is the molecular weight of a substance, expressed in grams). That number of atoms or molecules is 6.022 X 1023, also known as Avogadro’s number. Homeopathic remedies are diluted by either a factor of 10 or 100. “D” dilutions are prepared by serial dilutions of 1:10; “C” dilutions are prepared by serial dilutions of 1:100. Thus, a remedy marked C30 would imply a 1:100 dilution performed 30 times.”
The physics and science behind how these medications are formulated go against that which is taught in conventional pharmacology; however, the resultant medications are highly effective.
Homeopathic Medicine Is Not Just a Placebo
If you question most conventional medical practitioners about homeopathic medicine, they may roll their eyes and say it is no more than a placebo. I would argue vehemently against this statement.
First, a placebo is a fake medicine prescribed by a doctor who knows that it will have no effect on your health, but may potentially trick your brain into making you feel better. There is nothing wrong with that—particularly if it works—but homeopathic medicine is real medicine with a real purpose.
Secondly, even if homeopathic medicine works only by producing a placebo effect, that is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it would not explain why homeopathic medicines for pets, such as dogs and cats, work just as effectively. Surely, your furry little friends are not being tricked into feeling better. They probably are not even aware that you are medicating them.
What is the FDA Trying to Do?
Currently, all homeopathic medicines must be approved by the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) before they can be marketed. This process involves clinical testing of their effectiveness and assurance that the medications are produced in accordance with the principals of homeopathy.
These medications, however, do not have to meet the same rigorous testing standards as medications produced by Big Pharma. This makes sense considering that homeopathic medicines are well known to be extremely safe, even when taken with other medications.
The FDA, however, wants full regulation over these medications, which would involve holding them to the same strict standards and high-cost testing of chemically produced medications. Given the vast difference in the philosophies behind the formulation of these types of medications, this just does not make sense in the homeopathic field. It will result in the eventual dying out of homeopathic medicine as we know it today.
What Can You Do?
More and more, people are starting to stand up and take control of their health and well-being. They are turning to holistic healers and alternative medicine practices to supplement their traditional medical care, and it has been working!
This may explain why many researchers recommend keeping an open mind about homeopathy. Remember, just because something is difficult to understand or goes against your core beliefs does not mean that is untrue or unworthy of your time.
Make your voice heard. Write or email the FDA today and tell them that you believe that the rigorous standards and regulations by which homeopathic medicine is currently subjected are sufficient. Let them know that you want your homeopathic medicine readily available to you.