Test Your Homeopathy Knowledge

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What is homeopathy?

An alternative medicine system

What is the principle behind homeopathy?

Like cures like

What are homeopathic remedies made of?

Biochemically inert substances

What is the scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of homeopathy?

There is an overall absence of sound statistical evidence of therapeutic efficacy

What is the controversy surrounding homeopathy?

Homeopathy has been described as unethical and a 'cruel deception' by some medical professionals

What is isopathy?

A therapy derived from homeopathy in which the preparations come from diseased or pathological products

What is the position of the British Veterinary Association on homeopathy?

It cannot endorse homeopathy

What is the position of the Australian Veterinary Association on homeopathy?

It cannot endorse homeopathy

What is the concept of 'water memory' proposed by modern advocates of homeopathy?

Water remembers the substances mixed in it and transmits their effect when consumed

Study Notes

Homeopathy: A Summary

  • Homeopathy is a pseudoscientific system of alternative medicine created by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796.

  • Homeopathic practitioners believe that a substance that causes symptoms of a disease in healthy people can cure similar symptoms in sick people.

  • Homeopathic remedies are made using homeopathic dilution, which dilutes the substance until it is chemically indistinguishable from the diluent.

  • Homeopathic preparations are typically biochemically inert and have no effect on any known disease.

  • Clinical trials have generally demonstrated no objective effect from homeopathic preparations.

  • Homeopathy achieved its greatest popularity in the 19th century and was able to appear relatively successful as other forms of treatment could be harmful and ineffective.

  • By the end of the 19th century, the practice began to wane, with the last exclusively homeopathic medical school in the United States closing in 1920.

  • During the 1970s, homeopathy made a significant comeback, with sales of some homeopathic products increasing tenfold.

  • The therapeutic claims of homeopathy lack scientific justification, and national and international bodies have recommended the withdrawal of government funding for homeopathy in healthcare.

  • The National Health Service in England no longer provides funding for homeopathic remedies and asked the Department of Health to add homeopathic remedies to the list of forbidden prescription items.

  • France removed funding for homeopathic drugs in 2021, while Spain has announced moves to ban homeopathy and other pseudotherapies from health centers.

  • Homeopathic preparations are referred to as "homeopathic remedies", and practitioners rely on two types of preparations: dilutions and mother tinctures.Homeopathy: A Summary

  • Homeopathy uses animal, plant, mineral, and synthetic substances in its preparations, referring to them using Latin names.

  • Homeopathic pills are made from an inert substance upon which a drop of liquid homeopathic preparation is placed and allowed to evaporate.

  • Isopathy is a therapy derived from homeopathy in which the preparations come from diseased or pathological products.

  • Homeopaths generally begin with a consultation, where the patient describes their medical history, and the practitioner solicits information on mood, likes and dislikes, physical, mental and emotional states, life circumstances, and any physical or emotional illnesses.

  • Homeopaths attempt to match a single preparation to the totality of symptoms (the simlilum), while "clinical homeopathy" involves combinations of preparations based on the illness's symptoms.

  • Hahnemann claimed that undiluted doses caused reactions, sometimes dangerous ones, and thus that preparations be given at the lowest possible dose.

  • Three main logarithmic dilution scales are in regular use in homeopathy: the "centesimal" or "C scale", the decimal dilution scale (notated as "X" or "D"), and the quintamillesimal (Q) scale.

  • There is an overall absence of sound statistical evidence of therapeutic efficacy, which is consistent with the lack of any biologically plausible pharmacological agent or mechanism.

  • Provings are claimed to have been important in the development of the clinical trial, due to their early use of simple control groups, systematic and quantitative procedures, and some of the first application of statistics in medicine.

  • The lack of convincing scientific evidence supporting its efficacy and its use of preparations without active ingredients have led to characterizations of homeopathy as pseudoscience and quackery.

  • Modern advocates of homeopathy have proposed a concept of "water memory", according to which water "remembers" the substances mixed in it, and transmits the effect of those substances when consumed.

  • No individual homeopathic preparation has been unambiguously shown by research to be different from placebo.Controversies Surrounding Homeopathy

  • High-quality trials indicate that homeopathic preparations exert no intrinsic effect beyond placebo.

  • Health organizations including the UK's National Health Service and the American Medical Association state that there is no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.

  • Homeopathy has been described as unethical and a "cruel deception" by some medical professionals.

  • Homeopathic preparations involving poisons have been associated with serious adverse effects such as seizures and death.

  • Patients who choose homeopathy over evidence-based medicine risk missing timely diagnosis and effective treatment, thereby worsening the outcomes of serious conditions such as cancer.

  • Some homeopaths advise their patients against immunization, which has been characterized as dangerous, inappropriate, and irresponsible.

  • Homeopathy is practiced worldwide and professional qualifications and licenses are needed in most countries.

  • Homeopathic treatments are covered by the public health service of several European countries, including Germany and the UK, but are not covered in others such as Belgium.

  • Member states of the European Union are required to ensure that homeopathic products are registered, although this process does not require any proof of efficacy.

  • Homeopaths in the UK are under no legal regulations, meaning anyone can call themselves homeopaths and administer homeopathic remedies.

  • The Indian government recognizes homeopathy as one of its national systems of medicine, and a minimum of a recognized diploma in homeopathy and registration on a state register or the Central Register of Homoeopathy is required to practice homeopathy in India.

  • In the United States, each state is responsible for the laws and licensing requirements for homeopathy, and currently, no homeopathic products are approved by the FDA.

  • In 2019, the WHO reported that 100 out of 133 Member States acknowledged that their population used homeopathy, with 22 saying the practice was regulated and 13 providing health insurance coverage.The Controversial Practice of Homeopathy: Prevalence and Veterinary Use

  • All homeopathic products must have a license before being sold in Canada, and applicants have to submit evidence of safety, efficacy, and quality.

  • In 2015, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation tested the system by applying for and receiving a government-approved license for a made-up drug aimed at kids.

  • In Australia, the sale of homeopathic products is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and a 2015 National Health and Medical Research Council concluded that there is "no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective and should not be used to treat health conditions that are chronic, serious, or could become serious."

  • In Germany, the homeopathic drug market is worth about €650 million, and a 2014 survey found that 60% of Germans reported trying homeopathy.

  • In the United States, a National Health Interview Survey estimated that 5 million adults and 1 million children used homeopathy in 2011.

  • Major retailers like Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens sell homeopathic products that are packaged to resemble conventional medicines.

  • Homeopathy is one of the most commonly used forms of alternative medicines and has a large worldwide market.

  • Using homeopathy as a treatment for animals is termed "veterinary homeopathy" and dates back to the inception of homeopathy.

  • The use of homeopathy in the organic farming industry is heavily promoted, but there is little reliable data on its efficacy in animals.

  • Studies have found that giving animals placebos can play active roles in influencing pet owners to believe in the effectiveness of the treatment when none exists.

  • The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has adopted a robust position against the use of "alternative" pet preparations, including homeopathy.

  • The British Veterinary Association's position statement on alternative medicines says that it "cannot endorse" homeopathy, and the Australian Veterinary Association includes it on its list of "ineffective therapies."

How much do you know about homeopathy? Test your knowledge with our quiz that covers the pseudoscientific system of alternative medicine, its history, controversial practices, and prevalence worldwide. From the principles of homeopathy, the controversy surrounding its efficacy, to its use in veterinary medicine, this quiz covers it all. See how much you know about this popular but controversial form of alternative medicine.

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